Have you ever wondered why students participate in your student ministry? I wonder that sometimes. I sit there and think, what brings these kids here to all these events. While I would like to think that it is because I am super awesome, I think that there are actually several reasons that students participate in our ministry. Each student comes for different reasons, and I have compiled a list of the types of students who come and the reasons that they do.
1. The Home-Grown Student–This student grew up in the church. His or her family has been a part of the church for a long time, and it was just natural for them to become part of the student ministry. For me these are some of the most committed students because they have a strong attachment to the program and church. Their parents also tend to be some of our best volunteers.
2. The Significant Other–Some students come to your stuff because they are dating someone in the group, and they are tagging along. As much as I would like to think that these kids will stick around after the break up, chances are they are temporary attenders. If they will stick around, it is because they formed relationships with the other girls or guys in the group while attending.
3. The Minister’s Kid–This student will be at most things because his or her parent works at the church and makes them come. You will be especially nice to this student because you will regard him or her as a spy for his or her parent. Note: they are not spies for their parents, usually.
4. The Community Kid–This student was looking for a place to fit in, and he or she found it with your group. These students come because they like the relationships that they have with the group. Maybe a friend invited them, or maybe you invited them, either way they found something that they were seeking and now they feel at home.
5. The Ladies Man–This guy comes because there are girls in your group-no more explanation necessary.
6. The Visitor–This student is checking you out because his or her family is checking the church out. The issue here is that the student may not have any connection to the group before attending for the first time. With a group that is a little insular at times, it takes a lot of effort on the leadership’s part to make sure that these students stick.
7. The Mystery–Some kids come and you have no idea why. There are some students who you see maybe a few times a year. What brings them back? Who knows, but you are excited to see them there. Then they disappear again, destined to return at yet another random time. There is hope, though. We have some great stories about mystery students who have become plugged in and big contributors to our program.
You may never know why some kids come to your group. Something that I have realized is that I have very little control over who comes and how often. We have had great attendance at some very average events and poor attendance at exciting events. Some of the best advice I have ever read, however, is that you never concentrate on who is not there, but celebrate the ones that are there. It doesn’t matter why they have come, just show them all the love of Christ and you will make a huge impact on each life.