Homeschool Ministry

Colton Harker —  June 7, 2013 — 1 Comment

We recently headed into some uncharted waters: homeschooled ministry. We realized that the homeschooled community was something that we never really focused on. We are always looking at ways to reach out to our high schools, but we seemed to let any kind of homeschooled ministry slip through the cracks.

With our recent Prayer Walk, we decided it was a great time to start doing something for homeschooled kids. While all of the schools were meeting on their campuses, we had the homeschooled students meet at classroom at our church. On the walls, we had different things that they could pray for (i.e. graduating seniors, Students transitioning from public school to home school, etc.). It was awesome!

At first, we were unsure if there was even a need for doing an event for homeschoolers. We just weren’t sure if anyone would come and if it was worth it. But, while we were looking at marketing it, we asked our core homeschooled students to invite all of their homeschooled friends. What we realized is that none of our homeschooled students really know each other! That is when we discovered that the HUGE ministry opportunity we had been missing for a while now.

With a new crop of freshmen coming in and a new school year right around the corner, we think the time is right to start to find out more ways for us to minister to homeschoolers.

What are you guys doing to ministry to your homeschooled community?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

Prayer Walk

Colton Harker —  May 31, 2013 — 1 Comment

Prayer Walk

With the school year coming to a close, we thought we would have one last big push for a campus outreach event. We decided to go out with a bang and do a multi-campus prayer walk! Prayer walks are one of my favorite things that we do! It is a completely student lead prayer event that takes place each school campus in our area at the same time. Here are a few reasons I’d push it for your ministry!

Student Leadership Opportunity! It is a great opportunity to give your students a chance to really own something. They are responsible for everything from promoting it to programming it. The cool thing about programming it is that a prayer walk can be done in a ton of different ways. Some schools have their students walk around the entire campus praying for specific teachers, student groups, etc. Some schools have a worship session at the beginning. And some schools even split off by grades and pray for each other! Prayer Walks allow student leaders to get creative with their events and experiment with some cool elements.

Adaptability! There are a ton of different occasions to put on a Prayer Walk. We just did ours because the school year is coming to an end. We prayed for things like graduating seniors and incoming freshmen. You could put them on right before the school year starts, right before finals season, right after a school tragedy, etc. You get to adapt the event to match what is happening in the student’s lives.

Fellowship! Prayer Walks have proven to be a great bonding time for our schools. We have our students promote it through all of the school clubs and push it to any Christians they know. Because of that, students get to be joining in prayer and ministry with students from other churches. Because we have the prayer walks on Sundays, students usually go out and grab lunch together after and just hang out, allowing them to get to know each other outside of school hours.

Is your ministry doing any prayer events? How do you do them?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

One of the biggest problems with on-campus Christian clubs is that most don’t attempt to fulfill God’s purposes for the church. It seems as though each meeting is the same. Meet in a room at lunch. Eat together. Listen to someone talk. Leave.

While that meeting model is totally awesome, it shouldn’t be the only thing that the club does. We have been pushing our clubs this year to branch out and organize different activities and events to not just mix things up, but to better serve the school and students on their campus as well. Here are 3 easy and practical activities that our students have done that worked.

Trash Pick-Up: Have the students meet at the beginning of lunch to eat together. Have a student speak briefly about the purpose of serving and what it means to be servant-hearted in our everyday life. Then pass out a trash bag to every student in the room and have them spread out over the campus to pick-up any trash that they see. It is super cool to see the conversations that come out of this. I have heard awesome things about students coming to the club and even coming to church due to the conversations they had with students picking up trash. If you are looking to save a little money, tell the school what you plan on doing and they might even provide some trash bags for you! Tip: Gloves and/or hand sanitizer is always a good idea!

Letter Writing: Have the students come together to write letters of appreciation to different people groups at their school. I’ve seen students write to everyone from the custodial staff to the office administration. Don’t be afraid to get specific! It is a great way to address specific events and issues at the individual schools. If it is homecoming week, it might be a good idea for the club to write to ASB thanking them and encouraging them. If a teacher is having health issues, encourage the club to write letters of love and support. I love this because it is such a simple way for students to love their school. I think it helps them come to understand what it means to be a light at their school.

Worship Session: Have the students spend their lunch worshiping God as the body of Christ at their school. Gather together a group of students that have a passion for leading worship and help them put together a worship session. Encourage them to really think through their program. Don’t have them pick 3 random songs, have them pick a theme to run with (surrender, etc.). I’ve even seen students picking out a passage of scripture for their club to reflect on during the worship. Besides helping students connect with the Lord during the middle of their day, worship sessions really help grow the community within the club as well! Tip: Try to print out the lyrics or even project them on the wall.

What are the Christian clubs at your schools doing to mix things up?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

We recently had a youth pastor ask us where to start with campus-based ministry. At the end of the day, our campus outreach program is based in 3 relationships:

Students: We work a ton through the Christian clubs on campus. I meet regularly with the leadership teams of each club and help them out with service projects (lunch trash pickup, writing encouraging letters to the staff, etc.) events, getting speakers, advertising, and I provide them with resources and connections. I help them think big and make sure they know that they are callable of HUGE things. I make sure I am available to help encourage them, pray with them, and help them work through any issues they might have.

Other on campus Christian organizations: The main organization in our area is Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They are awesome. They already have some roots laid out at our schools, making them a valuable ally. They recognize that they aren’t a church, so they love to point their students to local churches. So we make ourselves available to them in whatever way we can help. That could be giving them resources, providing connections, making our buildings available, prayer, or more. We help each other out. One of the things we are working on now is a leadership summit for all of the Christian club leaders in the area.

Staff/Administration: We consistently look for ways to build our relationships with schools. We are focusing right now on principals and ASB (student government) directors. Right now, I am meeting with all of the major principals and ASB directors in the area so that I am more than just a name in an email. I want to be able to build a friendship with them. I want them to know that they can trust us and that we are here to serve. Together, we brainstorm different ways that we can serve their campus, students, teachers, and staff. Besides the meetings, we have built relationships through simple things like Christmas cards. The service projects that we have done on their campuses have also been able to help our relationship.

Campus outreach is a slow build, high reward ministry. It takes time to build relationships and find a system but, once you do, the potential is limitless.

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Director at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

One of my favorite things to do is meet up with other youth pastors. I walk away from each meeting feeling challenged, encouraged, and/or inspired. I recently got to meet with an awesome youth pastor named Jon from a church that is doing some pretty incredible things with campus outreach. Over some coffee, we talked about what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we’re going to. I walked away with a ton of really great ideas and (hopefully) he walked away with one or two. Here is a little of what I shared about our campus outreach projects:

Sticky-Note the Girl’s Restroom: At the beginning of the school year, some of our student leaders put encouraging sticky notes on every student’s locker and we were blown away by how well it went over. One of our student leaders was inspired by the success of the project and started planning another that was aimed at girls. So she rounded up some friends and put encouraging notes all over the girls’ restrooms at her school. The notes had encouraging Bible verses on them as well as affirmations like “you are beautiful,” “you are precious,” and “you are loved.” It was such a great and easy way to do ministry for girls.

Janitor Breakfast: When we were looking at different people groups that we could be serving on campus, we almost forgot about the janitorial staff. They are some of the most unnoticed/unappreciated people on the campus, so our leaders wanted to make sure that they knew they were seen and loved. Our leaders are planning to get to school before the janitorial staff so that they could serve them a fresh, warm breakfast and spend some quality time with them. I am a huge fan of projects like these because it has students serving and ministering to adults! We are currently making our way through the office approval system (fingers crossed)!

Trash Pick Up: A great way to keep Christian club meetings fresh at school is to mix them up. Most of the time, Christian clubs will sit, eat their lunch, listen to someone talk, and leave. Sometimes that works great, but Jesus called us to do more than just that. We are encouraging our school club leaders to put their club members to work. One of the lunchtime serving opportunities that we came up with was trash pick-up. If you haven’t seen a post-lunch high school campus recently, let me tell you, they are a warzone. Picking up trash not only helps put a dent in the litter problem, but it also makes a huge statement. Let’s face it, litter patrol isn’t a glamorous job and any student that does it is instantly going to be set apart, providing them with incredible opportunities! If a student gets asked why they are picking up trash, than they are getting an awesome opportunity about their love for Jesus and their love for their school!

How is your ministry doing with campus outreach? What ideas can you share about how to do ministry on campuses?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Coordinator at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.