Have you read Lead Small yet? I just did, and it really got me thinking about how my “presence” has the potential to show my small group guys just how much I value them. Let me explain…
There’s a little section of Lead Small that talks about showing up for your students in 3 different ways: Predictably. Mentally. Randomly.
I love how simple that is! And, at least in my experience, it’s usually the simple and easy things that really show my kids how much I care for them.
PREDICTABLY: As a Small Group Leader, it’s so important to be there for your students every week. Your “predictable” presence will build trust with your students. If you’re always late or inconsistent with your attendance, you’ll find it pretty hard to build trust with your group – and without trust, you can never fully build a community. After all, how can we expect our students to be engaged and committed to a community if their leader isn’t?
MENTALLY: Put away the phone and make eye contact with your students! As you talk to them, be fully present. Take mental notes (or physical notes if you need to!) about the important stuff going on in their lives. If their missing hamster, Fuzzface, is the biggest deal in the world to them right now, then it needs to be a big deal to you, too. Every week, make it a priority to personally ask each and every one of your students what’s going on in their lives. And then, the next week, intentionally follow up about what you heard the week before. “Hey, did you find Fuzzface?” Don’t get so caught up in your “plan” for your small group time that you miss those opportunities to be mentally present. Students need to know that you actually care about them, and a huge way we can show them value is by showing them we’re thinking about what’s happening in their personal lives.
RANDOMLY: I think this one has the most potential to launch you into superstar status in the minds of your students. Showing up in their lives randomly means showing up at a ball game, bringing flowers to their play or recital, or stopping by to give them a gift and a high five on their birthday. By showing up randomly at a place and time that is meaningful to them, you’ll make more memories and build more trust in one shot than you ever could during a typical small group discussion. These random investments leave a mark on a student’s life that they’ll remember for a long time – maybe even for a lifetime.
As Small Group Leader, let’s not forget that intentionally showing our students how much we value them is a huge part of our jobs – and, actually, it might just be the most important part of our jobs.