No services next weekend in HSM. Here’s the video to make sure students got the message.


Here was the welcome/introduction video for HSM’s new intern, Chelsea Collins. I’m sure students found it very informative in a “get to know you” kinda way.


This weekend in HSM we don’t have youth services – in fact, we’ve made a specific and conscious effort to push students to worship with their families and/or bring their parents to church for the first time. We don’t cancel very often (Christmas, New Years and Easter). How about you? Vote in this week’s youth ministry poll!


Weekend Teaching Series: Jesus (week 2 of 3) [read about the series arc here]

Sermon in a Sentence: Where are you in your relationship with the amazing Jesus?
Text: John 4 — Jesus and the Woman at the Well
Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we had Doug Fields come and speak to the students – he did a talk about Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well. It was a great mix of humor and a serious challenge asking students to consider their relationship with Jesus. He presented the Gospel clearly and gave students plenty to think about over Spring Break.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we said goodbye and welcomed an intern. We hosted a short “thank you” for Haley who is leaving to finish her internship at another Saddleback campus, and said “hello” to Chelsea who is just beginning her time with us. We played a couple of videos for fun – including a sequel to last week’s summer camp teaser video and a funny video about no services next week (encouraging students to go to the adult services with their parents). Lots of student greeters, students on lights, band, camera control room and sound.

Music Playlist: Yours Forever, Our God, Revelation Song, Nothing But the Blood, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: Lots of great moments in and around the service – I think that watching students come from the crowd to surround Haley was a memory she will soon forget. To be surrounded by those you’ve impacted when you leave is such an endearing and memorable moment, pretty emotional, too. Proud of her.

Up Next: No services in HSM next weekend for Easter – we planned it so the Jesus series finale would be letting students/parents attend the Easter weekend services together.

The sequel to last week’s first teaser video for HSM Summer Camp.


We’ve dabbled with a parent newsletter in the past, but quite honestly the answer was in front of us the entire time!

We sent out a quick weekly email to our volunteers to keep them in the loop on what was going on in our ministry. Life Group leaders are a key way to make sure that announcements, trips and events are being communicated another time during the week. We text out most of the important stuff, and we do have a formal announcement time in the weekend services, but nothing replaces a small group leader sharing about an event in a group of 8-12 students.

So we were putting all of this work into a weekly email for volunteers and struggled to find a voice for parents. So what we did was simple: take the volunteer email we were already doing and just add a few items of interest to the parents. So far we’ve added a couple of items like a resource or website for parents to check out. It’s been a huge hit for us!

Now there are some great things already out there that can help make this process of communicating with parents far more painless – like using The Parent Link (probably the best option) or just signing up parents for great weekly emails like Homeword’s Weekly Culture Brief or CPYU’s Youth Culture Update. The value here is to make sure your parents are in the loop and you’re helping and supporting the home. This is how we’re doing it!


We’ve got an empty seat on the HSM team at Saddleback!

This week we had an intern wrap up her time on the High School Team (she’s finishing the last couple of months over on a regional campus working with adults) so that leaves us with an open spot on the team. Know anyone who might be a good fit? I’d love someone fairly new to ministry (think 21-26 years old) who would be willing to be a learner and serve HSM for a year or two. Now, our internship is in total flux, but it looks like the latest info and how to check it out can be found right here. Excited about who God brings us next!


This week we snuck away for the afternoon to take a stab at creating the first draft of our fall youth ministry calendar. There were lots of laughs and some good ideas for what’s next for HSM. Here’s a few things that were running around in my head yesterday, and am thinking about as I continue to process the stuff we came up with for our students:

Kill the sacred cows.
Each year, everything is on the chopping block. Annual events are fun and I totally love and support traditions, but have to be careful they don’t become something doesn’t becomes untouchable. Sacred cows haunt the halls of too many churches, this will not be one of them. Nothing is sacred. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when someone offers up one of my favorites to be sacrificed, but I have to be willing to put a bullet in it.

Effective is what matters most.
This ties in pretty closely with the first principle, but what matters more is not size, buzz or fun. Those things do matter and certainly play into our decisions – but what matters most is whether the event we are putting on the calendar is effective. If a discipleship class is bombing, don’t get rid of discipleship, just search for a way to do discipleship that is more effective. If an evangelistic event is huge but isn’t bringing students to Christ and/or back to church, why bother with it? Put aside personal feelings and inferior measurements and talk about effectiveness.

Know your unique strengths, identity and culture.
Here’s a few of ours that help shape what we do: the fall has natural momentum with the launch of small groups and the launch of our weekend services. Fun after-service events have been way more effective than separate night our events. We are an evangelistic-leaning ministry (trying to balance the biblical purposes). If you know where you’re leading your youth ministry and have a firm grip on your strengths and specific culture, it will help you guide the planning session accordingly.

Last years successes can be this years successes … or failures.
Don’t change for the sake of change – but realize what worked last year may not work again. Copying the previous year may seem like a good idea (and it just might be) but be careful not to get too comfortable in the same path because they easily turn into ruts. Surrounding your past, present and future plans in prayer and asking God to guide you into your future is always a good plan.

I wrote 5 Steps to Calendar on Purpose a couple years ago … might also be helpful. What else?