The “FUNNEL” Effect

So back about 10 years ago I read Doug Field’s book “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.”  That plus my college classes plus life experiences have radically shaped how I view youth ministry and my youth ministry philosophy.  In his book he refers to “The Funnel.”  What he means by this is that as you go deeper both in community and spiritual content… your numbers will DRASTICALLY decrease.  I teach a class for my students that helps them dig deeper into God’s word and sets them up well in the knowledge department about the what the Bible is all about and how to study it.  I love the class… but sometimes I can get discouraged about the numbers of students that show up to it.  I say to myself, “I wish EVERY STUDENT in my ministry would come to this class.”  But the bottom line is, they won’t.  The reason?  It’s the funnel!  That picture up there shows how I strategically plan out our student ministry programs.  We have large events where we want students to invite their friends, we have our regular Sunday night gatherings, then we have small group nights once a month, and THEN the classes, and then individual discipleship happens (which is not a program).  So classes are 4th on the ladder down the tunnel.  So what I started doing was tracking each of these by a PERCENTAGE.  So now… if we hit our percentage for our program, we know that we are not failing in this area.  If you have a youth ministry of 50-60 students and do a “class” during the week… expect about 10%.  That’s 5-6 students.  These percentages have helped me put all of this into perspective.  And who knows, as the word gets out, maybe the percentage will change?


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