What if we began to view ourselves as cheerleaders for our small groups? What if our enthusiasm for our group was unbridled and irrational? Of course, none of us should wear short pleated skirts and sparkles on our cheeks (especially if you are short, male, and… round like me). But what if we all strove to make our few feel like they are as special to us as they are to God? Every once in a while, what if we talked some trash about how awesome they are?

It’s not fair…
Obviously we can take this too far. We probably don’t need to start gang wars between small groups or create a reality TV show where small groups get voted off each week. Every student in our ministry matters and deserves our care, shepherding and guidance. Being a fan of the students in our small group can never come at the cost of another student not feeling valuable. That being said… I think there is a way for us to play favorites with our group that deepens relationships and multiplies our effectiveness without harming others. The great thing is, if every leader gets this right, every student wins.

Every student in your group is your favorite.
Sometimes there are students we would rather give the elbow drop of truth to than try to build a bridge of friendship with. There are certainly days I struggle with this, but I believe that every student in my group was given to me by God on purpose. I think the key to playing favorites is that every student in my group needs my time, my attention, my guidance, and my concern for them.

Not every student in your group is your favorite favorite.
My four year old daughter’s favorite color is purple…and pink, and blue, and lellow (yellow). But her favorite favorite color (at least for today) is pink. Amongst our favorites, we all need favorite favorites in our small group. Sometimes, these are students we connect with more deeply who are hungrier for spiritual growth. Sometimes, our favorite favorites need to be the students who need our attention most. In either scenario it is important for us to invest a little more time and input in these students’ lives.

I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give our group, is to give ourselves permission to prioritize the way we spend time with our few. When we spend all our time trying to give each student the same amount of care, we often miss opportunities to make a significant impact in the lives of the students who need us most. When each student knows they are our favorite, we can go above and beyond with a few to make a greater impact.

So, here’s the question, how should you prioritize time with your group? Who needs you the most right now? How do you make sure each student knows you are a fan?

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Jon Grunden

Jon is a video gamer wanna-be, lego aficionado, who also happens to love student ministry and deeply believes in the importance of student small groups. He has served as a Jr. HIgh and Sr. High SGL for the last 14 years in West Michigan. In his free time, he thoroughly enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.

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