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I agree with the answers below. I really try not to use this site to pimp my youth ministry blog, but I think you'll find this post helpful (link below). I've found the "Pied Piper" mentality of rounding the kids up myself is very contrived, awkward, and quite frankly is being perceived to be a little creepy. The best thing to do is teach your students to become missional. But before that, they must be comfortable within the group itself before they will bring others. Read my thoughts. I hope it helps. I don't know a YM who hasn't been where you are.

Great stuff on your blog (especially this particular post). Thanks!

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If the only measure of success for the ministry is numerical, this sounds like an unhealthy environment. Numbers certainly have their place, but only in context. How many youth are on the church's membership role? How does that compare to your average attendance? How many congregants are on the church's role as compared to the average worship attendance? With this as a framework, I would sit down with the senior pastor & think through what it means to have a successful youth ministry, & what a successful ministry church-wide looks like.
As to outreach, I would start by identifying those youth within the church who don't attend & see why, talk to them, & their parents. Then talk to the youth & parents of youth who do, & ask why.

Source(s):

The link below is an article I read yesterday that seems to have some pretty good insights on outreach ministry.

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The advice to focus on the students you ALREADY have is CRUCIAL. Talk to them. Find out WHY they don't invite their friends -- or -- if they ARE inviting their friends, why don't the friends come? My group has taken off lately -- not because of anything I'm doing differently -- I just have students who are excited about our student ministry and THEY INVITE their friends. Now, if you have some church kids who aren't showing up, I would take them out for a burger or something and ask them be be brutally honest why they don't come and why they don't invite their friends. Realize that some of their answers will be bogus and lame, but you may need to sift some truth out of what they tell you.

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Start with the teens you have. Are there any natural leaders in the group? Any kids who are spiritually strong and outgoing? If these kids really take ownership in the group, and if they get passionate about the idea of reaching others, then it'll happen. I know what you mean about not wanting to feel like the creepy older guy. I'm 30 and I feel it too, but even when I was doing this at 23 I felt it because I remember being in High School and having my youth pastor come in for lunch - I always thought it was weird. But I do like to get into schools when it's for an event. I've helped out with on-campus after school Bible studies before, and I've done concerts at schools. The awkwardness goes away when there's a purpose for being there.

To clarify on the first part - I think that students respond better to an invitation from another student than they do to an invitation from an adult. I started at my current church almost 2 years ago and at that time there were several teens who came to church but not youth group. I did talk to each of them, but it wasn't until other students reached out to them that they started coming. The real work for me was creating a culture in the youth group that was welcoming and not closed-off.

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Numerical growth should not be the "only" concern, but that's a different answer for a different question. Our new students always get a FB message saying we're glad they were there and give them a compliment of something we saw at youth night (the way they played a game, talked with strangers, stayed, etc.). They should be getting at least 2 FB messages, one from me, and one from their small group leader for their age group. My question back would be, do you do small groups? It's a great way to connect with students on their turf.

No, we don't do small groups. I've thought about doing them, but always imagined doing them at the end of our youth worship service - kind as a break out sort of thing for 15 - 20 minutes. Are you suggesting doing them at neutral locations outside of the youth service?