My Xbox 360 should be very happy – after just posting that we hit the 37,000 mark we jumped 7 days later to 38,054. Spent some quality time with HALO: Reach (A+), Terminator: Salvation (B-) and GI Joe: Rise of Cobra (B-). And if you think I’m addicted … how awesome is this goal?


Changes In Evangelism

 —  September 21, 2010 — 1 Comment

I’ve noticed a huge change when it comes to evangelism. For the sake of space (and your time) I’m going to probably make this a little more simplistic than it actually might be by generalizing. But over the years people have generally viewed evangelism as:

  1. Inviting people to church or a ministry.
  2. Verbally presenting the gospel message and giving an invitation for the person to accept it.

Both of these are good and I’d suggest #2 is necessary. And I might add that we’ve probably over valued #1 to a certain degree (that’s probably a topic for another blog post though). But I have to say, I’ve noticed a change in what’s effective. This change doesn’t negate either of the above, but the approach to evangelism can be quite different.

Traditionally we have sought to convert someone AND THEN give them a sense of belonging in the Church (or ministry). But more often than not I’ve found it even more effective to flip this approach. We are seeing people come to faith by first giving them a sense of belonging in the Church (meaning relationships with multiple Christians and doing so off the church campus or outside of an event) and then people coming to saving faith after already having a sense of belonging in the Church.

In my church we have structured in such a way that provides environments for this approach. And it’s taken some time to work out – making sure we avoid “bait and switch” environments, keeping everyone focused outward, making sure we don’t lose a Christ-centered focus in anything we do, ….things of this nature. But one thing is certain: it’s pushing us to avoid being a part of the horrifying statistic that shows after 2 years Christians don’t have any more close relationships with non-Christians.

Have you noticed this change in what’s effective in evangelism? If so, how have you adjusted your ministry model to fit this? What kind of environments do you create for growing relational connections with non-Christians?

The latest episode of the Simply Youth Ministry podcast. Enjoy!


Weekend Teaching Series: Happily Ever After: (series premiere, week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Happily Ever After may be a fairy tale … but you can find and fight for true love that lasts a lifetime by following God’s ways.
Service Length: 74 minutes
Main passage: 1 John 4

Understandable Message: This weekend was the kickoff of our relationships series by talking about the possibility of having a marriage that goes the distance if you choose to love like Jesus asks us to. The message included a clear presentation of the Gospel, and challenged students to think about their future now, and become the type of person who is attractive from the inside out now rather than having to deal with the ghosts of relationship past by not forward-thinking. Couple stronger elements in the talk – I showed the picture of a recent couple (who came through the church) who got married and asked if they really had a shot at happiness or really had a 50/50 shot of making it. I asked students to fast forward to the moment on their honeymoon when this picture would be taken, and think about how to get there God’s way. In another section I used a Jenga game to show how dishonesty and breaking someone’s trust crumbles the foundation and can leave a relationship teetering or falling apart.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We played “Who Wants to be a Fraction of a Millionaire: sponsored by McDonalds” where student contestants could win $5 Arch Cards for correct answers. Each of the questions had to do with some sort of love story, fairy tale or connection to the theme of the series. We also had some fun introducing Chris Wohlers as a new member of the HSM team.

Music Playlist: Just the Way You Are [Bruno Mars cover], The Earth is Yours, Savior of the World, You’ll Come, Yours Forever

Favorite Moment: The funniest part of me was during the 2nd Saturday night service, I was pulling out Jenga blocks one by one hoping to demonstrate how relationships are fragile and how sin destroys them at the foundation. I pulled a few blocks 1 …2… 3 …4 … then more and more and more! 15 … 16 … 17 … and the stupid thing wouldn’t fall! Felt like I played the perfect game of Jenga in front of a ton of students when I really wanted it to teeter and fall. Finally just punched it over with my hand all over the stage to a roar from the teens. Amazing.

Up Next: Happily Ever After (week 2 of 3]

Here’s the Happily Ever After bumper video for our new series that started this weekend.


Episode 139

 —  September 21, 2010 — Leave a comment

coming soon.

Chris Wohlers was added to the HSM team this week – we’ve been praying for the right new addition to the team and he’s the man! Chris grew up in the church, Saddleback’s High School Ministry, and was a small group leader already. He will be helping out primarily developing the weekend entry-level service and continuing to grow the area of spiritual growth. Yeah!


Matt and Steven have been doing a good series of posts from the youth ministry volunteer perspective over on Volunteer Youth Ministry. Here’s the 2nd one in their series of 10 upcoming posts, this one focusing on the importance of volunteers attending an adult service. Good stuff from a rookie and veteran volunteer. Here’s a clip, head there for it all:

I really love serving in Student Ministry. I love the feeling I get when I interact with students, and I love being able to talk a student through a problem. I love seeing a student who came in with a sad face and something heavy on his heart, leave the service with a smile on his face because God worked through me to help a student work out his problem. I’d love to be able to serve at all four of our high school services each week, but I also know I can’t serve and really worship at the same time. I can pray, I can get students excited about worshiping, I can praise God, I can sing Hosanna with the best of them, but it’s not the same as attending a worship service where I am totally focused on God.

Attending worship service can make even my worst day a good one. I feel re-energized and revived and ready to serve God because I strengthened my connection to Him. I’ll pick up tidbits from worship that I’ll use in next week’s high school small group lesson. I can feel a difference when I connect with God through worship every week. Here’s the other thing….parents of my small group students often see me in worship each week.