Five Ways to Care for Your Child’s Small Group Leader This Christmas

With Christmas swiftly arriving, there are many people we want to shower with love. We think first of our families. Then, we might consider our close friends, work friends, our children’s teachers, coaches, and youth pastors. 

However, usually at the bottom of our list are those on the front-lines of exemplifying Christ to our children: small group leaders.

Leading a small group for teenagers might be one of the most challenging things I’ve done. There are a hundred things a small group leader must juggle: keeping the attention of distracted adolescent minds, immature outbursts and joking when things finally get serious, apathetic and rude students, the nagging feeling that maybe their students won’t get anything out of the group, the burden of knowing that these malleable teenage souls are being formed by this weekly hour, and the occasional gossiping prayer request that somehow must be shut down with grace… all while maintaining a smile, exemplifying a Christ-like attitude, and voluntarily showing up again the next week.

It’s a rewarding job for sure, but it’s also a very difficult, sometimes discouraging one.

Therefore, in the hope of  “stirring one another up to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24) and encouraging your child’s small group leader to “not grow weary in doing good” (Gal. 6:9), here are five ways you can show some extra care to your child’s small group leader this Christmas.

Feed Them! (Especially College Students During Finals Week)

Whether it’s in the form of a gift card to their favorite food or coffee place, take-out sent straight to their house, or a homemade meal you drop off at their doorstep, a thoughtful meal says, “I see all you are doing for my child, and I want you to know I’m so thankful.”

Extra tip: Make sure to consider the location of the place: is it near where they live?, allergies (have they mentioned being allergic to something before? If so, maybe choose a place with multiple options for them.) 

Write Them a Thank You Note

Maybe you don’t have any idea what type of food or gifts your child’s small group leader would enjoy, but you can still offer the gift of encouragement. Get out your pen and paper and write some words of affirmation to your child’s small group leader. Tell them specific things you notice about how they encourage their small group kids and note any noticeable changes or conversations you’ve had with your child throughout their time in this small group.

Extra tip: Make sure to make the note less generic and more specific to the things that your small group leader does intentionally or what your child appreciates about this particular leader. If this small group leader has been with your child through many grades/years, then make sure to note that you love their faithfulness to stick it through for so long, since turn-over for small group leaders is often quick.

Notice What Types of Authors They Enjoy, and Gift Them a Book from That Author

You can ask them subtly by bringing up the topics of books and then asking, “Who’s your favorite author?” Gift them a book from that author or an author with a similar style and voice. This shows that you notice the details about their life and that you want to nurture their soul as well. 

Extra tip: They might not read the book immediately or even for a few months, so don’t ask them about it. Let them tell you about it once they’ve finished! Otherwise, they might be embarrassed or nervous to tell you they haven’t had the chance to read it yet.

Go All-In

If you really want to go all-out, ask all the parents to go all in on a gift together. Whether it’s a gift card, a thank you note from everyone, or a thoughtful present, doing it as a group of parents together, adds a touch of communal appreciation for your leader that goes beyond the gift.

Extra tip: If your child’s small group leader is a college student whose hometown is far away, you could all go in together to cover a plane ride home or gas money home for the holidays. This would be a great present to any college student. Gas and food are gold in college, as most of us know!

If You Don’t Have Any Idea What to Give Your Child’s Small Group Leader, Ask for Help.

More than likely, the youth staff will have a good idea of what might be encouraging or helpful to your individual small group leader. If you are stuck on how to encourage your child’s small group leader this semester, shoot a text or meet up with your youth pastor and ask their opinion on how to best encourage the leader.

All in all, remember that truly, it is the thought that counts the most. If you take time to remember and intentionally notice them, more than likely, your child’s small group leader will be spurred to do the good work of pronouncing the Gospel to your teenager in a season of their lives when they desperately need it.  

During a season of great consumption, remember our sweet savior’s words, that “it is truly better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). This servanthood, modeled for us perfectly in Jesus, is what our small group leaders model to our children throughout the entirety of the year. Imagine the ministry it would be to their hearts if we acknowledged their labor of love this advent season, giving them a small glimpse of the way Jesus loves and cares for them. 

Interested in more gospel-centered parenting resources? Check out our Family Discipleship Curriculum on Rooted Reservoir.

Mary Madeline Schumpert writes for new adults on the interaction of creativity and Christianity. You can order her book, Contemplations of a Collegiate Christian and follow her writing through social media @earthtomm. Mary Madeline currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where her husband Kyle attends Beeson Divinity School.

More From This Author