Basic Traits For Small Groups

I’m often asked by other youth ministers, “What are the traits of your small group program?” Small groups sound simple, yet they’re messy.  And because of their organic nature, it can be difficult to shape and grow them. To build your small group ministry, you not only need a plan, but an identity.  That means developing certain traits and embracing them.  When it comes to small groups in our church we make sure they are:


  • Small: It’s might be debatable what the perfect size for a small group should be; however, they should be small.  We try to keep it around 8-10 teens.  Once it starts getting too big teens get left out of the conversation and the group risks losing the intimacy that’s intended.
  • Consistent: Groups will go deeper when you allow the same people to meet repeatedly.  Consistency leads to trust, which eventually leads to vulnerability.  To help build this trait equip small groups with at least two leaders who are committed to leading the charge.
  • Focused: Small groups get messy because of the relationships.  To keep them focused make sure your leader know what they need to cover.  We want our leaders to pray with teens and share life with them.  This trait allows them to get back on track if there are distractions or if the curriculum is lost.
  • Growing: Small groups are a part of the movement of the church.  We want teens to invite their friends and when this happens groups get big.  At this point we challenge groups to multiply and form two new groups.  This way students are learning how to grow their own.
  • Supported: As the leader of your ministry, you must ensure your teams are set up for success.  This means communicating with small group leaders and ensuring they are not burning out.  Partnering them up with others, checking in with them and giving them seasonal breaks are a few steps you can take to building stronger small groups.

Give them an identity and watch them grow. People will know what they are and your leaders will know how to lead. Create a path and embrace certain traits so you can go deeper with teens.

What are the traits of your small group program?

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