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The 10-Second Rule is a Myth

Blog by Dave Sippel

Apparently a student in Melbourne, Australia tested the 10-second rule. You know…you drop a morsel of food on the floor. If you pick it up within 10-seconds it’s still okay to eat. Well, we now know that this is simply not true.

But I’ve discovered another 10-second rule that I believe is true. I’ve been told that we have 10 seconds to make a visiting teen feel welcome at our youth group. That’s right, teens decide in 10 seconds whether they plan to return to your youth group for a second visit or not. If this is true, it changes everything. We can’t just let them wander in anymore. We’d better not expect them to figure it out on their own.

I visit lots of youth groups each year. 80% percent of them have 15-20 minutes of free time before youth group begins each week. The kids in these youth groups describe this time as “awkward,” “boring,” and “intimidating.” Is this what greets a new person that comes to our youth group?

Maybe we need to send in a “mystery shopper.” Ask a teen from your neighborhood to visit your youth group. Buy them coffee after their visit. Learn from their visit. Ask the question: “What can we do differently?”

We had a new visitor just last night at our youth group. She posted a comment on Facebook two hours after her visit. “It’s the most welcomed I’ve felt at any church. Ever. They all are so nice and I don’t feel like I have to be a certain way to be liked.  We are staying forever.” Whew!! We need to learn from this one. I wonder what we did right?

Two things to remember:

Don’t eat food off of the floor. It’s a bad idea almost every time.
Watch out for the new kids. That’s a good idea every time.
Dave Sippel  is a senior consultant for Youth Ministry Architects. Dave has worked in youth ministry since 1994. He’s served as a youth director at 3 of the largest United Methodist churches in the Florida Conference, consulted with churches from 18 states & 6 denominations, & is a coach for the Youth Ministry Institute. Dave is a regular speaker for camps, retreats, & youth ministry training events. He is a dedicated volunteer with his local church youth ministry. Dave is a graduate of Asbury College. He lives in  Lakeland,  FL with his wife, Teresa, & their sons; Grant & Cade.

Dave Sippel  – Senior Consultant and Director of Connections
Youth Ministry Architects / Children’s Ministry Architects
Building Sustainable Youth Ministries….One Church at a Time
Voice/Fax (877) 462-5718      Direct: (863)510-9341
Twitter: @YMArchitects              Facebook:  Youth Ministry Architects    

2 thoughts on “The 10-Second Rule is a Myth

  1. Simple article, yet very powerful! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Really good insight on the 10-second rule. I know my group has been guilty of the 15-20 minute freetime thing in the beginning. Really need to re-think how that plays an effect on both our visitors and members! Thanks!

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The 10-Second Rule is a Myth

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