“Is it worth being invited to?”

That question is a tough one to hear answered… especially if the answer is “no”.

This is a question I asked our youth leads from all of our campuses as we are gearing up for what we call “1st Wednesday” which is a night that is intended for our core students to invite friends who don’t normally come to church.

Is your event, service, small group (insert whatever thing) worth being invited to? Whether or not you think this is a fair question, it is a question that most of our students are asking. The truth is, if whatever you are planning, even if it’s awesome to us, does not pass that question… our students won’t invite.

Let me tell you what this does not mean. It DOES NOT mean:

  • You need to have all the lights and smoke and lasers.
  • You need to blow out your budget.
  • You need to pull out all the stops for this one thing.
  • You need to have more than 100+ students to get energy high enough to be good.

What this question DOES force us to answer:

  • Is the event something my students feel comfortable to bring their friend who doesn’t come to church?
  • Is this something a little different than what I normally do that would give my student the confidence to make a bold ask of a friend?
  • Do the small groups we have make our students feel like they HAVE to invite their friends to come be a part of it because it’s like no other community they have?

If you notice, the focus is not on the friends but on what you have going on right now already in your ministry. Most of the time we try to do some sort of outreach but your students don’t invite and you get discouraged. Why don’t they?

Because they are checking it out. They are seeing if you can provide an atmosphere that is worth being invited to. Why would they risk social equity on something they don’t feel good about inviting a friend to? Most of the time when we are trying some sort of outreach, it not for the new students who could come. It’s for your core students who are watching to see if it’s worth inviting a friend too. After a few looks and we prove ourselves that something will be worth it, we will start to see our students feel confident enough to make the bold ask of their friends.

How do I know this? I asked students. The great thing about them is they will tell you the truth. I had students tell me that what we planned was not something they feel good about. That our small groups were not a safe place to bring in friends. So we worked on changing it. We brought students in on the planning. We looked at the leaders who’s groups were growing because their students were inviting friends and we trained our leaders to do that.

We might not like the question, “Is your service/event/group worth being invited to?” but if we are not asking it I think we could be missing something big.

Think it over. Bring your leaders into that question. Bring your students into that question. It might just change on how you approach things.