Small Groups for the Win

There are 8,760 hours in a year. Trust me, I’ve done the math…with a calculator, and by “calculator,” I mean Google. At Oneighty, we have roughly 64 hours a year to make an eternal impact. Depending on their consistency, it could be even less than that. That’s no small task.

Something we’ve noticed, as I’m sure you have as well, is that students have more “stuff” vying for their time and attention than ever before. School, homework, sports, extracurricular activities, hobbies, family, friends, sleep, not to mention the plethora of entertainment choices readily accessible to them.

The reality is that because of their “busyness” they’ve scheduled church, youth group, even God right out of their lives. At best, youth group becomes increasingly more optional and less essential.

So how do we compete? Better yet, how do we win back our students?

At Oneighty, we don’t have it all figured out, and we don’t pretend to. We have much to learn. In fact, we have much to relearn and refocus on. For example, something that we are really honing in on is real, authentic relationships with our students. Elementary, I know! But haven’t you noticed that often times the simplest things are the most difficult to do and soon forgotten?

We’re recalibrating our focus on students. Not programming. Not activities. Not service flow. Not that any of those are terrible things. We need those things. But relationship with students is what we need most.

That’s why we’re launching student small groups around Tulsa and surrounding areas. We believe that small groups will help us win our students back.

Here’s what we’ve been thinking about, focusing on and preparing for:


We believe that the most authentic and longest lasting life change comes through real relationships. Someone to walk with you through whatever you’re going through. Someone to challenge you to move one step forward in your faith.


We can no longer expect our students to come to our large group gatherings only, and get what they need spiritually. We must go to them, where they’re at and get involved on a personal level. We must invest the time, build the trust, and speak the Truth in love.


We believe that real relationships are worth fighting for, they’re worth moving your schedule around for. If there is a real relationship between a Oneighty leader who cares and a student, when something comes up in the life of that student, they will be at group that week to talk about it. We are giving our leaders permission to care. To show up and be there for our students.

So, this is what we’ve been working on and focusing on. We launch in September and are super excited. What are your thoughts on small groups? What are you doing that’s working? We’d love to know!

comments powered by Disqus
Sam Woods
Sam Woods started serving at Oneighty, the youth ministry of Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK in 1999. He joined the staff in 2007, overseeing everything from social media, volunteers, discipleship, small groups, jr high, and the high school ministry over that time. He is currently the Student Ministry Director. Sam is passionate about communicating God?s word, building leaders, and creating environments where students can know God and be known by others. Sam grew up in Destin, FL and graduated from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Youth Ministry in 2001. His wife Angie also works at Church on the Move in the Performing Arts world, and they are the parents of two amazing little girls, Amelia and Ruby. Sam loves editing pics for Instagram, Disney, and shoes.