This is going to be a fun and simple series of videos to help promote HSM Summer Camp. So excited!

JG

PS: If you missed last year’s Hunger Games parody … you’ve got to see it, too.

We have been hearing a lot about cliques and other problems with student leaders. In the past, we talked about how our goal is never to try to eliminate the perception of cliques. Merely attacking the perception of cliques can be an impossible goal because, unfortunately, there will always be the few that will still voice their unhappiness. And chasing after an impossible goal can be incredibly discouraging.

What the goal should be is for your students to be doing everything they can to be loving other students and to be as inclusive as possible. This goal wasn’t new to our student leadership team, but we noticed that the student leaders were no longer doing their best to love other students. So we decided to talk about what it means to be a student leader. Instead of talking about the actions we can take, we talked about the characteristics of a student leader. That student leader is one that can’t help but to love and serve people. After compiling a list of the characteristics, we had a time where we could intentionally pray for those things to be true of them.

We are stoked about this exercise because it will, hopefully, not just combat cliques, but several other problems we have been seeing in our student leaders (setting an example on social media being a BIG one probably a subject that deserves its own blog post!).

 

Here is the list our student leaders put together:

SL Characteristics

What are you doing to motivate your students into being more inclusive in your ministry?

 

Colton [Email||Twitter]



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I’m so excited about this! About a year ago I had this fun idea that we create a senior calendar to show where students are headed after they graduate from high school. One of the challenges of our youth ministry is keeping track of students once we get to the finish line – we were hoping this was a way we could celebrate and build community for students as they finished up. Ashley is one of the students who heads up the Create Ministry in our youth group and put in a ton of time making this random idea a reality. We started using it this weekend at youth group – during services students could fill out little cards with their information on it and drop it into a small collection bucket. Ashley or one of the other student leaders would then make pins for their school and/or add them to an existing school already on the map. For some seniors who have already dropped out of youth group (argh) we’re trying to get their information from Instagram and Facebook so it is complete as possible.

So in addition to the visual display for the next two months, we could use use the information to keep in contact with students all over the US, send care packages and help them find Christian community more quickly, too. It has already been such a fun exercise – I’m sure it will become one of the most interesting places for people to check out as they walk through our church.

Here’s a closer look at it, notice how each state is themed in some way in the fabric choice – the attention to detail is insane!

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I absolutely love how it turned out, and a much simpler version could be made with a $10 map and pushpins if you want to get one up in your ministry by next weekend. I hope this is something you steal or inspires you to do something even cooler in your church!

JG

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Parker had a new idea this year to help us promote summer camp. We are taking a donated camp scholarship registration and we’re giving it away! We’re having a contest for the best summer camp promotional video:

Are you awesome at shooting and editing videos? Want to use your skills to not only get your stuff on the big screen during the weekends, but to also be shown at all of our regional campuses? This is your opportunity be creative and create THE BEST HSM 2013 Summer Camp promotional video! The official rules are listed in the graphic above. The grand prize for the best video? You get to send one of your friends to Summer Camp for FREE! That’s basically $400 for a friend who normally wouldn’t go to camp. So get your camera and start shooting! All videos are due by May 10th at Midnight!

All the details and a FAQ are available on the official site here.

JG



article.2013.04.09This week we’re going to take on the top 3 questions that we get when people come to visit our youth ministry. You’ll get mine (Josh) today and Kurt’s tomorrow. Here are 3 very frequently asked questions:

How can I start a youth ministry internship at my church?
We are very blessed to have some really incredible interns at our church and a program that doesn’t cost the church a ton of money that produces some pretty amazing youth workers. If you want to start one, you’ve got to answer some very basic but fundamental questions about the program:

  • Will we pay the interns?
  • Where are they going to live/eat/office?
  • What is the duration of the program?
  • What are we hoping to accomplish in both them and in our ministry?

If you can answer those basic questions, you are off to a great start! For starters, I would pay the interns a very small stipend, if possible, to help cover gas and a couple meals, and keep the duration short like a summer term. Map out the basics of what they will be doing and how you want to shape them and you’re well on your way.

While I don’t have space for much more, for extra credit here’s a roadmap of where to go next:

  • Look for margin where you can add managing interns to your regular workweek. The last thing interns need is an absent leader!
  • Create a required reading list during the internship.
  • Schedule a few times for them to interact with key leaders in the church.
  • As you plan their development, consider having them observe, follow then lead an event, youth service and volunteer from application to placement.

How many events do you guys do at your church?
We made a decision long ago that we weren’t going to build a ministry that was event-driven. But to be honest, we have to continually fight the advance of program creep. Program creep is where you continue to add more and more and not take anything away!

With that in mind, we have our weekly youth group on the weekend and small groups that meet in homes during the week, and then just occasional supplemental events from there. A serve project here, a Dodgeball tournament there. We consciously don’t do a ton of events to keep balance on the biblical purposes. Just so you know, in summer we do a TON more events, so things change with the seasons, too!

So do you teach every week at youth group?
I would guess I teach about 50% of the time in our youth ministry I love giving the platform away for so many reasons:

  • Students need to hear from different voices
  • Sometimes the same thing being said by someone else sticks.
  • Leaders need platforms to develop their speaking skills.
  • I need a break!

Don’t be afraid to give away your platform a little bit you might be surprised at how quickly you fall in love with the byproducts of it. Just keep in mind as the point person make sure you are speaking at the key times and visible and supportive when you’re not on stage.

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.

“What do I do when the former youth pastor is still attending our church?”

I get this question from time to time and have actually had to work in this environment in both of the churches I’ve served in over the past 20 years.

Sometimes the former youth pastor takes a promotion and ends up as a worship pastor or the director of a regional campus. Maybe they were a key volunteer holding together the ministry during transition until you stepped into the role. In larger churches, he or she might have been promoted to the Student Ministries Pastor and you take over a junior high or high school ministry. In any case, contending with the former head of a youth ministry you are now charged to lead can be unsettling, challenging or even painful.

I wanted to share a few thoughts today to help you as you process and live in this situation:

If the youth pastor is supportive
I had the privilege of serving under Doug Fields when he was the Student Ministries Pastor at our church. Now I get to carry on his legacy as the high school pastor. People always talk about the “big shoes” I had to fill and the pressure of following him. Doug has an incredible intuition – in just a few minutes he can spot weaknesses and offer ideas on how to come up with creative solutions to them. He is honest with me, he loves me and I know he makes our ministry better. That’s why I hang on every word he says – because of that relationship I know he cares about me as a leader, our high school ministry and wants what’s best for us both. At the same time he wants me to break the rules, challenge the methods of the past and move the ministry forward. He values what I value even if it is different from the way he did it.

A supportive former youth pastor who remains engaged can still be intimidating and challenging but it is one of the best gifts you can be given as a leader. Having a cheerleader and a fresh set of outside eyes is invaluable as you rarely look up from the trenches of day-to-day ministry. Being set up to win by the youth pastor who went before you is affirming and legacy-building. Thank God if you have one of these loving men or women in your church today.

If the youth pastor is not supportive … check back tomorrow for part 2!

Would love to know the situation you serve in and ideas you have to thrive in this environment, too!

JG



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Pretty excited for our students (and maybe yours if you don’t live too far away)to participate in a 2-day Student Worship Conference here at Saddleback Church. Here’s a little bit from the website that just launched this week:

To be quite honest, this conference is probably similar to other worship conferences, however, this is geared specifically to students to truly build them and see a bigger picture of what it means to lead people to the throne of GOD. Even more, this Student Worship Conference is intended to help equip students with the basics of what worship is and what it means to be a musician and/or a vocalist in ministry. Many adults volunteers, youth pastors, worship leaders or pastors assume students are to already know what they need to know when it comes to leading worship through music. WRONG!!! No student knows what they are doing. For the most part, most adults do not even know what they are doing. We need to teach all students to become worship pastors and not just worship leaders, because anyone can lead worship (we will explain that more at the conference).

There will be lots of special guests, student bands and fun here at the Refinery at Saddleback. Get more details here, hope you will join us!

JG

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Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: Mission Viejo High School (week 2 of 5)

Sermon in a Sentence: We’re all sinking.
Service Length:
 63 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend the students did an incredible job owning the service – every aspect was done by students from that high school and they did an absolutely incredible job. The theme was we’re all sinking and they talked about how we’re sinking in life without Christ and did a great job explaining the plan of salvation to the youth group. These weekends surge in attendance every year, so it was awesome for them to have such a clear, focused message with a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Killer decorations – they took a totally different approach and rather than going all out with their school mascots,logos and colors they themed it very aquatic – super creative and a nice change of pace from the typical You Own the Weekend. My favorite was the entry way with green streamers hanging from the ceiling, made it feel like you were walking through seaweed when you walked into the youth room. Hilarious videos, too!

Music Playlist: Under the Sea [Disney cover remix], The Earth is Yours, Always, 10,000 Reasons

Favorite Moment: After the service was over students pointed to leaders if someone had questions or had made a decision during the service. But more importantly, they offered themselves to talk to others. This is the essence of You Own the Weekend – students take the lead. Love it.

Up next: You Own the Weekend: Capo (week 3 of 5)