Spiritual Growth

Attracting Youth

If you are at all concerned about the growth and the future of your church, you are probably already thinking about and engaged in ways to bring young people into your church, and how to get them more involved.

Let’s face it, if you’re not bringing young people into the church and getting them actively involved in the life of your community of believers, your church is eventually going to die – both literally and figuratively.

But how?  Young people today have a lot to distract them and occupy their time – how do we get them involved with something so often perceived as “stodgy and old fashioned”?

Let me tell you, it’s not easy.  If you are a parent, you already know how hard it is to relate to your young tween or teen-ager.

What interests them?  What motivates them? How do we make their experience in the church relevant to them, and something they WANT to participate in?

Scott Aughtmon was a youth pastor for 14 years in his church.  It sort of started by accident.

His youth pastor left, and the church couldn’t get another one right away.  They needed someone to lead the youth group, so Scott and a group of other young people started leading it.

At the time, Scott was just 19 and confesses, he didn’t really have a clue about what he was doing!

His group of youth leaders eventually dwindled down to Scott and another friend. Through trial and error, sweat, tears, and a lot of prayer, the youth group started to grow, and became a vital and successful part of Scott’s church.

From his first experience in youth leadership, Scott used what he had learned with the next youth group he was with.

He admits it was hard to take this new small group and start all over again – but with the knowledge he had gained from doing it once, he was able to do it again!

From hard-won experience, Scott now knew what things would work – and what things wouldn’t.

He also continued to experiment with new things, tweaking and perfecting his techniques and program.

Reflecting on that time, Scott says “Having the experience and knowledge from the first 10 years of ministry made my last 5 years even more effective!”

It wasn’t easy.  Scott says he wishes he could have known some other top Student Pastors who God had used successfully to birth a student ministry that could’ve helped him by giving him timely tips, advice, and encouragement, giving him the benefit of their experience, and their mistakes.

But Scott didn’t have any of those things, and so to help other youth pastors he put a book together, as Scott says “to help youth pastors who were like me – I want this to be an affordable book full of proven ideas and methods from people who are ‘in the trenches’.

Which probably describes how you feel today, “in the trenches” of ministry and youth work, trying to reach out and build a successful church and ministry, and trying to include the young people of your congregation in that effort.

When writing his student ministry guide, Scott interviewed 14 top student ministry leaders from around the country who are authors, conference speakers, founders of ministries, and youth pastors/student pastors of large groups around the country.

Among the questions he asked them were:

1. What are two common mistakes most pastors make when starting a student ministry that you would be sure not to make?

2. What methods/steps would you use to lay a strong foundation that would last beyond your time there?

3. What is one method/system you would use to see numerical growth as quickly as possible?

4. What is one method/system you would use to see lasting spiritual growth?

The answers he received make for exciting and inspiring reading, with ideas and techniques that you can put into practice in your own youth ministry, without the 15-year learning curve!

Still active in ministry and youth work, Scott works today planting new churches in Silicon Valley, California.

To read more about Scott’s work and book (which can be purchased online and downloaded directly to your computer for $12.97, and includes several free bonus extras go to his website Lasting Student Ministry.

This article was reprinted from DoubleYourChurchAttendance.com, a resource site for  pastors, teachers, or anyone interested in fostering dynamic growth in their church.

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