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STORM: Reach Beyond Your Circle

STORM: Reach Beyond Your Circle

You’re a youth leader, so you know how to play games, and you know how to do outreach events. You’ve done fifth quarters, Nerf wars, dodgeball tournaments, and other events. You do it because you have a heart for students who need Jesus, and you want to reach as many as possible. You want your overall ministry to students to grow. But you have an obstacle – your circle of unreached students only reaches as far as the friends of the students in your current ministry. You want to reach beyond that circle. 

Here’s an idea that has proved successful in many youth ministries. It’s called STORM (Sending Teens Out to Reach the Masses). Like many of your other events, there is a lot of fun and games, skits, and giveaways, but there are a few things that make STORM distinct. 

The first is that you set a goal and get your students excited about reaching that goal. The goal can be almost anything, as long as it takes a lot of students to accomplish it. Some churches have a set goal, like eating 50 pounds of ice cream or a 75-foot-long sub sandwich. It could be an activity like getting enough students to pull a school bus 100 feet. It can be any goal you want, as long as it excites your students enough that they invite their friends and understand it is going to require a lot of students. 

Plan well in advance for this. Make promos for your students to hand out to everyone. Get your whole church praying and ready to help. Help them prepare text messages – anything you can do to get the word out. This needs to be a big deal. Have each student make a “Top 10” list, a list of 10 students they are praying for and will invite.  

The second and critical piece of reaching beyond the circle of your current ministry reach happens the night of the event. Every friend your students bring gets asked one question: “Do you have any other friends who can help us reach our goal?” This is the key. By asking that question, you’re reaching beyond your students’ friends to their friends and even their friends’ friends. You’re reaching out to students you may not meet any other way. Immediately contact that student: text them, call them — whatever works. Tell them you’re trying to get enough students together to eat 50 pounds of ice cream, or whatever goal you have set. Tell them that there will be games and prizes (maybe even one big prize as a draw) and a speaker with a special message. 

Some students will need a ride, so it’s important to mobilize your church. Have adults ready to pick up these students. Send a driver to get the student, and as soon as they arrive, ask, “Do you have any other friends who can help us reach our goal?” They likely will, expanding your circle to include students you’ve never met before. 

In all your planning of goals, games, giveaways, and funny skits, don’t forget to plan for the most important part of the event. Find someone who can clearly communicate the simple gospel message and who connects with students. Have them share the gospel and be prepared to give the students an opportunity to respond to the gospel.  Have counselors ready to talk to students after the gospel message to answer their questions. Have a quiet place where students can go with the counselors. Have a decision slip to get information from students who came for counseling so that you can follow up on whatever decision they may make. 

The last and most important thing: PRAY! Start praying months before the event. Get your church praying. Pray for your speaker, pray that students will be free to come, pray that your current students will get excited about the event, and pray that students will trust Christ. 

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