A big mistake by youth groups – both older ones who want to start doing the ‘in’ things to attract more youth and new ones who want to start with a bang so that they hit the mark immediately – is that they try too hard and think too much.

Stop. What’s the first thing you learn in any ministry? Psalms 37:7

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

Here’s my preferred order of how to approach ‘new youth acquisition’ – to paraphrase a marketing term:

1. Pray
2. Wait
3. Pray more
4. Wait
5. Speak with your spiritual director/ advisor/ guide as well as your church priest or pastor
6. Check with your church admin staff as per the logistical support they can give to any new things you want to try. It may not be a good idea to come up with an event or an evening that caters to 500 youth when you can only cater for 200.
7. Jot down your own ideas as well as get some from your friends, family and MOST importantly from youth you know. Brands succeed when they listen to their customers. Just because YOU think an event is good for youth, doesn’t mean it is.
8. Arrange a meeting with your team. Go over your and their ideas etc. Collate them and do a proper survey of youth inside and outside your church. See what they say.
9. Listen. Listen to them, your conscience, and God.
10. THEN start strategizing on how you will target them.

By no means is this the perfect top 10, nor is it something approved by a council, author etc etc. This is simply my own understanding of a good process to follow after years of ministry in a very diverse church (48,000 youth from over 100 nationalities and counting).

So now you have reached number 10. Now what?

Get onto the new media bandwagon. That brings us to Step 2 in the series.

Keywords to remember here: be patient. If the Spirit takes one step, don’t take two instead.