Each day this week I’ve been posting the results of a new member survey from our church. Here’s reason #4 from a Top Ten list of why people join our church … and the one I’m most excited about:

#4 — Children’s and Youth Ministry
Children’s and youth ministry are VERY important to the church. Actually, that isn’t exactly what the research is saying. Children’s and youth ministry are VERY important to a family deciding which church to attend. Yup, that’s more accurate. Know this – when someone walks through the door on a Sunday morning they are looking for a safe environment for their children. They’re looking for a vibrant youth ministry. They’re looking for spiritual partners in helping raise their kids. If you don’t have one or give it a low priority/visibility, it will show up in who does or doesn’t stick.

One aside: this was #4 on the list of “most important when choosing a church” including plenty of people who didn’t have kids/teenagers at all and those with children long out of the house. Makes me think this one would be even MORE important for those specifically in this life stage.

Youth ministry application: You are an incredibly important part of your church. It might not show up in a ton of affirmation, perks or even understanding, but you are. Youth ministry is one of the key reasons that people choose your church. So make it great. Stick it out through the tough times. Make it better. Always remember the importance of what you do and your calling.


#10 – Special Events and Activities
You might think that pot lucks and ice cream socials, but according to the research of over 8,000 new members at Saddleback Church - special events and activities rank the lowest on this best of 10 survey. Most churches spend an inordinate amount of time on planing events and activities for their people – when in fact it is only a minor factor in keeping people engaged as members. What would it look like if we reduced the glut of activities and events that are usually more work than they’re worth anyhow? If they play such an insignificant role, why not redirect some of that budget and manpower to something that is more important?

Youth ministry application: activities and events certainly have their place, but don’t waste your most precious resources on them. Chances are, maybe a few larger, annual events would give you a better return on your effort, without the total drain on the family, calendar and budget.

Whats your take on the importance of special events and activities?


Weekend Teaching Series: How to Raise Your Parents (series premiere, week 1 of 3)

Sermon in a Sentence: Your relationship with your parents is up to you.
Service Length: 69 minutes

Understandable Message: This week Doug Fields taught students from God’s Word about their relationship with their parents. He did a great job helping students understand that they control much of their relationship with their parents – if they respected and honored their parents, it would take them far. His usual mix of rumor and truth was super.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we had some more fun with HSM Talks, and Chris did a really creative announcement that was part live and part video – a dream about going to HSM Summer Camp. Simple, clean and solid weekend.

Music Playlist: Go, Divine and Holy, Revelation Song, Hosanna

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was that during each service our junior high services dismissed the 8th graders out for a little root-beer-float-HSM-summer camp promo time. We had a couple students share about their camp experience, and had a raffle for a free camp registration. Super fun relational time with the soon to be freshman.

Up Next: How to Raise Your Parents (week 3 of 3, parent panel and series finale)

Last summer was incredible so this summer we’re hoping to build on what we learned and have another great break. Here is a little insight behind what HSM has planned for this summer. If you haven’t seen the calendar and list of events yet, you can check it out here:

All about relationships
The summer is all about hanging with students. We embrace the beauty of time off from school and the different pace around the church office. Summer = relational ministry goldmine.

Free, free, free
Summer camp is the signature event to kickoff the summer and the only one that costs money – after that every event is totally free. In the past we have had events that each charge admission, and over time these add up to frustrated parents and limiting participation.

Low prep time
The events on the summer calendar are meant to be low-prep time events. They are basically excuses to do relational ministry. Prep for Free Coke Friday? Grab some frisbees and a cooler of Gatorade. Done!

Regular recurring events
Want to remember the summer schedule? Every event happens 7 times this summer. 7 Midweeks, 7 Free Coke Fridays, 7 Bagels & Bibles. If you come to one, you can figure out the schedule for the summer. If you’re free on a Friday, you know what we’re up to that day.

Lots of Bible time
One of the big emphasis of our summer is plenty of time in the Word. One of the advantages of no small groups and no high school classes is that we have blocks of time and regular opportunities to pull off our own classes fr spiritual growth.

What should we try next summer that is working for you?


Today our HSM Summer Calendar for 2011 went to print – pretty excited about the look and schedule for what’s happening when school is off. I’ll post more about the philosophy behind it soon, too.


This weekend to kickoff our How to Raise Your Parents series, we had one of the HSM Staff demonstrate the proper technique a parent should talk to a kid when they messed up. Funny and super cute.


The series bumper video for HSM’s How to Raise Your Parents series. There are 4 steps in the video, and #4 will change each week of the series to be something funny to keep it fresh.


Weekend Teaching Series: How to Raise Your Parents (series premiere, week 1 of 3)

Sermon in a Sentence: A good relationship between parent and teenager is built on trust: trust for your parents and trust from your parents.
Text: Proverbs, Ephesians 6
Service Length: 61 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I had the chance to introduce the topic of trust as the foundation for a healthy relationship between teenagers and their parents. It was also the start of the series, so had some fun setting up my experience as a kid/teenager in my home. Lots of fun stories, and an object lesson about trust where I had a clear tube of colored water that sprung leaks as the parents lost trust in their teenager. We talked about trust-builders and trust-busters – students hopefully walked away with a clear understanding of how important trust is and how to build it between them and their parents.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week was a super tight program that included a fun opening song, a couple videos about upcoming events (HSM Summer Camp and Killball) as well as a funny video about parenting and trust. Clean, direct program, with lots of students involved greeting, cameras, band, control room, creating graphics, etc.

Music Playlist: Not a Child Anymore, Freedom is Here, You’ll Come, Your Love is Strong

Favorite Moment: The opener this weekend was written by McKenzie – it was about parents and how they are crazy and don’t trust their teenagers. At first, I was worried about the song’s message, then when the band got to the last line, it was a total payoff and super sweet. Incredibly creative and a beautiful tribute to parents masked in what really is going through a teenagers mind. Brilliant, I’ll post video when I can find someone who recorded it.

Up Next: How to Raise Your Parents (Doug Fields speaking, week 2 of 3) [read the whole series are here]