We've all heard the popular saying, "Bigger is better." We eat, shop, and sometimes even dress that way. Even the Christian community tends to operate under this philosophy (just look at our Bibles, or libraries). But what if it's wrong? While at D6, Doug Fields tried to correct this thinking by saying, "Bigger isn't better, better is better." Here is how I've tried to put those words into practice. Up until recently, we've run a pretty "traditional" style youth ministry with middle school & high school students meeting together. We would gather, play some type of game/competition, usually add a little worship, and have a teaching/discussion time. We've struggled to get everyone involved. It seemed like the conversation would be dominated by a few voices (if they talked at all).
So we made a subtle change that has a huge impact. The first two elements have essentially stayed the same, it's our teaching time that has changed. We still do some discussion, mostly to clarify what we are talking about. The bulk of the discussion happens in small groups (broken down between middle school & high school as well as boys & girls).
Because of this change, we grown in a least 3 different ways:
By making this change our conversations have gotten
better deeper. We have more students talking. Not only that, they are talking about more than just the questions they are being asked. This has led us to the second area of growth.
Because our conversations are moving beyond the surface issues of life, we are developing intimacy. We are seeing students be open, honest, and vulnerable in ways we haven't seen in the past; which is opening them up to trust. This has led us to the final way this change has helped us grow.
As a student ministry staff, we are finally getting to do what we are called to do. Our job isn't to entertain or babysit, but to disciple the students who come. We are doing life together in such a way that strengthens everyone involved. We are making truth practical and encouraging each other to live it out.
This shouldn't really surprise us because Jesus did the same thing. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly singles out Peter, James and John for things that the other disciples didn't get to do or witness. So in the end, smaller is better.