We all deal with it this time of year–our numbers are LOW. It usually happens around the holidays, but it can also happen during Spring Break, Summer vacation… or just a random Sunday. What do you do when your group is down?
You know those fantastic ideas that wouldn’t work for a large group, but could work for a much smaller group? Do it! Use the time to do some kind of special worship or prayer service. Use the time for making more one-on-one connections. Have a little more fun with them than normal and give them something they’re remember.
Let’s be honest… especially during the holidays, students are coming to church specifically to see their friends. They’re not going to school, and they’re locked up with their family. Do something very interactive to get their social needs fulfilled.
Last week, I had about 1/10 of my normal crowd. Instead of teaching in front of them, I sat down in a circle with them. Instead of teaching a lesson AT them and having them then break up in small groups, we had a very conversational lesson. Did I plan it that way? Nope. But I was flexible and we had a great time. I was able to see that each and every one of them opened a Bible, which was a small victory!
Don’t get discouraged when you don’t have “your numbers.” I think the mark of true youth ministry leadership talent is when you can go with the flow, whatever that flow may be for that day.
Sometimes we get very passionate and defensive, and shame students for not coming. Be cautious and sensitive–sometimes things come up. Don’t hound or drill students on why they weren’t there… let’s be honest, there are times when WE want to skip church or go to a different function.
Remember that these are teenagers. They are fantastic. Whether you have 5, 50, or 500, it is your responsibility to shepherd them and provide them a safe place to learn about God.