What To Do When No One Is Showing Up

It felt more like a band practice than a night of worship.  No one was showing up to our student ministry.  We had 4 teens in the student band, 1 running our tech and then each week there would be a visiting teen who would never return.  It felt demoralizing.

Attendance is one of the most frustrating parts of youth ministry.  When no one shows up we can feel like a failure.  When the RSVP’s for an event are low we consider canceling.  When no one is coming it’s easy to consider a different career.  Instead of growing helpless, start taking action by:


When no one shows up the temptation is to blame everyone and anyone.  The first place you should look is internally.  You answer the following questions:

  • Did I communicate clearly?
  • Was the last event/gathering a worthwhile experience?
  • Was the date or time poorly planned?

Asking brutal questions means being vulnerable.  Surround yourself with others who will critique you with care.  As you answer these questions hopefully it will enable you to make adjustments.


Another reason no one shows up is because the program doesn’t work for them.  Consider the competition that your ministry faces (And I’m not talking about other churches).  You need to know what is owning their attention.  Don’t offer just another event, be strategic.  Analyze:

  • Your target audience.
  • Your church’s vision.
  • Your budget.
  • Your volunteer base.

Use what you have, but think outside the box.  Ask God, to guide you in creating a ministry that offers something authentic and engaging.  Put it together in your vision statement and work towards it.


You spend all this energy advertising your ministry and still no one shows.  The truth is you can never communicate it enough.  Do not grow discouraged if numbers are low at first.  Continue to extend the invitation and get the word out.

Be as personal as possible.  Don’t be afraid to go around and ask people face to face.  When people see you make the effort they’ll take the invitation a little more seriously.


It’s hard to grab traction when your ministry does not have a vision.  A vision gives you purpose and direction.  To reach that vision need to set tangible goals.  Start out with ones that are easily achievable and build on them.  Allow momentum to build by celebrating each goal you achieve.

When no one shows up do not feel defeated.  Take action, put together a plan and rally the team.  Lastly, remember that youth ministry is a journey.  Don’t be discouraged if things start out slow.  They’ll pick up.

Question: What strategies are you using to grow your youth ministry? You can leave a comment by clicking here.