Truth is important. It is the foundation of our faith and is absolutely imperative for us to help children and students grow in their relationship with Christ. Reality is, the easiest way to teach truth is through the dissemination of information. It’s efficient… it’s clean… it’s what’s always been done. However, it’s often ineffective. Why? Because while children and students hear that information and may acknowledge its importance, they don’t really know what to do with it so it gets discarded – or at least filed away for another day. But what if there was a way to help kids take the information that is so crucial to their faith and integrate it into their lives so it’s something they live rather than just something they know?

Everyone has heard the adage, “you have to earn the right to be heard.”. As a visual person, the first time this really made sense to me was when someone actually drew a picture (or more aptly defined, a diagram) for me:

I loved it from the first time I saw it… it became so clear (and you thought you would never use your graph skills in the real world!)

For those of you who are not visual learners, this diagram basically says:

No relationship and no truth allows kids to remain static.
High relationship and no truth only validates their current lifestyle.
High truth with no relationship makes them retreat from you and what you are teaching.
High relationship and high truth leads to a transformation of faith.

I’ve been leading small groups for a long time now… longer than I will readily admit (mainly because it will reveal my age), and here is what I have learned. Take time to get to know your kids… spend time with them on their turf… learn what they enjoy doing when nothing else is pressing on them. If you take the time to cultivate a relationship, the opportunities to share truth (information) will come, and will be more readily received. Get a little of that relational change in your pocket and see what happens.

So what are some great ways you have found to build relationships with the few you lead? How do you connect relationally in and outside of group?

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Kristie McCollister

Kristie has worked with students for 25 years as a director of student ministries, a small group leader, a Sunday coach, or a coach for student sports teams.

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