One youth minister's idea for turning the attractional approach to youth ministry upside down.
The predominant approach to youth ministry in the United States is often referred to as the attractional approach. It generally focuses on attracting youth to local ministries with entertainment and large group activites designed to get teens in the door in hopes that they might eventually become regular participants in weekly meetings and small groups. St. Louis are youth minister Nikomas Perez serves a large church and has every reason to rely on this attractional model of ministry and yet he suggests turning that model completely on its head:
The old funnel strategy of getting students has inherent problems that make actually harder for students to get involved. This year our student ministry is trying a new strategy. It's similar to the old one, but with a few tweaks. Here's what we're doing now:Read more about Nikomas' approach here and more about why the attractional approach just doesn't work here.
Basically, we're flipping the funnel upside down and re-purposing our big events. Here's what this flip does:
1. Small Groups: Our small groups are no longer going to be two or three steps down the road of involvement. They are going to be immediately available to a student when the encounter our student ministry.
2. Weekly Large Group Gatherings: Our large group gathering is now a gathering of all of our small groups into one location, rather than a gathering of individuals with nothing in common yet, hoping to get connected.
3. Big Events: Most of our big events are not about flash and awe anymore. We still make them big, flashy and awe-filled, but not for attraction purposes, but for fun and memories. But the big attraction is that we are all joining together to make a difference in the world or in our walk with Jesus.