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Re-Engage: 4 Tips For Getting Students To Come Back When They Haven’t Been In Awhile

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We have all experienced it before. One week we have half our students there and the next week the other half. We may have all of our students attend once or twice throughout a five week period but never all at the same time. This can be extremely frustrating, but what about those students that five weeks turned into ten weeks and you realized you may have lost them? How do you get students who have left or forgotten about the ministry to re-engage?

Life is full of routines and youth group attendance is no different. Sometimes students simply get out of the routine of showing up to youth group and they need some reminders. So, here are 4 tips for getting students to re-engage when they haven’t been to youth group in awhile.

1. Give them something to come back to

Change up regular programming and throw in something exciting to give the students who have left an excuse to come back and the students who are there an excuse to invite. Put on a big event, special event, or simply something different that might entice that student to come back. This is way less about the attraction of the big event and way more about simply giving them an excuse to come back since it is a “special” event or occasion.

2. Personal invites/ notes

Your programming might be awesome but if we are honest the reason students come to youth group isn’t because of the programming, it is because of the relationships and that is what will get them coming back as well.

Reach out to students with personal invites or handwritten notes to find out how they are doing. Personal touches are extremely important and make students feel loved, cared for, and wanted.

Handwritten notes are awesome but sometimes just a text message can break the ice. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just something simple. For example: “Hey man, I haven’t seen you in awhile. I hope you are doing well. We have this big event coming up! We would love to see you there. But let’s for sure catch up sometime, I miss you, man!

3. Get multiple people involved

A note, call or text from a youth pastor is extremely powerful and meaningful to students but reinforcing that can also mean the world to them. Have more than just one person reach out to them, find out how they are doing, and invite them back. Get students, small group leaders, volunteers, involved in connecting to MIA students in addition to yourself.

4. Care more about the student than their attendance

Here is the struggle. Obviously, we want them to come back to youth group because it builds our attendance, adds to our numbers, and makes us look better. However, we need to first care about the students themselves and make sure our motives are for them rather than simply to build our numbers.

Sometimes students get busy and their walk with Christ is great, their life is fine, but their schedules have just changed. But more often than not when students stop showing up it is because of something going on in their life or with them personally. We as youth workers need to care about those students personally and reach out to them from a place of concern and wanting to help them get back on track with the Lord rather than just back in our seats.

We as youth workers need to make sure that our back door isn’t as large as our front door and that the students that have walked away from our group are being cared for and sought after. Hopefully, these tips on getting students re-engaged are helpful! If you have any questions or would like to talk further on this topic email me at StokedOnYouthMinistry@gmail.com


toddTODD JONES has been in youth ministry for 10 years and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball, and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd at STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM, THETODDJONES.COM, or on Twitter @THETODD_JONES, or Instagram @TODD_JONES.

This post was previously published by stokedonyouthministry.com.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS. 

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