1. Align With Adult Services
Could you teach a series that goes along with what the adults are doing so students and parents can have conversations about the same Bible passage or truth?
Giving parents an easy conversation starter with their students is a huge win.
2. Get Big-Picture Buy-In
Make sure volunteers and students know the “vision” or “purpose” of the church, the ministry, or the current series; and understand the why of what you’re doing!
That way you’re not just spinning wheels, but everyone knows WHY you are launching a new series or getting ready for a big event.
No one knows the information in your brain as much as you. – Doug Fields.
Once you feel absolutely exhausted from talking about one thing, about half of your church has heard you. – Josh Griffin
Overcommunicate to your parents, students, and church! Think about all the information that you’ll need to give (time, place, date, forms needed, etc) and then figure out the best way to get that information out to everyone who needs it!
Quick hack: At the bottom of your emails, say “Reply to this email so I can get back to you personally!”
4. Dig Deeper
If you want different results than what you’ve gotten in the past, you’re going to have to work a little harder or do something differently.
Building momentum doesn’t start at the moment you turn the calendar; it begins when you start planning to build momentum!
For example: Have an early December Event to promote new Youth Group Series in January.
5. Combine with a Kickoff
Do your “normal stuff” but turn up the volume a bit on your first meeting of the season. Think New Year, Summer, and Back-to-School seasons. Have your normal weekly program, but add an extra element to it.
Think food (when we can do it again), free t-shirts, stickers, a party after the programming is done.
Whatever you can do to make your first event of the season more epic! Do you have a smaller group? A kick-off can be made epic by changing the place you meet, telling your students a friend is a required to attend, or add food! Can you tell we miss having food?
And then promote like crazy.
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6. Perk Attendance
Think about having a giveaway for students who show up during a certain month or season.
Josh suggested having a punch card that students keep track of. Then give stickers for coming for three weeks, a branded facemark for four weeks, and an exclusive t-shirt for coming all five weeks!
7. Incentivize New Students
Have a bag or box within reach to give to new students when they show up! Or, if you can, invite that student and their family out to lunch that Sunday and get to know the new family.
Or have students get a chance to shoot “The Impossible Shot” if they bring a friend.
8. Incentivize Volunteers
Do you train your leaders with DYM University? Why not give your leaders prizes for completing courses? If they do 101, get them a t-shirt. 201? Student ministry tumbler. If they complete the whole thing? Have them come with you (and bring your significant others) to a swanky meal! Or at least something better than Del Taco.
9. Enhance Parent Communication
How do you communicate to parents? Do you communicate enough? Think about your strategy to communicate to parents and ask how you can up your game! You can use the DYM Newsletter app, a great gem for youth workers, to easily create a sweet-looking newsletter with tons of resources.
Do you email once a month? Think about moving to twice a month or every week!
Do you tell your parents what the current teaching series is? Try sending them your weekly outline so they can talk with their students later on!
10. Make Sure You Deliver
Whatever you plan to do, make it happen!
If you make students or parents a promise, make sure you give them what you told them you were going to do!