Getting Bigger by Leading Smaller

This is the place where our Student Ministry staff from Church of the Nativity will be blogging and podcasting about what we’re learning in our work with teenagers. We are there with you in the trenches, praying and yearning for our young people to know the life-changing love of Jesus Christ but struggling with how to make the Gospel message matter more.

Youth Ministry isn’t easy, and you don’t have much time. That’s why our new podcast is a car ride’s worth of content to help you reimagine, revive, and rebuild youth ministry. Check out Uprising: The Nativity Student Ministry Podcast here or on your favorite listening device. Episode one is playable above with episode highlights below. Each week we will post a new episode. You can find episode highlights and other thoughts on ministry here at Check back often and let us know what’s happening in your churches, with your teens, and in your minds. We are with you and for you!

Daniel, Allie, Kelly, and Emily
The Nativity Student Ministry Team

Episode Highlights

Kids may never know God unless they first know someone who loves God and can show them what God is like.  Invest in the lives of a few students to encourage an authentic faith.

You can never really know 20 students, or 100 students, or 150. But you can really know and love 8-12 students.

A high percentage of our students cite small groups, friends in small group, or small group leaders as the reason they continue to come back.

If you don’t have small groups, set up small groups in your program. Here’s what we do:

  • Assign 8-12 students per group
  • Groups are grade and gender specific (10th grade boys, 6th grade girls, etc.)
  • Assign a private place to meet if possible
  • Recruit leaders. It’s ideal to have two adults or older teens. (We talk more about recruiting leaders in episode 6.)
  • Provide curriculum, activities, or questions to structure this time. (More on this in episodes 21-23.)

Job Description of a SGL (all topics of future episodes, borrowed and adapted from Lead Small by Joiner and Shefchunas)

  • Be present, show up every week. Show up emotionally, physically, mentally.
  • Create a safe place. 
  • Partner with parents.
  • Take care of your personal faith and health.
  • Mobilize teens for ministry.