Kurt Johnston and Jason Pogue discuss kicking off a new year of small groups. ;

It was recently released from the Department of Justice that 25 percent of women who attend college for 4 years will be victims of rape or attempted rape.
See the full story here.

If we aren’t sure about talking with students about this topic (is it the church’s job? tough answer for another blog post!)- than at least we should be directing their parents to the appropriate places for information!

I couldn’t be more excited – my latest book with Doug Fields is here!

99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders is now available for pre-order from Simply Youth Ministry. Super proud of this one – we took some serious time creating what we hope is an insightful, helpful and practical book for you and your volunteers. I’ve included close to 150 thoughts in the book, and some additional content from voices in our small group community. Good discounts if you order 10+ – ships September 29th. Yeah!


A little promo video for our new Shake It! student greeting ministry. Silly fun.


Is this work?

 —  September 5, 2010 — Leave a comment

Those of us in youth ministry often get asked, “What’s it like playing with teenagers all day long?” Some times the question is said with a smile and a joke. Other times it’s said with a little bit of bite. The way it’s said it hurts a little bit.

But isn’t there just a little truth to the question. Wait, don’t delete this post… Let me finish. For so many of us our “work” with youth is a calling. It’s our life. It’s so much more than a job. We know it’s not “playing” but it’s also not like filling out paperwork or building a house or working on an assembling line. We really enjoy what we do. We smile way more than we frown. We laugh about our work way more than we complain. Working with teenagers is actually a lot of fun.

There are times, though, when it is work. There are times when it almost doesn’t feel worth it. But how often?

This Labor Day I pray God give you a relaxing break and you can get back to you ministry this week re-energized to serve those God has given you.

Poll question for the full-time youth workers out there – how many days do you take off a week? In my ministry context, we get Mondays. Curious about your schedule.


Weekend Teaching Series: LAUNCH: Ready for Re-Entry (week 4 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Launching into a successful school year requires dedication, investment and using the gifts God has given you for Him.
Service Length: 79 minutes
Main passage: Luke 5:1-11

Understandable Message: This week we had the final summer guest speaker teach our entry-level program. David Hughes grew up in the ministry and has become a long-time volunteer and most recently a seminary student. He did a great job introducing himself to our students and challenging them to follow Jesus’ call on their life. He focused on Jesus calling the disciples, causes their boats to overflow with fish and them leaving everything to follow Him. In some ways our lives become a cycle of faithfulness – God entrusts us with more, and we find joy when we use everything in our lives for God.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a text poll from polleverywhere.com as well as a simple Race This! game featuring Spaceships – we divided up the crowd into 3 sections and the winning section got a candy shower. We haven’t used Race This! much in high school, but it definitely worked with the crowd and tied in nicely to the theme. We sprinkled in a few announcements and a fun video promoting the Shake It! greeting ministry, too.

Music Playlist: My Heart (Paramore cover), Awesome God, The Stand

Favorite Moment: This was a bittersweet weekend – we said goodbye to a couple of great members of our HSM team. Becka finished up her 2-year internship this week and has been an absolute star the whole time. Robby was asked by Pastor Rick to head up a new campus in Huntington Beach that will launch this Christmas. VERY proud of both of them, and VERY hard to see them go. Shoot.

Up Next: LAUNCH series finale [Fall Back to School Kickoff]

Just finished up reading Kurt Johnston and Tim Levert’s new book, The 9 Best Practices for Youth Ministry. This is the first book that Kurt (full disclosure – he’s my boss at Saddleback!) has written for youth ministry in general, not just something junior high specific. The best practices are based on the Exemplary Youth Ministry Study and made practical by the authors from their 30 years of youth ministry experience and observations of youth workers and churches across the country.

The book was good – ranged in content from familiar to very fresh – my favorites were Chapter 5 (Increase the Congregation’s Appreciation of Students) and Chapter 7 (Develop Confident, Competent and Committed Leaders). I learned some great principles to help communicate the wins to the church as a whole and was reminded to intertwine the youth ministry as part of the entire church. I also really appreciated the chapter on the TILT model of volunteer placement within a specific area of ministry.

Good stuff on a whole lot of fronts – probably one of the must-read youth ministry books of 2010.