One of the biggest struggles I am finding in leading a discipleship group is that I have a group of young men that I know want to go deeper, but it seems like I never have the time or when I do attempt to ask the deeper questions, they are not prepared to answer them. In the last couple of weeks it has been helpful to me to view our group meetings like a huddle in a football game. I don’t have much time, we have a game to play, and everyone should leave knowing not only what they are going to do but what everyone else is going to do as well.

The goal of a discipleship should be to equip young disciples to go and live out their faith with courage, a very serious “game” that is incredibly challenging. Here are a few things I think are helpful in establishing group meeting times that are productive, challenging, and prepare everyone for the game.

Be Playing the Same Game

Be sure to take time to get everyone on the same page about why you are meeting. Every youth should know that the purpose of coming together is to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. If this is not happening, it’s not worth meeting.

Talk About What It Looks Like

Be sure everyone in the group understands what it actually means to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. This should include a daily commitment to prayer, commitment to regular reception of the Sacraments, reading of Scripture, and striving to love those around us.

Set a Level of Commitment

I think it’s a good idea to come up with a playbook for your group. Set some standards for what is expected of all members of the group. Make very simple commitments that are measurable (15 minutes of daily prayer, monthly confession, etc.).

Check In Often

Just like in a football game, the game changes, and plays may need to be adjusted. Check in each week to ask how each person is doing on their commitments, and make sure everyone leaves knowing the game plan for the next week.

These are just few things I have started doing that have been extremely helpful to create a culture for growth in the limited time we have together. I have seen major steps in the right direction and am seeing a much more invested group of young men as a result.