Youth Ministry Marketing 101

This past Tuesday I was a part of a panel through ReBuild My Church to discuss youth ministry marketing (Click here to check it out).  It’s a topic that many do not like to talk about in church world.  The push back is that marketing is secular and it’s wrong to think about Jesus like a product.  There’s truth to that thought if you are trying to trick someone into a relationship with Christ; however, that’s not true youth ministry marketing.

Youth ministry marketing gives you the opportunity to reach out to students who might never walk into a church.  It explains who you are and why you exist.  If your youth ministry has a successful marketing strategy you will see create a buzz and grow.  To develop the right type of strategy you need to:

  •  Know Your Target Audience: While you want to serve all teens, you want to attract those who will have the largest impact on your community.  Is it the senior guy football player?  Is it the artistic hipsters?  Know that leader in your community and you’ll see the other teens follow.
  • Embrace Your Identity: Make sure you are confident in your ministry’s identity.  That means understanding your purpose and value in the community (More on youth ministry identity here).  Embracing your identity also means putting together something quality so that you are not over promising and under delivering. 
  • Communicate Your Point Carefully: You need to be able to communicate what you want them to know and do.  Are you asking teens to come to an event?  Do you want them to sign up for a mission trip?  Craft your message so that people are clear on what to expect.  
  • Pick Your Mediums: There is no silver bullet when it comes to youth ministry marketing.  In fact it’s important that you research what mediums teens are using.  Embrace classic mediums like snail mail and explore new ones like Instagram.  Do not feel like you have to use them all, in fact settle on 3 or 4 and use them well.
  • Repeat, Repeat and Repeat: You can never over communicate.  Do not think that because you’ve said it once, everyone has heard your message.  With all the noise in the world it’s important to repeat, repeat and repeat.

Youth ministry marketing is important to your ministry’s health.  It’s the way that we draw teens and their families to opportunities, relationships and environments that will allow them to grow in their faith.  Put together a plan, build a team and keep discovering the many ways you can get the word out.

What mediums do you find most effective for youth ministry marketing?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Aaron Buer

    I like this article. Well written. For us, a blog for parents that goes out every week does the job well. We use it to communicate the specifics of each program and also what parents need to know for upcoming events.

    • http://christopherwesley.org/ Christopher Wesley

      Aaron, the blog is a great replacement for a newsletter. That’s what Marathon Youth Ministry started as way back; however, eventually evolved into what it is today. Thanks for sharing.