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Growth Barriers in Youth Ministry (pt. 1)

In church growth circles people will often talk about attendance barriers for churches. Often they're at 100, 200-300, 500, and 1,000. It's said that one needs to change both leadership style and church structure to overcome these barriers.

I've wondered if the same might be true in youth ministry. Here are some basic thoughts of where those barriers might be:

10: At this point the youth ministry is one small group that is either tightly knit or completely disconnected.
25-30: I think this is where the "youth group" feel comes in. It's got enough people to have some decent energy, but you still pretty much know everyone.
50-60: I think this is a barrier, but I'm not quite sure of the dynamics of it.
100: This is a tough one (it's where our high school ministry is still below). At this point you're not a small "youth group" anymore, but the students and leaders often still want to be. At the same time you're not huge. Everyone doesn't know everyone anymore, but they typically think they do.

After that, I'm not sure. I'm going to follow up with a later post on how leadership style and ministry structure may need to shift at each of these barriers. Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Where are the barriers and how do the dynamics shift?


“Growth Barriers in Youth Ministry (pt. 1)”

  1. Blogger Kevin Twombly Says:

    we are just cresting the 100 mark ourselves on a regular basis now. One thing we have found is that there is a greater need for structure in our ministry. A lot more things are formalized and new policies have been created to help maintain order.

    We have a large group service each week that then splits up into small groups in order to keep the smaller ministry feel.

    There are some things that I feel at a loss in order to overcome the hurdle of 100. While I maintain that our student ministry isn't about numbers I do also understand that our vision is wrapped around reaching our community and bringing new people into the Kingdom. I have heard it said that if we are faithful to what we have been called to do that we will never have to try and figure out growth strategies. I understand that as well. But at the same time I do focus on how we can help other students connect with our ministry in order to connect with Jesus.

    I'd love to hear more of what you think about the hurdle of 100.

  2. Blogger Joshua Johnson Says:

    I heard you name mentioned on the SYM podcast. funny comment.