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Students Are Too Busy

By Doug Franklin March 15, 2010

One of the largest problems we are facing in youth ministry is that our students are way overbooked. They are involved in everything under the sun. And its definitely the largest problem facing those of us who want to develop students as leaders – there is no time! How do we get out in front of this time problem? Let me give you three ideas.

1. Partner with parents
Parents hold the keys to student’s schedules. Often students are too busy because their parents want them involved in everything. The parents I have worked with think students need to be involved in multiple activities in order to have a well-rounded high school experience. Its not bad thinking.  The problem comes when church is at the bottom of the list. Work with parents to help them understand exactly how the youth ministry will challenge and grow their students. Help them see the benefits for the church and the kingdom of God. Challenge the parents to put their student’s faith first and everything else second.

2. Meet students on their time not yours
When I was a Jr. high guy, I used to meet students are their bus stop before school. Yes, early in the morning. I would even walk with some of them to school. Why? Because they had the time.  We could talk, and I could pray for them and with them about their day (they would also introduce me to their friends). Sometimes, I would even offer to drive for any dance, prom or banquet because it would give me more time with them. Students may not have time for your program because they are busy when you meet – so meet them whenever they can! Truthfully, I don’t see a lot of youth workers with this kind of mentality, a lot of youth workers would rather whine about why students don’t come to youth group. Lets face it – having students come to you is over. You have to chase after them, which means we have to work harder.

3. Have a great youth ministry
Students make priorities like everyone else – they will have time for what they want to do. So you need to create a great youth ministry. This may mean placing them in charge and getting out of the way. It may mean you have to be more authentic or more open to what they are interested in. Hey, if you like to teaching the Bible like a professor and students are not coming, you have to rethink what you are doing. Its not about you! This is not to say that you don’t use your gifts, but it does mean you package it in a way that students can relate to.

They are lots of things in this world that are competing with you for student’s time. MTV will spend about 1.5 million bucks today to get your student’s attention. What is your budget?

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More