6 ways to Thrive as a Young Life College Small Group Leader

Young Life College May 11, 2021
  1. Love Jesus. Abide in Him. Leave the Heavy Lifting to God

Remember that God is the one who teaches and interprets his Word in the hearts of others. 

“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News.  Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”  I Corinthians 3:5-6 (NLT)

  1. Engage People as Whole People

As Christian leaders, it is important to know that people are more than just spiritual beings. God made us whole people in his image, which includes physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions. When the small group meets, let’s work hard to engage our friends in different ways:

  • physically- through food and drink and play
  • mentally- by diligently studying Scripture
  • emotionally- through sharing about our lives and connecting deeply to Scripture
  • socially- by building authentic friendships with one another
  • spiritually-by keeping Christ at the center of the group. 

Lead well by listening well.  Practice being intensely present with the group by practicing eye contact. Encourage active listening among everyone in the group. By listening well you encourage people to come out of hiding and be themselves. Be a model to your group by being vulnerable yourself. Give all members opportunities to speak, read Scripture, and engage well

  1. Prepare Well

Thorough preparation will be well worth your time. Consider you time preparing for small group as a time to commune deeply with God, allowing Him to give you a fuller understanding of the topic that week. Try praying through scripture in the outline, letting it sink into your heart. Try going on a prayer walk with the outline in hand, praying through the scripture and each section of the outline. 

Go through one chapter per week with the group. Because the topics build on one another try to progressively study the curriculum in the suggested order rather than isolating certain weeks. Print an outline for each member and a leader’s guide and an outline for yourself. It is encouraged that members review and meditate on the material for the days afterward for their own spiritual well-being.  

A simple practice when reading of a piece of scripture is to instruct others to “Look for a word, phrase, or idea that stands out to you”  then, ask people to share. If someone asks a difficult question, don’t be afraid of saying, “I don’t know.”

4. Pray for your group (as a whole and as individuals)

Prayer isn’t preparation for the battle, prayer is the battle.

5. Be consistent.

Make it a priority to meet every week. Be fiercely dedicated to doing the study together. If possible, meet on-campus, at the same time, same day, every week. Aim for small group time to be 1.5 hours

6. Create space for them to know and be known.

Allow for silence. Create safe spaces to share real things. Meet with students one-on-one and know them personally. Plan a retreat with the purpose being to share life stories.


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