Recently I saw the following in a church bulletin: "BARF II – Be sure your student does not miss the event of the month! _____ (Name of youth group) will be having their annual BARF Night (Bring A Real Friend) on Wednesday , April x. This night is all about our students bringing their friends to service with them. There will be challenges, tons of cash giveaways, friends, and of course … barf. We guarantee your child will leave with a better appreciation of good friendship. "
For sure, this youth group, actually the whole church, is experiencing tremendous growth. There are actually seven things that you can do as a youth leader to spark growth.
1. Have a monthly event with a very catchy title. I mean, BARF II? What kind of title is that? But, it sure catches your attention. Notice, this is the second time for this type of event.
2. Have a specific purpose for the event. Never have an event for the sake of having an event. The purpose of this event was to Bring A Real Friend.
3. Put it on the church calendar. What you do not want is other church events that are going to be in conflict with the same people or room involving your event.
4. Announce the upcoming event in the youth group, have it in the church bulletin, and have it announced from the pulpit. And do it often – promote, promote, promote. And them promote some more. Build it up and let the youth and their parents know what is going to happen.
5. Since you've built it up, you must plan. And do it in writing. This is not a time to "just wing it." Who is going to help? What are the youth going to do to help? What are you going to do? How long is going to take? Plan every minute and then plan some extra things, just in case you need them. And be sure communication is open and in tact between you, the youth leader, and your helpers. Be sure to tie this in with the title of the event.
6. Since teens tend to be competitive, challenges and protests with prizes are in order. Again, tie everything together around the title of the event.
7. If you feed them, they will come. Snacks, pizza, hot dogs, whatever your group likes to eat. If budget is a problem, ask for help. Either charge enough to cover expenses or ask church members including business owners to donate.
This article copyright 2008 by Linda Culbreth. You may freely reprint this article as long as you use exactly like it is with no changes, additions, or omissions, including the resource box.