Anyone who has ever led a youth group knows how hard it is to not only to keep attendance up of current members but also to add new members to the group. Outreach can be a challenge as many schools will not allow religiously affiliated flyers or speakers. In addition, youth group members can be reluctant to invite friends and acquaintances for fear they will be rejected.
There are a few things you can try that will likely help your youth group grow. One of the most important things you can do is to keep trying new and different approaches until you find one or several things that work. Also, be patient. It can take time for word to get out and your group to grow.
1. Ground your current youth members in God’s word. Until your youth group is solid and growing at a steady spiritual pace, you probably shouldn’t attempt to grow the group. Get a handle on serving your current members. As they grow closer to God, they will want to reach out to others and help you grow the group.
2. Plan a pizza blast night. Offer pizza, movies and games such as Sardines for the kids. Allow youth group members to invite at least one friend. Giving tickets out can make the event seem special and by invitation only. While the main focus of this night should be on having fun and enjoying one another’s company, there should be at least a short period of time devoted to sharing the gospel. You may have teens at this event who will never have another opportunity to hear God’s word.
3. Offer a lock-in. This is exhausting for the youth leaders, but great fun for the teens. Allow them to invite friends and you’ll have an opportunity to reach out to other area youth.
4. Ask your kids to tell others about their experiences in youth group. For example, one youth told his friends he wouldn’t be at the next exciting high school party because he was going on a youth retreat. This made the other teens curious, and they wanted to know what was so exciting about that youth group, so they visited.
5. Ask schools if you can come talk to the kids about a topic, such as safe driving. While speaking invite them to come hear more on the topic Sunday morning in your youth group. Be up front with the school about what you’ll speak about, though. Some schools do not allow this. It’s better to be honest and gain a good reputation than to be sneaky and anger the school.
6. Make up glossy brochures featuring pictures of your youth group doing fun activities and an outline of how you worship together and learn more about God. Be sure to put the address, dates and times the group meets and your contact information. Leave the brochures in laundry mats, the library, local doctor and dentist offices and ask your youth group members to hand them out.