Why No One Showed Up

no oneYep, that’s right.  On Tuesday, I did an event and NO ONE showed up.  Now, over my time in youth ministry, I’ve had a few events where just a small handful came, but at least I had a few people show.  This week NO ONE showed up!  The Big Zero, Nada, Zilch, Null.  Have you ever had that happened before?

So, as I processed this, I began to wonder where did I go wrong and I came up with a few conclusions:

  1. Wrong Promotion.  For starters, even though I have it on the summer calendar and highlighted it on my weekly emails to parents, I didn’t have it highlighted in the church services at all in the weeks leading up to the event.  And, I failed to promote it and talk about it to students enough.
  2. No personal invites.  So this event is a brand new event, never been done before and hardly any students knew about it.  Let’s be honest, they don’t check emails or calendars you mail to them anymore.  They need leaders talking to them, texting them, tweeting them and Facebooking them personally (sorry, Google+ no one goes to your site).  When a leaders calls up a student and personally invites them to something, the chances of them coming to that event dramatically increases (I would love someone to do a study on that alone…anyone?).  And, none of that happened this past week…not even from me, the Youth “Guy”. So, if students don’t know about it and aren’t invited to it, how can we expect them to come to it?
  3. No student input.  Probably the biggest error of my ways is that I didn’t process this idea with students.  I thought it would be a good idea to try but I never ran it by students to see if they thought it was good.  For all I know they could have known about the program but thought it was too stupid of an idea to come to.  How would I know…I never asked them.

So there you have it.  No one showed up because I failed to do a few things that, after 14 years of youth ministry, I should definitely have known to do. But you are never too old to learn from successes and defeats. No one showing up is something I don’t ever want to see happen again.

What do you think?  Have you ever had an experience like this?  What have you learned from that and how did the next time you did that event reflect the changes you made?  TAKE A MINUTE right now and share your thoughts, experiences or comments so we can all learn and benefit.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

3 thoughts on “Why No One Showed Up

  • July 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I really appreciate your willingness to be honest and do an after action review for this. That alone is something that anyone can learn from: what could I have done better? What did I do well?
    Secondly, I agree with all of those improvements. The one thing that all of those improvements had in common is involving the youth group itself, which is one of the key goals, right? In a sense, you can say that the planning and promotion leading up to the event should be an activity with the group in and of itself and then a culminating event.
    You gave me some things to think about, Pounder. I hope and pray more people learn from this experience. Most of all, though, may the LORD be glorified as you move on to coming events.

    • July 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Thanks Ricardo. I appreciate your comment.

  • July 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks for your incredible honesty and willingness to share. I think your reflections are great. It is so true that in a world filled with social media that a personal connection is still the best. Kaye


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