I think we can agree that there are times when it is difficult to invest in and disciple the teen girls that attend our church on a regular basis. Most of our time will be dedicated to pouring into the girls inside our small groups and discipleship groups, but we cannot forget about the girls who won’t even step foot in the church. There are the girls who aren’t coming to church, and they don’t even want or care to come. Before we talk about how we can reach those girls outside the church, let’s address some of the roots of the problem.
One of the reasons teen girls don’t desire to come to church is that they are learning to live comfortably without an inherent need for God. Teen girls also often only know the church as hypocritical and judgmental. They will say, “I know girls who go to that church and says they’re Christians, but they don’t act like that at school.” Or, “I can’t go to church! You don’t know the things I’ve done. God would never accept me!” Girls outside the church are also struggling to have their questions answered, and they simply deny the existence of God.
There will always be creative ways and new events to try and effectively reach the unchurched girl, but there are some basic ways that we, as the Church, might be accidentally over-looking.
FOLLOW JESUS’ EXAMPLE
When it comes to reaching the unchurched girl, let’s not be blind to the fact that the word “church” has a very negative connotation, and talking about God might bring up some really hard memories for a lot of girls. There are so many thriving and healthy churches out there, but sometimes it’s good to keep in mind that some students have been jaded by what they think the church is and who other people have told them what God is like. That’s why in order to reach the girls beyond our church, we have to love them like Jesus.
Jesus knew that the people were somewhat frightened and intimidated by the religious rulers. Jesus knew that in order to meet their eternal and spiritual needs He first had to meet them where they were. A couple of Sundays ago, our pastor shared this progression chart and it visually helped me understand the progressional steps of someone knowing Jesus, and how I can tangibly have a role in that.
- They meet a Christian.
- They like them.
- They become aware that they’re a Christian.
- They start to believe the Bible’s relevance.
- They develop a positive view of the Bible.
- They hear and understand about life with Jesus.
- They recognize their need for Him.
- They trust Jesus.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEM
I don’t know about you, but I’m personally more inclined to listen to people I actually have a relationship with. And you can’t make an impact on people to the fullest if you’re not trying to be invested in their lives. You’re not going to be able to build relationships at church with girls who don’t come to church, which means you have to go to where they are! And not only that, you have to be consistent and show up. Go to school lunches, speak at their practices, bring popsicles to their games, attend their concerts—just be there and be consistent.
Once she recognizes that you’re a consistent presence in her life, don’t just bombard her with invitations to church every time you see her, get to know her personally! Did she just get back from a college visit? Where did her family go on spring break? Does she have any siblings? When you’re able to talk about the surface things, those surface conversations turn into a little bit deeper conversations with topics that you might be able to follow up with her on later.
How are your parents doing? I know your grandma’s been sick and you two are close, how are you coping with it all? When you show people you care about their personal story, you’re able to usher them to THE story of Jesus through continual prayer and conversation.
**Remember, these girls aren’t projects for you to convert them into a number for attendance records, they’re people—they have needs, hurts, wants, desires. Sometimes the easiest thing you can do for someone who is unchurched is to simply love them as the Church.**
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
First, use social media! Almost every teen girl has some sort of a presence online and you will have a further reach by using social media. Help our students’ friends know what’s going on at church by utilizing Instagram stories and sharing what your church is doing on a weekly basis so students can repost.
Another way you might be able to reach girls outside of your church is to make it easy to come! Create one-night-only type of events like a trivia night, block party, neon night, etc. These events should be fun, engaging, and easy for your students to feel confident to invite their friends to!
With that, it’s also great to plan unique and thought-provoking sermon series to get people in the door! When you talk about relevant topics like dating, students are more inclined to want to sit in a service. Students need to be hearing what God’s Word says on these topics, because if they don’t find it at church, they will look elsewhere! And that goes in hand with my next suggestion, PROVIDE RESOURCES. Our students are brilliant and resourceful, so if they cannot find the answer in a conversation with someone they will Google it. As a church, let’s provide resources that ultimately help point students back to the ultimate resource, the Bible!
Finally, don’t take all this responsibility on yourself! Pray for those who don’t know Jesus, and know that taking these steps might take weeks for some girls or it might take years for others.. Remember, people are not projects. As a follower of Jesus, we must believe that only Jesus has the power to save, and trust that God can and will work out all things for our good and His glory. Then when it comes to reaching the girls outside your church, be persistent and be gracious remembering how God is persistent and gracious with you!
Rachel Fox Frazier has the joy of serving full-time as the Middle School Girls Associate at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves spending her days helping students take their next right step in their relationship with Jesus. And she loves to spend her nights writing, planning, and dreaming about ways she can help others do the same! Rachel is recent newlywed and adores her hilarious and Jesus-loving husband. She loves connecting with others of matcha lattes, serving overseas, and everything about student ministry. Connect with Rachel: Instagram // Website