A couple weeks ago we noticed we were closing in on a significant milestone of friends on our student ministry’s Facebook page. We decided to give social media a little intentional push during announcements and also to hold a giveaway to one of the new friends as we went over the goal. Don’t be distracted by the number of friends – what’s the point here?

  • Set a goal - 3 months ago we had 1/3rd this number of friends. The goal made a huge difference.
  • Make your Facebook page worth visiting – mobile uploads are your friend. Score a volunteer to oversee updating of pictures and statuses. I would guess most people will visit your Facebook page before visiting in person.
  • Pictures speak volumes - a picture is worth a thousand words. Get some pictures of students having a great time at youth group online.
  • Give to get – yes, the iPod giveaway idea cost us, but gave us an open door of communication with a much larger group of students than we had last week.

Grow your Facebook influence and it will help grow your youth group.


This post from last week got a fair amount of traffic/energy from some youth workers, so thought I would base this week’s poll on the same question: if you weren’t a youth worker at your current church, would you attend there?


Youth Trip Volunteers, I hope this catches you before you head out.

Youth Group Travel Season has begun across America. For a small church, a summer youth trip is a BIG deal for everyone. Everyone pitches in with fundraisers and scholarship. Tools and coolers were gathered from far and wide. Since there’s no church bus, luggage rack rentals abound…and you’re off.

I’m right there with ya. I’ve already got one trip down and three more mission trips to go myself. One summer, I? had 6 trips in a 10 week season. (Don’t do that, btw.) About 5 years ago, I did 5 mission trips in one summer. (Don’t do that, either.)

Here are my best “Youth Trip Volunteer” tips for maximixing and minimizing your efforts while on your? trip:

1) If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Grow up.

2) Just like parenting, the adults have to align together.

3) Give the youth leader a break. He/she is just as tired as you are.

4) Enforce the Lights Out rule. A tired team is a useless team.

5) Sleep across the doorway. Trust me on this one.

6) If you loan money, you won’t get it back.

7) Don’t be a “freak-out” adult!

8) Don’t expect kids to do what you’re not doing. So…sit with them, sing, do the motions, buckle up, throw away garbage, have quiet time, keep to the schedule, don’t gossip, obey the trip guidelines, put away the cigs, etc.

9) Dress appropriately.

10) PRAY!!!!!!!

Anyone have? any more to add?


Posted By Kurt Johnston

Check out this massive sale over at Simply Youth Ministry. If you have any budget money left, it might be perfect timing to stock up on tons of resources for the fall!

Have you seen this magnet that was sold at Forever 21?

Funny, right? (Please read the sarcasm). There are so many things wrong with this little magnet. Can we confuse girls even more? At times, it can be overwhelming…so many mixed messages in media, at school and at the mall. Which is why I think girl specific ministry and messages are so important in youth ministry. If we miss talking about these messages and about the counter message from the Gospel than we are missing out on a huge part of what the church should be doing to help young girls. I firmly believe that the enemy is stoked when we ignore the specific needs of girls in our ministries- it makes his job of lying to them even easier!

Do you have a specific ministry to girls at your church? What about specific messages that relate to girl issues in your ministry?

What resources do you need so that you can encourage the girls in your ministry??

I’m pretty sure that baptisms are my favorite part of doing ministry. This weekend we talked about the who, what, why and when of baptism, with live baptisms after each service. So much fun and so powerful. The video (above) is of one of our seniors, Shane, getting baptized after the service. Love the small group moment at the end, too.

Here’s an excerpt from a note he left on my Facebook wall, too:

“my main man at the big S.C. haha thanks for baptizing me. it was kinda a leap of faith because i wasn’t planing on getting baptized until you said everyone come u who wants to be baptized. but i just knew it was the right time. and going first was no easy way to help my nervousness. hahah :) i was freaking out. i am gonna miss you next year buddy.


Funny new video this week featuring our Summer interns. HSM Talks …


For years I’ve looked forward to the day that my sons would be involved in my ministry with great anticipation. What I didn’t expect to happen was the onset of puberty to make MY kid crazy. I’ve told many parents over the last 12 years that the swings in mood, growth and friction are perfectly normal. The words rolled off my tounge so easy. I’m afraid I even walked away from some of those conversations actually thinking I helped- #sigh #gasp

Now I’m looking a milestone dead in the eyes this summer. My son will be at the camp I’m speaking at-as a CAMPER. As the dates have drawn closer I can honestly say I’m sweating it a bit. My youngest brother and sister will also be jr high attending campers. My parents were divorced when I was young. Mom remarried and had two great kids. She told us they were pregnant with their first on our wedding day. When My wife and I were blessed with our first my mother and wife were both pregnant at the same time with boys. Many of the stories that surface as I speak with kids deal with my difficult Jr high years and my parents divorce. Both my mother and wife have been questioning me about my talks this summer at camp. The uniqueness of this situation has pushed me to think differently on some things.

As I’ve been kicking around thoughts as a parent of kids going to camp I’m challenging myself on many thoughts I used to have as professional :) camp staffer. So, as I’mexperiencing a middle school kid living in my houseI’m mulling a few things over that I’m not done processing yet but would love to throw out there. Here ya go!

Nothing is more encouraging than positive feedback on my kid from another adult in their lives.

You can do amazing things for me and I’ll be grateful, if you do the smallest thing to show interest in my kid I’ll NEVER forget the genuine effort!

As a parent I’m confronted with the reality that: We are scared. We don’t want to mess our kids up and we second guess ourselves constantly. We know we are not supposed to parent out of reaction to our up bringing or other outside factors, but sometimes we do anyway.

Encourage parents to shoot for QUANITY time not quality time. Planned quality time seems to blow up in our faces. Things rarely go as planned. Choose QUANITY, chances are, some of it will be quality.

This summer, have fun! But please challenge my kid, they might be in to more stuff and deeper stuff than we want to admit.

If you are working with middle school kids and don’t have kids of your own, don’t feel unequipped or without the necessary tools to make HUGE impact. Be mindful of some of these emotions parents are wrestling through and take them seriously.