Ask The Source

How do I lead a large group?

Dear Jonathan,

I am a youth director at a rural church with 65-75 senior highers on a monday night in a cramped youth room. I'm getting to the point where I don't think I know how to lead a large group anymore. I need help! I want everyone to feel involved and a part, but is very difficult. I have not been trained to lead a large group such as this and feel I could use some help! Any suggestions I would love! Thanks!

Gwen Loomans, Wisconsin



Thanks for the email- good question.

Your right- large groups are much tougher. Sometimes you start wondering if a smaller group ain't such a bad idea! 🙂

First- you need a lot of staff. Sometimes we forget the importance of building a staff team to help us. But we should always be pro-active about getting staff so we can keep a good staff to student ratio. If a perfect world, I like a 1 to 7 ratio. Go to my HOW DO I …? page and scroll down to the article about recruiting volunteers.

Then- you need to know how to handle larger groups- including discipline problems. On my ASK JONATHAN page you can scroll down through the past questions people have asked me- there is a question titled “Kids wonÕt shut their big yappers!” Check out that article- it will give you some good insight as to handling crowds.

Then you need to understand programming. Because with a larger audience, dead time on stage really affects you- before you know it they're all talking and not paying attention. Check out my SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF GAME LEADING on my game page. My book goes into much more detail about these, giving you examples of ways to do it, and ways not to:

Lastly- also on my HOW DO I …? page is an article about programming for large audiences. This article deals with audiences of even 1,000. But it has some good principles. Again, my book goes into much more detail in this area.

Hope that helps.

God Bless,
Jonathan McKee
The Source for Youth Ministry


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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