Know Your Audience: Who Are You Ministering To?

For the first four years of my ministry career, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as a coordinator of youth ministry at a church in northern California. I can safely say now that I didn’t know what I was doing. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit stepped in and helped my team and I make a lasting impact on the teens.

At that time, I was convinced that all I needed to do was have a regularly scheduled youth group and put on some retreats and other fun trips. If I did these things well, then every high school youth in the church would want to attend my ministry.

I was wrong. There was something I was missing.

I didn’t know my audience.

Sure, I knew that my audience was high school youth, but I didn’t know that there were sub-sections of youth within my audience. Different youth were in different places on their spiritual journey. Because of that, I had to adjust my ministry to match my audience.

Regardless of which ministry you are involved in, whether it be youth, young adult, adult, parents, seniors, or children, there are people within each of those audiences that come to your ministry looking for something different…spiritually different.

Each person that comes to your ministry is in one of four audiences:

  • Community: The person that is in the community audience is not looking for a deep spiritual message of practical ideas to better their prayer lives. They want to meet others that share the same faith as them and are interested in building relationships. The majority of people you encounter in your ministry are in this audience.
  • Learner: The person that is in the learner audience has developed some good relationships within the church and is now looking for some deeper knowledge of faith. They want to learn more about prayer styles, the Bible, church history, theology, and how they can become a better Christian.
  • Disciple: After going through the community and learner audiences, a person in this audience is ready to live out there faith. They have built a strong community of fellow believers and have learned enough about their faith that they are ready to act on it. People in this audience like to do service in the community, are ready to evangelize, and are interested in getting more involved.
  • Core: The smallest audience, those in the core, is ready to give back to the church community. They want to volunteer and serve in the ministries that they have benefited from. They become very dedicated leaders in the church and are committed to the success of the ministry and the church.

There needs to be an intentional process for people go through, from community to core. Not everyone makes it to core, but the hope is that we can move people through the audiences. The programs you offer depend greatly on which audience you are serving. Each audience requires a different type of program and ministry.

The key is to know which audience you are ministering to so that you can provide the most valuable program for where they are in their spiritual journey.

Question: Which audience do you tend to minister to the most?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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