Outreach: Getting Them to Show Up

Question: What is the best way to get students to show up to your meetings?

Everyone hopes to influence not only the students in their youth group, but their friends, classmates, teammates, coworkers, and families.  There are two ways to have that influence—through your students that show up or by getting those non-attendees to show up. Hopefully the first happens as your students go out and live life in a Christ-like way. There are a few things you can do to make the second happen:

1. Plan good meetings
When you have good meetings, people want to be there (see our teaching tip on planning a gathering).

2. Advertise
Don’t feel shame in being self-promoting. You are spreading the gospel after all. Here are some ways you can advertise effectively:

• Flyers: They don’t have to be fancy to get the word out
• Through students: Word of mouth is the best way to publicize
• Posters: If you can, place them in public places—even schools.
• Visits: While you’re at the school hanging your posters, stay for lunch. Catch up with your students and have them introduce you to their friends. In-home visits with families who have non-attending kids can also be effective.
• Church Publications: A lot of churches send out newsletters. Many families who have kids who don’t attend your meetings get these updates. Make sure your ministry has a presence and is updated often.

3. Carry Over from Outreach Events
If you have a good outreach event (see our teaching tip on outreach ideas), make sure you publicize your next meeting at that event. Also, follow-up after your event for any first-time visitors. This can be done over the phone, in person, or even by e-mail.

4. Have a Contest
If you meet with multiple grades represented, challenge each grade to start inviting. Have a prize for the winning grade.

5. Get the Second Visit
Make sure first-time visitors feel welcome. Learn their names. Talk to them in the first 48 hours after they visit and invite them back. Make sure they have a ride, etc. The second visit is the most important visit. If you get them back a second time, they usually stick.

6. Mailings
Create postcards that can be mailed or handed out to large groups of people. Send postcards and make phone calls to people who have missed two weeks in a row (students love to know they were missed). Printable postcards

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