We are a small town parish. Our religious education program has gotten a good new start for the year. Our middle school group is growing. Our high school confirmation classes are great. Our high school youth group is getting a new boost. And our RCIA program is thriving in English and in Spanish. We have a local satellite community college campus and many of our young adults are starting their college education close to home. It is a group that has more or less escaped notice in the parish. We need to reach them. The main campus has a Catholic student center nearby. The universities have Newman Centers. Where do we start? (I know. The first step is to pray over it. But then...?) BTW, I am a senior citizen myself
Get a Facebook page. I'm kidding. I'm not.
Congratulations on being a one man Church Militant. Too bad you're old. Young people tend not to listen to us geezers. Unless you're so old you've become "cute". As much as I resent the concept that anyone is "cute" because they have white hair and gnarly knuckles, sometimes you can use it to your advantage.
So here you go:
Step 1: Get all of those people in all of those groups to "pray over it" at the same time. Serve cookies. That always makes everyone feel good.
Step 2: Make sure you have an online presence for these groups, so people can find you. So I'm not really kidding about Facebook. Make sure all of these people in all of these groups who are on Facebook (or Tumblr) 'like' the page.That causes them to see your updates. Sorry if you're old have no clue about this stuff...round up the high school seniors and have them show you the ropes. It's not rocket science.
Then update the page at least once a day, if not more. Put cheery things and points of interest on there and always include a GRAPHIC. It helps the eye to land. Put up pictures of people doing interesting things and having fun and tag those people (the high school seniors will explain that to you) and get those people to leave comments. Stay INTERACTIVE.
Step 3: Go where the people you are looking for hang around. Catholic student center? Go there.Newman Center? Go there. If you're not a cute enough old person, either take some young people with you, send them on and don't go yourself, or make up some clever flyers and hand them out. Clever flyers might work for the young people, too. Collect names and emails if you can try to keep in contact.
Stay cheery and compassionate.
It's rather like that old adage "to have a friend, be a friend". If you want these people to pay attention to your message, have an interesting message. Humor, topical ideas, contemporary thoughts. Stay ENGAGED.
So be a friend. A cute old friend. A cute old friend of Jesus.