This is the second post in a series on Middle School Small Groups.

CORE group provided something that I had not had up to this point in youth ministry at Hayward Wesleyan Church: a small group. Okay, the number in CORE group numbered about 20-25 students, which is hardly a “small” group, but at least it was less than 75 students (the typical number on at msy group on Wednesday night). I’ve always wanted to have a small group of students that I can pour into over a significant period of time.

I’ve heard many well-known and not-so-well-known youth leaders refer to the small group they lead and many of their stories about ministry (and sometimes a lot of their wisdom) comes out of their experiences with adolescents. That, as well as a desire to see teenagers actually grow in their walk with the Lord and their understanding of the Gospel.

At the end of the last school year I had decided that this next year I was going to ask some incoming 6th grade students if they would be interested in participating in a small group with me and a few other boys. My goal was 4 students, plus me, which totalled 5, not any more than could fit in my car.

In conjunction with my desire to do a small group came Dave Dixon’s desire to spend time during the school year with the students he interacted with at Kids Camp. Dave spent 2 subsequent years where he had the same boys in a cabin and he wanted to continue to meet with them beyond camp. We decided to sort of do this together, me with my group, and him with his.

So, this is what started the current small group experiment…

Instead of starting another program like CORE group, Dave and I thought we should create a loose confederation of small groups with the goals of building community, sharing life, modeling Christ-like character, engaging in creative content and prayer, and radically goofing off together.

Our two groups couldn’t look more different. Dave has around 13 members in his group he calls Titus 2 (after the passage where Paul tells Titus that it is the job of older men to pour into the lives of younger men). I have 4 students. My group meets every week after school at my house for content and connection time, then at the church for games and pickup. Dave’s group meets sporadically around activities and every week at msy on Wednesdays.

But that’s the beauty of it: each group can look radically different in its implementation, depending on the resources of the small group leader as well as the time constraints of the students, as long as it has as its goal to disciple young people intentionally (and that looks like building community, sharing life, modeling Christ-like character, engaging in creative content and prayer, and radically goofing off together).

I’m recording mainly what happens with my group and what I’m learning along the way, as well as other significant stories along the way.

This is what I call the small group experiment.