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How to Handle Low Youth Group Attendance

I think that all student pastors struggle with this to a certain extent. We get a bit discouraged when we have low youth group attendance. Okay, be honest, or am I the only one? Sometimes we focus on the group size as a measure for success. This is not the ultimate measure of success. Success should not be measured solely upon numbers. I would rather have 25 students who are thriving and committed to the vision of our student ministry than have 50 students who do not care about their relationship with Jesus! Here are a few reasons of how to handle low attendance in youth group:

  1. You do not have the final say on their decision to come or not to come. It is based upon the divine appointment of God that the students who are there, are there. You can do all you can to encourage and motivate the students to show up, but it is their decision to be there or not be there. Do not beat yourself up when ultimately you have little influence on them coming or not. Now, before the questions arise, I believe you can influence, encourage, build a relationship with them, and even motivate them to attend, but at the end of the day, it is their decision.
  2. Focus on the ones who are there, not the ones who are not there. The last thing the students who are there want to hear are things such as, “Why did so and so not come” or “I wish so and so could have been here.” It is okay to ask if the conversation comes up, but do not ever show frustration to the students about others’ not showing up! They need to understand that their presence at youth group is valued by you!
  3. You would rather have 10 who want to be there than 50 who do not care to be there! This is tough to swallow, but at the end of the day, you would agree with this statement! The energy level, the standards, the desire will always be with the 10 rather than the 50. You can go a long way with the 10!
  4. Do not beg or guilt students into coming. They never need to attend youth group because of you! Sometimes, we beg so much that we seem desperate for them to attend. Now, once again, motivate, but there is a major difference in motivation than begging.

Try your best not to let this bother you! It is tough, because we all struggle with it, but if you learn to focus on the ones who are there (regardless of how many), your night of youth group will be less stressful and more enjoyable! Also, ultimately, I believe that this honors and pleases the Lord.

Have any other thoughts on “how to handle low youth group attendance?” If so, you know what to do. Leave a comment below or send a direct email to joshhevans@gmail.com. Also, I encourage you to subscribe to my blog so that we can better stay connected and continue interacting.

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Josh Evans is the family pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He has served in this position since June of 2014. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students since 2006. Josh is passionate about seeing life change in families and teaching them the truths of the Word of God. Josh is a blogger, speaker, family pastor, and die-hard Duke Blue Devils fan! Josh and his wife Abby were married in February of 2008, and those years have been the happiest years of his life. Josh and Abby have two kids. Lynlee and Cameron. Josh and his family live in the Jacksonville, FL area. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.