My 6th Grade Small Group: Part 2

Posted: October 4, 2012 in creativity, junior high ministry, middle school ministry, small group
Tags: , ,

As promised, here is a weekly re-cap of my 6th grade small group. For a little bit of context, I lead over the whole middle school ministry at Southland Christian Church, but I have a huge heart for discipleship and investing in a few. So I have taken on a squirrely group of 6th grade boys with my co-leader Austin, and here is what went down last night:

Content: Last night we started the curriculum we will be working through for the first part of the school year. In the past I have written most of my own curriculum, but I have been thoroughly impressed with the Uncommon Junior High Group Study curriculum edited by Kara Powell. So we are using her Armor of God study for junior highers. I let the guys decide which book we would study, and I have to admit I wasn’t super excited about their choice. BUT after looking through it, I think the concrete language of armor will resonate with the guys’ 6th grade minds (and touch on the “manly man” theme). The first six weeks are the “Defensive Armor” listed of course in Ephesians 6:10-18. The first topic was the “Belt of Truth.” The big idea/takeaway for the guys was that the best defense against spiritual darkness is a clear understanding of what God says about himself, Jesus, salvation and life. It was a pretty abstract concept for 6th grade boys who have yet to gain the abstract learning capacity from puberty; however, this curriculum does a fantastic job of understanding developmental issues for this age group. As the night went on, we really seemed to come back to the mantra of “when in doubt about what’s true, go to the Word of God.”

Creativity: In line with the “belt of TRUTH” theme, we started with the classic icebreaker “Two Truths and a Lie.” Not only did we get to know some interesting facts about the guys. (Sidenote: One of them proudly told the group he has 3 girlfriends, but he decided to break up with two of them yesterday. Celebrate little victories, right?). We had planned another activity mid-lesson where the guys would answer true/false questions about TRUTHS by moving to the right or left side of the room (in order to get their whole body involved in the process), but they were so focused and excited about the biblical content that we didn’t need to. As a tangible takeaway for the night, I bought a belt from Goodwill for $1.50 and used a knife to carve in the words “Belt of Truth.” Then I took a marker and wrote a couple Scripture references with important truths and encouragement for the guys. Every week one of the guys will take the belt of truth home with him and either carve or write in some encouragement or verses, and then pass it on to another guy at the next small group. They seemed excited about it. We’ll see how much traction it gets.

Cool Moments: Middle schoolers constantly exceed my expectations. I had thought the abstract idea of holding on to absolute truth would be way over their heads, but they were tracking the whole time. It launched us into guys asking really deep questions like, “How do we know that our version of faith is true?” and “How do we know the book of Mormon isn’t true?” This led to some great discussion about the history of the Bible and topics like the Dead Sea Scrolls. I love their inquisitive minds. There were other innocent questions like, “How do we know which version of the Bible is true if there are so many different versions?” This led to some discussion about the original language the Bible was written in and how people might translate it differently, but the message remains the same. I love when middle schoolers ask those kinds of questions because topics like that don’t naturally come up very often. We take for granted how much they understand things like “NIV” or “NLT.”

Changes Needed: The discussion was so good, and the guys kept asking incredible questions, so we ran out of time at the end to do any kind of accountability or prayer request sharing. I’m wondering if we should move our prayer time to the beginning of our group time to highlight the importance of prayer and sharing.

It was really an encouraging night. I was reaffirmed that this is my favorite age group by far. The curiosity of a child + their emerging brains like that of an adult = great discussion.

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Comments
  1. I am leading a small group of middle school students as well as serving as the main large group speaker. I agree that the prayer at an earlier time might be good, at least for a contrast. Going to have to try that as we always run out of time.

  2. bartosik says:

    Love this age as they figure out life and ask some off the wall questions mixed in with other solid ones 🙂

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