A lot of the things Jesus taught the disciples and some of the miracles He performed were on the way to somewhere else. The majority of the learning and ministry moments with your students may not necessarily be with in the small group time, but on the way to and from your group. Recognize these moments and make the most of them.
Compliment in Public / Correct in Private
Complimenting is important but easy. Celebrate and share their successes with others inside and outside the group. Correcting is equally important but NOT near as easy. Don’t shy away from a learning and growing opportunity for both you and the student. If a problem arises you may have to initially diffuse it in public, but address further in private. Don’t just correct, but also discuss the motives behind the offense, how a repeat offense can be avoided, the personal leadership potential in the student, and the influence they carry with others even if they don’t recognize it.
Challenge the student to step up (their influence outside the group)
As the relationship and trust grows with the student, take the opportunity to address weaknesses that you’ve noticed and current mistakes they’ve made. Don’t berate them about , but don’t completely ignore the situation, it could be the very conversation that creates a turn in that student’s life and it is a growing opportunity for the both of you. Refer to the last bullet for Correcting in Private.
Challenge the student to step out (of the boat)
If your group is doing a silly challenge, answering a tough question, or telling portions of their story and you have a quiet one continue to encourage their involvement and stress the value of their contribution to the rest of the group. Try to notice a student curious about stepping out. Look and listen for a growing interest and feed it.
Anytime Jesus traveled, people met him on the road wanting Him to heal them. The disciples often saw these folks as an inconvenience and wanted to pass them by and keep moving. Students will often wait until the most inconvenient times to talk. While you are working on something else, talking to someone else, when it’s too late or too early. They’ve worked up the nerve to ask/talk about something; sacrifice the moment to listen and pray with the student for a possible life changing conversation.
Steven Moore serves at FaithPointe Church in Adamsville, TN. 6 years … still as his first church. That’s awesome!