Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: El Toro Viejo HS (week 4 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: You are pursued by God.

Service Length: 66 minutes

Understandable Message: Students (Jake and Cassie) did an incredible job communicating the timeless truths of God and talking about how God pursues us and how we fall short of God but Jesus made a way for us to be restored and reunited with Him. They were some of the best student speakers we’ve ever had in HSM – and Krissy did a great job of sharing her incredible story of faith through her life. God spoke so clearly through our students, it was powerful and I loved watching students respond.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Students made a couple of great videos (here and here). The highlight of the programming was the drumline from El Toro – they killed it during the countdown and surprised everyone by coming back during the worship song “Go” it was really great! Students also made crosses so during the closing songs of the service they could come up and write down what they were pursuing and nail them to the cross. Simple but so strong

Music Playlist: Go, Pure and Holy Passion, How He Loves, We Will Run, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: I loved that the students had a huge pancake breakfast-for-dinner after the 6:30pm service on Saturday night and between services on Sunday morning. A nice, fun and delicious relational time for everyone to hang out at!

Up next: You Own the Weekend: Tesoro High School (series finale, week 5 of 5)

Super excited about a new series we start in HSM right after Easter. We did a sermon brainstorm meeting and came up with the teaching arc of the series – here it is:

Week 1: Living in the Grey (Josh)
As followers of Jesus, we are to walk in the light. The problem is – the draw to the darkness of the world is pulling us away from the light. Too often, Christians believe the lie that there is a grey area where we can love the light but walk in the darkness. Somehow we have become complacent/lukewarm/brainwashed about living in the middle, in the grey. We have been brainwashed to think that is is okay.

Week 2: World vs. 10 commandments (Parker)
Looking how the world’s way completely is opposite of the God’s way. Take a closer look at each of the 10 commandments and you’ll quickly realize that we all have a choice. So when the Bible says, Do not covet our neighbors things,” we need to realize that the world tells us that we need more and more and more.

Week 3: Transforming Your Mind (Josh)
There is a battle for our mind – how can we have victory? Our minds must be washed in the the glory of Jesus so we begin to think and act in a way that is glorifying to Him. This weekend ends with a special time of commitment and celebration of walking in God’s way. Each student will be given a squishy brain with the series/ministry name logo on it as a reminder of the series, too.


I’ve been hearing some great comments and questions about our just-finished You Own the Weekend series, thought I would post a few more answers and clarifications in case it is an idea that might be transferrable to your youth ministry setting. A couple years ago we posted a few different questions about the series idea, here’s a few more answers to the questions you asked this year:

How do you organize the students willing to help? This year we focused our organizational efforts almost entirely through Facebook. Students organized themselves online as well as had meetings in their school a few times leading up to their weekend, too.

Does each school have a point person they go to to organize the logistics of the weekend series? Yes, each week had an adult assigned to be their mentor to help guide them. The idea is that students do everything, but having a key volunteer/staff/intern guide them through unfamiliar processes (like printing the bulletin) and make sure they stay within acceptable youth ministry boundaries.

How do they volunteer, is everyone from the school able to participate? To what extent? A few leaders naturally rose up from each school, and helped determine each other students involvement. Without a doubt there are a few tensions and conflicts that arise, but that is a GREAT learning byproduct of the series. Usually students settle on who will do what, and there are many opportunities to serve in many different capacities.

How do you keep the school spirit side of it from creating division in the group? Great question! Without a doubt the excitement over someone’s school can actually hurt the unity of the student ministry. We took that into account and ended on a strong unity theme. I do think that students enjoyed coming to the other weekends, just to see how the other schools would do.

How do you keep the students from booing when a school is mentioned? This really happened and to be honest, I think as long as it is kept in check it is acceptable. I think there is a little friendly rivalry happening, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

Does creating an environment of healthy competition make the event more successful? It does. We were clear from the beginning that this was in no way a competition, but a little of that does surface during the series. Everyone tries to do their best, and usually weekends take on very different shape/tone from each other so it seems to work out.


Weekend Teaching Series: 3D (series finale, week 3 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Your present appetites and desires if left unchecked can rob future desires and dreams.
Service Length: 77 minutes
Bible: Genesis 25

Understandable Message: The message this weekend was from the story of Jacob and Esau, where Jacob’s appetites were out of control and cost him his birthright. I heard a message from Andy Stanley from the Passion 2011 Conference and Justin Grunewald from Northpoint’s More series this Fall that heavily influenced this message – too many teenagers give up their future because of desires and appetites of the present. Lots of possible applications to cheating, purity, etc.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The program was simple this week – most of the element of fun came within the message itself. We had students in tons of places serving, and the greeting team was in full force and excited, too.

Music Playlist: Your Love Never Fails [Jesus Culture], Cannons [Phil Wickham], Blessed Be Your Name [Matt Redman], From the Inside Out, Communion Medley – Nails in Your Hands, Here I Am to Worship, Infinite

Favorite Moment: We very rarely do communion at this level program, but it fit really well with the message and made the series finale feel extra special. At the 6:30pm Saturday service, we also had a prayer commissioning for our Kenya team, 30 students and leaders that will be traveling overseas next week.

Up Next: “Q” with Sean McDowell (series premiere, week 1 of 3)

Here’s the series bumper video from this weekend in HSM.


Weekend Teaching Series: 2020: The Future is Now (Series premiere, week 1 of 6)
Sermon in a Sentence: God has a calling and purpose for your life – make plans and submit them to Him and become who He wants you to be.
Service Length: 66 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off the new church-wide series (the adults are calling it Decade of Destiny) talking about our future as a church and as an individual. The weekend message included several illustrations of how the future has let us down, how life is short and how we are all on a path toward becoming an adult even today as a high school student. Students seemed to really connect with the topic – my goal was to challenge them to live with the big picture in mind and make goals to help them accomplish it.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We debuted a new character this weekend – Parker the Pizza Delivery Guy from the Future. The costume was inspired by Will Ferrell in a recent issue of Wired, and Parker delivered a pizza from the future that had to be eaten or the space-time continuum would be broken. Basically, it was an excuse for a little bit of fun and a pizza eating contest.

Music Playlist: All the Right Moves [OneRepublic cover], Our God is Love, From the Inside Out, Breathe on Me, Rise and Sing

Favorite Moment: My personal favorite moment was when I got to shoot a painball gun in church! I introduced the concept of “trajectory” and demonstrated it by shooting all around my friend Chris as my human target. It was a total blast and I think made a marker in students’ memory that small changes can make a huge difference if they make them as a student.

Up Next: The Future is Now: week 2 (church-wide campaign)

Weekend Teaching Series: Happily Ever After (week 2 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Samson teaches a lot about how NOT to be a godly man and what to NOT look for in a guy as we work to live happily ever after.
Service Length: 64 minutes
Main passage: Judges 16

Understandable Message: This week was GUYS weekend in HSM during the Happily Ever After series – I wanted to help guys understand what not to become and girls what not to chase after. The message was the story of Samson and Delilah and was titled “How NOT to be a Stud.” The students seemed to really enjoy the change of pace in teaching style and this subject is totally a felt need for this age group. It was fun to see girls think a little more critically about the type of guy they have their eye on, and for guys to be challenged to rise above the sea of “Samsons” at their high school.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The team created several funny videos about AXE Body Spray that played well, and we had a couple of “scientists” come out and promise to help any guy student in the audience with a date. Of course, the student was planted, and we had set up a funny video of his date that everyone enjoyed, too. It was a unique element because the hosts on stage interacted with the video as if it were life, giving it a neat feeling like it was actually happening in real-time.

Music Playlist: I’ll Make a Man Out of You [Mulan cover], Glory to God, The Grateful, Take It All

Favorite Moment: A fun element we had this weekend happened after I described the typical man – how we’re in love with buffalo wings, man chairs, big screens and football. I asked for a student volunteer, then gave him that experience during the message. We had a Coke, Lazy-Boy, hot wings and a 60″ flat screen set up for him to watch the service. Fun – I checked in on him several times throughout the talk!

Up Next: Happily Ever After series finale (week 3 of 3)

Here’s the Happily Ever After bumper video for our new series that started this weekend.