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Using XP3 in a Small Church (Part 4): Lead Small

The XP3 blog is all about you, the student ministry leader. That’s why we love it when we’re able to share helpful ideas and insights straight from student pastors and leaders like you. If you would like to contribute in a future post, send us an email.

By Tim Van Dalen

One of the most difficult realities I have had to face in student ministry is that I am not the best person to help every student grow in their faith. I have a passion for working with students and walking through life with them. The problem is that I can only effectively do that with about 5-8 students. The other 5, 10 or 20 students are missing out.

If I really loved my students, it meant I had to take a step back and multiply my influence through others. To multiply your influence in students’ lives, you have to connect them to other adults who can effectively walk through life with a few of them.

That is one of the things that I love about XP3. It is created with the premise that everything revolves around small group success. Rather than making the large group the most important time of the gathering, small groups become the key focus. This in no way means that the communication of God’s Word is unimportant. It just means that real growth and change in a student’s life tends to take place in circles, not rows.

Growth happens in community, and small groups provide a vehicle for community. When we spend time in a small group together it allows us to get personal, to be known and know others, and to share in each other’s lives in a unique way. This is how God designed us to grow—through community.

You will find that XP3 is built around this model and provides key tools to help make your small groups a success. The lessons are written as a springboard for great discussion in small groups. For each week of an XP3 series, you can use the Small Group Leader Emails to tell your small group leaders what they need to know, and what they need to do, to prepare. You can also attach each week’s Small Group Discussion Guide to your email so your leaders have everything they need to be prepared. And finally, you can use the Lead Small App to provide all this content and more for you leaders. It’s already done so it saves you time and gives the SGLs what they need to be as successful as possible.

By connecting a few students with an adult who can walk through life with them, you are multiplying your influence in a way you could never do on your own. And you are putting students in a greenhouse for growth.

This post is part four of five in a series of posts called Using XP3 in a Small Church. Here’s what’s coming up in this series:


 width=Tim is the Family Ministry Pastor at Cocalico Community Church in Reinhold, PA. He has been working with kids-college students in various capacities for more than 15 years. Tim enjoys doing ministry alongside his wife, Jen, who oversees the Preschool environment for 3-5 year olds at CCC. They have 3 kids, Kaylee, Ashlyn & Josiah. Tim enjoys reading fiction, watching movies, soccer and the Steelers! To get in touch with Tim, connect with him on Twitter or Instagram.

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