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KurtJohnston

Kurt Johnston has been a youth pastor since 1988 and currently leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted voices in youth ministry, Kurt loves to encourage other youth workers and has written and created over 50 books and resources with that goal in mind. In his free time, Kurt enjoys surfing and riding dirt bikes in the desert with his wife and two children.

To wrap up our series on becoming a small group guru, I’d like to prepare a little guru goulash; a delish mish mash of thoughts.

* Don’t forget the parents!

Leading a small group of 5-10 teenagers also gives you an incredible opportunity to minister to 5-20 parents! As parents witness you going above and beyond for their child, they become much more likely to open themselves up to the possibility that you have something to offer them, too! Look for ways to provide hope and help to the parents of your small group.

* Run at their pace, not yours.

Every small group has a different spiritual “pace”, and a big part of your role is to figure out what that pace is, and then figure out how to run your group at that pace….while nudging them forward a little bit, too. When I encounter frustrated small group leaders in our ministry, the reason they are frustrated is often because they are pushing too hard, or out-pacing their students.

* Your small group is like a mini “Kingdom Experiment”!

Small groups are a great, mostly safe, way to experiment and experience some of the stuff God has intended for the body of Christ all along. Celebrating the diversity of gifts and life journeys, praying for, encouraging and supporting one another, holding each other accountable, serving the globe, etc.  So much stuff that is sometimes hard to figure out how to accomplish in the larger youth group setting becomes very attainable in a small group.

* Enjoy Yourself.

One of the reasons you got into youth ministry in the first place was to spend time with students, to do relational youth ministry. I have a very simple formula that I share every time I talk about youth ministry; and it’s never failed:

Teenager + Caring Adult + Jesus = Good Stuff!

Take some pressure off yourself! Enjoy the ride. Have fun. The simple fact that you are spending time with teenagers, and walking alongside them on their Jesus-journey is guaranteed to have good results.

Now that you’ve read all four weeks of this series, and as the new school year starts, it’s time to get your small group guru on!

- Kurt / @kurtjohnston

Continue to develop your small group leaders and have great small group discussions with these resources from Simply Youth Ministry! 

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