Reality is, most of you will not receive a personal letter from each parent in your group. In fact, you may never hear from some of them at all. But this is not because they don’t care about the spiritual well being of their child. This is not because they don’t pray, worry, and obsess over their child like any other parent. It is simply because many parents may think of you as a weekly Sunday school teacher. They just don’t fully understand the potential you have in the life of their child.
However, being a parent (and SGL) of middle schoolers, I understand the power of your influence. Which is why I took it upon myself to craft a letter to my daughter, Kiersten’s, middle school small group leader when she entered 6th grade. I know, you are not Kiersten’s SGL. But you ARE the SGL of 10-15 people very similar to my daughter. And they each have someone who loves them just as deeply. So here is your letter… from every father of every child in your group…
Dear Small Group Leaders,
I am a father.
A father is who is entrusting the spiritual growth of my daughter
There are a few things you should know before attempting to get to know her—a few things that could possibly change your course of action when mentoring this eager soul, to win her heart for Jesus and have a faith of her own.
I’ve included a small list of 8 guidelines below:
1.) She IS special.
Yes, I am biased, but so is every parent out there. Along with her being special, so are her friends, and every other child in your group. 20 out of 20 parents will agree.
2.) She does NOT know it all
However she probably will tell you until she is blue in the face that she does. (I, on the other hand, do.)
3.) YOU do not know it all
I do not expect you to know it all, in fact I do not WANT you to know it all. Believe me, she will appreciate going down the journey of discovering life’s most difficult questions… together.
4.) You have just been put in her “circle” of people she is allowed to text.
Yes she has a cell phone, many girls her age do. This is used to tell us when she gets home from school, or if she needs an emergency pickup from soccer practice. Should she receive or send texts from numbers outside of this “circle,” her phone will explode with blue ink that will stain her face for 2 years (the remainder of middle school). I would appreciate your encouragement to not call or text outside of said numbers.
5.) She forgets how old she is sometimes, and often, so do we
The importance of remembering #2 on this list cannot be emphasized any greater, and our little girl is still learning how to have that “faith of her own.” Please do not let her book smarts fool you into thinking that she does not need to hear The Story of Scripture, as she may very well hear it differently coming from adults other than her parents. In fact, we’re counting on this.
6.) She has a very special bond with her siblings
Her younger sister and baby brother are her absolute joys, which she will probably brag about every chance she gets. This is to be encouraged, as she may possibly not think of her parents as her favorite people during *ahem* the big P.
7.) She absolutely loves having an audience at her soccer games.
8.) She wants you to be her hero
Her mother and I will be looking to you to speak truth into her. You are not her parent or her friend. You are her small group leader—and potentially, her hero. You are that extra voice of reason she needs when she will no longer listen to us. And thankfully, in her eyes, you are still cool enough to listen to.
So there you have it.
As parents, we sometimes have absolutely no idea what we’re doing OTHER than loving these kids…
…and this is the least we expect from you.