Today the HSM Team and I are away at a fun day as we get near the holidays. We do it every year – I call it the State of HSM, but it is really a time of fun, stories and affirmations. I wanted to show you a fun affirmation we’re doing today that I think is easily transferable to your ministry and something you might consider doing in your group.

  • We collected 10 words people used to describe the selected person – you could do this in a variety of ways – slips of paper, email, whiteboard, sign in sheets, etc.
  • Collect and compile them into a document
  • Drop them into, words are sized according to the number of times they were repeated
  • Print the final rendering on photo paper, then frame and reveal

Jessica had this great idea and the final product is nothing short of fantastic. I posted one here as an example. So easy and so powerful!


Fun little video created for Promotion Weekend to help our incoming freshman know the HSM team as we kick off summer. Easy style to rip off!


Awesome new video from HSM this weekend to help introduce the new guys on the team. So fun!


Excited to announce that Travis Prouty has joined the High School Team at Saddleback Church. He’s a great volunteer-turned-staff who is going to be a great minister. Travis has been working on Saddleback’s facilities team for close to 8 years, so knows servanthood and has a big heart for students. Pumped about working alongside this guy!


A couple weeks back at our State of HSM annual meeting I shared a few things that I believe that make a good team great. Thought I would share them with you as well!

We all share a common, unifying vision in our high school ministry – seeing students on the outside of faith meet Him face to face (evangelism) and their lives be changed forever. And for those that have trusted Christ to be connected (fellowship), grow (discipleship), serve (ministry) and honor (worship) Christ deeper now and into adulthood. The clear vision helps bring a team of like-minded and passionate people together. If someone is out of line, the vision brings them back into the unity of the common vision.

This year our team is going to unify by learning together. We’re going to go to a conference together – the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this March – come hang with us! We’re going to go back to the basics and read Doug Fields’ 1st 2 Years in Youth Ministry together and have some discussions about our experiences and how we can grow together as youth workers. Youth pastors must keep learning and moving forward.

It is so important to laugh together. I want us to play together. Have inside jokes. To dig a deep well of relationship that bond us together and make us quick to forgive and trust when hit with the unexpected.

Dependent on God/Prayer
Your walk with Jesus is critically important. This season we’re all reading the New Testament together. We’re trying to make sure our walk with Jesus is more visible and something we talk about as easily as we would Sherlock Holmes or the new Coldplay album (both of which are excellent by the way). Your walk with Jesus is person, but it is also communal. As a team we need to strive to e


I’m so blessed to have Aaron Crumbey on the high school team here at Saddleback – he is the epitome of someone who loves Jesus and loves students. He’s been blogging for a few weeks now, and I wanted to point you his way because I think you can learn a lot from him (I know I do) especially how he relates and cares for students. Here’s a clip of his most recent post about hand shakes and hugs. Head there for the whole story, and welcome him to the blogging world, too!

  1. I want to be super intentional. – I want to make the best of every opportunity I get to effect a students life. My intentions are to share Christ love for them through our time of interaction. I do not apologize for my ulterior motive.ha
  2. I make sure they have my attention. – I want them to know that I understand its important that they are here. So for however long I’m with them I’m completely engaged.
  3. I make sure I’m being myself. – The worse thing you can do is try and be your version of hip and cool. You will come off super cheesy and weird. You will be known for being that guy/woman who is super cheesy and to new students visiting for the first time they will tell every other student they know. So just be yourself. Remember you are not just representing yourself but you are representing the ministry.
  4. I ask follow up questions. – this just says to the student “I really want to know how you are doing”. You show their importance/your concern with follow up questions. Even if they just say fine I move to a specific area of life like school, family or sports.


Rebuilding Your Team

Josh Griffin —  November 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

There’s nothing more painful than losing your dream team…or even one dream player. From time to time, you will be faced with a key leader moving away or a right-hand man being moved up to help with a program for adults. It happens — our adult ministry steals our best people all of the time!

So when this happens — you have a few choices to make: (1) you can wallow in the golden years of what was, or (2) you can get to work on rebuilding a young team and see where God takes you. Honestly, you’ve probably done enough of (1) already, so let’s talk about (2). Here we go:

Don’t compare to the past
Rebuilding a team is difficult enough without making comparisons to the past. You are building a new team now — with different gifts, personalities and passions — embrace it instead of focusing on the frustrating differences.

Adjust your leadership to who you have now
The way you led last year probably isn’t going to work anymore. Different people need to be led differently — the pressure to adjust is on you, not on them. Consider giving everyone a personality test or the 5 Love Languages quiz to see what you’re working with and make a real effort to lead in a new way in the new season.

Become the world’s best coach
Maybe one of the reasons you’re lamenting the loss of your teammates is because you had a whole pack of seasoned, battle-hardened veterans and now you’ve got fresh meat. Become the world’s best coach! Constantly push, nudge and challenge your people in the right direction. Before you know it, they’ll be veterans as well…and prime pickings for adult ministry to swoop down for another batch (not that we’re bitter or anything).

Face the challenges head on
Need a pep talk? We got one: You can do this! Keep your head in the game! Don’t run from the challenge! Rebuilding a team is not an easy task. Hang in there! We know that God is going to use you in new ways in the next season.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

I’m excited to announce a new addition to the HSM Team! Hannah Pratt-Rich has been a small group leader the last few years and she recently accepted an offer to join our team part-time. She’s going to be working to help strengthen our pastoral care ministry to girls and has a huge heart for serve projects and missions. So excited she’s on the team!