Friday, November 18, 2011

Middle School Small Groups and Friendships

I am leading a volunteer through the book “Middle SchoolMinistry” by Mark Oestreicher and Scott Rubin.  Today we talked about the chapter on friendships.  If you’ve read the book, or you have worked with middle school students for more than an hour, you know that friendships can be intimate, deep, water tight, volatile, shaky, brittle, and unpredictable all in the same day.  So, how do you structure your small groups?  At the 30,000 foot level, in our ministry we have structured our groups by grade and gender.  This is a great starting point.  However, when you dig down from there, how to you break the students up within that grade and gender?  Do you keep all the friends together (they may not be friends next week)?  Do you split them all up and have a melting pot of students?  Do you keep consistent small groups each week or do you mix them up each week?  Does the answer to this question change between sixth and eighth grade?  What do you think?  How do we best set up our groups for success in not only their small group experience, but the cultivation of friendships?

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