A couple of years ago I was trying to cast vision with some of our students regarding growth and bringing in new people. I thought that I had made a pretty convincing case until one of the students told me that he did not want new people because he liked things the way that they were and new people might mess it up. While I appreciated his honesty, I also recognized that we needed to do more than just talk about growth, we needed to make it a value.
Our ministry has several values such as spiritual growth, service, and leadership, but we never really made numerical growth a priority. I guess I assumed that if we had a good program, we would inevitably grow. Once we had an effective program, we still did not see significant growth. Now it makes sense. Even with a good program, people needed to hear about it and be invited to come.
I have learned that if numerical growth is not a goal and a value, then it is not likely to happen. We recently set a goal to have 100 students involved in our student ministry by the end of the year. We currently have about 60 active students so we have some work to do. But here’s the thing–since setting this goal a couple of weeks ago, we have already seen six new students join our group.
It’s not enough to just set a goal for growth; you also need to have a plan on how to get there. Here are a few things that we are doing to accomplish this growth:
- We are capturing information from all of our visitors and then following up with them.
- We are encouraging students to bring friends and share their experiences of church with people in their circles. We are also setting the expectation that the students will greet and accept the new students when they get there. We have explained to our students that they are disciple makers and they have a job to do.
- We are making it a whole church effort. With the whole church involved, it means empowering more people to help steer teenagers to our group. By sharing our big goal, we are letting more people into the adventure and the challenge of reaching teenagers for Christ.
- We are working towards making our programs more outreach friendly. If our programs are not visitor friendly, we aren’t going to see people stick even if we can get them in the church.
These are just a few things that we are doing in order to get students in our doors and begin to disciple them. What are some of the things that you have done that brought people into your church or ministry?