It’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down and kids are slowly trickling back into a regular schedule. Youth groups often see a sharp decrease in attendance during the summer months, but teens come back to youth during the fall. This is also a time when you might see new faces from kids who graduate out of kid’s church and into youth group. What’s a youth pastor to do?

Host a Back to School Bash

This is the perfect way to get kids excited about the new semester. A friend of mine once hosted a burger eating contest for back to school. A local fast food joint donated all the hamburgers for the event and the youth group plastered the local schools with fliers about the competition. Grand prize was a brand new Xbox 360 or a $300 shopping spree. You want to talk about a turn out? That youth group of 35 regular students turned into 350 for the night. It was gross, messy and disgusting – exactly what teenagers love to see.

But what happened after the event was over? Well, if we had just hosted the event and done nothing else, there probably would have only been a few stragglers come back for service the next week. But we didn’t do that…and you shouldn’t either. Give all the kids at the event an incentive to come back. Get creative here. They need a reason to come check out a regular service. You could maybe tell them that any guest who attends the next four youth services will get a free t-shirt or that you’ll buy them dinner one night.  The catch here is that not many kids can come to youth for four weeks straight and NOT get plugged in. If you have a big retreat coming up in the fall, promote that at the event. Whatever it takes, get them interested.

Tip: try to obtain contact information for students. You may need parental consent to do this, so use discretion. Ideally, you should get them to sign up for your texting list. (See the Resource Page for information on this AMAZING service from SimplyTXT). Otherwise, get them to like your youth group’s facebook page  (If you don’t have a youth group facebook page…GET ONE).

Start Small Groups

I won’t go into much detail about small group ministry because I covered it pretty in depth in a 2 part series. (To read Small Groups Part One and Part Two.) However small groups are like blood. They are a life source that keeps your youth ministry going. This is where teens feel most comfortable opening up and making relationships.

Plan a Parent’s Meeting

I will be covering parent meetings in a future post, but for the time being, know that as a parent myself, I want to be involved in my kids’ lives. If you want to unlock the doors to favor with parents, host parent meetings. Have three per year: one at the beginning of each semester and again at the beginning of summer. Give parents a heads up on what series topics you will be covering, any new groups you are forming (worship team, drama team, outreach, etc.). Give them a packet explaining upcoming trips and prices, along with fundraising information (Fundraising Ideas here) Cover everything as best as you can until your Christmas party…and make sure you put it all on a calendar.

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Filed under: Youth Group IdeasYouth Ministry Resources

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