A New Twist on Small Groups

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We have found that getting creative in giving students practical ways to learn about God and serve in a church setting reaches a totally different set of students than your typical Bible study does. On Wednesday nights, we introduced what we call “Options”. Though the name isn’t uber-creative (Options in exactly what it sounds like) what we do is pretty different from other churches in our area.

We recruit all kinds of volunteers for all kinds of small group options.  We have done everything from art to gardening and guitar to bible study.

Art: The art group for middle school learn how to draw or paint and usually base their artwork on a piece of scripture. The fine art group for high school changes their focus every month from skits, dance, singing and other fine art activity.

Guitar: We have one of our veteran volunteers and serious shredder teach beginning guitar to all those students who have dreams of selling out a stadium to swooning fans.  As their practice material, the teacher uses our worship songs so that we can then we plug them into our worship band.

Technology: For the aspiring Kips in our group (Still I love technology but not as much as you yousess) we have a group that explores everything computerized and electronic. We teach the students how to make videos, work lighting and run sound. The goal for the technology group is to get students to run our all our tech for our service and to make announcement videos for the service.

Gardening: For the more granola members of our group we have some incredibly passionate college students who did all the groundwork (see what I did there) for a small vegetable and flower garden on the church grounds.  Each week they explore the connection to creation and how we can live into our role as caretakers.

Devotion: Each week we have a volunteer ready with a discussion based devotion for those students who want to talk more than learn one of the other topics or who are visiting for the first time.

If you are considering doing options with your students, think about members of your church who are teachers, or musicians to help you teach these groups. Think about who runs media for your church services and maybe they can teach a technology class for you. Find out what skills people might have that they can share with the students. Think about where needs are in your student ministry and find people in your congregation that can help you teach students the skills needed to meet that need.

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Mike has been working in student ministry for around 10 years now. He got his start in student ministry as an intern at St. James United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL, and after a few years he was hired as an associate over the middle school. He is currently serving in Mobile, AL as a youth minister at Christ United Methodist Church. Mike has a passion for building relationships with students and to teach them about God’s love and grace. You can follow Mike on Twitter: @mikeyrollins and on Instagram: @mrollins83

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