Weekend Teaching Series: Hollywood Jesus (series finale, week 3 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Our identity must be in Christ or we will feel alone, fall and believe the lies of the world.
Service Length: 62 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we wrapped up the Hollywood Jesus series – using clips from a movie to help illustrate biblical concepts. This week Travis Prouty spoke in HSM, and chose Muppets in Space as his movie. He used several clips of the movie and weaved a talked about our identity in Christ throughout. My favorite moment was when he talked about how insecure he was growing up as a missionary kid in China and on top of that being home-schooled as a kid. Great vulnerability and helped students easily relate to their own insecurities and identity issues. It was his first time speaking to that many students, and he did a great job.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We played a fun video we made last year called Parker Don’t Shoot and had a great new game using the Nerf Bazooka. Students had to shoot at cup targets around the room and win a gift card. As a surprise bonus, students who sat around the targets (risking getting hit by the bazooka) got to keep the cups at the end of the game and get a free Coke after the service!

Music Playlist: Man ha Man ha Man ha (Muppets cover), The Earth is Yours, Christ in Me, Avalanche, What Would I Have Done

Favorite Moment: For sure this weekend’s highlight (and lowlight, honestly) was saying goodbye to Hope – a bittersweet goodbye to such an incredible part of our team. She served as an intern for the past 2 years and has grown dramatically as a pastor and woman of God. I am SO proud of her – at each service we laid hands on her and prayed for her future as she wraps up her internship.

Up next: Worship Together Weekend #3

Weekend Teaching Series: Hollywood Jesus (week 2 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Be careful which way you lean and be careful where you compromise.
Service Length: 66 minutes

Understandable Message: Hope Shoen ends her 2-year HSM internship next week so I wanted her to get the chance to speak to HSM for a whole weekend message. She did a great job of walking students through some of the main themes of the movie The Lorax and following those up with Scripture. I loved her personal admissions and stories to help students see she was teaching this from an authentic place. She played the clip of the film where Once-ler became greedy and began to cut down all of the trees – it was a 7-minute clip that was chock full of lessons about life, the influence of others and the desperate search for filling the emptiness inside all of us. I’m so proud of Hope- she has had a great run as an intern and grown so much – I’m so excited to see where God takes her from here!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we had a fun announcement video we filmed at the beach and a funny music video parody some of our students made of Krispy Kreme. For an end of summer weekend, there was a good amount of energy left in the crowd and students stayed long after the service was over.

Music Playlist: Let It Grow (Esther Dean cover), Love Came Down, Jesus Paid It All, All I Am, Majesty

Favorite Moment: This weekend we said goodbye to our 5 summer interns – it was a GREAT night to celebrate them and all of their hard work. We took the time to bring them up on stage, give them gifts and pray over them. So blessed to have such incredible former students serving as youth workers this summer. Cory, Bree, Kyle, Rachel and Heather you guys are incredible.

Up next: Hollywood Jesus (series finale, week 3 of 3)

Here is the Simply Youth Ministry Conference theme video from the evening sessions – the theme was “Breathe” and each of these scenarios helped drive home the theme in different ways. Thought it turned out pretty great. Hope you choose to breathe today, too!


1. Have grace for yourself, and trust Christ IN you!
– When I focused on all the things I could have done better or the mistakes I made I became paralyzed and unable to minister to my students. I learned it was so important for me to have grace for myself and trust that God was bigger than that time I said too much, or didn’t say anything at all, and that He is in me, guiding and using me despite myself.
– Also, don’t be afraid to ask for advice! Talk to other leaders and pick their minds. The Lord has given us all different gifts. More than once I’ve found another leader’s approach to a certain topic helpful.

2. Meet the students where they’re at — full of grace.
– Over half my life group struggles with sex and drinking, BUT they keep coming to group. I try to challenge but never judge, and show them grace and love ALWAYS.

3. Be open and transparent about past struggles — with discretion, of course.
– The first time I met some of my girls was at Summer Camp. It wasn’t until later in the week when I opened up about my past relationships that the girls felt comfortable enough to let me in on the really difficult stuff they had been facing.

4. Hang out together outside of group.
– This helps foster community. The closer your students become as friends the easier it is for them to connect in your group on a deeper level. Even the students that wouldn’t normally bond find they enjoy each other’s company.

5. Hang out with your students one-on-one.
– This is where discipleship happens. In the beginning your students may be apprehensive so hang out two or three-on-one. This is where you have the chance to really hear their hearts and poor into them on a more personal level.

6. Encourage them and let them know you’re available.
– Never underestimate the power of a birthday card or a text letting them know they were missed when they didn’t show up for group that night!

Hope Schoen is an intern on the High School Ministry team at Saddleback Church.

This is Hope Schoen — the latest addition to the HSM team! Hope just came aboard through Saddleback’s 2-year internship program. She was a volunteer at summer camp and a recent graduate of Biola University – we’re so excited to have her on the team!

Do you know someone who is looking for a year or two of concentrated, in the trenches youth ministry experience? I’ve got one open spot on the HSM team right now, send them my way!