Small Group Leader Expectations

Leader Expectations and Helpful Hints

Welcome back to a regular routine! Thank you so much for agreeing to be a small group leader for this semester. Below are some general suggestions that will help you in your efforts to minister to and mentor students.

Thank you for all you do to bless our teens!


  • As a small group leader, it is important that you try to be there as consistently as possible. It helps with the continuity of the group and provides a good example. IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE, please let me (email or text – 317-796-8720) AND your co-leader know as soon as possible. If we have several leaders gone on one night and I know soon enough, I can make some adjustments but if I get 2 or 3 leaders drop out on Wednesday morning it is more difficult to improvise.
    • Assuming the other leader will be there is not a good strategy – PLEASE communicate with me and them. We are a team.
  • Try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before 7 so you can engage with students – especially students in your small group. I really get that as adults we want and need interaction among other adults but often some of the early students come in and sit there awkwardly as the adults talk among themselves.
  • Engage your students. It’s important to have them in a circle where everyone can see each other. This is especially important on the couches. The tendency is to get 1 chair but that just creates an awkward leader and the people on the wings can easily “hide”.
  • When you facilitate a question – do just that – facilitate (ask it – try not to answer it) – if they are not understanding, ask clarifying questions. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE TOO MUCH TIME DOING THE TALKING
    • Don’t be afraid of silence – often teens are thinking through the tougher questions but make sure you are communicating clearly.
    • Don’t answer the question on your own or tell your own story – this teaches the teens that if they wait long enough, you will take over and they won’t have to think. Adult leaders SHOULD NOT initiate with answers and tell their own stories.
    • If the group is really stuck…stop and pray. Ask for clarity and wisdom.
    • Call on some of the older, more grounded kids in the group first if you need to (they will be evident within the first few weeks) – BUT don’t let them be the only one answering questions.
  • ENGAGE the younger ones, even if they are off base. Gently redirect everyone back to the right track if you have to. You might say something like, “That’s an interesting thought but …”
  • Don’t let someone talk too long or get too far off track (this can be more challenging with some kids).
  • Try to get to know the teens in your group outside of the youth group setting.
  • Touch base with them when they are not there. This is a “raise the bar” issue. If we can get this one thing done, I believe we will see attendance percentages higher.
    • Text them an encouraging note
    • Seek them out and speak to them on Sunday mornings.
    • DON’T engage them on social media unless it’s one-on-one – they will unfriend you if you write on their wall or tag them in a tweet or Instagram post.
    • Send them a note or card in the mail.
  • Pray for them often. Let them know you pray for them.
  • Please keep me in the loop on situations. Kids and parents assume that I know stuff that I sometimes don’t know. If they think I know and I don’t acknowledge it in any way, it causes problems.
  • Be careful about promising complete confidence (we can talk about this more if you like).