(The Top 5 is our quick list of resources, recommendations, or reasons that we feel you should know).
Finding ways to encourage students to bring their friends can be a constant struggle. There are a lot of different ways a youth ministry could do outreach and many are successful. With this post, however, we won’t be going into theology or how to create a culture that is having youth constantly bringing their unchurched friends. Rather it’s sharing five out-of-the-box ideas I have seen work in various ministries around the US. This list does not include events as I think that is a totally separate list. I am sure there is many more. Please leave a comment if you have any ideas we could add to this list?
ONE – Get on the fringe social media platforms
Are you or your youth ministry on SnapChat or TikTok… because your students and their friends are? 65% of SnapChat users are teenagers and Snapchat now has over 301 million active users a month. TikTok is getting even bigger with 450 million active users monthly (world wide). Posting on Instagram and other social media platforms is fine but if you want to reach a completely new audience go where the teenagers are heading. Yes, there are inappropriate things on SnapChat and TikTok so so do all other social media platforms. Going on these platforms are like going to their schools 20 years ago. It’s their world and sometimes it’s good to see a positive influence on it. Several youth workers have already jumped on board and one of the best ones I have seen on TikTok is @tejaymac. His #1minutemessages are a good way to spread the Word of Jesus in a new way.
Brady Shearer from Pro Church Tools has a great podcase explaining about what church’s need to know about TikTok CLICK HERE.
TWO – The High 5 Hoodie Drive
This is from a church called GracePoint.Youth. Basically it’s an attendance drive. Each student is challenged to bring 5 new friends to youth group during a certain period and if they do they earn a free hoodie. They share why they do it as from their motto “names not numbers” which means “we want to be an outward-focused youth group where students are always thinking of ways to help their friends meet, know, and follow Jesus.”
THREE – Walking S’mores Wagon
This was seen from a new church plant up in South Dakota. Renewal church walked around with wagons full of s’more stuff and little candles inviting people on the street to roast a marshmallow and then have a s’more. From the THIS VIDEO it seems like a very easy thing to do and who would pass up on making a s’more without getting all of their own camping gear out! A great way to meet people and hear their stories because roasting a marshmallow takes a few minutes which gives you an opportunity to share the gospel!
FOUR – Meet Offsite
Take your youth group to the streets! The summertime is a great time for you to switch things up. Basically, all you have to do is do your normal (or what you call normal) youth group but in a public space. Set up in a park or even in a parking lot of a busy intersection. Have lots of signs inviting people and program the night where people can stop by and join it at any time. Bring a small sound system with you and have worship, speaking, even some games. You will have to adjust a few things since you want it to be visual and inviting but it’s one of the easier ideas to pull off. I have seen this work several times at coffee shops or donut places.
FIVE – Go & Tell Ping Pong Drive
This was seen from a fellow youth worker Jared Menard. He would have each guest that comes to his youth group write their name on a ping pong ball and put it in a clear case. It’s a good visual to inspire his youth to pray and invite friends. It also helps with building an outreach culture in his group. Sometimes having a weekly reminder to invite sets an expectation that students rise to once reminded. Plus it’s a great way for new students to make their mark and feel special (being new is hard).
From Kyle Goings – national director of USMB Youth and full-time Student Ministry Pastor at First MB Church in Wichita, KS.