It’s that time a year when we roll out 40% off a ton of resources for 40 hours. It’s a great time to stock up and save on some of our best resources. There are student books, parent books, curriculum, bible studies, and games. I think you’ll find something that can help your ministry.

It’s that time of year again, youth workers! Simply Youth Ministry is discounting a ton of stuff for the next 40 hours from their online store. Incredible deals – be sure to grab your 40 free backgrounds then stock up on resources for this summer and next year. This is it!


This might be one of the funniest/best promo cards we’ve done in HSM. Love it … steal the idea for your summer camp if you want, I’m sure Parker would be OK with it.


Weekend Teaching Series: Baptism (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence:
Baptism is a step of obedience for believers and is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurection and how He washes away our sins.
Service Length: 50 minutes + baptisms after each service

Understandable Message: This weekend we focused on the 2nd step in the basics of faith: baptism. I talked plainly about the who, what, why and when of baptism, using a few personal stories to illustrate it. We planned a shorter service so the students could go right out to the baptismal and watch a few students be baptized right there. We had online signups through the week, so we had a few students lined up ahead of time, and also made it available for everyone during the service as well. We provided shorts, shirt and a towel – we just asked them to get clearance from their parents – better yet invite them down to be a part of it. Really unique weekend, hopefully a good balance of heart, stories and Biblical authority on baptism.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we had another edition of HSM Talks where the host Chris interviews our new summer interns. It was awkward and fun – kinda painful to watch – which means it was perfect. We also took the summer interns on stage and had them do the announcements – trial by fire since it was their first week. We had a good number of student greeters and students also ran the sound, control room and cameras.

Music Playlist: I Whip My Hair, Be Thou My Vision, Our God

Favorite Moment: Without a doubt the best moment was going outside and doing the baptisms we just learned about. Students cheered for their friends and family took tons of pictures. Each one had a story – a very powerful moment. Love it.

Up Next: Senior Weekend

If you give students responsibilities within your youth ministry, sooner or later they will mess up. Not because they’re incompetent or irresponsible, but because they’re students and therefore only human. How you handle their mistakes can have an enormous impact on them. Here’s seven golden rules to keep in mind when your students mess up:

1. Confront them right away
If they have made a mistake, don’t delay in telling them. Pull them aside and confront them as soon as possible. Usually, they’ll know they have messed up and the agonizing wait for you (or any leader) to say something can be a huge stress factor for them.

2. Be specific
Be sure to tell them what they did wrong and be specific. Don’t leave it at vague stuff like ‘you should have organized the service better’, but name the facts: ‘you forgot to inform the worship leader of the changes in the service’. Check if they have understood what they did wrong.

This may seem like a total superfluous thing to you, but often people ‘close off’ once they know they’re going to get ‘reprimanded’ and they can remember completely different things from a conversation than what you were trying to get across. Add in the factor of students reacting emotionally to emotional stress and you can have a drama on your hands (‘he said I was a total failure and I completely suck at organizing’). So do make sure they understood you correctly.

3. Show the big picture
It’s important that they know what the consequences of their actions are, so give them the big picture. Hoe has their mistake affected the youth ministry? Not to make them feel guilty, but to make them aware. And there’s a huge difference!

4. Affirm them
After you’ve told them what they did wrong, do not forget to take the time to affirm them. Tell them how much you value their efforts, their time and hard work. Don’t say this because you feel you have to, say it like you mean it.

5. Keep it short
Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of negative feedback, so keep it short. This whole conversation doesn’t need to take more than say a minute or two.

6. Forgive them and trust them again
The most important thing for you after you’ve had this conversation is to forgive them and start trusting them again. This can be hard, especially if they messed up big time. But students need to know and feel that there’s room for mistakes, that they get second, third and even fourth chances.

7. Protect them
If possible, protect your students after they’ve made a mistake. While it’s perfectly okay to make a mistake, don’t underestimate what shame can do to students. Protecting them by not revealing their role can give them the courage to try again without losing face. I’ve more than once taken the blame for something others did and I never regretted it. I could take the criticism, they couldn’t.

A couple of years ago, two of my student leaders messed up big time when organizing an event. They signed a contract with a company without my knowledge or permission and it ended costing us about $1000. But years later, these guys came to me to thank me for how I’d handled this. Nobody ever knew what had happened and they had kept serving in youth ministry, both having learned a lot from their mistakes. My trust in them had meant the world to them and had given them the confidence to keep growing as a leader.

How do you handle it when your students mess up?

Rachel Blom is a Dutch youth ministry veteran, now living in southern Germany, who is focused on training youth leaders worldwide to grow in their roles through You can also find her on Twitter via @youthleadersac

Posted by Kurt Johnston

- Not long ago, our junior high ministry taught a three-week series called “Flipped”. We looked at the way in which Jesus Christ continuously flipped the normal thinking of our culture and presented the exact opposite as the best way to live/think. If interested, it’s available at Simply Junior High.

- Do you work with middle school students? If so, you really do need to consider joining us at the first ever Middle School Ministry Campference! It is one of the more unique, creative conference(ish) ideas I have ever been a part of. Check it out here.

- Heather Flies posted on this blog! Hooray! Heather is an amazingly gifted junior high pastor, and one of the sharpest leaders and thinkers I know. Because of what she brings to the table, I’m hoping (no pressure, Heather) that she will add her thoughts to this blog on a somewhat regular basis. AND…she is joining us at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this year!

- The youth ministry world (which is really a very small little world, isn’t it.) was abuzz yesterday. I’m really excited for Doug Fields, YS and their new relationship. And equally (okay, maybe just a little more) excited to see how the future unfolds for the crew at Simply Youth Ministry. Good stuff ahead for both organizations, I’m sure.

- Saw X-men….liked it. Saw the Mavericks beat the Heat….LOVED it.

- Today, for the first time, I tried stand-up paddle boarding. Three of us went to the Dana Point harbor and paddled about 1.5 miles around an island. Not a thrilling, adrenaline enducing sport, but very fun. I will certainly do more of it.

Great idea from one of our HSM Life Group Leaders over on his blog – he has an awesome take on how to thank host homes for opening up their home for the small group year. Good, good stuff – here’s some, more if you follow the link:

Here’s where the title of this post comes in. We used our host home for several years. During that time, I estimate hundreds of students have attended small group there. All of us have made connections with God there and had our lives improved in various ways.

In a scene kind of like the last scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, we wanted to communicate all of the great things that happened as a result of the generously opened home during the years we met there. One of our leaders, Sarah, the one who’s ditching us to move to Sacramento, (hi, Sarah — she reads this blog) — Sarah put together a great photo album/scrap book. On each page a student wrote a note to the home owners. Each note started with, “In your home, I…” and they continued writing how their lives were enhanced through their small group experience there.


Here’s a new event coming from Rick Warren and Saddleback Church late summer 2011. If you’re from not too far away, come hang out!

An Annual Gathering of College Students and Young Adults

Join us as local college ministries from churches all over Southern California unite for a unique three-day outdoor festival experience. Camp at our beautiful Rancho Capistrano campus and experience the heart of God through the arts, music, workshops, serving, and prayer experiences. As one body, our desire for this weekend is to see a generation of hearts be mobilized by God’s power to do something about the millions in our country and around the world that suffer because of spiritual emptiness, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, corrupt leaders and a lack of education. Join Pastor Rick Warren, worship artist Phil Wickham, and additional speakers (Pete Wilson) and artists (Josh Fox) as our generation rises up to take their place and respond to God’s call to love those who the world has forgotten.

For more details or registration information on the Radicalis Festival, email