As a small group leader, you have so much to balance: a job, family, relationships, busy schedules, and, of course, your students! It’s enough to stress out even the coolest of heads from time to time.

When you’re under stress, it can be difficult to hide. It’s hard to show up to lead your students with a smile on your face and an attitude of ease when life outside of small group feels like it’s pressing in around you.

Have you ever considered that those seasons of stress in your life could actually be some of your best as a leader—that maybe this time of stress can help you set an example to your students?

Think about it: each week you have the privilege to stand in front of a captivated group of teenagers and show them what it really looks like to live out your faith. The reality is that it’s not always easy, it’s not always carefree, and it’s not always fun. It’s worth it, though, because we follow a God who promises things like joy in the face of even our biggest stresses.

Take a tip from Paul and Silas. Imprisoned and afraid, they were facing a ton of stress! What did they do? Well, read on.

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

—Acts 16:25 (NLT)

Just as Paul and Silas set an example for those around them, you have the opportunity as a small group leader to show your students what it looks like to fight for joy and try to keep praising in the middle of the stress. Your students are balancing a lot too—likely more than we can even imagine—and you have the chance to show them firsthand what it looks like to walk through it with God. Be honest! Let them know that stress takes a toll on you too. Let them know it’s not always easy but that with God’s help, you’re choosing joy in the midst of it—and so can they!

Is there a student in your group facing a particularly stressful season? Pray that God would give you the opportunity to help them choose joy even for just a moment this week.


Worrying won’t stop the bad things from happening; it just stops you from enjoying the good.