Youth Small Groups
Community is an important aspect of our lives as Disciples of Christ. Using small groups in our ministry provides an opportunity for teens to grow in friendship and virtue while being challenged and encouraged to live out their faith.
Small groups are relational and relevant:
- Relational: an ideal environment to meet people where they are, grow in community, and to earn the right to be heard.
- Relevant: an ideal environment to discuss the Faith and how it can be integrated into our daily lives as followers of Christ.
The Need to be Understood
It has been said, “People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.” The same is true for teens! We desire to see each person as God created them – in His image and likeness.
Through small groups, we are able to get to know each youth and better understand who he or she is and where he or she is in their faith. ¹
The Need to Belong
Each person was made for love and relationships. This need to belong is amplified in teens – so much so they will compromise the morals and values they have (been raised with) in order to fit in ¹.
Small groups help teens form community and find belonging while being rooted in the truth and wisdom of the Church.
The Need to be Transparent
Teenagers are experiencing a mental health crisis as suicide becomes the second leading cause of death among youth people. ¹ The suicide rate among people ages 10 to 24 years old climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017. ²
Many teens lack deep friendship where they feel they can be totally transparent. If teens don’t have someone to turn to in times of doubt or trouble, they will begin to internalize their problems. Small groups provide a safe space for teens to share their hopes, fears, and struggles with peers and a trusted adult. ³
The Need for Critical Thinking about the Faith
Teens have many questions about faith and religion, and they want answers. As children enter adolescence, they begin to discover their capacity for critical thinking. As this develops, they begin to question if what they had previously accepted as true still holds up. This is good and is an important step in their relationship with God!
Small groups allow teens to engage in critical thinking through the tools of discussion and discovery. Each person is challenged to consider, “What does it mean to live as a Catholic middle or high schooler?”¹
The Need for Guidance
Adolescence is a time of great change and big decisions for young people. With busy schedules and packed days, many teens don’t have adults who provide personal guidance in their lives. Due to this, many teens turn to peers in a time of need versus an adult – our culture lends itself to this. In a survey of 1,200 teenagers, 76% of them said they wanted to spend more time with their parents.
Small groups create an atmosphere were teens are accompanied by caring adults and parents who are able to offer guidance and a witness of faith. ¹