Before I jump into the how of preteen small groups, I want to make an argument for why I think small groups are important in preteen ministry. In our ministry, we’ve had some outstanding events and we’ve taught some awesome series, but nothing compares to the life-on-life impact we’ve seen through preteen small groups.
In The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,
“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
I understand that discipleship can occur in many different settings, but I personally believe small groups are the best method for preteens.
Here some reasons I feel so passionate about preteen small groups:
- Small groups fulfill a specific social need found in preteens
- A small group of peers and a loving leader is the perfect place for new preteens to plug-in to your ministry
- Small Groups create a sense of intimacy and safety for preteens
- Small groups give preteens an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and questions
- Small groups create accountability in the lives of preteens
- Life-change happens in the context of community
- Small groups help preteens understand and apply Jesus’ command to “make disciples”
For even more reasons, check out “Why Do Preteen Small Groups?” by my friend Nick Diliberto.
Everyone, especially preteens, needs community to grow. John Ortberg wrote about the power of Christian community. He said:
“God uses people to form people. That is why what happens between you and another person is never merely a human-to-human interaction — the Spirit longs to be powerfully at work in every encounter. Referring to this dynamic, some writers of Scripture speak of “the fellowship of the Spirit.” Fellowship has become a church word that suggests basements and red punch and awkward conversation. But it is really a word for the flow of rivers of living water between one person and another, and we cannot live without it.” (The Me I Want To Be)
Hopefully, you feel just as passionate as I do about small groups for preteens. The next few posts will cover some of the keys to preteen small groups—size, space, leaders, and more.