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How to Keep Your SGL’s Going when the Going Gets Tough

CJ Palmer
CJ Palmer Tuesday March 22, 2016
<? echo $type; ?> How to Keep Your SGL’s Going when the Going Gets Tough

How do you prepare for a tough workout at the gym? Any athlete will tell you that the best way to prepare is to eat well and get a great night’s sleep. Why? Because when you’re in the moment – when you’re halfway through a set of 50 burpees – the desire to keep going diminishes significantly. And if you haven’t prepared well beforehand – if you haven’t filled up first – it’s tempting to half-heartedly push yourself and coast to the end of the workout. Maybe the next workout will be better, you think to yourself.

The same is true for your small group leaders. Every leader has those moments when the going gets tough and they feel like tossing in the towel early on Sunday morning… The kids won’t listen. They won’t engage. They just aren’t getting it that day. Eh, it’s just not going to happen this week. Maybe next week will be better, SGL’s think to themselves.

But what if there was a way to have fewer of those moments – fewer Sundays when the small group conversation derails and leaders just call it a day? That’s what “filling up first” helps address. When SGL’s fill up, they’re equipping themselves to push through and navigate the moments they feel like throwing up their hands in frustration or exhaustion.

So what does “filling up first” actually look like? Filling up means your leaders have set aside time to invest in their own spiritual journey. It means your leaders have spent time learning about that week’s topic before showing up. It means your leaders have spent time praying before walking into the small group room.

When leaders don’t fill up, it’s like they are coasting in a car without gas. It kind of works, at least until you need to drive uphill. Then reality sets in.

The reality is that filling up first matters if you want to do anything other than coast. That’s why every week of every XP3 series comes with a small group leader devotional. In every series download our XP3 partners will find SGL devos designed specifically to help leaders fill up first. You can email them out or even use the Lead Small App to deliver the devos to your SGL’s phone.

The best athletes are the ones that keep pushing forward when the going gets tough, and the best leaders are the ones that keep pushing forward when conversations derail and progress feels slow. And filling up first makes pushing forward a little bit easier. Whether it’s month two or month 42 of leading, every SGL needs to fill up. The weekly leader devotionals that come with every XP3 series can help make that happen.

CJ is the Director of Audio and Video for the Digital Content team at Orange and one of the hosts and producers of Rethinking Youth Ministry, a podcast raising the bar for student leaders everywhere. CJ has been leading small groups for middle school students at North Point Community Church since 2007, which means he's probably spent more time talking to middle schoolers than adults in his life. He also placed 5th in his 8th-grade class field day fun run. CJ and his wife, Teri, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, with their son, Harley, and their robot vacuum, Barbara.