Focusing Your Few

What do you do when you sit down with your few to start group and they are:

  • not focused
  • look bored to death
  • tired
  • on their phones
  • listen to music on the BEATS
  • fighting or gossiping
  • watching youtube on their phones
  • braiding each other’s hair
  • punching holes in the wall
  • fidgeting with the pillows
  • farting
  • screaming or crying
  • and the list can keep going on and on…..and on and on and on…


What do you do? How do you possibly reign them in to have a spiritual conversation? Yes. I know that “all things are possible through Jesus” but getting your few to focus is sometimes a challenge.

Trust me—I experience this small group situation at least once a month and I am pretty sure you do, too. Well a few weeks ago, my co-leaders and I met after group and we clarified how to best manage our few when our few are wanting to do everything but have small group.

Here’s what we came up with for when our few are not focused:

Set the stage. Communicate to your group that group is starting now. Acknowledge that they are distracted and that’s okay. Request that they give you 15 minutes and that is it. Get all the students to agree that they can focus for 15 minutes. If any of them become disrespectful during the 15 minutes he/she will have to come sit by one of the leaders.

Ask an icebreaker question. After your group has agreed to give you 15 minutes, ask an interactive question. My favorite question is: What is your favorite “appropriate” youtube video. Don’t let your student show you the video on their phones. You as the leader record everyone’s favorite video and tell them you will text them everyone’s favorite video after group in a complied list.

Ask a question about the talk. Now tell your few you are shifting gears from videos to what the communicator from stage talked about. Ask questions like: what did you like about the talk? What didn’t you like about the talk? Summarize the talk in 1 or 2 sentences. What is one thing you learned from the talk.

Ask a question about the Bible versed used in the talk. It is important to bring your students back to the scriptures. Ask them about the passage the communicator talked about. Ask questions like: What is the main point of the passage? What in the passage didn’t you understand? What’s God saying to you in the verse?

Ask your few for prayer request. After the Bible talk transition with the question of: How can we pray for one another? What is your one personalized prayer request?

Invite your few to pray in silence for all the prayer requests. Once all the prayer request have been given. Invite your few to pray in silence for 60 seconds. After the 60 seconds is up, one of the leaders prays out loud to close the group.

There you go. That’s what my co-leaders and I came up with. So far this template has helped us think through how to re-direct our distracted group to have a somewhat productive group.

What is the one thing your few do to get your group off of topic?

What would you suggest to a SGL who cannot seem to focus their group?

Would you agree with our model? What would you add, delete, edit?



Jeremy Zach December 1st, 2014 4 Comments

The Power of Traditions

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But have you ever thought about harnessing the power of traditions for your small group? 

You should!

Traditions are powerful.

The traditions we celebrate have this crazy ability to bind us to the

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“Lauren? Kate’s sister was killed in a car accident last night. What should we

Lauren Terrell August 18th, 2014 2 Comments

Does it Matter or Not?

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She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I just feel like such a failure,” she told me.

It was the middle of what should have been her second semester, sophomore year and she was no longer at college. For some reasons beyond her control (and some very much within her control) she had been forced to drop out of her dream school and

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The Art of Small Talk

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The large group talk just got done and you get back to your small group room and your students are either

Jeremy Zach March 26th, 2014 1 comment

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Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may broke my bones, but words will never hurt me”, flat out lied.

Words do hurt and definitely matter…. especially when it comes to teenagers.  You would be surprised how much students in your group crave authentic affection and affirmation! In Playing for Keeps, Reggie Joiner writes that "a few select words over time can impact someone's direction in life."

Jeffrey Wallace March 19th, 2014 0 comments

A Case of Frustration

For the past twelve years I have led a male small group.  Over the years I have learned a few tricks and a few bad habits on how to lead a group of guys. But I have noticed that over the past few years, I have become more impatient with my few.  I easily get frustrated if a few of my guys aren’t growing in

Jeremy Zach February 26th, 2014 0 comments

Slow and Steady

We’ve all heard the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”, but if you’re like me, that's not an exciting way to go.  I mean, fast and furious is more fun and you are likely to get to your finish line quicker that way, right?  Not so much.  There is a lot of wisdom in the old story of the tortoise and the hare.


Kristie McCollister February 18th, 2014 0 comments

Will February Ever End?

It’s February, and in my part of the country we have already experienced 89” of snowfall this winter.  In fact as I look out the window right now, there are massive piles of snow everywhere, and according to the local news, more snow on the way this evening.  I don’t tell you this to complain, I just simply wanted you to know that my city’s

Jon Grunden February 12th, 2014 2 Comments