Don’t Fumble This Amazing Opportunity

This opportunity comes only once a year and if you miss it, you’ll never get it back!

In fact if you miss it, for some students it could be your last chance. You may be thinking that this sounds like a one time offer thing but I’m not trying to sell you anything. I just don’t want you to miss the opportunity to connect these vulnerable students with your ministry. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do about it.

One Last chance.

The haemorrhaging faith study showed clearly that about 30% of students never make the transition from the children’s ministry from your church to the youth ministry. You’re probably really tired of hearing how high school graduates leave the church never to return but if you don’t help public school kids get into your jr high, middle school, or high school ministries this year, they won’t be signing up next year or any other year.

Receive the Hand Off

Some forward thinking ministries were on top of this last year when students ended their time in the children’s programs. They graduated to the summer programming that you were running. If you haven’t been working with these students all summer now is the time is get them in your programs and connect them with your leaders.

Promotion Sunday

This is an ancient concept that you can repurpose. In the next few weeks, maybe part of your kick off night or actually on a Sunday, you can receive the parents and the students into your student ministry. It doesn’t have to be long but it can be very powerful.

By demonstrating to the church that these students belong in student ministries everyone recognizes that this is the next step in discipleship for the students and and their families.

First Night

It seems like every student ministry takes a different approach to their first night back in the fall. Some do their wildest event of the year so that every student and their 3 closest friends will be there and decide they’re coming back for another year.

Others start with a parent and student registration type night where parents join in with the program for a while, fill out forms, and do a meet and greet with the ministry leaders.

However you run your first night it really matters that you get those students out, they connect with your leaders and you are ready to follow up with them that week. It’s in this vulnerable time that they may choose they are never “coming to youth” or that they are going to give it a try.. This might sound crazy but at one church I went to each home to invite them personally to a day on a house boat before the big event! Out of 24 grade 6 students 22 joined our joined our Jr. High group when they hit grade 7!

Follow the Student

What if you did something radical and a children’s worker or volunteer came up to the youth program with their students. They could come out for a few weeks or they could stay permanently. Some ministries are actually doing this. They are getting great results!

Immediate Follow Up

If you get a big influx of new students you’re  going to have to scramble to solidify that families connection with your student ministry. This is one of those all-hands-on-deck situations where all leaders need to be connecting with parents and students.

Do I Matter?

Do I belong? Does anybody like me? However they phrase it, these students don’t automatically feel like they belong. In fact, they are programmed to think the exact opposite. That’s why your students and leaders need to go out of their way to make them feel welcome, accepted, and appreciated!

The tricky thing is that it can’t feel forced. It has to be genuine.

Worth the Effort

I don’t know how some people get it in their heads that it is up to the student and their families whether they choose to join or not. One guy told me, “They know where we are. They can come when they’re ready.” When I consider the way football players will bend over backward to execute a play with no thought to injury or strain I’m inspired to do whatever we can to stretch ourselves to make sure that no student is missed!

The Best Game for Fall 2017

If your group isn’t already playing this they’re missing out.

Dozens of students line up for their turn. Leaders want to get in on the act. Some stick around just to play after the students are gone. Nine Square isn’t new but if your students aren’t playing it they are missing out. The game practically runs itself and if you can get the pieces, its pretty easy to put together. You can have it up and running in no time.

Here are the rules and instructions!

3 Secrets from Harry Potter World for Student Ministry

Distraction is a major problem but not at Universal Studios Harry Potter World.

In fact, Universal Studios uses these 3 powerful secrets to grab your attention and hold it. What are these secrets and how can we harness them to impact students’ lives!? Here’s what I discovered this week…

One Simple Principle That Helped Me Survive Student Ministry

I was a bad fit for student ministry.

I had never intended to go into it. I was more interested in world relief or overseas missions as I went through college. My mind and soul were fed on the work of missionaries like Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd and Mother Theresa. I saw no purpose in entertaining students or having fun. Even worse, I was a happy introvert, who would much rather work on an essay than be at a party. The demands of Student Ministry seemed polar opposites of who I was as a person and what I felt called to do with my life.

Then everything changed….

6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started in Youth Ministry

I thought I knew what I was doing but…

… I realized I had a lot to learn!

I was recently looking through some old pictures of all the different youth ministries I’ve had the privilege to lead. After over 20 years in youth ministry, I’ve had my share of successes and failures.  There are many things that I wish I had known way back when I started. Here are 6 of them.

Please Don’t Copy This Student Ministry

It looks slick and successful.

Don’t confuse this with a healthy effective youth ministry. Believe me, you don’t want to make this same mistake… As I said, it looks like something great but looks can be deceiving. In fact, for this ministry it is all about the look. They believe that if the graphics and the social media presence are excellent, they can attract more students. Don’t get sucked into this approach. Here’s what’s wrong with it and how you can do much better. 

Get Your Youth Ministry Report Card Here

It’s that time soon.

If you set goals it is time to evaluate how you did.

 I was devastated after a 13 week series on Improving Your Serve that students continued to put themselves first in a little test that I designed. It was better to realize that there was more work to do in this area than just assume that because I did teaching that students had changed. I realized that using some kind of measurement was essential to setting goals and measuring if they were achieved.