Have you ever walked into a really beautiful building, very neat and organized on the inside with friendly faces greeting you and showing you around, then you make a trip to the bathroom and whoa! What happened here? It looks like no one has touched it in months, this is what’s stinking the whole place up! Someone’s got to be willing to take care of the smaller, less desirable jobs. Otherwise, the bigger jobs could tank.

One person cannot do it all
It takes a team to get things done. So if you think you are just the guy who stands-by keeping an eye out for anything that may go wrong or just the girl that cleans the bathroom, stop right there! You couldn’t be more wrong. Without you, the guy in the spotlight wouldn’t be so lit up. The nasty bathroom and the fight in the back of the room would steal the light.

Do it willingly
Put more value on what you are doing, it’s not so bad. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23) You are right where God wants you to be. You are not working for the people; you are doing the Lord’s work. You are building up His Kingdom so disregard the value the world places on your position and work with joy in your heart knowing it is for a greater cause.

No matter how small your job may seem, it is a BIG in the Kingdom of God. So keep scrubbing that toilet and do it with joy in your heart and when the Lord comes, you can look forward to Him saying, Well done, good and faithful servant!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

I was watching my friend Parker the other night. He is an incredible student leader and a talented young man. He was working lights at our Saturday night service during our You Own the Weekend series. He was killing it, super passionate, incredibly creative – even his parents came to see his work! I looked around the room and was so happy – adults were around talking to students and generally keeping order – but in most cases, students were serving in a ton of areas.

Got me thinking – when did this happen? I can think of how not too long ago we didn’t have students serving in any significant way just a few years ago. When did students really start serving at our services like this? When did Parker move from attendee to ingenious lighting guy extraordinaire?


The answer was simple – when we had a place for him to serve! When we had all sorts of specific opportunities, students jumped in! We made it simple to get involved, we had something for everyone at all levels of spiritual commitment.

Made me wonder if maybe you’re frustrated because students aren’t involved in your ministry … and maybe it is because there isn’t a role ready for them to immediately jump into. Maybe you have some ideas in your head but it isn’t clear to them. Maybe you want them to merge with your ministry but they’re having some trouble finding the on ramp. Seems elementary I know, but it made a huge change for us that paid massive dividends. Way to go Parker!


Here’s a highlight video one of our students created from footage he shot at last year’s Spring Break serve project. We started promoting it this weekend – excited to partner with CIY (Christ in Youth) again this year in serving our community!


One of my favorite things to do is meet up with other youth pastors. I walk away from each meeting feeling challenged, encouraged, and/or inspired. I recently got to meet with an awesome youth pastor named Jon from a church that is doing some pretty incredible things with campus outreach. Over some coffee, we talked about what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we’re going to. I walked away with a ton of really great ideas and (hopefully) he walked away with one or two. Here is a little of what I shared about our campus outreach projects:

Sticky-Note the Girl’s Restroom: At the beginning of the school year, some of our student leaders put encouraging sticky notes on every student’s locker and we were blown away by how well it went over. One of our student leaders was inspired by the success of the project and started planning another that was aimed at girls. So she rounded up some friends and put encouraging notes all over the girls’ restrooms at her school. The notes had encouraging Bible verses on them as well as affirmations like “you are beautiful,” “you are precious,” and “you are loved.” It was such a great and easy way to do ministry for girls.

Janitor Breakfast: When we were looking at different people groups that we could be serving on campus, we almost forgot about the janitorial staff. They are some of the most unnoticed/unappreciated people on the campus, so our leaders wanted to make sure that they knew they were seen and loved. Our leaders are planning to get to school before the janitorial staff so that they could serve them a fresh, warm breakfast and spend some quality time with them. I am a huge fan of projects like these because it has students serving and ministering to adults! We are currently making our way through the office approval system (fingers crossed)!

Trash Pick Up: A great way to keep Christian club meetings fresh at school is to mix them up. Most of the time, Christian clubs will sit, eat their lunch, listen to someone talk, and leave. Sometimes that works great, but Jesus called us to do more than just that. We are encouraging our school club leaders to put their club members to work. One of the lunchtime serving opportunities that we came up with was trash pick-up. If you haven’t seen a post-lunch high school campus recently, let me tell you, they are a warzone. Picking up trash not only helps put a dent in the litter problem, but it also makes a huge statement. Let’s face it, litter patrol isn’t a glamorous job and any student that does it is instantly going to be set apart, providing them with incredible opportunities! If a student gets asked why they are picking up trash, than they are getting an awesome opportunity about their love for Jesus and their love for their school!

How is your ministry doing with campus outreach? What ideas can you share about how to do ministry on campuses?

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Coordinator at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at coltonharker@gmail.com or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.

Vacation Bible School is a funny thing: its a week long of insanity in the hopes that you can turn and point some kids towards Christ. Someone recently asked me why as a youth pastor do I get involved with VBS? I am not working with teens, I am working with kids up to my ministry’s age group. These are a few of the reasons I believe I should do it as a youth worker:

1. Anything to further the cause of Christ is worth my time.
- While there are many opportunities to share the love of God that I have to turn down, this is an easy one where I have little prep and I can make a big difference in a lot of lives.

2. It gives a good example of devotion to the cause and volunteering for my students.
- Students don’t want to be just kicked out the door and hear about how serving the church makes a difference. They want to see it tangibly, and this is a way I can show them that I value it in my own life.

3. Its a great time to hang out with my students and work alongside them.
- Some of the greatest bonding experiences I have had with students are during periods of work. It puts you on a level playing field with students and helps to foster a great relationship.

4. Its good for my students to see I don’t have to be in the spotlight.
-Youth workers are often in the spotlight, and we often enjoy it. By just helping out and not being in a “show” role, we show that ministry and life is about a team not about ourselves.

5. This is a great opportunity for me to meet kids who will be coming into our ministry
- Many churches rarely have age groups mix. I often don’t get to meet kids who are not yet in grades 8 and up. By helping out with VBS kids who will be moving into my ministry in a year or two get to see my face and become familiar with me. While I likely won’t remember them all, I will be a friendly face who they can connect with to help their transition.

So if you have time this year and its not to late at your church get involved. See where you can help out; you don’t have to run the show; just enjoy the ride.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kyle.corbin@blogspot.com
or Twitter: @CorbinKyle.

Here are a few reflections as a summer intern in the High School Ministry at Saddleback Church:

5. DO get close with co-workers and focus on them more than on projects. I saw the valuable teaching role that people have in my life through this internship. I remember one day specifically, I had a lot of articles to edit and the pressure was weighing down on me, when a coworker asked me if I wanted to go to lunch with her. Everything in me said that I should focus on my work and say no, but for some reason I agreed, and it was such a great conversation about life in ministry and what I’m learning through interning. She gave me lots of great advice and it made working with her on projects such a bigger joy. My editing got done and I actually had a clearer head while doing it.

4. DO hard things. I knew that taking on the magazine would be a large workload, but I took it on knowing it would stretch me as a journalist. Boy, did it ever! Not only do I feel more prepared to be Features editor of the Biola University’s Newspaper in the coming semester, I also feel better prepared to have a career in this field. Organizing and leading a team was a challenge because of my lack of experience, but navigating that has been such an area of growth for my problem-solving and leadership abilities.

3. DO communicate as much as possible with coworkers. I wrote in one of my journals for the class that I was having trouble with the graphic designer for the magazine. I was hoping to see some layouts a few weeks ago, and he didn’t show me any for the longest time. If I had clarified in the beginning that I was expecting to see layouts BEFORE deadline to know that he was making progress, we wouldn’t have any problem because we could have had a conversation about what both of our expectations were. However, since that conversation never happened, there was a long period of mystery and uncertainty regarding when he was going to show me any work. It was frustrating for me and didn’t get me anywhere because I didn’t express it to him, so he had no idea that I was annoyed. I could have saved myself a lot of time worrying if I had just talked to him upfront!

2. DON’T be “above” anything. This is a lesson that I have discussed before, and one that was daily reinforced by the staff. Refusing to do something (or doing it with a poor attitude) because it’s not what you’re passionate about displays an entitled sense of self. Interning is about learning through experience, and certainly God can teach us through tasks beyond our specific calling or role. I learned a lot cleaning out a closet (like how much easier it is to do things with a team, and how to serve others, and how one person’s sour attitude can spoil it for everyone, and how giant cardboard iPhones should never be kept because they take up way too much space).

1. DO take time to reflect, breathe, and commune with God.  My stress level during this internship was directly related to the time I spent with God. The days when I was most stressed were the days I skipped time with the Lord, and that negatively affected how I handled myself and navigated conflict at work. Without daily time with God, I can become irritable and closed off. With daily time with God, I have a better view on what’s important and find a lot more joy in what I’m doing and who I am. He is key. Success is nothing if God is merely an afterthought.

Heather Leith is an incredible summer intern on the HSM Team. Follow her semi-annual Tweets at https://twitter.com/heatherleithal.

Weekend Teaching Series: SHAPE + Ministry Fair (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: The saved serve.
Service Length:
42 minutes

Understandable Message: This week my friend Jessica and I shared the stage to teach a short message on SHAPE (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences) and pointed students toward a ministry fair happening right outside the youth room immediately following the service. I love doing these this time of year – it gives us a chance to nudge freshman right into a place to serve and encourage all students to get involved in the church, serving and loving others.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we kicked off promotion for our summer calendar and pushed hard for summer camp as we head toward sold-out status. Short service, but lots of energy!

Music Playlist: We Are the Free, Beautiful Things, All I Am

Favorite Moment: I LOVE that everyone in our church that has a ministry had a table set up – we had a ton of serve opportunities within HSM and a ton outside. Students had so many choices – love seeing them sign up and get involved today! I’ll do my best to get some pictures up here on the blog later this week, too.

Up next: STORIES (1-off)

Whenever ministry goes through a growth spurt there are opportunities to grasp.  It might be a mission project, a chance to create a community event or even start a new program within the ministry.  The pressure falls on you as a leader, because after all that’s what leaders do, they lead.  But, does it really need to come down to you?

A practice that leaders need to embrace is putting your best people in front of your biggest opportunities.  The tendency is to put our best people in front of our biggest problems; however, all you are doing is setting them up for doom.  Putting your best people in front of your biggest opportunities will not only extend the capacity of your ministry but also give you the freedom to focus on areas where your attention is needed.  It’s a form of delegation and sharing the burden, but will only pay off if the right people are in the right places.  But, who are they?  Do they even exist in your ministry?  Who are these best people that need to be placed in front of the big opportunities?  They:

Are Trustworthy – You know that they will give you brutal facts and hard truth.  If they disagree they’ll share that with you in public while showing you support in public.  They are someone you know who will not mislead you.

Go Above And Beyond – If they see something before you they’ll initiate on it.  They aren’t meeting your expectations; but going above and beyond.  You are constantly surprised by how much they pour into you and the ministry.

Do Not Worry About Failure – They love the risk because they know big changes come from big ideas and decisions.  They know failure is just another step in the journey and they trust that God will lead them forward.  Because of their faith they are not concerned with what others think.

Are Servant Leaders – They are pastoral by nature because they care for the team.  It’s not about them; it’s about setting the team up for success and glorifying God.  A servant leader looks at what’s best for the ministry before what’s best for them.

Moving someone who is a great leader from one area of ministry to the next can be intimidating.  There is always a little risk associated with a transition like this, that’s why you need to be open and clear with what you want them to do and know.  But, by moving your best people into the biggest opportunities in your ministry you create growth.  Your capacity as a leader will grow because it’s no longer up to you to manage the many different areas of your ministry.

What are the other qualities of your best people?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.