Even the most exciting group can lose energy over time and with teenagers sometimes routine actually hurts the atmosphere rather than helps. If you notice your group not engaging as much as they did before then here are some suggestions for re-igniting the group relationships and fighting the boredom routine.
ONE – BUILD A NEW COVENANT
A covenant is a deal you make as a group when starting out. It lists the expectations you have for being part of the group. If you don’t have one make one. If you had one but many of the expectations aren’t being followed time to switch things up. Take one of your weeks and as a group creates a new covenant. You do it as a group because that creates more vital ownership from the students.
TWO – GO OUT ON AN OUTING
Take a night and instead of normally meeting go out for ice cream, or a bar-b-que at a person’s house, or laser tag. Just something fun. It can be a surprise or a planned event. Either way have some guilt-free fun with your group.
Remember a group that parties together, stays together.
THREE – SWITCH IT UP
Move to a new location even if it’s in the same building. If you’ve been using video, switch to a study guide. Change the topic if you have gone many weeks discussing the same topic. Bring in a guest speaker. Add a game, or activity even. The point is to keep the group on their toes.
FOUR – MAKE A STUDENT LEAD (the riskiest)
Choose the student who seems to be disengaged the most and hand him the night’s questions. You can still give the lesson or share but when it’s time for discussion have a student lead the questions. It can be planned or spur of the moment. But sometimes a student needs to walk in the leader’s shoes to understand how difficult being a small group leader really is.
FIVE – SERVE FOR A SEASON
Instead of the typical format, go serve somewhere for a few weeks. Nothing bonds a group better than a shared experience and sometimes having a group serve reminds them why they meet in the first place. Like getting the attention off themselves and onto the needs of others. Volunteer in the nursery, rake someone’s yard and coordinate with a food bank or other local organization. Even serve one of your fellow group members!
SIX – THE HOT SEAT
Each week rotate a group member to be in “the hot seat” and focus a big chunk of the whole meeting on getting to know them. Ask the person to come prepared with photos and mementos for a sho-and-tell. You’ll be surprised by what you learn – been from people you think you know well. You can also end the meeting by having everyone go around and give words of encouragement to that person. It really bonds a group.