5/25/2007

It's a Small Group After All...

I've been steadily doing Middle School small groups for about 4 1/2 years now. It started at the last church I worked at, about 2 or 3 weeks into the job, when Matt (one of my bosses) drove with me to the house where I'd be meeting my first 7th grade boys small group. He sat with me through the first meeting (even taking me to Del Taco afterward to debrief) and, as soon as week 2 hit, handed me the keys.

I've been hooked ever since.

I've had three groups (not including ones I've been with temporarily) and I still stay in touch with (although not as much as I'd like) most of the guys that I've had the priveledge of leading. Of course, that's not to say that, much like the elevator business, it hasn't had its ups and downs. Editor's Note: That was my granddad's joke. And I love it.

No matter how you personally assemble your small groups, whether they be 8th grade girls or 6th grade boys; no matter how different the group dynamics of each may be, you begin to notice patterns. At least I have. I've had groups from very affluent families and groups from more working class backgrounds. I've had groups from broken homes and groups from very godly, supportive families. But, I somehow always end up with some of the same kids.

In fact, this past Wednesday night, I had a weird déjà vu moment. Even though I haven't been with them in 3 years, it was almost as if I were leading my first small group all over again.

Here are some students that I seem to have in every small group:

  • The Late One- No matter what we're doing; no matter what time it starts, this kid will be at least half an hour late. And, somehow, it's never their fault. I could announce that I'd be giving away free monster trucks filled with money and they would be tardy.

  • The Human Tapeworm- Snack cannot come quickly enough for this kid. Nor can it come in a proper amount. Maybe it's the Middle School growth spurt or that they go all day at school on nothing but a pack of Sour Skittles and a Dr. Pepper. Either way, when they raise their hand during group, they're not wanting to ask about why Nehemiah wanted to rebuild the walls, they want to know when they can gnaw on some Oreos.

  • The Spleen- Whatever this kid ate before they came should be illegal. Make sure to have proper ventilation...

  • The Gun Jumper- Things you can't use as a part of your teaching style around the Gun Jumper: rhetorical questions, stories that build to a point, or any idea that has more than one part. This one wants to ask the final point before you get to it. On the one hand, you want to applaud because of their ability to grasp what you're talking about. But on the other hand, you want to throw your shoe at them for messing with your set-up that you've worked so hard on.

  • The Megaphone- This student talks... all the time... and loud. No matter what you try, short of surgical sutures, they won't stop. They're usually the ones you want to read the verse out loud...

  • The Quiet One- They could be shy... or mute. Who knows? You can't get them to say anything! There's a lot of variations of this type of student. My favorite is the one that you can never get to open up at group who then goes home to tell his folks that he can't wait until next time because Small Group is his favorite part of the week.

  • The Alpha Student- A natural leader always emerges. Sometimes, they use their powers for good. Sometimes, they turn to the dark side. If you can hook them in, you've almost always got the rest of the group.

    Even though there are times when it seems like I can't get control; and I doubt if they're even listening. Even though there are times when I feel like we'd be better off just watching a movie. I wouldn't trade this for all the money in the world.

    That's the beauty of Middle School Ministry: you get to see messy, dorky kids who can barely sit still for more than 5 minutes turn into young men and women who love God and want to give Him everything. Editor's Note: Then, you can encourage them to lead a Middle School Small Group. And be there when they come into your office to ask how to deal with The Megaphone!

    Just ask Mark Shelley, my youth pastor. He had to deal with a kid who was talkative, smart mouthed, and prideful. Thank God he saw something in me. He pushed me to give more to God; in my relationship with Him and in service. And you'd better believe he was there to laugh the first time I came to him and asked how to deal with a kid who wouldn't stop mouthing off to me...
  • 1 comment:

    Alli Hibb said...

    ain't it the truth?