We all desire to see new students come and visit our student ministry. This is ultimately the goal of every one of our student ministries (well, it should be) We should be about reaching students with the life changing power of the Gospel. Now, if you are like me, I work at church so sometimes I am with redeemed people all day. It is very easy to get into the habit of this, and not reaching out to your community. Reaching out needs to be a constant thing for you and your student ministry. Never get satisfied with the number of students that you have, constantly look for ways and opportunities to see new students attend your ministry.
How can you attract and reach students in your community that have no connection firsthand with your student ministry?
Prayer – Everything starts with prayer. Do not expect for your student ministry to be about reaching your community if you are not daily asking God to give you the heart for the people within your community. You must pray daily for your student ministry to be a light in your community. We have a Christian school with our church, so most of my students attend the Christian school. It is very easy for us in our culture to begin reaching ONLY the Christian school students and not the other students within our community that go to the other schools. Before you start adding the newest program to reach new students, start things off right with prayer!
- FCA. Everyone knows about the fellowship of Christian athletes. Most schools offer this program into their clubs. FCA is a program that brings Christian athletes together. The FCA’s that I have been a part of always had a couple of students that were not even athletes attend (not sure how). Most of the students that you meet in FCA attend youth group somewhere. The good thing about FCA is that you get to know new students, learn the faculty, and meet new students as you go in and exit. FCA is an avenue in to reach new students.
- Outreach event. Our student ministry has done a STORM event before. This is an event where you go out with your students on a Wednesday afternoon. You go out to all of their friends houses and ask them to come tonight to youth group to help them eat a large amount of ice cream or pizza! Many students will randomly attend. I also did a retro video game night outreach after a Wednesday night youth group. These are outreach events for your students to bring their friends too. The goal is to share the Gospel with the guests, and hopefully see students get saved and join the church.
- Pre-Game Meal. We hosted a pre-game meal for the football team of the public high school in our community. It was an awesome experience. We shared the Gospel with about 200 total people. We served the JV squad and their coaches on one afternoon, and then the V squad and their coaches on another afternoon. This is a great opportunity to share information about your student ministry and build relationships with new students. It always helps when they recognize your face. I attended the FCA after we served the meal, and while walking through the hallway, several football players noticed me from the meal.
- Utilize Social Media! This is big in this day and age! Students are used to connecting via facebook and twitter so utilize it. It is an awesome way to connect with students where they are. Create a twitter account as well as a facebook page for your student ministry. Update them both regularly. Have a youth website. We used to have a website, but then built something within our church site for the students and their families. Make sure that you have something, and you can build a sharp site/blog for free. I also utilize video. Most of my students are youtube regulars, so we use our youtube channel regularly. I am working on the possibility of creating an IPHONE app for our students as well!
- Door to Door Invites. This is a bit old-fashioned, and if you look at the statistics, not as effective as some other evangelism methods, but it still can work. It is a great opportunity to sharpen your evangelising tools. It also is a great way to get your name out into the community. You see several students in your community to reach out too.
Personal Invitation from students. This is the BEST way to reach new students that I have found. If you can get your students fired up about inviting their friends to youth group, this is the best way to see new students.
- Encourage and motivate regularly for your students to invite people. Thank them for inviting their friends after youth group. They need to see the seriousness and value in reaching their friends.
If you have a creative way that is working that you reach new students, please share it with me.
Ways to Connect students to your local Church