Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (week 3 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: 7 questions to ask about your dating relationship.
Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I wanted to focus on a biblical perspective to dating – although dating isn’t implicitly mentioned in the Bible and is a much more modern cultural invention of ours. For sure the Bible does talk plenty in principle about WHO to date and HOW to date so that’s the perspective of the talk. I shared a bunch of personal stories from my dating life including heartbreak, and eventually how I met my wife. The talk was designed to build on Doug’s narrow vs wide way challenge from last week and included 7 questions to ask about their current/future dating relationships.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This is the last weekend before our Pumpkinfest event, so we spent a little chink of the program with a funny skit that included an awkward robot and our stage emcee. Really funny stuff, as always trying to make annoucements both memorable and engaging. We also played a funny video from RhettandLink about Facebook profile pictures and dating.

Music Playlist: Enchanted [Taylor Swift cover], Oh Lord, Your Love is Enough, Grace, Cannons

Favorite Moment: The conversations after the service were the best. Nothing like a series like this to get students thinking … and talking. Several students were convinced it was alright for them to date someone of a different religion – by far the most popular discussion this weekend after the talk.

Up next: Facebook Official (week 4 of 5) [Doug Fields teaching about sex]

Enjoyed stumbling across this old blog post from Ron Merrell (he was our camp speaker this past summer) about the 4 P’s of Church Stickyness. Program, People, Placement and Promise. Here’s a clip of his thoughts on one of them – head there for the rest:

PEOPLE – Friendly. Welcoming. Diverse. Kind. Warm. Knowledgeable. Genuine. Sincere. Safe. Compassionate. Able to listen. Loving. Respectful. Gentle. Energetic. If these words described everyone in your church, you’d be the most magnetic place in town. And I’m not just thinking about your “greeters” or “staff.” I’m thinking about your congregation. As the Lord does His work in your people, you hope that it produces the qualities above and more! People. But what can you do to develop the second “P” of church, especially when there is a less-than-friendly vibe to your crowd?

This is a hard one, because as a staff person you can create several things to allow people to connect, get them integrated into relationships, feel welcomed initially, etc. But… there’s a difference between “having a church full of winsome, loving, genuine people who go out of their way to greet others” and creating a “greeting team.” The first is better, but WAY harder to create! Focus hard on this one. You can’t train, teach, emphasize, and value real, Christ-like community enough. People WILL tolerate a subpar Program if the People are amazing. But, over the long haul, People will NOT tolerate subpar relationships even if the Program rocks.

Is your church … your youth ministry … sticky?


Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (week 2 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Want to have a great marriage – then start building the right foundation for it now.

Service Length: 78 minutes

Understandable Message: Doug Fields taught about the different paths students could take to end up at the same destination: marriage. He used interactive polls, great illustrations and Matthew 7 to help students that the path they are on today will help or hinder the relationship they have with their future spouse. Really challenging, forward-thinking stuff.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We played a hilarious new game called Facebook Hack. It was INCREDIBLE! We don’t do a ton of full-on games, so when they work this well, it is a big deal. So fun. It was homecoming week for our biggest high school we pull from, so attendance was a bit low but the energy was great. Lots of student greeters, student band, students running cameras, control room and sound.

Music Playlist: Lucky, Yours Forever, God Above All, None But Jesus, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: Having my good friend Doug Fields speaking in HSM is always a highlight. Talking to a student after the service who trusted in Christ after the message was awesome, too. Good, good stuff.

Up next: Facebook Official (week 3 of 5)

Played this clip from Toy Story 2 in my talk about friendship this weekend in HSM. Such a great illustration of friendship!


Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (series premiere, week 1 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: How to be a genuine friend.

Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off the Facebook Official series talking about friendships – we all have them, and they are ultra important now as a teenager and stay important throughout your lifetime. Some people measure their quality of life based on the relationships around them! We talked through Biblical friendship – including compassion, loyalty, truthfulness and sacrifice. I taught the story of the Good Samaritan for the first half, and verses from Proverbs in the second half. Lots of fun illustrations and stories in the sermon to illustrate each point, including a clip from Toy Story 2 and a student testimony.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We opened up with a fun video about having so many friends that Facebook crashed (that I stumbled on a friend’s blog this week), then right into a cover of Katy Perry’s Hot and Cold. We played another creative Pumpkinfest promo video, too. Lots of student greeters, student band, and running lights, camera, sound and control room.

Music Playlist: Hot and Cold, Your Name High, All I Am, Ancient Skies, Amazing Love

Favorite Moment: I was grabbing lunch with one of our just-graduated seniors this week – he’s starting to feel called by god to go into youth ministry in the future. To give him some experience I asked him to come to services this week and share about the importance of friends in high school. He did a great job!

Up next: Facebook Official (week 2 of 5) [Doug Fields speaking]

Saw this funny video on Terrace’s blog and thought it was perfect to kickoff our Facebook: Official series that starts this weekend. Thanks to the gang over at 12Stone Church!


Was reading my friend Matt McGill’s blog earlier and he mentioned how he made a mistake because he was tired. We’ve all been there! Made me think of the ways youth workers need to fight fatigue in ministry. Here’s what I attempt to do:

Be refreshed by friends
Sometimes just the ticket you need is hanging with people (I supposed the opposite could be true for some personalities). Maybe there’s some friend who you could bounce your ideas and frustrations off of, or maybe there’s a friend outside of youth ministry that you could hang with and not even begin to approach talking shop. Either type of person you may need, make sure you carve out some time to spend with them.

Make the big decision that’s been draining you
Often times a game-changing or potentially painful decision sits right in front of you and robs you of your passion and energy. Make the call! You might be surprised at the freedom and renewed excitement you feel once you get that out of the way. If it is a tough conversation, pray about it and then have it. Tackle that energy-busting obstacle you’ve been putting off.

Do something fun
Youth ministry fatigue usually sets in when you aren’t getting enough rest or are all work and no play. So find an afternoon soon where you can get away for a few hours and relax.

Get away from it all
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about feeling drained without just simple taking some time off. This week I’m nearly completely offline (any posts that you read on the blog have been set to post each day automatically) and spending time with the family. Fight fatigue with fun. Hit the beach. Go to Disneyland. Leave your laptop, turn off your phone and get away.

What do you do to fight fatigue?


For me, SYMC=

a) 1 Wednesday 7:30am flight to Chicago.? b) 2 suitcases:? big one for surprises;? small one for clothes.? ? c) 2 pair of shoes – both comfortable.? ? d) 19 Affinity Group Leaders who are dear friends.? ? e) 90+ Inside Track Team (I.T.) members? who are also SO dear to my heart.? ? f) Can’t even count the number of Group/SYM staff-also so very special? to me.? g) 4 days to worship my heart out to God.? h) 1 track and 2-3? heart-2-hearts that I’m pumped about.? ? i) A party for the I.T. Team on Saturday with presents!? ? ? j) My R.F.F. – you know who you are.? k) Kami, the Queen? ? ? l) The Bookstore!? ? m) Free stuff!? n) seeing my daughter and future son-in-law who live in Chi-town.? o) more miles on my delta FF account? ? ? p) another Jake music video (I hope).? ? q) LOTS of coffee!? ? r) Not enough sleep.? ? s) Oh, Toby Mac. Need his new CD.? OK, want.? ? t) Tons of youth workers who love God and kids!? u) my hubby who washed and packed my clothes today? so I could keep working.? ? v) GWF Summer Staff!? ? w)? Meals with friends? ? ? x) Father? ? y)? Son? ? and Holy Spirit.

See you soon, friends!? Thank you, God!