I reviewed The Almighty Bible last week – they’ve given 3 copies of it to MTDB to giveaway! Sweetness. The first 100 commenters are eligible – I’ve picked out 3 numbers at random between 1-100, so enter by leaving a comment and if you win they’ll ship it to your door!


Can’t afford to take your volunteers to a conference this year? Looking for some youth worker training during the Christmas slowdown or to kickoff the New Year? Lots of great options on sale this week at Simply Youth Ministry. Check them out now!


Weekend Teaching Series: The Landing (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: God is big enough for your hurts, hangups and addictions.
Service Length: 67 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend the message was taught by 9 people sharing their testimonies – 3 students on video and 5 students live and then Johnny Baker, co-author and founder of The Landing (Saddleback Church’s new Celebrate Recovery program designed for students). amazing stories of life change through God’s Spirit and Christian community.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We opened with a simple video promoting the landing using the iPod Touch game Flight Control but other than that – the service was really straightforward. Lots of student greeters, lots of warmth, but not a ton of opening elements of fun. We had a huge killball event planned for after the service, so the style of service was more “we’re gonna have tons of fun in a minute” but for not let’s focus on some big-time God stuff.

Music Playlist: Salvation is Here, Overcome, Beautiful Things, You Hold Me Now

Favorite Moment: For some reason, I really needed this weekend. The student stories really encouraged and inspired me personally. Refreshing and awesome services.

Up Next: I <3 Christmas (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

The Landing is a recovery program for students in crisis. Get more details here!

A video we used to tell the stories of 3 students this this weekend in HSM’s services. Love celebrating he amazing changed life through Christ! What is The Landing? Glad you asked – details here.


(This is a partial repost from “Advent Awesomeness” at www.gripofgrace.com by my dear friend, Jana Snyder)

Festival of Lights – that just sounds like a fun title, doesn’t it? I love white Christmas lights – some may think they’re boring but for me – the white ones are my favorite. I don’t think my neighbors agree since they are all about the colored ones. That’s okay – we all have our own preferences.

Anyway – I love Christmas for so many reasons; one of my favorite is the lights. I think one of the best inventions was the icicle lights! Okay, and the bush covering lights! And the hanging star lights! Guess I am just a sucker for lights.

Take some time with your family-small group-youth kids and do your own little festival of lights tour. Drive around your community and look at the lights. It will be a fun activity, but also who knows it may even become a family Advent tradition! Play Christmas music in car while you enjoy your little Festival of Lights Tour.

From Stephanie: Kick it up a notch and give a “thank you” and an “invitation to Christmas Eve Worship” to each house’s family. The thanks will be greatly appreciated by the people who worked so hard to set it all up.


1. Fatigue can result in poor leadership decisions. This season, get some rest!

2. The nagging feeling that we may have given up too early on that one high maintenance kid.

3. Overload leads to taking short cuts and doing what’s easy rather than doing what is best (or right).

4. Sometimes we’re tempted to skim in our spiritual lives since people really don’t know if we skip our personal devotions.

5. We can take criticism personally and use it as a club to beat our self up.

6. We believe the lie that our ministry is the most important one in the church. We become territorial and build high walls around youth ministry within the church.

7. Insecurities and fears feed one another until they’re consuming. While cocooned, we rest on our laurels, refuse to take risks, and become satisfied with the way things are.

8. Our drive to be faithful and grow the ministry can move us from honest persuasion to manipulation.

9. We feel like unsung heroes, wallow in self pity, and then feel guilty for having a need to be affirmed.

Begin the NEW YEAR with a FRESH START and accept
God’s invitation to a great life.


10. We get confused or indignant when other leaders seem to love the ministry as much as we do.

11. We let success feed the self-deception that says, “I did this on my own power…or…I can do this on my own power.”

12. The pressure to perform and please others distracts us from trusting God.

Christmas is a great time to step back and remember the important things in life: God’s love for us is unchanging, uncompromising, and unconditional. He loves our students more than we do and is working within to draw us closer

POLL: Christmas Bonus?

 —  December 4, 2010 — 8 Comments

Are you getting a Christmas bonus this year from your church? Vote in this week’s poll! As for me … no bonuses at Saddleback. In previous places of ministry, the Christmas bonus/offering was an unexpected and wonderful gift. How about for you?


I am still somewhat new at this whole being a Youth Pastor thing and because of that I am still learning as I go about some of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what its all about. One thing that has been on my heart is providing places and spaces for students to invite their pre-Christian friends to. But I found on at least a few occasions, I was ill prepared to reap the harvest and likely missed a great opportunity. A great example would be our Flashmob event that we held last spring, the students hyped it, we planned for everything, they brought their friends, in fact we saw a nearly 50% increase in students at the event, but I was not prepared to handle that. In light of this, here are a few things I am wrestling with:

Make it manageable: We only get one chance to make a first impression, and if someone is an invited guest in the Church, I would like to make that experience the best I can. If we host an outreach event with many new students, there is a chance they could not be personally welcomed, they might feel awkward and this could be the last time they set foot in the door. Our Flashmob event taught me a great lesson that I need to take an active role in greeting those new students so that they do feel welcomed. If you plan and event so that students can bring 10 friends each to, and they do, you might be doing more harm than good.

Unleash your leaders: If you don’t have a welcome and greeting team, you need one! This is the best way to meet students when you cannot do it themselves. This is one of the most important front line ministries; they are the friendly face of the Youth Group. Our greeting team has a ’20 questions’ form they hand out with questions ranging from contact info, to Bieber or Timberlake to Pancakes or Waffles. These questions are quite strategic in quickly finding if they are from a Christian home, if they are skater kid or a “Lightsaber kid” with apologies to Josh, these are the pseudo dorky 8-10th grade boys that grab the coat rack and pretend it’s a Lightsaber. The purpose is to find a small group that they will thrive and make meaningful connections with students with similar interests. On the first night they are there, they will meet at least 3 core students, their new small group leader and myself.

Learn their name: There is nothing more valuable that learning a student’s name, it says to them that they belong and that they are memorable. All that contact information we get from outreach events is entered into our database; they are added on Facebook that night, invited into our student ministry FB group and added to our SMS blasts each week. Once they accept a friend request, we print a copy of their Facebook profile pic, put in on the wall in my office and the next time I see that student, at their school or at Youth, you better believe I will do everything I can to remember their name.

Planning an event is easy, engaging, welcoming and retaining the student influx of students is the difficult part, it takes teamwork, intentionality, hard work and diligence. Otherwise, these events will be attendance spikes that will have little long-term value. If your objective is for big numbers at one off events that is one thing, but if your goal is creating more disciples, be prepared that when you cast your net, it might come back full.

Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. You can, too! See how right here.