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4 Simple Ways To Grow Your Student Ministry

Posted by Katie Bivens on 4/17/17 7:56 AM

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Student ministry is one of the most important - and one of the most unique - ministries of any church. Keeping the focus and attention of a slew of 12-18 year olds while also teaching them about the Gospel and building relationships is quite the task. How do you do all of these things while also reaching more and more students for Jesus?

Below are a few easy and practical ways to build your student ministry.

1. Offer free food.

This one may go without saying, but I've never seen students flock to anything more than to food they don't have to pay for. Even in torrential downpours, if pizza is going to be provided, students will show up with umbrellas in hand. Providing food every week can get expensive, but you can get creative with it to cut down on costs. A "cereal bar," crockpot chili, or a "make your own sandwich night” are great, creative ways to feed a bunch of hungry youth group members. If your youth group or budget is on the smaller side, you could even ask parents to volunteer to rotate bringing snacks to different youth events.

2. Make school visits.

One of the best things you can do for your student ministry is to establish a relationship with local schools. Whether it be a visit to the lunch room to hang out with some students or leading a morning devotional, getting in front of young adults in one of their natural habitats is a great strategy to get them into youth group. Many students might feel intimidated by showing up to a student ministry if they don't know anyone or do not attend that church, so building relationships outside of the church walls may feel safer for them. 

3. Have students bring their friends.

A couple of times a semester, have a big, fun outreach night and challenge your students to bring a few of their friends. Similar to the school visits, this might make attending your student ministry for the first time a more comfortable experience. These outreach nights can be themed with games, activities, and/or live music (and of course free food). Encourage your students to bring two to three friends to cultivate a natural setting for them to get to know your church and one another. The students that are currently active in your youth ministry are the best ambassadors and recruiters for your church.

4. Build a system.

Getting students in the front door is great, but if you don't have a system in place to keep them coming back, all of your effort won't be worth it. While the free food and themed nights are fun and entertaining, the real reason you're trying to get young adults in the door is to teach them more about Jesus. Though the reality is that there will always be some of those students who only show up for the "fun" nights, a system should be in place to engage and retain the youth that want to be there all the time. Have a system for welcoming and following up with each new student that walks in the door. 

These are just a few suggestions of ways to continue to reach students for Christ. What other suggestions do you have?

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Topics: Church Development, Student & Children

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