I’m a huge Matt McGill fan (tell me you subscribe to his youth ministry blog) – and today I discovered another timeless video of him giving the camp rules that you have to see. There’s simply nothing like this guy. Genius.


Thought this video about tithing from Mariner’s Church was exceptional. Good stuff.


If you do these 3 things well in youth ministry, you’ll do alright:

Learn well
Always be a learner – read everything you can get your hands on in whatever field you can. Push your thinking. Create an idea file. Open an Evernote account and when something strikes you – write it down. Learn from your mistakes. Make the same mistakes as few times as possible (hey it happens). Learn the easy way. Try new things. Always experiment with ideas that could be the breakthrough to make you more effective in your calling. Spend time with God and let Him lead you more than any other voice.

Lead well
Be a lover of people. Only take the best volunteers. Believe in people. Surround yourself with good people – people who will lead you well and people you can lead well. Together you will work together to keep your ministry healthy and balanced on the eternal purposes of God. Have the hard conversations. Push for the best idea, not the easiest. Don’t be afraid of speaking your mind, but remember that the best leaders listen first.

Leave well
This is a tough one – so many youth ministry departures are in less than ideal conditions. But transition is a test of your character and if you leave poorly you’ll probably repeat many of the mistakes. Dialogue what you think God may be asking you to do next. Have mentors at the ready when you feel God’s nudging. Working hard until the last day, making sure the transition plan is in place and fighting for a good handoff is the only way to go.

I’m timing this post to tonight at 7:45pm, when I’ll be sharing these words about Ryanne Witt at her going away party this evening. Ryanne is leaving our high school staff (after a total of 7 years at Saddleback in various roles) to work with my good friend Matt McGill over at Mariner’s Church. Ryanne, thanks for doing these 3 things so well and more. Proud of you and where God takes you from here.


The gang gathers round the table full of Christmas cheer. The team has big changes to talk about. They also talk about facebook and students owning their faith.


I’m so glad Amanda is back to blogging! After too long away from it this summer, her blog Married to a Youth Pastor is back and better than ever. In addition to a funny new contest giving away a spouse registration to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, she is back with some insight and raw learnings about youth ministry from a wife’s perspective. Honestly, turn your spouse on to her blog, it is so good – if I find one as awesome for husbands, I’ll be sure to post a link. Here’s a clip of a post called Swept Away where she talks about dialing in the youth ministry calendar with their family one:

We (Jeff and I) HAVE to take control of our schedules and family again. No more excuses of “seasons”. Something “important”, and “urgent” is always going to come up. We have to exercise our “NO”. I have to take responsibility of this as well. I let myself get lost in the shuffle. In no way is this only Jeff’s issue. I have a voice as well. And a smart brain that listens to God’s voice and can hear what’s good and bad or unhealthy for myself, my marriage, and my kids. I really got swept away (and right under the carpet).

I say this a lot… “After 14 years in full time ministry, you’d think I would have this down!”



Jeff McGuire from Mariner’s Church came over to the Saddleback intern meeting today to teach some principles of sermon preparation. He used Joseph Campbell‘s classic mythology and hero archetype as a possible model to follow. It was brilliant stuff – and not just because I’m a Star Wars geek, too. Here’s a quick overview of the content applied to a student ministry:

  • Start in the ordinary world – what are the questions/thoughts students share?
  • Make a call to adventure – what if there was another way to live?
  • Refusal – give students a way out
  • Threshold – a guide to walk down the path
  • Belly of the whale – better to continue the journey, harder to turn back
  • Road of trials – the ideal pathway to escape danger
  • Boon – benefits of making a change, sermon in a sentence
  • The Return – return students to the ordinary world changed.