On Saturday I went to U2- it was awesome and…amazing (I am lacking words to explain how cool the whole experience was…)! We were down on the floor – pretty close to the action.

While standing there I couldn’t help but think about girl’s ministry…(first, 2 of my small group girls were at the concert and they texted and called me plus I am kind of weird about girl’s ministry…I think about it a lot…call me a freak…if you want).

Anyway, about U2 and girl’s ministry…here’s what caught my attention:

1. People want to be where the action is…when we first got to the concert we easily found our place up front by the stage but as time got closer and the excitement of U2 coming out grew, people began to push and fight to get closer to the stage. We want to be where the action is…we want the best seats. As for girl’s ministry…if you have something (anything) happening just for girls…if there is action, there will be girls. If you build a program for them…they will come. Create a specific ministry to girls and watch it grow.

2. Girls care about caring. Part of what U2 does is raise awareness about issues…ONE, Red Campaign, Amnesty International. This year they focused some time on Amnesty International and they had some of of Amnesty’s volunteers/staff walk out during a song holding lights. I couldn’t help but notice that a majority of those volunteers were girls/woman. Girls want to care about something…and if we don’t point them to something bigger, something important than they will care about silly little things that don’t matter and create drama. Let’s point them to something bigger…kingdom living…because they want to care!!

I am sure there was more to learn…it was U2! Have you ever learned a lesson about ministry when you weren’t anywhere near a church? Tell me about it!


If you’ve already got the LIVE curriculum for your youth ministry small groups, here’s a sweet new batch of add-on packs you might want to consider for the 2011-2012 small group year. You can choose from LIVE Leadership or LIVE Book Studies. We’re adding both into HSM next year, I’m excited for you to check them out, too! If you’ve never considered LIVE, check it out here. It’s what we use in our high school ministry (and junior high, too) small groups and are super excited about it as we head into year 2.



Kurt Johnston —  June 6, 2011 — Leave a comment

Posted By Kurt Johnston


I really liked Doug Fields revealing blog post the other day about the students in his small group and pronography. Some good stuff over there, obviously up front is the stark reality that our boys are being drawn in by pornography almost universally. Here’s a clip, worth heading there for the whole context:

“I’m just going to assume all of you guys are struggling with porn. If you’re not…that’s great! But, I’m going to start with the assumption that it’s a struggle for everyone. Let me know if it’s not a struggle.”

Every 9th grade boy admitted that it was a struggle in some way. Several made commitments to get the accountability program (XXXchurch.com) installed on their computer. A few even listed me as their accountability partner. It’s an amazing resource.

Last week I got an alert email from XXXchurch.com regarding one of the guys in the group and the inappropriate sites he had been visiting. I forwarded this email to the boy and wrote, “It looks like Thursday was quite a difficult day for you. I’m praying for you right now. If I don’t see you at church on Sunday, let’s talk at small group on Wednesday. I know you can win this battle. I believe in you! I love you.”


Why You Shouldn't Fundraise

troy —  June 6, 2011 — 1 Comment

Missionaries fundraise. It’s a reality of life in our world today. To be released for ministry requires funding. Period. Most church planting boot-camps that I know of would suggest a certain dollar amount a planter should raise prior to starting. Mission organizations usually require a certain amount before someone moves overseas and at times before they even enter the training program. These organizations don’t want to negate people from taking steps of faith by raising support, they view it as a part of the faith process. And I would agree.

Many might suggest if you believe in what you are doing and that God is in it, you should ask people to support it. And I would say, yes, sometimes….maybe. But I also don’t think these convictions require you to seek funding.

I obviously believed in what I was doing when I was planting a church because I thought God was in it. But I didn’t meet with people and ask them to support us. I did ask our sending church to provide medical/dental benefits for one year, but I didn’t ask them for any money. The bottom line was because I felt like it was a step of faith God wanted me to take. Period. And if God calls you to the same you shouldn’t fundraise either. I wish more people considered this possibility.

I could literally leave it at that because that really is the only thing that determined my convictions on this issue. But, there were some other thoughts running through my head that I will share because they might play a role in your process. Here are some of those:

  1. I knew I didn’t want to have a conversation with God as I lay awake one night, wondering if the church existed because He was in it or simply because we still had funding to keep it going.
  2. I wanted the people involved in the church, from the beginning, to own it both through their time and financial support.
  3. I know planters that had a chunk of funding upfront, which led them to lose a sense of urgency. In other words, they didn’t have to do anything today because the funding was there for 3 or 5 years. I know myself well enough to know that I could’ve allowed this sense of comfort to lead to laziness.
  4. I knew of planters that ended up spending money carelessly simply because they had it. It’s not that I thought I would fall into the same tendency. But it was something that made me think a bit.
  5. I knew I couldn’t do anything apart from God’s hand, but we also have to work hard. And there is something to just having to make it work that serves as a motivator.

I will say that I know planters that have raised support and stayed motivated, viewed it as a sign that God was in it, that never lost a sense of urgency and that people came behind the ministry with their time and financial support. I would say that’s part of the fun. God does different things through different people at different times. BUT, more people should consider the possibility that God might be calling them to do something without fundraising and having a chunk in the bank. Far too many people think that is the only way to go about it and it is the wise thing to do. That’s clearly not the case.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been posting the results of a significant survey of over 8,000 new members joining Saddleback Church. The results have been interesting – for the first time there’s real evidence of why people attend church and what is most important to people who are considering joining your organization. Here are links to the results of the survey, each with a little commentary:

#10 – Special Events and Activities
#9 – Location Near Our Home
#8 – Missions
#7 – Different Styles of Worship
#6 – Small Groups and Discipleship Classes
#5 – Pastoral Care
#4 – Children’s and Youth Ministry
#3 – Service Opportunities
#2 – Worship
#1 – Preaching and Teaching

So based on that research … I’ve created THE PERFECT CHURCH!

You walk in for the first time. Thankfully, the church was near your home so you slid into your seat just in time. You flip through the program and see a few upcoming events and are glad to see that the church is one small part of something that God is doing all around the world. Your husband sneaks in next to you, having dropped off the kids and sending your teenager on his way to youth group. “I’m impressed,” he says, “this place looks really great.” You fumble through a brochure that has the right buzzwords written on it but most importantly it is backed up by everything you’ve seen. “It IS great,” you think. Might be time to join a small group after you get settled in.

The service starts with an authentic and passionate music set, perfect to your taste. You smile thinking how this service seemed to be created just for you. The creativity and preparation for the services keeps you unsure of what’s next, but safe. One of the pastors speaks on a topic that is exactly what you were wrestling with that week. You laugh half the time, you knowingly nod a few times, you even tear up a little at the end.

You walk out to get the kids and say at the same time, “This place is perfect.”

So you join it. And it wouldn’t be perfect anymore.


Fun little video our team put together to promote HSM Summer Camp. Love it.


I’m doing this because it sounds like a cool idea. I’ve seen others share their reading list, like Oprah and um…others and always wanted to do it. The flipside to this idea is that 1) I’m no Oprah and 2) I’m a youth worker about to hit the road for June and July.

I’m gonna try anyway…because there are books on my? desk that I’m tired of moving from corner to corner and besides:? I need somethng to read on the plane-church van-bus-horse&buggy-train-car-subway, etc.

#1 The Indispensible Youth Pastor by Jeff Dunn-Rankin and Mark DeVries. I’ve actually started this one in May but counting it for summer. L.O.V.E it already.? http://search.simplyyouthministry.com/search?w=indispensible

#2? The Adolescent Journey by Amy Jacober. I know her, she sent it to me and so it goes on the list. But she is a WAY smart cookie. Go to IVP Books to check it out or read her bio at http://ymarchitects.com/712/amy-jacober/

#3 The Disconnect by Doug Franklin. A book about the relationships between yp’s and sp’s. How timely is that? http://search.simplyyouthministry.com/search?w=The+Disconnect

#4 Thriving Youth Ministries in Smaller Churches by me and Rick Chromey. I know this is stupid to put my own book on the list…but I haven’t read it since it was published and I need to so that I ensure I’m consistent. But it will hurt because its kinda like watching yourself on video tape.