Springtime is usually tough for youth pastors and student ministry. Somewhere in between the hectic schedule of spring sports and seniors getting ready to graduate, it seems like showing up for youth group becomes less and less of a priority.

So, as a Youth Pastor, how can you get through the slump and stay encouraged? I’ve got four tips!

Focus on who is there.

A big pet peeve of mine is hearing students ask “where is everybody?” or even worse, “nobody’s here!” Both of those statements signal that everyone who made the time to actually show up and be invested in youth group today isn’t worthwhile. I know that’s probably not how you feel as the pastor, but it’s an important thing to remember. The students who showed up are there! Minister to the students you have!

I would have small group leaders who only had three kids show up for a meeting. Instead of moaning that their regulars couldn’t come, they loaded up the car and went to Sonic! What a great way to encourage the students who made the effort to come!

Stay in touch!

Just because a student isn’t there doesn’t mean that they don’t wish they could be. Getting reminders from you or messages of encouragement for the big game they’ve got coming up can be really helpful. Make sure you stay in contact with students even when they’re not there. This way, you can let them know that they matter to you even when they don’t show up to youth group. It’ll give you something great to talk about when you do finally get to connect with them in person again!

Ask them for their sports schedule and put their games on your calendar so you can send them a text the day of and let them know you’re praying for them. It can be a really game-changing opportunity!

Go to where they are.

If students are really focused on getting ready for the spring musical, then you can show them how much they mean to you by going to watch their play. We ask students to come hang out with us at church all the time. If, in the spring, they find themselves really busy with their extracurricular activities, we can return the favor and go to where they are! When you show up at the student sport event or band concert, you let them know how much they mean to you! It’ll go a long way in the future.

Take care of yourself.

The spring can be a really tough time. You can feel discouraged and beat down. Take a moment to plan some self-care into your spring routine. Schedule a day where you get away from the office and pray for your students and your next season of ministry. Invite your leaders out for coffee and hang out. Spend some time cleaning out the youth room so you’ll be ready for the wild Summer months. Take some moments to read scripture and reflect on what God has done in your own life. Spring can be tough! But, if you work on these four things, by the grace of God, you’ll make it through!

Need an easy win for youth group this spring? Check out these games: