I have a relationship—no, friendship—with a small group of high school guys. (Imagine that!) They’re rising seniors and I’m just now getting a chance to know more about them than their high score on Angry Birds or which one gets the closest to chugging a gallon of milk in ten minutes. In the past year or so I have been able to go deep with them on some pretty big issues. But it didn’t just magically happen. That trust has been built over the 3 years of reaching out to them and simply asking them to hang out.
When I started as their leader, they were Freshman, terrified and thrilled at the thought of starting High School. And probably a little wary of the dorky looking grown-up wanting to hang out each week at church. So at first it was going to get a burger or my favorite: Chick-fil-a. Nothing big. No pressure. Sometimes it was one on one, sometimes in a small group. Then I started showing up for one of their sporting events or stage performances.
After a year of being consistent in connecting with them outside of church (nothing overwhelming) just about every other month, they started to reach out to me. Usually via text I would get, “Wanna hang?”, and we would go shoot some hoops or catch a movie.
Now with Twitter being so active, I get to keep up with them and their friends. It’s made it so much easier to connect with them and keep bringing up relevant issues that they’re dealing with.
I’ve only got a year left with them in an official “Small Group Leader” capacity, but because of that friendship we have built, I know I will stay on as a friend and mentor for years to come. It wasn’t easy breaking down the wall. It took some years and spare time. So what are some ways you have built relationships with your group? What are some activities you have done outside of your normal group time to engage your few?

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