Weekend Teaching Series: Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say (week 2 of 2)

Service Length: 74 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we had Kay Warren (Pastor Rick Warren’s wife) speak at all 4 services to high school students. She had offered a few weeks ago at an HIV/AIDS meeting we were at so I quickly adjusted the calendar to get her in right away – it was SO great! Not only was it an incredible message about following Jesus, it was great to have support from the leadership of our church. She taught about Jesus talking to the crowd, but specifically referencing the disciples in the crowd. She challenged students to rise up out of the crowd and be fully committed disciples. Not that the path of the disciples is easy – it requires dangerous surrender, a disturbing and surrender to the mission He has chosen for you. Powerful stuff!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we left it pretty clean except for one fun music video called “A Whole ‘Notha Level” by my friend AC and one of our students. Hilarious student-made video that helped everyone have a smile on their face.

Music Playlist: Take It All, The Earth is Yours, God Above All, All I Am/Learn to Love/All for Love/With Everything Medley

Favorite Moment: This weekend Kay gave away a TON of copies of her book, Dangerous Surrender, to whoever promised to read it and ask God what He wanted to do with their lives. We gave away so many she had to get more on Sunday morning! Having her in our high school ministry is such a treat – great weekend.

Up next: Worship Together Weekend (November)

We’ve been doing a canned food drive for the month of October in our youth ministry – seems like this time of year our supplies run low and requests are at their highest. So we’re helping our our food bank! This year we pitted the classes against each other, and will make a music video honoring the winning class. Should be fun – the lead has bounced back and forth a few times.

Good cause, good prize. Always need both when planning a serve opportunity like this. Of course, I’ll make sure to post the video here next month when it comes out, too!


A few months ago we talked about our first steps in helping our students develop a more Sticky Faith. We interviewed Kara Powell about how to help students have a faith that lasts beyond graduation and how churches are working to build communities that are integrated to a degree but still have effective age-specific ministries as well. If you missed the interview please check it out right here.

The second half of that week we talked about what our church was introducing that very week: Worship Together Weekends. The plan was to cancel youth services once a month in order to encourage families to attend the adult worship services together. The hope was that exposing our teenagers to the larger church experience at Saddleback would help them feel like part of the overall church family, not just part of the youth group.

We’ve been getting a ton of questions about it and many have asked for an update, so here we go!

So far, so good!
The first several weeks of Worship Together have been really great—by cancelling youth services the first weekend we actually also happened to coincide with several holidays (July 4th, Labor Day, etc.) so having the joint services was helpful on the lower-attended weekends anyhow. The real test is probably still coming soon, but it has been great so far.

We have a student section.
Yes, we have a section that is specifically designed for students—but we encourage students to sit with their families and friends first before heading there. Some choose to be there and our student ministry team is very present at all services that weekend, meeting parents, greeting, or on stage for announcements or welcome.

No momentum has been lost.
You would think that cancelling youth group once a month would kill momentum, but we haven’t had adverse affects yet. We communicate with texting and Facebook almost exclusively with our students so they know exactly what’s happening each weekend if we’re on or off. Hasn’t been confusing at all, which is a slight miracle.

So where will we go from here? We committed to a one-year experiment, and so far it seems like everybody is pleased with the results, and we’re excited to hear about other churches that are experimenting with new ideas to help students STICK!

Are you trying new things to develop Sticky Faith in your students?

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.

(this review was written by AC since I was away this weekend – be sure to check out his blog, too!)

Weekend Teaching Series:  I Am __________ (week 3 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Bullying is not just wrong it’s evil, and we are commanded as believers to standup for those who can’t do it on their own.

Service Length: 75 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we covered Bullying. We had a guest speaker named Paul Coughlin.  He is the founder of The Protectors an organization that helps family’s, schools and churchs deal with the issue of bullying.  He gave our students a biblical perspective on bullying,  he really educated our students on what bullying is and what it is not.  Finally, he gave practical ways students could standup to bullying.  One of the ways he stressed was for our students to partner up with a friend at school and standup for each other.  Also, if they saw someone else being bullied that they would standup for that person together.  He also challenged students who wanted to do more to signup for more info on how to do more in their schools.  We had 60 plus students signup.  Very proud of our students for taking a stance against bullying.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We did a Taylor Swift cover as an opener “Mean”.  We played a couple of fun new videos – one was the 3rd episode of HSM’s Sports Minute featuring local school sports updates with a crazy twist and the other was an announcement video for our Halloween outreach event.

Music Playlist: Hosannah, Never Let Go, Our God

Favorite Moment: The song choices after the message this weekend were absolutely perfect. I really felt like the message continued right into the 3 songs – super powerful ending to the message!

Up next: Worship Together Weekend [1-off]

Weekend Teaching Series: Before and After: a study through Ephesians (series premiere, week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: The person that I used to be and the person I am in Christ.
Service Length:
66 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend AC taught for the first time in HSM – he walked students through Ephesians 2 and how we were before Christ and the life-change that happens at salvation. He did a great job explaining sin, the traps of Satan and salvation by God’s grace. The highlight of the weekend was when he had a student come up and share the story of her life, including a recent departure from God’s path that cost her things she could never get back. Her story clearly illustrated the amazing grace of God and how

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend was really straightforward with lots of welcoming students, a fun recap of our recent Rwanda mission trip and our 80’s skate night from this past Friday.

Music Playlist: Somebody That I Used to Know (A capella cover), Here For You, Majesty, What Would I Have Done, Savior of the World

Favorite Moment: Cayla sharing her story was incredible – made the whole message come to life. Incredible testimony to God’s grace!

Up next: Before and After (week 2 of 3)

My boss Kurt put together a great post called Things Are Getting Sticky at Saddleback talking about the origin of something new we started this summer called Worship Together Weekends. Here’s a little of the backstory, head there for the full perspective:

  • About a year ago, I started really digging into the Sticky Faith research and asking myself some tough questions.
  • About 10 months ago, I started using my allotted “report back” time in our executive meetings to share some of my learnings, to let the senior leadership of my church know that I saw some changes on the horizon.
  • About 6 months ago, I suggested the radical idea (radical in our setting) of taking tangible steps to get our teenagers more involved in the overall life of the church. These ideas included combined missions trips, ministry teams, discipleship classes, etc.
  • At the same time, I suggested the idea of creating a monthly “Worship Together Weekend”. I pitched the idea that on the first full weekend of every month we cancel our JH and HS church services, completely shut down our youth building and encourage families to go to “big church” together. In essence I proposed that we spend 25% of our time NOT doing the type of ministry that our church has been built upon.


Some big news that starts this July – our church has decided to cancel student services once a month for what we’re calling “Worship Together Weekend.” It is a chance for everyone in the church to take time to worship together instead of age-specific programs and services.

We don’t know too much, honestly, we’re right in the middle of figuring that out. But here’s the scoop so far:

On the first full weekend of each month (beginning July 7/8) our junior high and high school ministries will join the adults of Saddleback for church services in the Worship Center. This is a chance for adults and teenagers to enjoy church with each other, as one big church family!

On the first full weekend of every month during the 4:30 and 6:30 services Saturday night and the 9 and 11:15 Sunday services.


  • July 7/8
  • August 4/5
  • September 1/2
  • October 6/7
  • November 3/4

Junior High and High School services in the Refinery are cancelled, and the Refinery will be closed during church services on Worship Together Weekends. If you don’t have somebody to sit with at Worship Together Weekend look for a friendly face in a Wildside or HSM T-shirt and we will set you up!


Weekend Teaching Series: XXX (series finale, week 2 of 2)
Sermon in a Sentence: How to be a good neighbor.

Service Length: 84 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend Craig Gross, founder of XXXChurch, spoke to our high school students in all 4 weekend services. Last week he hit the topic of pronography strong, this week he took the series on the next step – how to I share my freedom and faith in Christ with my friends. His main passage was the Good Samaritan and told stories of how he has seen God work in his life and ministry. Really powerful!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played Facebook Hack, which was a total riot. If you’re not familiar with it yet, steal this idea now (hit the link for the full scoop and graphics). Basically, we use an iPad and the contestant logs in and then gives control of their Facebook to the host. The host asks questions, and if the contenstant gets it wrong the host can unfriend whoever or post whatever they want. Hilarious! As an added bonus as the game was coming to a close, the contestant at one of the services took out a piece of paper and had written a poem to his girlfriend and asked her to prom with him. It made for a super memorable ending!

Music Playlist: We Could Change the World, Our God, Love Came Down, All I Am, To the Ends of the Earth,

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was definitely the message and having Craig here to speak. I also loved having my friend Chris Wohlers back in HSM this weekend as a guest host to Facebook Hack. Chris was on the high school team last year but took a great opportunity with our adult service video team.

Up next: Workshop Weekend (1-off)