Here’s the digital copy of the new Simply Youth Ministry Conference brochure, hitting youth workers this week. SO excited to once again join the youth ministry team helping with this event. We’ve got some great stuff planned – I hope you’ll join us in Chicago this March!


No, silly – I don’t mean the people who raised you. (Though your mother called and wants you to check in more often.) I mean – have you chatted? with the parents of your students?? Have you found some way for them to connect to the ministry? Have you plugged them into a piece of the to-do? puzzle? Gee! What are you waiting for? You know you don’t like doing the Sam’s Club shopping!

Its mid-September and your window of involving parents in your ministry is? about to slam shut. You know that scene in Independence Day where Will Smith is flying the alien space craft out of the Mother Ship and it almost closes on them?? Yeah, its kinda like that.

Its a new school year for parents, too. They are looking to commit to 1-2 things and if you don’t grab them, some other organization will. Here are a few possible roles:

Bulletin Board Artist (Necessary but not my gift.)

Website Geek (Don’t worry; they already know you’re going to ask.)

Sam’s Club Shopper (I can’t bear the thought of going in there.)

YP’s Office Organizer (Believe me, you’ve got a few OCD parents DYING to do this.)

Game Equipment Guru (Yuck! Somebody’s gotta sharpen the pool cue thingy’s and wipe the puke off the twirl and hurl bat.)

Driver Designator (Lines up all your drivers for events. Usually waiting in a school line when doing it.)

Happy Hannah Hallmark Helper (This is totally me. I love sending cards)

Oriental Trading Co? (This person knows OTC and how to order!)

Off the top of my head. Now get to those phone calls and start asking people. No, you can’t text them to recruit; texting can begin once they’ve said they’d do it. Call you folks first, tho.


Love Thy Volunteers

 —  September 16, 2010 — Leave a comment

A brand new blog was launched this past week – Ryanne Witt from the HSM team is stepping into a larger leadership role and one of the steps I’ve asked her to take was to share her brilliance and insight on her blog. I think you’ll love her thoughts posted a couple times a week on Love Thy Volunteers. Her 3 posts so far are great – make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss anything. Here’s a clip from a post called Worth Keeping:

I have a folder in my inbox titled “Worth Keeping”.
In order for an email to be placed in here it has to meet one of two criteria:

  • Encouraging – especially directly to me.
  • Makes me laugh – especially an inside joke or something only I would get.


We can’t wait for our conference this year. Things are really coming together for it. Our brochure is getting ready to be printed and mailed out, but I wanted to share it with you guys first.

For more information on the conference visit our website:
See you in Chicago!

This weekend we gave every students a little “back to school” gift bag as they were leaving services. We wanted to put some fun stuff in their hands and get them ready for the drudgery of returning to classes. The bag was super simple, and you could do it without costing a ton either.

Here’s what we put inside:

  • the latest HSM calendar
  • a LifeGroups promo card
  • a Pumpkinfest promo card
  • an HSM pen and 2 HSM pencils
  • an HSM folder and HSM highlighter
  • 2 HSM stickers
  • an HSM button
  • a free yogurt from Golden Spoon (donated)

Just an idea you may be able to use next year!




everywhere around us are messages about being a teenage mom.

what are we saying about the topic? Are pregnant girls finding help or shame at church?

Rites of Passage Project

 —  September 15, 2010 — 1 Comment

Really interested in this new (and totally free) resource site called Rites of Passage. It was designed by youth workers and caring adults at New Vision Church to help parents celebrate and make memorable the rites of physical and spiritual passage of their children. Love it!

Topics include driving, money and purity – a total of 7 round out the list. Good stuff, might be a resource you want to at least point parents to in the coming weeks. Thanks to Jeremy for the link!


Today was a huge step in a more recent dream for our high school ministry – we are in the preparation and launch phase of a new care system. Simply put, we have some incredible volunteers that are willing to pray and be available to the students at a specific high school in the area. Like many youth ministries, we serve multiple schools – so there will be two campus pastors for each (of the phase one) local high school. There will be one guy and one girl – we figured the team approach works best and liked having both genders represented as well as those types of specific needs arise.

This is a non-program, just caring adults who want to engage with the students on campus. Here’s the thinking behind the challenge I asked them to take on this morning:

Be available for contact
We’re going to publish this list of volunteers and their contact information in a ton of places – the announcements during the countdown, at our student leader meetings, etc. We want them to get some attention! This is not a program, so it is all about students organically contacting their campus pastor when they have a need. When a new student comes to our ministry from one of these high schools, we’ll immediately get them the contact person of their campus pastor to help follow-up. A girl named Bethany visited this weekend – how awesome would it have been for me to give her the text number of a caring adult who will pray for her and grab coffee with her after her first couple of days of school?

Be ready to care/counsel
I posted a couple weeks ago about Caring for Students, and I think I’m ready to add this new layer to that drawing. These campus pastors will be available, trained and eager to jump in and listen to students needs and pastorally care for them. They aren’t meant to replace a small group leader or The Landing, but be a bridge to a next step.

Show up on campus
Be visible at sporting events and fine arts stuff. Walk the campus occasionally and pray for the students. Use your relationships with core students to meet their friends and expand the reach of care. When there is a need or crisis in their life or at the school, our prayer is that their first thought is to turn to you for help.

Speak occasionally in clubs
From time to time speak in the high school Bible club, FCA or Cookies for Christ. Identify and encourage teachers who are representing Jesus in the public schools. Take advantage of the club platform to help students grow into campus pastors themselves.

Each school will look different – none of them are programs, just opportunities for relationships with students right in the school. Excited about this idea! Just a thought that might trigger something for you – maybe pray about 3-4 volunteers to step up in your context and take on a similar role.