Who doesn’t want to add people to their youth ministry? Who doesn’t want to add more people to kingdom of heaven? No youth pastor worth their salt, that’s who.

When does this process begin? It begins with the first smile, the first welcome, the first high five and, I would add, the first meal.

Follow up is a passe’ term. Follow up, in the old days of youth ministry, meant you sent a post card in the mail and you got to check off a box that you “followed up”.

That word from your vocabulary. It doesn’t mean what it used to and it’s too easy to check the box without any accountability. I’m not saying you shouldn’t send a postcard, but that it should only be the first step in an intentional process leading to a new process called Deeper Communications.

Deeper Communications (Post service and moving forward)

If you want guests to come back, you or someone on you team has to connect with those guests beyond the youth room.

Deeper connections with students could begin after their first visit, 

  • a series of texts following up about how they liked the service. 
  • take a selfie with them or take pics of them having fun and then tag them on Instagram and tell them “thanks for coming”
  • an in person follow up visit with a group of teens who put a “thanks for visiting” sign in their yard. 

To do nothing is to assume students liked you and/or the program/group.

Assuming is bad. If you assume that they’ll be back, you’d be wrong. Deeper relationships are intentional, not accidental. 

If the student returns to your group, consider deepening your relationship by asking deeper question week after week. Here’s some examples of questions that could deepen your relationship over the next 30 days. 

Week One (Casual)

What’s your name? 

Where do you do to school? 

Who invited you/did you come with? 

How did you all meet? 

Week Two 

What kind of music are you into?

What have you been binge watching lately ?

What was the last concert you went to?

Week Three

What do your parents do? 

What are some of your hobbies? 

What have you enjoyed most about coming to our group?

Do you see any place/ministry you’d like to get involved?

Week Four

What have you been taking away from the messages lately?

Would you say you’ve grown closer to the Lord over the past few weeks since attending our group? How so? 

Is there anything we can do to help your relationship with God grow?

We do have some small groups/Sunday morning bible study that could help. We’d love for you to give it a try. Do you think you’d be up for it? 

We have a retreat/camp coming up soon, is that something you’d be interested in coming to? 

In addition to the weekly questions you’re doing all the texts, the social media, the visits and the yes, even the postcard.

Deeper communications lead to deeper relationships and those relationships could change from slightly interested in youth group to deeply interested in Jesus over time.

This is not some new idea I have, Jesus did it with his disciples over three years. I would love to see the “unpublished” conversations Jesus had with his disciples, with Mary and Martha, with Lazarus, with Zacchaeus or with Nicodemus.

Jesus saw these people around the neighborhood, around a meal and watched them develop over time into full followers.

Be patient.

Think long term.

Always pursue deeper relationships with students who will allow you to.

Strategy Five: Designing Your Youth Room With Guests In Mind

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