Another summer has flown by which means fall is quickly approaching! For most of us, our students have already started school which means that students’ schedules are about to be slammed with games, concerts, and extra-curricular activities.
How can you build up momentum for your ministry while the demands of school are increasing?
How do you get students to fight the temptation to skip church?
Here are a few things to think about and to start implementing in your ministry to create momentum in your ministry this fall:
Although many students may dread the start of school, you can use this opportunity to celebrate the new school year! You can choose to have the bash within the first few weeks of school or you can even wait until after labor day to give your students time to settle into their new routine and build new friendships (plus it will give you more time to push & promote your event.)
Back to School Bash Ideas:
- Give away a shopping spree so students can step up their “back to school drip”
- The student who brings the most friends wins a party bus to drop off & pick their friends to school
- The student who brings their entire athletic team or organization wins a pizza party
- Launch a 6-week squad competition, break up youth ministry into small groups and allow students to gain points by attendance, bringing friends, etc. This will help your retention tremendously if done right!
Partner with Parents:
A sad reality is that parents are not placing a strong emphasis on having their students attend church like previous generations. Instead of allowing this trend to discourage you, take it as a challenge to find ways to partner with them so that they can see the benefit of having their teens attend youth group.
Here are some ideas on how to partner with parents:
- Parent Preview Nights- Allow the parents to sit in on one of your services & experience a youth service for themselves.
- Pro Tip: You can even take it further by speaking on how to honor your parents or start a series on Family Matters
- Parent/Leader Breakfast- Take a Saturday morning and invite the parents for breakfast so they can meet you & the leaders of your youth ministry.
- Pro Tip: You can even have a small talk to the parents on “How to raise your teenager in a digital world”
- Parent Serving Roles- Create serving opportunities for parents in your weekly gatherings. They can range from security, parking lot greeters, small group leaders, to even cafe workers. When parents are asked to serve and they see first-hand on what God is doing through your ministry, they will be more likely to make sure their teens attend the services.
- Pro Tip: Create a volunteer appreciation area each week where parents who are serving can get free coffee or snacks (this will boost morale especially if they are coming to serve right after getting out of work)
- Parent Seminars- This is a great event to reach parents from all over your community. Invite a parenting expert or school guidance to talk about healthy parenting or how to prepare for college.
- Pro Tip: Create a Facebook event & promote it with ads targeting parents in your city/community to expand the reach of your event. Print flyers/poster and ask if you can post it at the local schools or community centers.
Focus on building small group relationships:
Although events may bring students to your ministry, it will not keep students in your ministry. The way to change that is to make your ministry “sticky.” Give the students a reason to wanting to come back to your ministry. Train your small group leaders about getting involved in the world of the students in their small group.
Students don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.
This means that the small group leaders are going out to the games, concerts, and different events that the students are involved in. Your students will want to come to a place where they feel wanted & word will spread fast among their friends about your ministry!
Get involved in the schools:
I cannot stress how important it is to make a presence on school campuses. Don’t only limit yourself to just visiting school lunches. Think outside the box and find ways to be involved in the schools:
- Have “Gatorade drops” for the athletic teams
- Hand out popsicles to the marching band after one of their outdoor practices
- Ask the principal if you can do a school assembly to help them drive the principal’s goal for that year (Anti-Drug, Bully Free, Increase testing scores, etc)
- Buy Sonic drinks for all the teachers
It is up to you to determine how much momentum you want to build for your ministry. No longer are the days of “build it and they will come.” We have to be intentional about the way we reach and mold our ministry into something students would be proud to bring their friends to.