I’m no hunter. I would like to hunt; however, I would probably never catch anything. My problem is aim. I have a hard time hitting the target. I would scare any game we would be hunting, it would be a disaster.
It’s clear that in order to hunt you need to be able to hit your target. Same goes in ministry, in order to be successful you need to know your target. It’s a challenge to know your target because the area you do ministry might be diverse. You might impact many different schools. While you might want to reach everyone, you need to start out by reaching someone. That’s your target audience. To know who they are, you need to:
GIVE THEM AN IDENTITY. The way you do this by answering the following questions:
- Where do they go to school?
- What activities consume their time?
- What pressures do they experience from older generations?
- What is trending in their niche culture?
- What’s their family makeup?
Once you’ve identified your target audience you want to make sure your ministry fits them by looking at your:
- Music: It’s easy to play music that’s popular; however, if it doesn’t appeal to your audience it won’t reach them. The wonderful thing about Christian music is how it crosses many different genres. Whether it’s playing worship music through a speaker system or forming a band to lead worship you need music that’s going to speak to them. Music is that emotional drive to bring them closer to Christ.
- Environment: Your target audience has specific places where they feel comfortable. It could be a coffee house, basement hang out, or arcade. While you might not have the budget to do a youth room makeover, you can make small changes to move in that direction. That means placement of chairs, what goes on the walls and how the room is lit. Create a place where they feel comfortable to open up.
- Message: While you need to share with them the Gospel, you need to share it in their context. What pressures are they facing? What does their paradigm look like? How does this piece of Truth work in their lives? Craft your talks, small group questions and activities to tackle what is happening in their every day lives.
Your target audience might feel like a small percentage of the teenagers in your community; however, they should have the biggest impact. In the end you are looking for the students who will lead others to Christ. Ones who will make a difference and help you grow the church. Know your target and hit big.
How do you identify your target audience?