Another HSM Summer Camp video, this time featuring Professor Wallace teaching students how to do stand up comedy.


Professor Wallace takes on Romantic Camp Relationships in this video from HSM Summer Camp.


tears in my eyes

 —  July 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

I noticed something today after my kids’ swim lessons. Whenever someone compliments my kids, even says something kind about my kids than I find my eyes filling up with tears. These words are never major compliments about character traits just simple words of affirmation about them or something they did. I don’t feel the need to cry and weep but through their words I am filled up in the moment with appreciation and encouragment.

It made me want to encourage parents. There are a lot of parents who are doing a really good at a really hard job. I think it would mean a lot to the parents in our ministry if they got a quick email or a phone call with a kind word about their son or daughter. It doesn’t have to be huge…”your daughter will change the world”… but it could be…instead it more likely will be something as simple as… “Your daughter really cares for people” or “I am so thankful for your daughter’s help last night at our service…she really worked hard.” You might be surprised to see a few parents tear up in the eyes…because it feels great to know that your kids are doing good even when you aren’t around.

Encourage a parent today…share with us what happens when you do?

“We wanted to write an R-rated anti-romantic comedy,” David A. Newman, the film’s other original writer, said. “Sort of like the death of romance in the age of hookups and that became our driving principle. Instead of having them kiss and cut to the next morning, we get the comedy there.”

Merryman stressed his excitement at having Timberlake and Kunis bring his story to life, offering that the pair “embody their generation” of late night text messages and commitment-free sex…

Do you agree? Are we in the midst of a generation that treats sex and “hooking up” lightly? Does this movie really embody them? And if so, what’s our response?

Look: I’m tired. I’m about to begin my 5th youth trip this summer and that’s not counting “Camp Grandma.” Four of those weeks were spent on an air mattress. Enough said. :)

Do you already know how many days it is till your youth go back to school? Then you’re tired, too. Tired of/ from what? IDK. Parents who are late picking their kids up. Your 100th? lunch meat sandwich.? Students dropping out on you right and left. Custodians who bring you the empty soda cans from the parking lot. Apathetic church members who don’t seem to get? excited? about the “come to Jesus night” at camp. VBS songs that won’t leave your head without a demonic? exhortation. More nights on an air mattress than your back can take.

Don’t give up. Don’t quit. You’re almost to the finish line. We’re all in the home stretch and it has been worth it.? Kids’ lives are being change. Life long decisions have been scored into the Book of Life.? Heaven rejoices wth each young knee bent at the Cross. You have had the privilege of being a part of the magic of His Power.

Now suck it up, grab that Nerf gun, inject some caffeine and let’s do this thing.


Posted by Kurt Johnston

I am super excited about two brand new opportunities….one for you, and one for your junior highers.

1st; the all new Simply Youth Ministry Show! Beginning on August 1st, and airing about 3x monthly, The Simply Youth Ministry show (hosted by me and my buddy Jake Rutenbar) will be a 30ish-minute topic-driven show. Each show will include a special guest who will share his/her insight, experience and expertise on the given topic.

Here are just a few of the guests we have already lined up: Dan Kimball, Kara Powell, Marko, Greg Stier, Scott Rubin, Adam McClane, Terrace Crawford, Tim Schmoyer, Kami Gilmour, Brian Berry, Brooklyn Lindsey and more. I really do think it will be a valuable way to spend 30 minutes of your time each week.

2nd; CIY, The folks who brought us Believe, are introducing a new summer event called MIX!
About 5 years ago, we made the decision to trust CIY with our junior highers and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Believe is a higlight of of our year, and I am super excited to see what MIX shapes up to look like. My biggest struggle is going to be the fact that we have attended the same amazing summer camp for 15 years, and the thought of leaving gives me a stomach ache…but so does the thought of missing out on MIX.

Good stuff coming your way!

The group of American teenagers piled into the back of a dump truck and bounced across the small South American town. Dressed in matching T-shirts, long skirts, and khaki’s, the students attracted a lot of attention as they held on to the sides. The students had spent their first four days of their short-term mission trip in this new culture leading vacation Bible school, constructing a roof for a small orphanage, and doing various sports ministries. Their leader hadn’t told them much about this visit, just that someone would be sharing with them. As they walked in the gate and into the compound, they were greeted warmly and ushered into a large marbled parlor that also served as a church on Sunday mornings.Their host had been a missionary for 30 years — to the United States. And for the following hour she shared her heart for reaching America with the Gospel. She challenged the students in two ways: 1) See the needs of the people in your own community and be missions-minded to them and 2) Learn from Christians in other cultures. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of those American teenagers as they sat there wide-eyed, considering, for the first time, that missionaries come to … America? And that late afternoon meeting ended up being one of the highlights of the trip for them.

I often wonder what we’d think if a short-term mission trip came to the community around our churches. What would we have to explain about the peculiarities of American culture to them? In my region, how would I explain Amish to them? Or interpret the meaning behind ‘touchdown Jesus’ on the Notre Dame campus? Seriously, what needs would they work to meet and what would they do in ministry? How would we respond to having a short-term mission team from overseas come to our area? Would we help with similar graciousness as those that host our groups in other countries? Where would they see the gap between church culture and the local culture? And, perhaps more importantly, what could we learn from them?

For the last two years, I have worked on two book projects that have opened my eyes to the future of youth ministry at our doorstep and around the world. Globalization gains momentum each year and presses in on nearly every local youth culture around the world. A youth worker from Houston just caught me off to the side at a conference where I was speaking, overwhelmed with the new realities he faced. He asked about how to handle legal issues related to immigration, working with the dynamics of Southeast Asian family culture, and how to understand Buddhist theology. As much as some want to ignore cultural issues, they give dramatic to how we do youth ministry and how teens think about theology and the world.

I think a short-term mission trip is not only a fantastic opportunity for your students to serve, learn, and grow, but it is also an opportunity for you (and I) to learn and grow as well. The next time you are on a short-term mission trip, I recommend finding some local Christian youth workers, who will probably be volunteers, and take them out for a meal or coffee. Spend the time getting to know more about their stories and ministries. Ask them to share what lessons they’ve learned and what challenges they face. Ask them where globalization influences the youth in their community and seek to understand how the church has responded to the new cultural influences.

Most of our printed materials come from a very distinct culture within America, but most youth ministry in the world takes place in other cultures. I’m of the opinion that, as youth ministry continues to grow in excellence all over the world, we in America can learn from those who lead in other countries and cultures. And a short-term mission trip is a great first step to do that. I know I learned from the various authors of Global Youth Ministry how to recognize the gaps between church culture and youth culture. I’ve been challenged by youth leaders in Eastern Europe to see the potential for youth ministry to be a shaping influence in my local community.

We’re always looking for fresh insights about youth ministry. I think many of them in the coming years will be coming from people leading youth ministry in other cultures. If leaders are learners, short-term mission trips are fantastic learning opportunities that God might use to expand your vision and invigorate your ministry leadership.

Terry Linhart now teaches youth ministry at Bethel College in Indiana and blogs at His forthcoming book, What Can We Do? (co-authored with David Livermore), provides creative solutions for youth groups to get involved and impact the lives of people and around the world.

The ‘Mission Trip High’ as I call it is no secret in ministry. It’s that feeling people get after experiencing God in a unique way and they feel like they are spiritually on top of a mountain. It’s a great feeling, but it certainly can be dangerous if it is not handled in the right way. I think the enemy licks his chops when he sees Christians on that ‘Mission Trip High’ because he knows they are easy prey.

Most Christians who return to normal, everyday life after their mission trip or retreat do not prepare themselves for re-entry into the world and therefore fall prey to the onslaught the enemy throws their way as soon as they get home. So what can we, as youth pastors, do about it? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make your students aware that life after the mission trip, or retreat, is going to be difficult. Let them know that the enemy will be waiting for them and will want to make them fall. A firm realization that they are in the midst of a battle is a must.
  2. Give them practical, user-friendly ways to spend time with God after the trip. It could be a devotional packet, a book, text message reminders, a prayer request list, or Bible reading; the point is that you are setting them up to succeed. You are giving them the opportunity to meet with God on their time and encouraging the development of their spiritual disciplines as well.
  3. Pray earnestly for your students after you get back from the trip. Commit time to surround them in prayer and let the Holy Spirit do his thing.
  4. Follow up with your students in the days and weeks after the trip. Ask them how their experience on the trip has changed the way they live and serve God. Reinforce the concept that discipleship = life change. When we meet God on a mission trip or a retreat, or anywhere really, our response should be worship and a change of life that more closely aligns us with God. This is an ongoing process and is not without its setbacks, so be sure to encourage your students to press on and when they fall to get back up and keep on moving closer to God.

These are just a few of my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours. Comment and let the discussion continue.

Cam Brennan is just finishing his first full year of Youth Ministry and is the Youth Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Gardner, KS. He blogs regularly at