Student small groups are a vital part of spiritual growth and community in the student world. It’s an opportunity to gather students from different backgrounds and with different ideas together for friendship and faith. It is a great honour and responsibility to be a student small group leader, a role that will stretch and challenge you and teach you more about God and His passion for community, oneness and family. 

But why do some small groups grow and thrive when others struggle and shrink? 

The role of the small group leader here is important to this question and there are effective habits and characteristics small group leaders can cultivate to lead these life transformative communities your friends long to be a part of. 

So, here are six effective habits of a small group leader: 

  1. Pray for your small group often. God is leading your small group and no one cares more about this community more than He does so talk to Him about it. The growth of the group, spiritually and in numbers is dependent on Him.  
  2. Keep in touch with your small group members throughout the week and encourage them to keep in touch with each other too. This helps with building community out of the formal gathering and could be as simple as a phone call, text or maybe through the old school art of sending letters. 
  3. Don’t lead alone. Get in the habit of giving everything away - it may not be as good as you do it, it might take more time and the quality of how things are done might go down but the outcome is much better than if you did everything all the time. Release, delegate and share. 
  4. Hang out with your co-leader(s) as friends and not just for small group admin. This way, you can lead out of community and friendship which will set a healthy culture for your small groups. 
  5. Learn to sit and embrace silences in your small group meetings. If you’re confident and bold in leaving space, the people in your group will learn to use that time to think and will grow in confidence to speak out. The Holy Spirit is working in the silence. 
  6. Learn from Jesus and how he led his small group of disciples. Observe how he listened, asked questions, gave answers, prayed, served, loved, challenged, facilitated space, ate with and ultimately did life with them. 

What other habits have you found makes a difference to your small groups? 


Funmi Akinola

Student Mission Developer

Funmi is passionate about churches growing and planting. She loves connecting with a diverse breadth of churches and seeing them thrive in creatively loving, welcoming and discipling students.

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