In this episode, I talk with TJ McConohay about the things that helped grow a student ministry beyond 10% of the overall attendance in his church. He also shares some best practices for connecting with youth through social media and how to increase attendance through specific incentives and events.
Clearstream works with thousands of churches worldwide and integrates with tools your church already uses such as MailChimp, Church Community Builder, Rock RMS, Planning Center, and more. Find out more at Clearstream.io.
Thoughts on relational and pastoral leadership that builds trust:
- Let youth stay as long as they want after service
- Be prepared to stick around for the kids who “need” a place
- Recruit volunteers who will stick with you
Thoughts on the programming for youth ministry:
- Program is not above anything
- Program is only as good as the people you have trust in
- Don't get married to programs (because the relational aspect changes as culture changes)
- Good coaches lead based on the team they have, not constantly changing their team to fit their system/program
- Start with the students, then build the program
- Don't get insecure about the numbers… everyone should look at the numbers
- What are numbers? Numbers are accountability
- Not all growth is healthy
- Some growth is toxic
- Hold yourself accountable to the numbers
- Don't get insecure with down nights, and don't become inflated with big nights
- Understand that your ministry/church is constantly changing
- You should know where your “healthy” range is (by percentage)
- Attendance drives
- A few times a year, incentivize numbers/attendance
- Offer a special night based on an attendance record
- Plan for them during natural dips/events throughout the year
Thoughts on ministering to students through social media:
- Mindset: connect with kids even if they don't attend the youth ministry
- Do not bank on being present on school campuses
- Focus on the power of the invite
- Stop thinking about youth ministry within the walls of the church
- Don't mention “what was talked about in youth group”
- Try not to make it exclusive for those who have attended
- IT MUST BE DONE – you must meet them where they live on social media
- Most teens spend 6 hours a day on a screen
- Thought: if you knew students spent 6-8 hours at the mall every single day, wouldn't you show up to connect with them?
- Attendance drive (public attendance goal)
- Try TikTok – or some other channel
- Come up with new/different metrics to track
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Special Sponsor: Clearstream
This episode is sponsored by Clearstream. Clearstream.io works with thousands of churches worldwide and integrates with tools your church already uses such as MailChimp, Church Community Builder, Rock RMS, Planning Center, and more. You can get started on a free-trial, and if you're with a new church plant under 1 year old can use Clearstream free for 12 months.