This week I’m again in Hollywood on a service trip with high school students from our church. A number of our students have given up time over their spring break to come and serve a church in inner city Hollywood. That number of students, though, is slightly smaller than the number we normally bring.
And that’s all right with me because smaller is different.
Normally we have close to 25 students when we come to Hollywood. This week we only have 12 and one isn’t even coming down until later. We had some students back out at the last moment which disappointed me a little. However, after just one day with this smaller group of students, I can definitely see that smaller is different.
I don’t necessarily think that smaller is better. I’ve been a part of small youth ministries with only 18 students and I’ve been a part of large youth ministries with 300 students. Small, medium and large ministries all have their upsides and downsides. After spending so much time with our medium-sized group, though, I’ve forgotten what makes a small ministry different.
In just one day I realized how much more personal and intimate a smaller group is. I was amazed at how much time I had to spend with the students, to talk with them and play games with them. So often, when there are more students, I don’t have time to really interact with them because there’s more to do, more responsibilities for me to handle. With the smaller group, though, there aren’t as many of those responsibilities and I can just enjoy spending time with the students, which is why I got into youth ministry in the first place.
Over just one day on this trip, I spent more time with students than I did during a whole weekend at winter camp. At winter camp, with 40 students at a camp of 260, while speaking and running program, I barely saw our students. While I loved camp and wouldn’t change anything about it, this trip has reminded me how different small can be and to more deeply appreciate those differences.
In your life, how have you seen that small is different?