"For Those Who Are Passionate About Reaching The Younger Generation"

Youth Ministry Topics Small Groups

Shepherding Your Flock

Steve Miller

How to Shepherd Your Flock
(Ideas for "Talk Back" Group Leaders at North Star Church)

Keep your role up to date. On your first contact, make sure they are not active members of another church who got put on our role by mistake. Some of your students may change churches or move out of town. Additions need to be made each week as new students visit.

Remember their interests, needs and prayer requests. One small group leader (not at our church) appeared to be the "least likely to succeed" with youth. But once on board, his group flourished. The church leaders asked for his secret. He showed them a notebook with each page containing a picture of a student and prayer requests written below. He said, "I can’t wait for each Sunday to see how God has been answering my prayers for my kids!" It’s no surprise that his students loved him.

Use this shepherding notebook. Go to any youth ministry conference and you’ll come away repeating the mantra: "RELATIONSHIPS! RELATIONSHIPS! RELATIONSHIPS!" To jumpstart relationships, take a sincere interest in their lives and what’s important to them. By taking notes after each contact, you will be able to remember prayer requests, ask them each week about their activities, and speak to them intelligently about their interests. (By the way, I won’t check your notebook to judge how you’re doing with shepherding!)

Understanding the Each Section of Your Notebook:

  • "Interests" include sports, hobbies, favorite subjects at school, instruments they play, skateboarding, listening to music (what kinds?), photography, etc.
  • "Activities" include cheerleading, band, sports teams, jobs, etc.
  • "Prayer Requests" should be prayed for (not gossiped about!) and followed-up on.
  • The "Emerging Gifts" column lets you list observations of strong points that could be used in ministry (e.g., friendliness, musical talent, study/teaching ability, servant’s heart, etc.). Students who feel needed stay in church after high school. Help to plug them in. We need greeters, phone callers for small groups, worship leaders, etc.
  • The "Other Involvement" column lets you note what other church youth activities each student participates in. One of our main tasks is to try to move students into midweek small groups, retreats, Disciple Now weekends and Acts of Kindness so that they can go deeper in their faith and begin developing relationships with other students.

Make contact weekly. One week could be a phone call, another an e-mail, another a card.

Come to City Church early and stay late. This is a great time to catch up with their lives.

Try to attend an outside event in which one of your students is involved.

The bottom line is this: Love your students! As small group leaders, we may be the only ones who will notice when a student is hurting or has missed a week. After your first couple of weeks with your students, none of them should doubt that you genuinely care about them.