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Going Where the Unchurched Are: One Pastor’s (and Many Youth Workers’) Quest to Reach the Unreached

  • Zac Wilkinson Team Lead at Rêver (pronounced re-VAY), an exciting new church in northern Colorado determined to expand its influence beyond the doors. Check them out at Rever.ag, also you can follow Zac on Twitter.com/zacwilkinson.
  • 2011 14 Apr
  • COMMENTS
Going Where the Unchurched Are: One Pastor’s (and Many Youth Workers’) Quest to Reach the Unreached

A classic question for every youth worker is, "Where do I find unchurched students to interact with, while I am holed up in my office all day?"

The simple answer is: everywhere. They're not hiding somewhere. We are!

As long as we stay holed up in our offices all day, we never are going to have the kind of interaction and ultimately the influence we would like to have with the unchurched.

Maybe you are sick of your Sunday School class looking like another episode of the "Babysitters Club." Maybe you are tired of preaching a salvation message in a midweek service to all the kids who have been in your church for years.

You already know what to do about it, don't you? Get out there! Meet some new people; rub shoulders with some students you don't already know.

Whether you've been at youth ministry a while, or you're brand new, we could all use some new and creative ways to find some unchurched students. When I really want some creative ideas, I go to the most creative people on the planet: youth workers!

That's exactly what we did. Communicating with youth workers who follow YouthWorker Journal on Facebook, I received dozens of suggestions for good ways to interact with un-churched students. Here are the best suggestions.

Do Your Work Outside the Office
Vickie Greatwood, Youth and Young Adult Director at Francis Asbury United Methodist Church, Virginia Beach, Va., says, "I go to a cafe that I love and take my work with me, or I go see my youth play sports or dance in a recital."

Eat With Them
Donni Ham-Turner, Youth Director, Miami, Okla., tell us, "I make it a point to have a presence in their schools by eating lunch in the middle school on Thursday and high school on Wednesday every week. It is a great time to check in with current youth and their friends!!"

Find Out What They Like
Danny Ferguson, Youth Worker for Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited, Vancouver, B.C., suggests, "I don't try to attract youth to the things I'm doing. I try to become a part of their world, keeping up on culture trends in my area, hanging out on the streets and at skate parks etc."

Rock the Music
Jeff Boose, Student Minister at Point Harbor Community Church, Chesapeake, Va., gives us a great idea: "We host a battle of the bands each year. The bands have to consist of high school and middle school students. This year we are bringing in the president of a record label."

Volunteer at the School
Jeremy Russell, Youth Pastor, Longmont, Colo., points out the obvious: "The amazing thing about being a youth minister is that my whole target group (students grades 6-12) can be found generally at the same place and at the same time, their schools!!"

If you want to find other creative ways to meet the un-churched, just ask another youth worker. He or she might give you the idea for free, or you might have to barter with a cup of coffee (or better yet, a great idea of your own).

Regardless of how you come up with the idea, the point is we all need to be proactive about outreach.

One thing is for sure, you are not going to find unchurched kids by sitting in your church and waiting for them to come to you. By definition, if they come to the church, they are not really unchurched now are they?

So get out there and do it! Once you do, tell the rest of us how you did it so we can do it, too!

Team Lead at Rêver (pronounced re-VAY), an exciting new church in northern Colorado determined to expand its influence beyond the doors. Check them out at Rever.ag, also you can follow Zac on Twitter.com/zacwilkinson.