Small group leaders are a wonderful—and wonderfully peculiar—brand of people. If you’ve spent time, blood, sweat, tears, and more tears as a small group leader, congratulations! You are among the proud and few.
If you recognize yourself in one of these lists, pat yourself on the back. You’re on the front lines of real ministry. The work that you do is vitally important. While it may take time for you to see the fruits of your labors, you play an incalculable role in the spiritual development of the next generation.
The way that the next generation relates to and understands God will be impacted, in part, by you. So while you may never get a trophy or a big ol’ check, God sees your efforts, the love you give, and the time you sacrifice. He knows the tears, and laughs, and victories. And He’s in your corner just like you are in theirs.
If you have similar experiences, share them! If you have different ones, I’d love to hear them!
You might be a Preschool SGL if . . .
- A toddler gave you a piece of slightly melted chocolate . . . mixed with pocket lint . . . and you ate it. Yum.
- Your clothes are a physical representation of the day’s craft. (So. Much. Glitter.)
- You can name at least five imaginary friends that live with your church families like Wally, Mr. Sniffles, and Poopyface.
- Your personal trainer consists of two toddlers that need to be held simultaneously. And clean-up time is great for squats.
- You’ve prayed fervently for the health of a sick puppy . . . or stuffed animal . . . or pet rock.
- You’re no longer phased by ANY bodily fluids.
- You’ve prevented numerous hospital visits including that time Timmy almost ate the cotton ball.
- You’ve been told uncomfortable details about family habits by a toddler. And then you smiled at her parents at pick-up like you didn’t know a thing.
- You’ve seen the purest love and trust in the eyes of a preschooler.
- You understand that LITTLE kids are capable of BIG things.
You might be a Kids’ SGL if . . .
- You’ve found a sticker somewhere on yourself (out of eyeshot) when you got home.
- You’ve been thoroughly educated in the different types of Pokémon.
- You wake up earlier on Sunday than any other day of the week.
- You find glitter in your hair on Wednesday . . . that’s apparently been there since small group on Sunday.
- You’ve been immortalized in a second grader’s marker portrait with blue skin and red eyes.
- You’ve lost your voice by the end of small group because you’ve been explaining directions multiple times.
- You have an internal stockpile of random accents you can use for when your group won’t listen to your normal voice.
- You’re out of breath after worship because it usually consists of just jumping up and down.
- You’ve recruited your spouse, friend, or high-school student to co-lead with you because you just can’t without reinforcements anymore.
- You’ve learned not to be offended when they ask if it’s time to leave yet.
You Might be a Middle School SGL if…
- You’ve ever packed Red Bull and Silly String for a weekend church retreat.
- You don’t laugh when people make jokes about the smell of Axe body spray, because it’s no joke to you. It’s real life.
- You know about how many sodas a student can drink before vomiting.
- High-pitched screams don’t bother you anymore.
- You’ve met a student’s parents and wondered, “How could such a lovely parent raise such an unpleasant child?”
- You’ve tried to learn trendy dance moves, but it took you too long to learn them. They aren’t cool anymore. Now you look dumb.
- You’ve learned to censor words and phrases in your vocabulary that even remotely sound like they could also be body parts.
- You’ve ever heard a student ask God to reveal “whether or not she like, likes likes me or just like, likes me.”
- You believe that, despite their craziness, smelliness, and loudness, middle school students are made in the image of God.
- You know that middle school students are actually capable of having mature and thoughtful conversations about faith and life.
You might be a High School SGL if . . .
- You’ve mediated between dating students and nursed hearts broken under the weight of young love.
- You’ve attended more than your fair share of graduations.
- You’ve faked a smile when students excitedly showed you that terrifying little plastic card that says they are legally able to operate a car.
- You enjoy being on a thread with 100 messages in 15 minutes. And you can speak emoji.
- You’re a connoisseur of discount pizza places where the employees know you by name.
- You’ve tried to use slang words only to be notified that those words aren’t relevant anymore.
- You’ve realized that you know social media slightly less than your girls and slightly more than their parents.
- You’ve smiled through the pain of letting students who feel called to worship ministry try to play instruments and sing. Your ears may suffer, but your heart is happy.
- You have noticed a significant amount of growing grey hairs.
- You love mentoring teenagers because you know how much potential they have to change the world around them.