Your fall semester is about to begin, and you spend hours prepping for a massive back to school bash. You rent the tallest rock wall, knockerball, and inflatables. You purchase expensive prizes and enough food to feed three high schools. The band is ready, and you book an engaging speaker. After all, you want to prepare for all those visitors. Right?
The answer is, of course, yes- sort of.
There is nothing inherently wrong with kickoff events. They are fun. They draw crowds. They make the leaders and students feel excited to begin another year.
But what about the next week? And the week after?
Your new students will now be left with the reality of your normal gathering. The once energized student will likely experience a level of disappointment.
Too many leaders depend on a season kick-off event.
You work so hard to create these events in hopes of generating momentum. To draw in visitors. To reach students. What if there was another way? What if our thinking of momentum is wrong?
Too many leaders depend on a season kick-off event.Tweet
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Momentum is a good thing to develop. It is necessary for a robust growth strategy. If you want to increase your ministry’s influence and reach, then develop healthy momentum.
Momentum should be thought of as something larger than a single event. You do not want momentum for just a week, or even a month.
You want momentum for a semester.
So how do we develop more longterm momentum that is healthier for you, the organization, and your students?
Stop thinking of momentum in-terms of weeks.
Momentum is not about the beginning or end weeks. Healthy momentum is about thinking through the entirety of the semester.
When are the natural highs and lows of attendance in the semester? Without changing the core of your gathering, what can you do to extend the high attendance by a week or two?
Remember, you do not want to draw as many students as you can for one week. You want to work to make your group’s attendance as consistent as possible for the whole semester.
Engagement Matters More Than Attendance.
It may seem counter to the first point, but engagement is a much larger indicator of health than actual attendance.
What does engagement look like in the lives of students?
Engagement looks like students wearing their ministry t-shirts with pride. Engagement looks like students sharing your weekly gathering in their Instastory or Snapchat. Engagement looks like students reading their Bible or asking leaders follow-up questions about what you have been discussing. Engagement looks like students being excited for what God is doing in and through your group.
Student engagement has more influence on the number of visitors in your ministry than any significant event you develop.
Student engagement has more influence on the number of visitors in your ministry than any significant event you develop.Tweet
Give them a break.
Giving students and their families a break actually increases momentum and engagement.
Your families, your leaders, and you are busy. Everyone needs a break. The week of Thanksgiving and the two weeks or so after Christmas are both natural times for a break.
Do NOT schedule your youth ministry every single week of the semester. Find these breaks.
Families will appreciate the relief. Your leaders will be thankful for the rest. Your students will realize how much they miss the ministry and everyone in the group.
Momentum is bigger than one event. Major events are not bad. They may just be a little short-sighted.
Give it a try. I think you may be pleasantly surprised at the results. It may even save you time, money, and energy when you are not giving everything you have to a single event.