I am the first one to say that any event in which you have to really push people to attend is probably not an event worth continuing. However, every now-and-then you put on an event that is either new or something that doesn’t have a huge draw. For instance, our church hosted a region-wide student missions day on a Saturday. Giving up a Saturday to serve isn’t a popular draw for many teenagers. So I sent these suggestions to student pastors across Western Washington to help them encourage attendance:
Email/call/text:: We live in the world of direct communication. A simple mention in service or in passing is not enough. Be direct and communicate to your teens the excitement you have and the importance for them to be there.
Utilize social media:: Many teens are on social media daily, such as Facebook. Utilize this as a way to share, communicate and connect with your teens. Create a student ministry page, message your key leaders, post on teens’ walls and make a push in an environment where many teens thrive.
Empower student leaders:: Find some students who are leaders in your group and get them on your team to invite other teens. Students inviting students is a powerful tool; but it won’t begin without your initial encouragement.
Connect with parents:: No matter how many fliers you send home or funny announcements you make at service…many teens never approach their parents about an event until the night before. Connect with parents now! Call them, email them and give them fliers directly. Find ways to effectively communicate with your students’ parents. It will pay off!
Grab a Soda:: Sit down with teens and grab a Coke (or Pepsi). Students will not participate unless there is a real relationship built. This relationship cannot be built in a couple minutes during youth group. Meet with teens and develop the right to invite them to something they would otherwise say “no” to.
Pray:: In order for God to move in your ministry you must invite Him in. Pray for this event and ask for God’s Spirit to stir in the hearts of teens. So when you invite or encourage teens to go, they will already be in a better position to say “yes”.
Although many of these tactics are specific to a student missions day, this list is a solid starting point to formulate your own strategy for promoting your event. What other general tactics have you used in the past to champion an upcoming event?