We just finished up one of my favorite HSM series of recent times – Crazytown! It was a 3-week series on guys, girls, relationships and sex. I was super excited about this one, here’s the series arc to give you an idea of where we took students this past month:

Week 1: 5 Things Girls Wish Guys Knew
Most guys are clueless when it comes to girls. What would it look like if we combined learnings from a focus group of girl students and mashed it up with my experience as a pastor and what God’s Word teaches into one message to guys. So this is the week where we take on guys from a girls’ perspective. This was a fun talk to give for the girls to look for and the boys to become.

Week 2: 5 Things Guys Wish Girls Knew
Ladies, if you want to know what guys really wish you knew about relationships and sex, this is it! I sat down with some guys and discuss their loves, pet peeves and overall thoughts about girls and once again take on a Biblical perspective on what a godly woman looks like. This is a powerful week to challenge both guys and girls!

Week 3: The “Ask Anything” Relationship Panel
SEX! Now that we have your attention, we are going to be talking about relationships and sex. We brought in some amazing and brave people who have been through thick and thin of relationships, the good, bad and ugly for you to ask them questions about relationships and sex.


Loving this simple series of promo videos for HSM Summer Camp. So fun! Ouch …


We’re trying something new with the Crazytown series we’re doing right now – honestly we stumbled into it when a student started doing it. Honestly, I am absolutely loving it!

Last week after my message Melanie made a ready-for-Instagram image to share in her social media. It stunned me how she captured that point of the talk perfectly:


Then after this week’s service, she nailed it again:


We’re hopefully going to continue it every week after our youth services – let people share the message virally. Would love to see maybe a youth group logo in the corner or even a verse on them in the future, or maybe that would be too forced andobvious. Either way … I love this so much!

Steal the idea if you want!


Moving On

Colton Harker —  May 20, 2013 — 1 Comment

Moving On

It is crazy to believe that the school year is almost over! For student leadership, we like to give our graduating seniors a big going away party, complete with a farewell/thank-you present from our ministry. Along with a few hand written notes and some other goodies, we are giving our seniors Doug Franklin Moving On.

This is the second year that we have given Moving On to our students. We love it because it is more than just a book, it is a resource. It helps students start to answer some of the big questions they have as they graduate high school and move on to the next chapter of their life. Questions like, what should I do? and what does God want me to do?

Moving On helps them answer those questions by walking them through the formula:

Burden + Passion + Vision= Mission

The students we gave the book to last year loved it so we are bringing it back for another run. If you want to pick the book up for your students, you can buy it here.

What are you giving your students for graduation?

Colton [Email||Twitter]


Weekend Teaching Series: Crazytown (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: 5 Things Girls Wish Guys Knew
Service Length: 70 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I went after the guys! Had so much fun talking to girls and some college-age women to get some of their perspective and then mash it up with my personal experiences and use God’s Word for the authority of truth. It was SUCH a fun weekend, I was so happy with the student’s response and I was extremely direct, too! We talked through all sorts of practical stuff and hit on some big topics too like objectifying women, boundaries, and more. One of my favorite HSMs of all time!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a hilarious summer camp promo video and a near-perfect game show about celebrity couples. It was incredible and Travis did a great job hosting it. I love it when a game plays out like a skit/standup as well as something the contestants and crowd could participate in. Really strong program.

Music Playlist: When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars cover), Christ in Me, Take It All

Favorite Moment I loved this weekend in HSM! Excited to turn it into a resource in the future that other youth workers can use in their ministry, too. We tried something new with the stage design, too – notice in the picture above is half physical and half digital? The guys spray-painted gator board so we could light it from behind and then Parker made a digital “extension” of the buildings on the screen with a starry night that moved, complete with shooting stars. Simple, but striking. Perfect atmosphere for the talk!

Up next: Crazytown (week 2 of 3)

Art Wall

This weekend, our Create ministry launched our new student art wall! The Create ministry is a team made up of all of our painters, sculptors, doodlers, and pinteresters. It is such a fun ministry and we use them all the time to execute projects like our college destination map and even use them to help with stage design!

Their newest project was to put together a wall where students can display their art. I love this idea because this gives students the opportunity to show their art in a way that they don’t usually get to. Artsy students can often be the ones that don’t fit in super well with other students, so it is great to have another avenue to reach out to them. This wall gives our students a consistent goal and a piece of our ministry that they get to own.

We made sure to add a piece that told the purpose of the ministry and the wall in general.


I’m so excited about the future of this wall. I can see us using themed art for worship nights or art aimed around a specific weekend series (addiction, persecution, etc.). Easy idea that can be used in any ministry!

Colton [Email||Twitter]

Thought this post over on Junior High Ministry was super and totally worth the read. Kurt has some great points about how ownership increases the excellence, even when the program potentially suffers. GEnius observation, here’s a clip before you head that way:

What you wouldn’t have seen much of is excellence; at least not in the way it is traditionally defined! The worship team struggled quite a bit, the guys in the tech room were consistently a slide (or two or three) behind at any given moment in the service, My microphone kept popping and getting feedback, and Saturday after church our cupcake girl shared that she wouldn’t be able to be there on Sunday.and hoped we’d still be willing to sell her cupcakes (which we did, of course).

Our visiting youth pastors are rarely impressed with the level of excellence they witness. I’m surprised, though, at how often they comment on the level of student involvement and ownership happening.

I share this to remind you that as you lead your junior high ministry you have a decision to make, and how you answer is determined mostly by what you value. Do you want your ministry to be marked by excellence or by ownership?




Weekend Teaching Series: Workshop Weekend (1-off)

Sermon in a Sentence: This weekend we had 4 messages – students got to choose which one they would hear.

Understandable Message: This weekend we had a couple videos and a couple songs, then divided up the students into1 of 4 workshops for them to hear about a topic they chose for the weekend:

1. The Comparison Trap: A workshop about the dangers of comparing yourself to your siblings, classmates, celebrities, etc. Learning about how to appreciate who God created you to be. Even showed the Dove video.

2. Modern Day Compassion: Learning to have compassion on other people because everyone has a story. Everyone has their own struggles. They went through Bible stories of compassion and learned how to compare them to everyday life.

3. Judging: Good or Bad? We all have heard about judging being wrong. It can be hard to live out. So they took an in-depth look at what the Bible says about it. Learn how and why God calls us to stay away from judging.

4. Self: Compassion: Learning how to let go of what you’re holding onto. God has forgiven you, and you should forgive yourself as well. The workshop helped students understand God’s love better through teaching them about God’s compassion for us. It is hard to have compassion on others if we can’t have compassion on ourselves.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Didn’t have much in this department this week – pretty straightforward service for sake of time. Good stuff!

Music Playlist:  Holy Moment, Like an Avalanche, All I Am

Favorite Moment: Seeing students and leaders team-teach the workshops was SO cool. LOVED this idea. It isn’t sexy or flashy like some of our other stuff, but I like it a lot.

Up next: Crazytown (series premiere, week 1 of 3)