Got a solid response from this post yesterday so I asked the volunteer behind the student-led project to give me some insight into how the video was made and the process of making the video for the past few months. Here’s some of what he sent along:

The Landing video was made entirely by students for students. It started with an idea to get rid of the static image that advertises the landing in the Refinery common displays with something that was a little more catchy. We also wanted to try and redirect the thoughts some students have about the landing which is that its for “those” students and so we were aiming for the concept that on the outside we appear all put together but on the inside we can still hurt and have alternate feelings that we are dealing with. We wanted to emphasize the idea that you are not alone and you shouldn’t go through it alone and so the initial thought is groups that go deep and have a safe place to share at the landing but they can also discover that Jesus Christ is right there with them and they are not alone.
The project from concept to finish took us 3 months. We work on a volunteer schedule of schools and all their extra-curricular programs. These guys are definitely committed. They all have tons of after school programs and academically we have been making sure their grades have not been taking a back seat as a result of being a part of the ministry and they are all B average and higher students. So they work extremely hard. This is a learning ministry. None of these students knew anything about animation before we started and most had never been a part of a real film production, let alone organized one so it was a great learning experience for all of them. They had to organize the dates to shoot, allocate equipment and resources from other teams (we are a ministry with $0 budget so everything was borrowed). They had to find actors and rehearse choreography for the film, they then had to design the content which was shown in the hands, motion track both hands individually, frame by frame (there are nearly 2,000 frames which you have to do twice). Then again add the slide content and then animate the signs in such a way that they have weight and appears that they actually live in reality and are not just digital. Finally they had to mask (cutout) the slides frame by frame to give it the effect of being held. They re-did this process about three times to get it to look right as they learned new and more advanced techniques along the way.
Finally we had Troy write and compose an entire original soundtrack for the piece. We spent several skype sessions together getting it just right before we went into the studio to record. We then had it mastered to make it sound really great.

As this project expanded we began to realize it could be used for more then just a simple ad in the Refinery Commons and had the potential to be used in a service (hopefully) and by other churches as they advertise their Landing program (super hopeful).
If you would like to get information on how to get this resource for your church and/or to customize it to include your churches specific information you can call 707-676-3342. Proud of the students who worked so hard on this project: Josh Campbell, Troy Sullivan, Ian Glatz, Jacob Lewis, Caleb Haine and Carson Daniels.

From time to time I ask you to weigh in on a question I receive over email that I don’t know the answer to or am interested in your response, too. Here’s one you could have fun answering in the comments!

My spouse is a youth pastor and reads your site constantly. My question for you is what as a youth pastor would you like as a present for Christmas. I have the present covered for the relationship-side but wanted to also get him/her something that was a good gift for a youth pastor. Help me out! I know meaningful gifts are far better than monetary gifts and would love some ideas.

So here you go youth pastors … what would be an awesome Christmas gift from your spouse/significant other for ministry? Weigh in!


Vader, Did You Know?

 —  December 8, 2011 — 1 Comment

Speechless. Perfection.

Thanks to D. Scott for thinking of me and sending it my way!


This weekend we played a new promo video for The Landing that was made entirely by students. It was incredible! Probably one of the best videos to come out of our whole church in a while honestly, I was blown away by how it was made. I’ve asked the volunteer who led the student project to share more about the making of the video which hopefully I’ll be able to post later this week, too. If you’re interested in learning more about The Landing program for your church, click right on over here.

Designed for junior high and high school students, The Landing give you everything you need to lead young people in making Jesus the foundation of their lives, avoiding or breaking cycles of dysfunction, and experiencing God’s incredible forgiveness and healing.


Our adult services have started to do weekend announcements via video this weekend – this week’s featured HSM students packing shoeboxes! Wanted to give you an idea of how our big church is doing announcements these days, too!


I get asked a lot why we have youth group on the weekend – and honestly it is a good question since even context I’ve experiences both as a teenager and as a youth pastor before Saddleback was that we did youth group in the middle of the week. So why don’t we, and what are some things you should consider about moving to the weekend? I was answering just that question to a youth pastor over email this week and thought I should expand on those thoughts here on the blog.

Here’s the top 4 reasons that HSM has chosen a weekend service over services another night of the week:

… to make space for adults services
From what I understand historically (I wasn’t at Saddleback when this happened) Pastor Rick asked HSM to free up seats in the worship center for adults and to have youth group meeting simultaneously to the adult services. The main reason we shifted was basically to help the church accommodate significant growth and give it room to keep moving forward.

… Sunday is when visitors attend anyhow
If you don’t have youth services or a presence of some sort on the weekend – you are missing out on a potential audience. We’ve found that if a family is going to visit it is during Sunday services, so having youth group then gives us the chance to meet/connect them right from their first time through the doors.

… to offer youth group at a convenient time for parents
Without a doubt the best time for students to attend youth group is while their parents are already doing something at the church, too. I talked to a youth worker this week who was struggling with youth group meeting on Wednesday nights for this very reason. As students get older and can drive this becomes less of a big deal, but it at least is a factor in our decision when to have services, too.

… to not take out students out another night of the week
This one is similar to the one above, but tweaked a little. Everyone is super busy – me included! Having youth group as part of our church services help consolodate the ask that is made for time during the week.

I’ve done youth group on Wednesday nights, Saturday nights, Sunday mornings, Sunday night – they all work! But hoope these few reasons why we landed on the weekend helps your processing and vision, too!


This is Church Video

 —  December 7, 2011 — 4 Comments

Pastor Rick used this video in his message in our adults services this weekend. Looks like an organization called Get Out The Box made it, good message!


I ran across this really interesting article written by a student about Facebook.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Social networking sites are supposed to be a place for friends to connect and chat, right? That’s what I thought until I was the victim of aggression that spilled over from Facebook into real life.

One day, I was harmlessly joking around with a friend on Facebook. We were commenting back and forth on his status when all of a sudden, one of his friends — we’ll call her Sara — rudely stuck her nose into our conversation.

Read the rest here!

Here’s 3 ways we can help students on Facebook:

1. Talk about it.

How does a Christian express themselves on Facebook? What are appropriate words and pictures to post online? It’s good to talk about the life long consequences of what we post online- once it’s out there…it there forever!

2. Hold them accountable.

If you see a student saying or posting something online that is questionable- call them on it! With gentleness and truth…challenge them personally to live a holy life online.

3. Model it.

Maybe this is the most obvious one…but model appropriate behavior online.

What else? How else can we help students online?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Phil 4:8