The LAUNCH series video for our back to school series that started last week. Fun!


Weekend Teaching Series: LAUNCH (week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: You don’t want to hear it … but the school year is just around the corner so we’re gonna help you get prepared.

Understandable Message: This past weekend we kicked off our last series of summer called LAUNCH. It is a back to school series helping students refocus on what is most important as they head back to school. The summer interns asked if they could own their final weekend on staff and teach the message in 3 parts. They did a great job telling personal stories about successes and failures, as well as teaching through the story on Esther. At the end they had given each student a Popsicle stick and asked them to write a barrier/sin/problem/obstacle on it during the response music time at the end. Then students were directed to take their stick down to the cross at the front of the stage and break it in half as a symbol of God’s power to forgive sin and break down walls we put up. Good stuff.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played a couple of fun cell phone polls on the big screen, including “where do you shop for back to school clothes?” and “what intimidates you most about going back to school?” – both got a good response from students.

Music Playlist: Take It All, The Earth is Yours, One Pure and Holy Passion, One Thing Remains

Favorite Moment: Getting a chance to circle up with the summer interns on stage and pray over them was a great moment. We only allow home-grown students to come back as summer interns (although anyone can apply for a longer internship) so these three are special to us. Thanks Cory, Mariah and Hayward!

Up Next: LAUNCH (week 2 of 3)

Is Trust The Key?

 —  August 23, 2011 — 5 Comments

Posted by Kurt Johnston

I absolutely loved Scott’s last post! His post, and the comments relating to it really got me thinking. Specifically, about the nature/source of so many of our conflicts, misunderstandings and tensions with parents and even volunteers in our ministries.

I wonder if it boils down to two things…one we can change and one we can’t.

First, the one we can’t: the world is broken, people are broken and as a result, hurt people hurt people. Sin, and it’s ugly ramifications, isn’t going away.

Second, the one we can (or at least have a shot at): I wonder if the vast majority of tension in relationships comes from a LACK OF TRUST. Think about it:
- when I trust you, I assume the best in you.
- when I trust you, I know you wouldn’t purposely wrong me.
- when I trust you, I give you the benefit of the doubt.
- when I trust you I know you think things through.
- when I trust you, I know you want what’s best for my children.
- when I trust you, I can confront you in a healthy manner if needed.

I have had way more than my fair share of wacky, sad, hurtful and tension-
filled conversations with parents over the years. And the root of the reason the conversations went so haywire was (I am beginning to think) always either 1) the brokeness of people or 2)the lack of trust between people.

I know it’s dangerous to boil things as complex as human nature and relationships down to such simple solutions…but this seems to make sense to me.

Add to my thinking, adjust my thinking, share your thoughts.

Go ahead…I trust You!

First: thanks to Neely for asking me to blog…I love her book: 99 Things Every Girl Should Know. I didn’t read it for me. I read it for my ministry, for my family, and to increase my knowledge. As a lead pastor, and as a father of an incredible, athletic, academic eleven year old girl, and as the husband of an amazingly strong, intelligent woman, I can only describe my take on this new movement known as girls ministry with the word: THRILLED.
Is it really a new movement? You’d think that wouldn’t be the case, since girls have been around, you know, forever. Consider the traditional mindset: “reach the guys and the girls will come.”

Just finished up reading Dan Merchant’s 2008 book Lord, Save Us from Your Followers. I never saw the documentary that inspired the book – but thoroughly enjoyed the book. Basically it is the real-life story of one man who wore a controversial bumper sticker jumpsuit to stir up some great conversations among mainstream America. He talked to real people, and some of their reactions and his observations are really inspiring or convicting. Without a doubt Dan is striving for the clearest picture of what Jesus intended His followers to live, but is especially frustrated at how we (himself included) have managed to mess it all up. At times controversial, usually funny and without a doubt thought-provoking – especially one of the chapters near the end with a confessional booth at a gay PRIDE event where [twist!] Dan confessed his sins against homosexuals and asked for forgiveness. Wow.

The book has a couple of interviews which unfortunately broke up the flow of the book and a filler chapter detailing each of the bumper stickers on his original outfit, but all in all it is a good book to get you thinking. It sure did that for me!


…but it was so good, so I’m passing it on. Here’s some great post-summer questions from Kurt and Josh. By the way, your summer calendar for 2012 should be set by this September. I’ll tell you how next post.

  • What did we plan that was a success?
  • What surprised us that was totally awesome?
  • Where did we get blindsided?
  • Was there a good balance of evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and worship?
  • Did we lose/gain momentum at any time this summer?
  • What was an epic fail?
  • Where were the wins with parents?
  • Is there an event we need to move to a different place in the calendar?
  • Was the format of our website/Facebook/blog/printed calendar clear?
  • Was there enough promotion for our events? How could we make it better?
  • Is there a sacred cow we need to shoot?
  • Where were our leaders unprepared?
  • Are there opportunities to integrate our students into the church body we should consider next year?
  • What event should we never do again?
  • Were there any surprising turnouts in numbers?
  • Where did we communicate poorly?
  • In what circumstances did parents contact us?
  • Who is a key volunteer we need to circle back with now that summer is over?
  • Was it easy for parents to find out information/download forms/get a registration packet?
  • Were entry level – core students challenged this summer?
  • What was so great we need to consider making it an annual tradition?
  • Which volunteer was incredible and needs to be challenged to be a small group leader this school year?
  • What events seemed best to invite friends to?
  • Where did I as the leader have the most fun relationally hanging with students?
  • Where did we see the most decisions made for Christ?

Go to


Fat and Faith

 —  August 23, 2011 — Leave a comment

A recent article about girls and their fat talk got me thinking about how fat talk impacts faith.

Here’s a bit from the article- to read more go here:

A 2011 study published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly found that an “overwhelming majority of women”


 —  August 22, 2011 — Leave a comment

Yesterday was Sunday and it was a busy one around here.

I spoke in the High School service on conflict and how the early church handled it. We had fun and I believe that students walked around with real practical steps to resolve them in a godly way.

Also, headed to my hometown for a family reunion. So much to learn about yourself and ministry from family reunions.

For starters, even though we are all related doesn’t mean we are alike. In the same way, just because we all follow Jesus doesn’t mean we all look alike…right?

School starts soon and so do small groups…I can’t wait for both!