Do you know the hardest volunteer to find? It’s a man willing to work with boys in a small group. It’s the boys groups that are the loudest, craziest, and sometimes, just sometimes, the most destructive. I’m a parent of 4th and 6th grade sons, and I know as well as anyone how difficult it can be to get them to have sincere conversation around spiritual things. And yet, this is the very challenge our men small group leaders are faced with every week.
- Make Introductions. Boys respond well to strong introductions, and being by the door to greet parents and share a fist bump with their son is monumental. It shows parents they can trust you, as well as makes a strong statement of who is in charge of your room. This may mean that you and your co-leader take turns at the door, to make this first impression.
- Be Serious. And Fun. In my years of experience, I’ve seen small group leaders be funny the entire hour and struggle to get boys to calm down to talk, and then I’ve seen the flip side of the super-serious leader who struggles to make the time fun and engaging. Make sure to save your most important and serious discussions for when they are needed, and the active elements for their proper time. For example, the first few minutes back from Large Group is the very best time to gather up your boys and cash in your 5 minutes of sincere talking.
- Set Expectations. When trying to control a classroom of rowdy boys, it’s important that they know the cues for what’s next. When you feel the energy is running a bit high, it’s usually because they don’t know what’s coming next and so they throw their energy into the unplanned space. Talk with your boys from the very beginning about what’s going to happen before and after large group. In fact, many of your boys will help keep you on schedule if you include them on this challenge.
- Remember. We say it all the time in our leader meetings, to point everything back to Jesus. Everything means everything. Bottom lines and Big Ideas are just tools that bring it all back to God’s Son. Every bottom line, every Bible verse, and every activity should have an arrow pointing back to Jesus!