Episode 238: Growing Student Ministry in Pandemic with Steve Cullum

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In this episode, Steve Cullum shares his experiences about growing a student ministry in the midst of the pandemic and he gives some practical steps to prepare for this type of growth. Steve also breaks down some of the changes they experimented with to enhance their youth programs.

Steve Cullum

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Episode Notes

Noticeable trends in Student Ministry

  • Junior High was quicker to drop off during the pandemic, especially with virtual communities
  • The hand-off from kids' to student ministry was lost in the pandemic
  • However, depending on the area of the country, some high school ministries have been outpaced by junior high
  • 30-35% of new growth has been due to invites from friends
  • The first groups to check out online were the first groups to jump back into on-campus gatherings (longing for in-person connection and community)
  • You can virtually attend many churches anytime, but few things replace true relationships

What has really changed?

  • Perspective – the WHY question (Why are we doing things this way?)

What do camps look like for you?

  • Typically would partner with other churches to do Winter Camps throughout Colorado
  • Instead, planned Winter Camp experience on campus, and were at 125% of the number they had the previous year (and planned it 6 weeks out)
  • Students all stayed overnight at the church (but with an option for parents to pick up)

Action Items

  1. Gather students in smaller groups now during summer
  2. Focus on students inviting friends
  3. Empower volunteers to own more – Plan for a big launch this fall

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