Posted By Kurt Johnston

Ladies and gentlemen, this post marks the 1000th post on this blog…and what better way to celebrate (okay, there are lots of better ways) than announcing our winner for 10 weeks of junior high video curriculum from simply junior high!

Here are the 5-week video curriculum options,,,,the winner can pick any TWO, plus I am going to toss (no pun intended) in a free chat or challenge ball because that silly resource is one of my all time favorites!
- Bible Stuff 1
- Bible Stuff 2
- Bible Stuff 3
- Tough Stuff
- Messy Stuff
- Tempting Stuff
- Smart Stuff
- Red Stuff

Now that is some GOOD stuff!

Okay….there were 57 comments,which meant 57 numbers in a hat. It was tempting to pick a winner based on pithy comments, but that wouldn’t be a truly random selection. The number I pulled was comment number 39.

OUR WINNER IS:.

Chris at 2:02am October 5
F-R-E-E that spells free, video curriculum baby!

Chris…pick your two sets of curriculum, and email me at symshow@gmail.com and we will get your prizes in the mail right away!

5 October 2011

Posted by Scott Rubin

I wonder if people will still leave comments, even if it’s not a contest and I don’t have anything to give away?

Here’s what’s making me think about this…
I sat through the whole service in our High School Ministry this past weekend, which I don’t often get to do. And I was THANKful. (even though there was a time a few years ago when I wouldn’t have used that word to describe how if felt about our HS ministry.)

I saw so many of “my” old students… except now the guys have legit facial hair, and the girls look more like women. I was grateful for the teaching they were hearing, and the leaders who were caring about them, and the mission trips they were being invited on. Even though they were never really “my” students in the first place! And I thanked our HS pastor.

In the past couple weeks, I’ve separately run into 3 different twenty-somethings who were in our middle school ministry when I first started leading. One of them had drifted so far from God during HS, and experienced a bunch of pain. Our reconnection prompted her to move back towards the church. But it reminded me afresh that middle schoolers don’t stay middle schoolers forever!

So — if you work exclusively with jr. highers…. Maybe thank a High School Pastor today.
And if you do both — then thank yourself!!



GROUP’s 2011 Sep/Oct issue hit my desk mid-September and I finally got around to reading it. The front cover made me think of our local middle outreach called messfest so I was excited when I finally got a chance to read it. Here are a few thoughts I had:
Something I liked:

Posted By Kurt Johnston

Since it is still toward the beginning of the school year, and the small group season is still fairly young, I want to give away some small group video curriculum!

Here’s how to win: leave any comment, and at the end of the day Wednesday we will randomly pick a winner. The prize is your choice of any TWO of our 5-week video curriculum.

Game on!



Posted by Kurt Johnston

I have spent much of my time this week in several sessions of our junior high and high school small group leaders training. While I have done a little bit of the training, the VAST majority of it has been led and taught by our junior high and high school teams. Here are some random “sound bites” from our training:

“You don’t need to love teenagers…you need to LIKE them”: Idea is that all christians “love” the teenagers in their church….but they don’t actually like them.

“You are the youth pastors of our ministry”: Idea is that most of the real ministry happens in small groups…the leaders are the true youth pastor to their kids.

“Make it a goal to set a warm, safe, affirming atmosphere in your group”

“Don’t suffer in silence….if something is going wrong, please let us know so we can help you!”

“Leading a small group will be the most frustrating, most challenging, most stretching, most rewarding, most exciting ministry you can be a part of!”

“Don’t be afraid to set boundaries….and to stick to them!”

I rarely mention numbers on this blog because frankly…..who cares. But I will mention this fact: After doing small groups at Saddleback church for over 15 years, this year is set to be our biggest year ever. Our junior high and high school teams have done an amazing job of recruiting, interviewing, training and placing hundreds of adult leaders who are about to embark on the ride of their lives!

Posted By Kurt Johnston

I mentioned in a recent blog post how much Imenjoyed the movie Money Ball. Well, over at his blog D.Scott Miller takes the main them of the movie (re-defining the skills needed by players to build a winning team)and applies it to youth ministry. It is a GREAT post! You don’t need to have seen the movie to benefit from his thinking. Here’s your assignment: go read his post, and think about these questions:

1. Do you agree with his assessment of the 5 basic skills He described that are currently needed by youth workers?

2. Do these skills change from context to context? Do they change for those of us who work with junior highers?

3. Do you think the 5 new skills he described are the skills for the future? Again, how do they change from context to context and in different age groups?



Random Randomness

Kurt Johnston —  September 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

Posted By Kurt Johnston

1. We don’t Do it often, but this past weekend we made a broad, church-wide appeal for new small group leaders. We had an insert in the bulletin, Pastor Rick mentioned it at the beginning of service, and I got to mention it at the end. The reason is because with our small groups starting in a week, we have a record breaking number of students signed up, but less leaders than normal. That math doesn’t add up! The result: over 50 adults stepped up and expressed an interest! Now we need to meet them, interview them, and perform background checks. This entire process will likely thin out the crowd by at least 1/2.

2. Saw the movie, Money Ball over the weekend. One of the better sports(ish) movies I have seen in a while.

3. Dear Denver Broncos: You are now 1-2. I know Tim Tebow is your third string QB, but start him NOW. Play him for two games and you will be able to tell if he has any future potential. If it turns out he doesn’t, we fans will gladly support shelving the guy. At 1-2, and Kyle Orton as our starter, the season is almost lost already. Try something new and bold before it gets further out of hand.

4. In a few weeks, we will start filming THE CHALLENGE, a new a new JH game resource. I am super excited about some of the hilarious challenges we have planned, and can’t wait to see how it goes over in our JH ministry.

5. Have you seen the latest Simply Youth Ministry Show? It’s a good one!

Posted by Kurt Johnston

Below is a list of the the list of the “5 happiest jobs” based on data collected via the General Social Survey of the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago, and reported inthe Christian Science Monitor (They list the top 10, but I’ve only listed the top 5):

1. Clergy

2. Firefighters

3. Physical therapists

4. Authors

5. Special education teachers

No wonder I’m so happy! I spend a ton of my time in THREE of the top 5 happy job categories.

Clergy: I have been a pastor since 1988 and totally understand why it ranks #1.

Author: Between writing small group curriculum, lessons, training material etc. for my own ministry setting and the somewhat frequent outside writing opportunities, I spend a fair amount of time as an “author” of sorts.

Special Education Teacher: I work with junior highers….and I’m sure the similarities between my roles and those of a special ed. teacher are many!

(HT to Tony Jones)