I had the privilege of posting a couple of guest posts on some other great youth ministry blogs this past week. The first was on Josh Evans’ blog called Bloom Where You’re Planted:

These were some of the most powerful words ever said to me. It came at a time when I was looking around in frustration at my ministry, my eyes were wandering for more and I was always wishing for a bigger crowd in a sexier ministry. How selfish, naive and sad. God had called me to my church, but my brokenness inside was already thinking about next and more and bigger.

The second was on Brooklyn Lindsey’s blog called The Best Kept Secret in Your Church:

I recently realized that our youth ministry was one of the best kept secrets in the church. I walked around the adult services last week and read every word in the church bulletin – and found hardly a mention of our high school ministry. Now certainly in a megachuch with so much cooking you could explain away this news, but I know from my 7 years in a smaller church this happens everywhere.

Click the links above to read the whole articles – thanks for the opportunities to share, too!


The teenage life is a huge time of transitions, from safety and security in their family to finding out who they are in school and life outside of the family. From a teen’s eyes, it might seem like an endless series of crisis events. And to make it worse, no two crisis could be the same. They can face anything from bullies to divorcing parents, failing grades to friends who cut.

As youth workers to see hundreds, maybe thousands of students a week, how do we interact, work with, and serve those students who are going through a crisis? There are three things that every situation will need you to do, regardless of the situation: you need to be ready for crisis to happen, we need to give them time and space initially instead of fixing immediately, and we need to see it to the end.

We will further address each of these this week, but here is a brief description of each:

Be Prepared for Crisis [read more]
Preparation of a crisis that could (and will) happen involves three things: leaving time in your schedule to give it your full attention, knowing the resources available to you to best handle the situation, and creating an environment that is safe to be open and talk with adults and others about their problems. These allow us to effectively and fully engage with the student, preventing deeper wounds being created from our own shortcomings.

Giving Them Time And Space, Instead of Fixing Anything [read more]
Our first reaction to working with students is the desire to fix what they are facing because of any three things: we need to quickly fix their crisis so we can face our own, we are uncomfortable with the pain, or we assume that we know what the whole story is that has led to this crisis. But if we give them the time and space, this will allow them to work through their emotions (no matter how hard that is) as well as establish a deeper relationship between you and the student.

Creating A Comfortable Environment For Students [read more]
So many crisis are never told to an adult because of the fear that they will be judged, ignored, or rejected because of the problem. Yet, we can create a safe environment for them to share their hearts with us instead of hiding it away by developing deep and authentic relationships that start with sharing your own hurts and wounds from your past, regularly telling students that adults in the church are hear to talk, and consistently preach and teach on the tough topics like suicide and bullying.

Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.

At the end of HSM’s recent Secrets series we played a wrap-up video that turned out pretty solid. I’m hoping this is an idea we can use for each series – that we end each series by emphasizing the whole arc of the teaching and pull it all together in one final message.


Secrets Week 1 Opening Video

Josh Griffin —  September 23, 2011 — 2 Comments

Here’s a sweet little video our team put together to help put into feelings/emotion what our students wrote when they shared their secrets. I used it at the beginning of the talk to help turn the corner from some fun into some pretty heavy stuff.


Secrets Series Bumper Video

Josh Griffin —  September 22, 2011 — 1 Comment

Absolutely love this new bumper video for our Secrets fall kickoff series. Each of the bulletins had one of these same secrets printed on the front and we also made up some signs to print around the youth room, too.


Here’s the rest of the secrets we made (see the others here) based on the ones our students turned in. These were signage for the Secrets series we’re doing this fall. A great reminder that just under the surface there are all sorts of secrets.



We took a few of the secrets from our students (you can see the original cards they filled out here) and Parker made them into some really great pieces of art that were hung throughout the Refinery and were printed on the back of the student programs this weekend. I’ll post another batch soon, too. Pretty powerful, painful stuff.


This week during the end of the first message in the Secrets series, I challenged students to take a courageous step and share their secrets. I gave them a few options for where and how they could share it, here they are:

RemedyLIVE is a ministry that helps students deal with their secrets. They’re basically an internet TV ministry for students. I’ve got some good friends over there that are doing some great stuff for students (online confessional booth, anonymous texting chats, powerful web shows, etc.) Really worth checking out as a youth worker to see if it would help you with your hurting students, too.

Another online ministry I’m excited to point you to is MyBrokenPalace.net. Seems like this one is newer (and local to us). Same kinda thing – great videos, a prayer wall and online confessional.

The Landing
The Landing is the Celebrate Recovery program for students. This program runs every Friday night at 7pm in our church and specializes is helping students deal with their secrets, addiction and pain. This week as a special connection to the Secrets series they’re hosting an open house to welcome curious students.