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Youth Ministry Numbers in Decline? Please, Try Not to Panic!

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Are your youth ministry numbers in decline? For kickoff weekend, the place was filled. Then the next couple of weeks, attendance numbers leveled out. Now you’re beginning to wonder, “Where did everyone go?”

This type of attendance taper happens in every youth ministry. No matter how often you experience it, at times you feel as if no one’s showing up. With a decline in numbers, you begin to worry. If leaders don’t see members of their small group, then they’ll wonder, “Do I even need to be here?” It might even feel like failure, which can lead to apathy.

Why Youth Ministry Numbers Might Decline

Attendance depends on what’s happening in and around your ministry. For example, your turnout could be tapering for one of these four common reasons:

1. The newness wore off.

Often teens stop coming to youth group because the newness wears off. While a kickoff screams, “YOU MUST BE PART OF THIS!” the following weeks don’t have the same effect.

So you need to keep things new and fresh without losing consistency and sanity. That’s why it’s important to make strategic tweaks and adjustments throughout the year. Take time to analyze the why’s and what’s of your youth ministry.

2. Teens need reminders.

Teens have a lot on their mind, from loads of homework to what’s going on in their circle of friends. It’s easy to forget your ministry when Sunday rolls around. No conspiracy exists to make you feel bad; kids just genuinely forget.

So set up a system to send reminders via social media. Or create a sandwich board for right outside local schools. Encourage small-group leaders to contact each member of their group. Get creative and make a campaign. Just get the word out.

3. Life is more than your ministry.

Add drama to the amounts of business in a teen’s life. When life is overwhelming, it’s hard to mobilize. Your teens need encouragement on a regular basis. If a teen doesn’t feel connected to and loved by your ministry, then why come back?