youth ministry

Small Groups: Social vs. Spiritual

By Doug Franklin September 11, 2013

One of the best parts about being in a small group is the friends that you make. In high school, I was in a group with two other guys. We became life long friends. When one of the guy’s dad died just last year, we were both there walking the road with our friend. That small group experience bonded us together so well that thirty years later we are all still close.

To be honest, the point of the small group I was in during high school was not to make life long friends. The point was to help us grow as followers of Christ. And while we did grow as believers, I think we grew more as friends. So this makes me wonder: Are small groups a great way to disciple students?

More and more I have noticed that small groups in youth ministry are slipping more to the social side then the spiritual. There is always room for both in my thinking, but I believe that the spiritual side needs to be the priority. When I hear youth workers talk about guys small groups that play video games as their main focus, I feel like small groups have lost their value.

If you had to rate your small group ministry, would you say it was more social or spiritual? Does the answer meet with your stated purpose for small groups? I find that small groups become more social than spiritual when the small group leader doesn’t really understand the purpose of small groups and doesn’t know how to lead.

If you’re ready to make a change in your small groups, it will only happen if your ready to re-train your small group leaders. Check out our resource: Growing Small Group Leaders. I know it will help.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More