[This post is a part of the Youth Ministry 101 series]

If you are a part of youth ministry, you are also likely in some way involved with leading some type of small group discussion. The conversations that take place in youth ministry are a critical element of any youth ministry. Small group discussions may be built in as a small or large part of a weekly program; they may be something entirely separate from any program. Allowing our students to participate in discussing and discovering the truth of scripture as we lead them through a bible study can be both a difficult process and a rewarding one.

5 Tips for Leading a Small Group

1. Be okay with silence.

This is difficult. Most leaders want to fill in the spaces and start talking; but silence is not a bad thing. Wait. Allow them to think and process the question. Don't feel the need to move onto something else too quickly if there isn't an answer right away. Perhaps the question just needs to be asked in a different way.

2. Ask the right questions.

The best small group leaders are not the ones that have a lot of information to share, but the ones who know how to ask the right questions. A good question can set into motion a great conversation. If you are given questions to work through, look for opportunities to ask follow up questions to really dig into the heart of the answer.

3. Have fun.

This is youth ministry; if your small group is boring, they are not going to want to come.

4. Contact students outside of church.

Youth ministry is all about relationships. One of the best ways to build relationships with students is to be in touch with them outside of weekly youth ministry programs. Call them to follow up with something you talked about previously. Post something on their facebook wall. Attend one of their sporting events. These things mean a lot to a student in your small group.

5. It's all about Jesus.

This probably shouldn't be last, but I didn't put them in any particular order. Everything you do in your small group is ultimately about students growing in their relationship with Jesus. That doesn't mean that everything you do needs to be an in-depth discussion about Him, but it does mean that as a leader you should recognize that the fun you have, even if it doesn't relate to anything, is done for the sake of Jesus. It's all about Jesus; even the stuff that doesn't seem like it is.

Photo Credit: stlyouth