What would it look like if you stopped worrying about students who come to your church but don’t go to your program?
What if it is actually creating disciples just like your program?
“Our Wednesday nights are so good, parents and students are crazy for not wanting to be a part of them.”
I used to think this all of the time.
Whether your service for students is on the weekend or you do it midweek, chances are there are students who come and attend your church but they don’t step food inside your program at all. We have those students here and I used to make it my mission to get every student involved in our midweek program. My thought was, “We have lots of students who come and attend on the weekend but they don’t come on Wednesday, it would bump up attendance like crazy!”
Why don’t they want to come? They never been, they don’t know if they don’t like it. How can we get them to come on Wednesdays instead? Do you not like what we have? Why don’t parents make them come?
… began to flood my mind.
But over the last two years, a ministry model switch, and a look at a deeper sense of why I wanted those students on Wednesday nights has helped me think a little bit differently. What would it look like if you stopped worrying about students who come to your church but don’t go to your program? What if you just left them to attend church with their parents? What if you left them to stay with their parents?
We made the switch this year to kill ALL Sunday programs for students.
We want students to attend church with their parents because their parents should be the main source of spiritual influence in their student’s lives. If that is the case, why would I want to pull them from that to join our Wednesday nights instead? Would I hope they can get community and be challenged by our service? Of course. But they are sitting weekly with their parents who are worshipping and hearing their pastor, our senior pastor, teach. I will be their pastor for 6 years of junior high and high school but if the goal is to continue to be plugged into church after graduating, they are already involved in the church and know what it’s about.
We want and push students to serve. A weekend service would pull them out of serving. You are never more like Jesus than when you serve. We want students plugged into our church as whole. When they graduate and are involved in the church as a whole, they stick around and they know the heart of serving.
So when I drop my ego, look at the benefit of the students attending on the weekends with their parents and worry about them getting plugged into serving, I can have an effect on their spiritual growth even though they are not directly a part of our program.
Again, would I hope they come to our program and be a part of what God is doing there? 100%. What we can do is make it the best it can be, tell stories of it on the weekends and how God is moving and maybe they would want to be a part of it. Our Wednesday night program is geared to challenge the believer but to be engaging to non-believers. Our goal is to not pull them from the weekend to the midweek, but get students from the mid-week (or weekend students program) to the church wide weekend and get them plugged into the church as a whole.
Let me tell you now, it’s a lot less stressful when you begin to change your mindset on how you reach students who attend your church. It could actually allow you to focus on those who do not know Jesus, have parents that don’t go to church and help students still be involved in church after they graduate.
I don’t know, I don’t know everything. But I do know the pressure and struggle of seeing kids who are not a part of your program. I do know that when we have done this route, we have seen a lot more students this past year stick around because they are involved in our church.
It’s been so fun to watch.