Student Small Groups at the Core

The kingdom of God is about relationships.

I am a veteran youth worker. I've been in the "battle" trenches for 18 years and have the scars to prove it. My campaigns have included everything from the egg-and-underarm-relay to taking kids on mission trips in third-world counties. Over the years there have been many different emphases for effective student ministry. I have used and experienced everything from huge events, sporting outings, concerts, game days, discipleship weekends, camps, retreats, and much more. Each of these events and programs make unique and important contributions to student ministry.

I have used many events or a programs to drive ministry with students, but purposeful ministry to students cannot be based on events and programs. To do so is a big mistake…and I should know because I have made this mistake more than once! What I have learned over the years is that the Kingdom of God is not a slick program, or a new resource that I found at the bookstore, it is about relationships. It is about our relationships (or lack of) that we have with God and others. It is about the biblical purposes that God wants to accomplish through His people. The best way to develop community and help students discover, experience, and live out the biblical purposes is in the context of small group ministry. If you have not read Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields, I recommend that you read, digest, and implement it. In this book, he outlines the five biblical purposes of student ministry: worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry. The five purposes are outlined in the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

I believe the very core of effective student ministry is student small groups. Small ...

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