Posted by Kurt Johnston

- Today the big story is that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child out of wedlock about 10 years ago…apparently, his wife knew nothing of it until recently. Very sad. In other news, his newest movie is set to be released soon: “The Sperminator” (I wanted to tweet that earlier today, but my wife warned me not too….this may be a safer place for a bit like that!)

- Last Saturday, we hosted the “Understanding Your Teenager” seminar and received SPECTACULAR reviews by the parents who attended. Wayne Rice, who created the seminar, was our presenter…but I am sure the other folks who present would be equally awesome. It really was the best thing we have done for parents in a long, long time.

- The return of the SJH podcast is on the horizon! I am thinking through a few tweaks to the format to make the podcast as useful to viewers as possible. One of the things I would like to do is discuss user-submitted topics. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed on the podcast, would you please shoot me an email at

Last summer was incredible so this summer we’re hoping to build on what we learned and have another great break. Here is a little insight behind what HSM has planned for this summer. If you haven’t seen the calendar and list of events yet, you can check it out here:

All about relationships
The summer is all about hanging with students. We embrace the beauty of time off from school and the different pace around the church office. Summer = relational ministry goldmine.

Free, free, free
Summer camp is the signature event to kickoff the summer and the only one that costs money – after that every event is totally free. In the past we have had events that each charge admission, and over time these add up to frustrated parents and limiting participation.

Low prep time
The events on the summer calendar are meant to be low-prep time events. They are basically excuses to do relational ministry. Prep for Free Coke Friday? Grab some frisbees and a cooler of Gatorade. Done!

Regular recurring events
Want to remember the summer schedule? Every event happens 7 times this summer. 7 Midweeks, 7 Free Coke Fridays, 7 Bagels & Bibles. If you come to one, you can figure out the schedule for the summer. If you’re free on a Friday, you know what we’re up to that day.

Lots of Bible time
One of the big emphasis of our summer is plenty of time in the Word. One of the advantages of no small groups and no high school classes is that we have blocks of time and regular opportunities to pull off our own classes fr spiritual growth.

What should we try next summer that is working for you?


Been thinking about landing on an “official translation” that we always use in the High School Ministry at Saddleback Church. I love to use a variety of versions when I teach the Bible, but think there is some value in a consistency with students across the board. I know in some contexts, the question is absurd, but for us it is legitimate. I consistently use the New Living Translation, how about you? Let me know in the comments after you vote!


Looking for a youth ministry position? Is your church looking for a youth pastor? Simply Youth Ministry has just launched their Youth Ministry Jobs site – might be a great place to start! Excited about the potential of this new tool …


Enjoyed some video gaming this month in a diversion from the extremes of youth ministry – our Xbox 360 Gamerscore crossed 49,000 last night, in part to Hard Corps Uprising (sequel to Contra, A-), Limbo (cinematic arcade game, A+), Portal 2 (hilarious puzzle game, A+) and Crysis 2 (awesome shooter, A+). Incredible games, some of the best I’ve ever played!


They say writers should stick to writing what they know. For me, that’s usually about small church youth ministry. Today its all things ICU and child #7. Nurses just went running as ears simulateously registered the words, “Code Blue ICU8.”? Three doors down from where I sit with my daughter, who is on day 5 of her ICU stay, a? life is ending. I’m not? allowed to leave? room #11? because of the “situation.” I have no idea who the person is, but my first response is the? reliable one. Find Jesus.

#7 is having some disorientation. She’s not? sure what day it is and keeps bringing up subjects that will, in the near future,? come back to haunt her when she’s? better and sitting back at our kitchen table. I’ll? be sure to remind her about when? she asked? the nurse when her? pupu platter? would arrive. Or how? she sat? straight up, called? out, “Well, happy birthday to me!” and? laid back down.? (Her birthday is in October.)

What I don’t think was hallucination or disorientation was her query, “Mom, who’s the man sitting over there?” We’d had a rough night so far. Monica couldn’t sleep and kept trying to get out of bed, which she’s not allowed to do.? I resorted to? a trick I’d used on her dad a few years? after his? major back surgery. I played music; a? special mix of Bebo Norman, Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me,? Amy Grant,? and other songs from? bands who have recorded hope for people like you and me.? “We pour out our misery; God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are;? the honest cries of breaking hearts…are better than a hallelujah.”

Later on, ? the day nurse told me the night nurse had overheard #7′s question and passed it on? as “patient hallucinating.”? I don’t agree.? I think it was Jesus. I couldn’t see him…but Monica could -? on a plane? maybe only the sick can access.

Is Jesus here in ICU? Definitely. Nursing staff? on this floor bring him to work every day. He was also wheeled in? with my daughter.? Oh yes, as long as the redeemed are here, so is Jesus.

Stephanie – #7′s mom.

Fun video this weekend in HSM introducing a newer staff member to our students. Ive got a feeling that HSM Talks is going to be a regular part of our services for a while. Ha!


my own heart

 —  May 16, 2011 — Leave a comment

Today is one of those days where what seems to matter most is the condition of my own heart.

Because my own heart will impact my ministry EVERYTHING.

How I see the people I work with, the girls in my ministry, parents, fellow youth workers, my kids, my husband, my community…

My own heart.

Lord, work on my heart today that I may be aware of who you are in my life…not for the sake of my ministry to others but your ministry to me.