Thursday, April 21, 2005

Youth Small Groups

This year was the pilot year for our youth small groups. Well, not technically. Technically, last year we started one group, a group for 8th grade girls. They seemed to really enjoy it and they brought friends to participate. This year we started high school small groups. Each group was completely different. We had enough girls for two groups, and the seniors fit together perfectly (well, so maybe some of them fought, but that's what happens when you put 4 senior girls, at least 2 of whom know everything, together). Their leader said, "Sometimes I feel like the outsider; these girls could run their own small group." The underclassgirls took pretty much the entire last six months to gel as a group, and it's really only 2-3 of them that did. None of the freshman girls showed up, even after they'd had a small group experience the previous year. The leader is great, and I can't fault her whatsoever. The guys' group was the "surprise" because it took off in great ways. It would be the perfect group to profile, because the guys didn't just want to meet every other week, so they changed their schedule for an every-week meeting.

I've wanted to start up middle school small groups, but I haven't. Something about not having leaders has been my excuse, but in reality, it's just been that I'm exhausted. I will be the one leading the middle school boys' group, and as of yet, there's not a time that just screams out "Let's have small group now!" And with Alpha starting, I wonder if I even should. Think about it: they'll already have Sunday morning activities. And once a month (at least) they'll have an outing, a retreat, or a service project. And Tuesday will be Alpha night. Is there really time to have yet another meeting for them? Can Alpha be their small group? Should Alpha be their small group? Should we have "guys only" and "girls only" events for the kids?

I think small groups are way important, but it just begs the question of "what is a small group?" -- does Alpha fit the bill? Are they doing life together? I think so. But will it work for the middle schoolers? It could. I guess I'll wait and see.

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