Good morning Youth Factor Nation.
Todays post is going to be a little bit different. But first a story.
For the last few months I have been praying over my youth ministry. I have felt like God wants to do something but couldn’t quite see it.
Our services have been getting better every week with more and more students entering into worship, and taking advantage of the alter time.
One thing that has been bothering me is our numbers. We have been way down since school let out.
Now I know that is normal, and to be expected, however I didn’t feel I should just except it.
A little background. Our youth group has about 30 students on paper (33 at the time of the following story) and during the winter months we where getting a good 25 plus of them to come to youth.
As we got closer to summer that number began dwindling and 15 became our new high attendance number.
Then school let out and we where struggling to break 10.
A quick back story on me. I left my last youth position in 2011. I spent some time trying to break in the sales game with Direct T.V. Home Water Purifiers, and even went door to door painting addresses on peoples curbs.
Then I got a job at a car dealership and spent a year selling cars. From there I tried my hand at the online entrepreneur gig before settling down as a freelance copywriter. Then in August 2015 I excepted my current youth ministry position.
Okay all that so this part of the story makes since.
I was listening to a sales book around the time our weekly attendance was dropping and I hit a section on follow up. The author talked about how follow up was one of the big differentiators from order takers, (Salesmen who sit around and hope to get lucky) and closers (Guys who moved inventory)
So I am watching my youth ministry dwindle away in front of my eyes, and reading about how car guys will go to great lenghths to keep in touch with a person until they buy.
It hit me. “All that time in the sales world wasn’t for nothing. I learned some important stuff about how to get people to buy random stuff. Why can’t I apply that knowledge to youth ministry?”
So I tried it out. The Wednesday before this epiphany I hit a record low of five students. Something had to be done.
I got on the phone (Mostly Facebook messenger) and talked to each student every day for a week.
Guess what happened? Well my worst fears of all my students blocking me turned out to be just that. Fear.
It went fantastic. I was able to have so many good conversations with my students, and to top it all off we had 29 show up the next week. And My list of 33 students to contact grew to 44. Yipee.
Okay so that proved I was on to something.
I kept this up and even though it quickly became exhausting it seemed to be effective on two levels.
1. The daily contact was actually proving to make students more likely to show up.
2. Students would reach back to me and start conversations about things they where dealing with.
Not only had I stumbled on an evangelism strategy it turned out to be a pretty good discipleship strategy as well.
Then one day in prayer I had the thought that I needed to scale this.
If it was working so well with my current students, I needed to add to the amount of students I could connect with.
That’s when I came up with the 10K Student challenge.
I have decided to challenge myself with the gigantic task of reaching out to… you guessed it, ten thousand students in my community.
I have done some test runs and this is not going to be as easy as I originally thought.
When I first came up with the idea, I felt the hardest part would be the sheer amount of time it would take to physically message that many students.
However two test runs have shown me that the real challenge will be finding that many students to connect with.
Luckily my time as an entrepreneur has given me the exact skill set to pull this off. I am very good at finding peoples contact information. I even created a course on how to do it back in the good ol days of 2014.
Okay lets wrap this up with how I came up with 10k students. (Other than being crazy)
So my original business was a video production service I started right out of high school. I wanted to grow my business and do more weddings, so I got into online marketing before it was online marketing.
One of the things I learned about was the old school idea of direct mail.
I actually sent out mailers to everyone in my mothers rolodex, but that’s another story for another time.
What I learned in my studies is if you send out 10000 pieces of mail, 1000 people will likely read it, then out of them 100 will probably buy what you are offering.
So I figure if I message 10000 students, 1000 of them (hopefully more) will read the message, and out of them 100 of them will be interested enough to come by and check us out.
Now I know these numbers are based on very old data and are not perfect, but it gives me a base to start from.
As far as a timeline, I would love to do all this in the next 30 days, however I foresee a few bottlenecks in my system. We already discussed the problem of finding that many students, and the time it will take to message each one individually.
Another issue is going to be spam filters. If I reach out to that many students on one social platform I will be viewed as a spammer and more likely than not have my account shut down.
Facebook wont even let me friend that many people. They cap it at 5K.
So not only will I have to find 10k students to contact, manage my time to actually message them, I will also have to spread all that out on different social networks to keep from getting my accounts shut down.
As you can see I have my work cut out for me.
Well that about sums up the 10K Students project. If you would like to help out here are a few ways to participate.
1. If you are not already on my mailing list sign up here. I don’t want to to miss any updates to Project 10KS.
2. Share this article on your favorite social network.
3. Consider supporting Youth Factor through our Patreon campaign. It helps us create more content, more often.
4. And last but not least, please keep me and Youth Factor in your prayers.
That’s it for todays post. Check back in on Friday for details on my test run, and first few days of contacting students.
I will share the scripts I used to message students and some of the ways I have come up with finding students to contact. You don’t want to miss it. Sign up to receive updates.