What is your plan to grow your Wednesday evening attendance?
A large Wednesday evening crowd is not the goal for our high school ministry. Students connected to our Sunday groups is our goal. We have noticed that our Wednesday Midweek is typically the first point of contact for new students.
Your student gathering has potential to bring in new students whether your student worship is on Sundays or Wednesdays.
Below are simple and healthy ways to boost your youth ministry worship attendance.
Notice that I threw the word healthy in there?
We are all familiar with unhealthy ways to spike the student ministry attendance.
-Offer to shave your head if you get 20 extra students.
-Give out expensive electronics as door prizes.
-Serve porterhouse steaks instead of hotdogs.
Ok, I haven’t heard of anyone handing out premium steaks at a youth group event. If you try this, please invite me to speak. You can pay me in steak.
And frankly, students don’t care if you shave your head if they bring 20 visitors. You hate being bald. Your wife hates the idea.
Put down the clippers, there are other alternatives!
We aren’t looking for attendance spikes.
We are praying for spiritual growth and Gospel transformation.
Having special events with giveaways and nicer food has its place in youth ministry.
However, if you are banking on those to build your student ministry, you will be gravely disappointed.
The most irresistible thing you have to offer is the life-change that only comes from Jesus. For real.
Go ahead and re-read the Gospels this week. Notice how people were drawn to Jesus? Sure our sinful nature wants to reject God’s goodness, but it is true that people are attracted to life-change.
If you are searching for way to build your youth group, look no further than Jesus.
Jesus is irresistible.
Transformed lives make differences in our communities.
I guarantee that there are people in your community who are desperately searching for something – hope, love, acceptance, meaning.
Stop waving shiny electronics at students.
Start discipling them.
The goal for increased attendance is spiritual growth, number of students connected to groups, and advancement of the Gospel.
These goals take time, energy, and typically don’t yield results overnight.
Several factors come into play with growing a youth group. The church’s culture, community characteristics, leadership, and student involvement are just a few things that come into play.
1. Avoid Gimmicks and Lofty Giveaways
You may get a student to attend one time with a gimmick. Chances are, they will not return a second time. Giveaways, promotions, and hype nights have their place in student ministry, but you have to be strategic with your use of products to promote your student ministry.
2. Attend Local Schools More
How often are you on campus at your local schools? As a student pastor you are to minister to students, not just those attending your worship services. Are there creative ways to get on campus if traditional routes like visiting lunches are ineffective or not possible?
3. Empower Students To Take Ownership Of Their Ministry
Who plans the majority of your student worship activities? Is it you? Do you have any input from students in your ministry? Do your students have a consistent voice in the planning process? The easiest way for your students to take ownership of the ministry is to expect them to help plan and prepare for your youth worship services and outreach events. Ownership could start with something as simple as texting out your event specifics and having the students pass along information to their friends.
4. Evaluate How You Communicate With Parents
Less students will show up if parents are disconnected with your plan, events specifics, and your communication. Communication with parents is key to your effectiveness as a ministry leader. Auditing your communication effectiveness by asking some parents how well you are doing might be an eye-opener for your ministry team.
5. Communicate The Life-Change Happening In Your Group
Remember to communicate information AND inspiration as you communicate with parents and students. Passing along the event specifics doesn’t inspire anyone. You need to share when God shows up in your student ministry. Have students taken first steps of faith? Are students being baptized? How often are they serving? Are students sharing their faith or asking hard questions about faith? Communicate how God is changing lives. People are attracted to life-change.
6. Create An Assimilation Process For Guest Students
What happens when a new student shows up on a Wednesday evening? Do they check-in? Are they welcomed? Do other students interact with the guest? How do you follow up? Do people remember the new kid’s name the second time they show up? Students will stay connected when they feel like they belong. There are plenty of ways you can ensure students feel connected to Jesus, others, and your ministry. All of the ways start with a desire to make sure student belong and the intentionality to create and work the plan.
What tips do you have for someone trying to boost their youth ministry attendance in a healthy and sustainable way?
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