Now Is The Time!

 —  August 31, 2010 — Leave a comment

If you’re a Youth Leader and you’re considering taking your group on a mission trip, now is the time to finalize those plans and make the decision about where your group will serve next year. But you might be saying to yourself, “Why now? It’s still the end of August. I’ve got plenty of time…”

But… you don’t. Many mission organizations are already finalizing their plans and participation for 2011. I know for us, Group Workcamps and Group Week of Hope, some of our most popular locations are already full. I have friends that work for other youth mission organizations and I know that they experience the same thing. We all have locations that “sell out” long before Thanksgiving.

And, it’s not just youth mission providers. Many missionaries and receiving ministries only have room for a certain number of people each year. Once those places are taken, they are “full.”

Please, if you want to get your students involved in a mission experience this summer, get going now. There are lots of folks to serve. Lots of needs to be met. Thanks in advance to reaching out to those in need.

Posted by Kurt Johnston

This past Sunday I visited one of our regional campuses to see their youth ministry in action. It’s something I try to find time to do on a semi-regular basis but in reality don’t end up doing as often as I would like, mostly because all three of our regional campuses are lead by incredible youth Pastors who don’t need me looking over their shoulders.

I was reminded of the power of healthy leadership yesterday when visiting our Irvine campus led by Leo Galarza. What I saw Sunday was really encouraging: The ministry recently split JH and HS into two separate groups and each is growing since the split, both bands were led by student leaders, volunteers were EVERYWHERE….teaching, running audio, greeting students, setting up and tearing down.

The whole thing was quite impressive, actually. And it was all because of Leo. but here’s the twist: Leo was nowhere to be found…in fact due to some family issues, Leo has been out of the country for almost THREE months!

Make no mistake, Leo is a strong leader and his presence is greatly missed….but his strength as a leader has been proven NOT by the fact that his presence is missed but by the fact that even though their leader is missed, nothing else about the youth ministry is missing at all!

For you to ponder:

- when you are going to be gone, how much work does it take for you to prepare everybody for your absence? The more you equip and empower others day-to-day, the more easily they can fill gaps left when you are away.


Interview with Francis Chan

 —  August 30, 2010 — 7 Comments

As many of you know Francis has made some big changes recently. Francis is a great friend and I have a ton of respect for him. He and his family were recently in Portland to hang out with us for a weekend and teach in my church, Colossae. We talked a lot about where he’s going next, but most of all it was just great to hang out, relax and laugh a bit. I’ve missed that the last couple years since I’ve moved.

Anyway, I just ran across this video interview (see below). He was interviewed by Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris about his thought processes and what he’ll be doing next. It’s obvious that both Mark and Joshua have a ton of respect for Francis. However it doesn’t seem like they “get” him. In fact it seems like Mark thinks he’s a nutcase (in a fun, friendly way of course). Mark asks Francis some GREAT questions. It’s not necessarily that he disagrees with Francis…they’re just a bit baffled.

Fun to see a few guys who have a ton of respect for one another sit around and talk honestly.

Do you at all resonate with what Francis is saying? And, from what you see in your ministry to college aged people, do you think they resonate with Francis? If so, how?

Looking forward to your honest and uplifting thoughts here…

A strong testimony using during the LAUNCH series to help encourage student to see the importance of joining and HSM Life Group this fall.


This week’s question – have you had formal education in youth ministry? I’ve had a ton of on the job experience with 15 years and through a jillion events and conferences. You?


I just did a Google search on the words “Youth Missions” and came up with 7,020,000 results. Wow! Seven million results to that search. But in many ways I guess that makes sense…

When you look at all the youth mission organizations our there (the one I work for included), all the churches that send their kids on missions trips they organize on their own, and the general interest of this current generation in making a difference – over 250,000 youth serve annually (and that’s a conservative estimate). That’s a lot of teenagers…

And that makes me ask this question: “Are we making a difference?” Well I’ll let two people who experienced a mission trip this past summer answer that…

Kip from from Massachusetts described his experience the following way:

“Extraordinary, Soulful, Gracious, Endearing, Productive, Good Natured, Generous,Respectful, Joyful, Spirited, Spiritual, Enthusiastic, Fulfilling, Refreshing, Dancing, Singing, Praying, Thoughtful, Moving, Friendship.”

Beulah from Cincinnati had this to say about a group of students that served her:

“It was the most pleasant day I have had in a while. We had devotions and had such a good time sharing about our live experiences. They were very respectable and had a love for God. I really miss them. I was such a joy to have them.”

So… yes I think we are making a difference. A mission tip made a difference in these two people’s lives (these stories are repeated thousands and thousands of times). And I think that’s how Jesus made a difference. One life at a time…

Weekend Teaching Series: LAUNCH: Ready for Re-Entry (week 3 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Launching into a successful school year includes getting accountability and community by being a part of an HSM Life Group.
Service Length: 73 minutes

Understandable Message: This week was all about Life Groups. Our small group year starts in just a few weeks, and registration for the big launch ends in 14 days. This weekend was taught by Life Group volunteers (Matt and Mel – Team M&M) and they hit on the importance reasons to be in one using an acrostic (L-I-F-E-G-R-O-U-P-S) and testimonies both live and on video. If a student wasn’t in a small group, they would sure want to be at the end of the hour.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Matt did a good job of bringing humor into his talk – he made references to Justin Bieber and Batman and made comparisons to the pop stars and comic books of his day. There was a very positive environment to the weekend – you could tell the community that they were teaching on was genuine in their group and a goal for all of HSM’s Life Groups.

Music Playlist: Rise and Sing, Beautiful Things, How He Loves, Burning Ones, With Everything

Favorite Moment: The power of story is always amazing to me – when a student gets up to speak the students listen intently to what they have to say. And it totally works both live or on video. I’m also so impressed by the strength of the students who got up to share their story this week. Epic stuff.

Up Next: LAUNCH week 4

It has been too long since I passed another milestone on the Xbox 360 – one of the ways (of probably 5) that I measure successful “me” time away from youth ministry is my Gamerscore steadily increasing. And last night, helped by Frontlines: Fuel of War and Red Dead Redemption, we crossed 36,000. Finally!