I have worked in two very different places with teenagers. Each of these places has a different outlook in how I ran my program. The first place was all about the quantity. I was always being pushed to have more and more kids in the Teen programs. Each youth that was a part of my program brought in dollars. It was a detriment to the program in a lot of ways. When your program is singularly focused and that focus is money, the expectations of what the program offers the youth and their family goes down.
My other program at my current church has never been about the quantity but always been about the quality. We want to offer our youth every opportunity to participate and be involved within the program. The goal is to reach as many youth as possible but not to the detriment of the program. There is a high standard of quality that is set and that is where we want to keep it.
There is a constant battle between the quality of a program and the quantity of participants in that program. Every day we struggle with where the line needs to be between the two. I believe that you have to have a quality program when it comes to Youth programs. There are so many things in the world today that pull youth in different directions and if you don’t have a quality, fun, structured program, you will lose those youth to other interests.
If I can give some advice, make your program fun, make it informative, make it Christ centered, and make it all about the youth. If you program that type of program that will engage a large amount of youth, they will participate in your program not because they are being made too, but because they want too! I believe that a youth program that is forced upon a youth is automatically rejected by them. If they come and participate and enjoy themselves and feel like they are getting something from it, they will want to be there. By take the quality over quantity approach eventually we will have the quantity without even realizing it. It will be Christ at work, I guarantee it!