3 Tips to Student Ministry Growth

Sometimes in ministry, I can get wrapped up in the weekly planning of youth group – buying supplies, picking games, sending emails. What always draws me back, though, are the three things I believe are most valuable and important to the growth of a healthy student ministry.

As you’re reading, you might notice that each one of these tips facilitate a healthy and positive connection between students and our ministry. If our hope is for students who walk through our doors to have an opportunity to choose a relationship with God, it is key for us to foster and facilitate healthy relationships that ensure those students feel seen, known, and safe.

Recruit Other Adults
As an Enneagram 3, this one has been hard for me. And truthfully, sometimes it feels like it takes longer to train someone else than it does to do things myself. Even as much as I want every student to feel like they can connect with me, I need to provide a diverse group of leaders with different gifts and experiences to pour into our students. We need teams.

Use Students’ Names
There is power in someone knowing – and remembering – your name. You immediately feel seen and known. It helps you to know you belong and that you matter. This is important for students, but it’s also a bonus for their parents. A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone at a coffee shop and, as they introduced themselves, I realized they were a parent of one of our students. I told them I loved getting to know their student, and you could see the parent’s face shift the moment they knew someone saw their child and knew their name. It matters.

Follow Up
This is my favorite but also the easiest to fall off my plate if I am busy. Following up – with new students, with students you haven’t seen in a while, on students’ birthdays, or just for fun – makes a huge difference. I went through a season where every time a student missed youth group, I wrote them a postcard to let them know I missed them, especially if I knew they wanted to be there but couldn’t because of another obligation. I wanted them to know I missed them and remembered them. I eventually got busy and the first thing I let slide was writing postcards. After a few weeks, one of my student’s sports seasons ended. He walked into youth group and said, “You stopped writing to me.” I learned my lesson, as he indicated those notes were important to him.

Sometimes the most impactful things can be the simplest things we do – like learning a name or sending a postcard. Which tip might it be helpful for you to focus on in this season of your ministry?

What is your number one go-to tip for growing your ministry? I’d love to hear!

Megan DelGrosso is the Student Ministry Location Director at Resurrection Leawood. She has been serving in student ministry for over a decade and is passionate about creating safe spaces for students to explore their faith in community. She loves spending time with her husband and two kids and, when she has some extra time, getting lost in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or a good book.