Some big news that starts this July – our church has decided to cancel student services once a month for what we’re calling “Worship Together Weekend.” It is a chance for everyone in the church to take time to worship together instead of age-specific programs and services.

We don’t know too much, honestly, we’re right in the middle of figuring that out. But here’s the scoop so far:

On the first full weekend of each month (beginning July 7/8) our junior high and high school ministries will join the adults of Saddleback for church services in the Worship Center. This is a chance for adults and teenagers to enjoy church with each other, as one big church family!

On the first full weekend of every month during the 4:30 and 6:30 services Saturday night and the 9 and 11:15 Sunday services.


  • July 7/8
  • August 4/5
  • September 1/2
  • October 6/7
  • November 3/4

Junior High and High School services in the Refinery are cancelled, and the Refinery will be closed during church services on Worship Together Weekends. If you don’t have somebody to sit with at Worship Together Weekend look for a friendly face in a Wildside or HSM T-shirt and we will set you up!


This weekend in HSM we don’t have youth services – in fact, we’ve made a specific and conscious effort to push students to worship with their families and/or bring their parents to church for the first time. We don’t cancel very often (Christmas, New Years and Easter). How about you? Vote in this week’s youth ministry poll!



 —  January 25, 2011 — 1 Comment

Yesterday was supposed to be a big day. For weeks our staff made preparations and plans for it to be awesome and fun and great and any other positive adjective you can come up with. We had everything scripted and it was all ready to go.

  • We sent out post cards to promote the night.
  • We rented sumo suits for our game.
  • We made a hilarious promo/bumper video for our new series.
  • We had all of our top musicians ready to play in the band.
  • We had the talk finished and built into the computer.
  • The only problem is we didn’t have the actual event.

You see, for those of you outside of Knoxville, we got six inches of snow on Sunday night/Monday morning. The students were out of school Monday and Tuesday but we were hopeful that they’d have school on Wednesday so that we could have our 2011 kick-off for FUEL on Wednesday night. We have a rule that says, “No school = No FUEL” so if either school district canceled school, we immediately canceled FUEL.

We went about our business as normal. We were preparing for a huge event and hoping we’d be able to bring back a good portion of the record crowd of students who came to our Christmas party in December. Then, around 5:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday, one of the districts canceled for Wednesday.

No school. No FUEL. Crap.

We were at a point where everything was pretty much ready to go and we had to cancel. It’s probably one of the worst feelings you can have in ministry. It’s disappointing. It’s frustrating. It’s even a little bit sad. But it didn’t have to be a complete negative. Our students had been home for three straight days without really going anywhere probably. Most were getting cabin fever. I jumped on the computer and sent an e-mail out to our leaders encouraging them to invite students to grab lunch or coffee or to a movie or something.

I invited them to be intentional with a snow day.

We had a few students in the office to play Katan. I went to the movies with a few more later in the day. With everything already finished, we basically had a free day to spend with our students.

So that’s what we did. Things sometime happen in life and ministry that suck or aren’t fun at all. The key is to find the positive in them and exploit it. We may not have had a massive crowd at FUEL last night but I definitely had a great time with the ones that I did hang out with and God can use that hang out time just as much as he could use a large gathering. And ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Jonathan Carone is a youth pastor who regularly blogs at This Isn’t High School.