Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (series finale, week 5 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Where to go from here after learning the last 4 weeks about friendship, dating, marriage and sex.
Service Length: 69 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I spoke on how to find forgiveness and restoration for a fresh start in the areas we had covered during this series. The message this weekend was more of an “outroduction” since we kinda jumped right in up front. Doing a concluding talk like this was new for us – but it was challenging to try it since it felt like it might end the series with a fizzle rather than a bang. But it was great! Hope also spoke this weekend, bringing a great side to these topics from her experience personally in failures and successes. It was her first time to teach on the weekend and she did a great job walking students through a Biblical plan for guarding your heart and helping you find your identity in Christ first.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a really creative acoustic opener of a Rihanna song, as well as a new HSM Talks video about relationships that was laugh out loud funny and a little over the top. Lots of students involved, and thankfully that last homecoming weekend of the year so we’ll finally be all together once again next week!

Music Playlist: We Found Love, Healer, One Thing Remains, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: This series has been SO great! So excited to think how students can/will/are changing their lives in these key areas with the power of God’s Spirit.

Up next: Do Something (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

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]



This year for our ministry has had a ramped up focus on our local high schools that we feel is the final frontier of the student mission field. We have 3 major schools on the peninsula that our church is on, encompassing 4000+ students, a very daunting figure. But what an opportunity, and lets face it, students are not flocking to the Church with questions and concerns anymore so its all the more important that we be where they are. The problem is that many schools are phasing out or not allowing Youth Pastors or religious groups to be present in the school anymore.

We recently encountered one of these schools and it took 9 months of emails, follow up calls and persistence to get a meeting with the administration. In that meeting we presented what I felt was a well thought out case as to why the school needs us as much as we need them and here is what we brought to the table.

Promise not to Promote: This was the disarming opening to the conversation, as we said in no uncertain terms that we would not advertise, promote or invite any students to our program, nor would be bring in any fliers, candy or any other bribe into the school. This is non-negotiable for both the school and us because we are not the missionaries doing the heavy lifting just the supportive spotters.

Commitment to Connect: The transition into High School for some is easy and for others it can be painful and lonely. For students that have trouble making meaningful connections early in their high school career, they can end up making unhealthy connections with the first people that will talk to them. We committed to being a connector of students, being present in the first weeks of the school year and throughout the year with the intention of helping students make meaningful friendships with other teens involved in the ministry. For the school, the idea of having someone partner with them in helping students make a more successful and less stressful transition into the school was a huge plus.

Heart of Encouragement: There is something about affirming words from someone you respect that speaks to the heart on a different level. As Youth Workers, we are not parents nor are we teachers and because of our unique relationship with students, the words we say speak volumes to students. The look on our students faces when they see us walking down the hall is priceless, unless of course they are avoiding me (which happens too). A youth worker going out of their way to visit a school tells a student that they matter.

Respect: High School principals in many cases are public enemy number one, and we all know that students love to rally around a cause and in a school that can be despising leadership. Our role needs to be one where we come alongside the administration and our students and in the midst of frustrations that students may have that we will encourage them to submit to the authority that the school has (1 Peter:2:13-14) over them. Modeling respect for the school’s administration is important and the administration will love to know that we are not undermining anything that they are doing.

Relationship: Youth Workers have a relationship with students that the schools just cannot offer and for that reason we can be really helpful. Our voice is unique, and unlike parents or teachers, students choose to spend time with us and for that reason, the respect that they have for us is often earned and not expected. Our opinions, concerns and thoughts are influential in the lives of our students and as often as parents call on us to walk beside their students in times of trial, I suggested schools could do the
same. In our meeting with the school we provided a comprehensive list of all the students who were a part of their school and active at our youth group. We proposed that we would be available if they became concerned with any of our students and we could come along side the family and school and working through whatever the issues might be. This was a big seller for the school, as it became very clear that being in the school was about mentoring and investing in our students, not recruiting and proselytizing the lost.

I am so convicted of the value that investment of just one hour per school every two weeks can have in the spiritual life of our students, the perceptions of Christianity and Pastors to their friends, and the opportunities that we will have to live out a relationship with Christ to the teachers and administration of the schools we are serving. This is the case for getting into the schools and if you read my previous article you can read about the benefits to your ministry of being at the school. This is a huge win for both the schools and us as Youth Workers.

Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. Be sure to check out his Twitter stream for awesome ministry goodness. Want to get in on the fun and write up a guest post yourself? See how right here.

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!

JG