Spent some time today crafting our small group leader training tonight, thought it might be helpful for you to read and/or use in your ministry as well.
The main passage was from I Thessalonians 5:12-27. Here’s the whole passage, and some thoughts to follow:
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with Christian love. I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
The context of this passage is the 2nd coming of Christ and how someday followers of Jesus – awake or asleep – will be with Him. Then Paul gives some specific actions to those that are alive. In the context of youth ministry, there are some powerful thoughts:
HELP THE WEAK (v. 14)
We share in the priviledge of serving students that are hurting and lost. It is our calling to help those that are stumbling to walk again and those that are seeking to find Him. What an honorable calling we share as part of this ministry to high school students.
BE PATIENT (v. 14)
How many of you have “that one kid” in your small group? By last count, we had over 25 “that one kids” coming to HSM. You’ve probably got one in your group, and that’s why Paul tells us to be patient with them. Longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish, quick to bear the offense of a teenager who speaks quickly and thinks later.
PRAY CONTINUALLY (v. 17)
What a powerful tool is at our disposal as small group leaders – we can go directly to God when we minister to students. Share your insecurities and your inadequacies and He will fill you with His spirit to give you the words to say and actions to take.
BE THANKFUL GOD IS USING YOU (v. 18)
God has put you in your small group for this moment! He wanted you to be there for this crisis, He picked you for these students. You didn’t pick HSM – we didn’t pick you either – GOD put you here as a minister. As you serve, say a prayer to God and thank Him for giving you this chance to serve His kingdom.
REMEMBER GOD IS FAITHFUL (v. 24)
God will use His word and your words to minister to students. It might not always feel like it, in fact – most of the time it won’t. BUT, God is faithful, the pressure is on Him to fulfill His promise that it won’t return void.
KNOW THE TEAM IS BEHIND YOU (v. 25)
Don’t serve alone – there is a great team that shares in the calling of serving students and this church and together. As the pastors and ministers we will support each other, keep each other accountable and share life (and many meals) together.