This summer of ministry has been incredible! There have been some incredible highs and some … great learnings for us as well. So picking a few favorite moments has been incredibly difficult but thought I would take a crack at it. Here are a few of my top moments in ministry this past summer:

Having Pastor Rick at Midweek
Midweek for the past 3 years has worked incredibly well for us. In the summer we pause small groups to let host homes and leaders recover before they re-up for the next season. In place of Life Groups we run a 7-8 week summer series called Midweek. This year we had Rick Warren come and teach one of the nights – it was incredibly fun and powerful way to start the summer. My favorite moment that night was gathering around him and laying hands on him as a student ministry and praying for God to bless him, to give him wise leadership and to grow his faith.

HSM Summer Camp
The gang over at Christ in Youth (aka CIY) did an amazing helping us pull off our Summer Camp this year. I love the environment of camp, the energy, the passion, the decisions, the baptisms. Summer Camp works SO well for us – it is a huge platform for our leaders to relationally minister to students, it forms new small groups, it connects incoming freshman. Simply incredible all the way around.

Guys Trip
We brought back this event from forever ago called Guys Trip – we took a smaller group of students up into the mountains for some total dude time. I wrote quite a bit about it here, but in general terms it was one of the most original and fun couple of days all summer. There’s something special about getting away with the guys and no distractions (read: cell phones and girls).

Working with Summer Interns
I love summer interns! This year we had 5 of the most incredible interns that made me smile all summer long. They are great youth workers, awesome friends and worked incredibly hard. I think learned a TON this summer, I certainly learned from them as well.

How about you – what were your highlights of summer 2012?


Congrats, Marc - you just scored $100 in free stuff from Simply Youth Ministry. That is how it is done! By the way, that one hit a little close to home. As always, stay tuned to more contests and giveaways in the near future.


Want to score $100 from Simply Youth Ministry? All you have to do is leave a comment with a caption to this historic photo of HSM’s summer interns at an 80′s-themed ice skating event last week. Get on it – winner announced Friday!


Summer is crazy busy! And while the amount of activities and schedule vary from ministry to ministry, there’s no denying that summer can be a challenging time of year.

So how do you make the most of summer activities? Here are a few ways that might help you fall in love with summer as your favorite season of ministry:

Give your summer interns or key volunteers a chance to lead.
Take the summer off from teaching—and work on getting some of your people up front. Better yet, consider asking students to teach a series as well. Just because you’re not speaking doesn’t mean that it won’t be work for you helping coach them and assist in crafting their talks, but the effort will be worth it. You get a chance to listen and be refreshed while less experienced teachers are being developed.

Try something new…really new.
This summer, we brainstormed up a ton of new ways to engage students. We came up with something that is super new … The Zombie Apocalypse. The whiteboard is filled with ideas on how to make this thing epic – think capture-the-flag + zombies and you’ll get the idea. Will it work? Will I (Josh) lose my job? Who knows, but no one will say we’re content with the same old summer activities. HA! If you need ideas, and didn’t read last week’s articles…shame on you. Now that you are shamed, go read those for a bunch of ideas.

Capture as many text numbers as you can.
Use the summer to expand your contact list. For us, it’s our texting group—we want this to grow significantly heading into fall. This will help you message a ton more students when you start promoting small groups or your fall kickoff teaching series. When a student signs up for an event, make one of the required fields their phone number and a check-box allowing you to text them. They can opt out on their phones at any time.

I think we’ve said this enough the past 2 weeks, but it’s because we don’t want you to miss it! Relationships are the point; don’t lose sight of that during summer. Whatever you plan is pretty much an excuse to have conversations and challenge students in their faith. Make the most of your summer activities!

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.

Last week it was interesting to see that close to 65% of student ministries now offer (or will offer soon) some sort of ministry internship. Quick follow-up to that one suggested in the comments – are your internships paid or unpaid? Vote now!


This week’s poll question asks about internship opportunities at your church. Just a few years ago opportunities were few and far between – seems like now there are a TON of places to get your first experience in youth ministry. Curious if you have interns in your setting, too!


Weekend Teaching Series: LAUNCH (week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: You don’t want to hear it … but the school year is just around the corner so we’re gonna help you get prepared.

Understandable Message: This past weekend we kicked off our last series of summer called LAUNCH. It is a back to school series helping students refocus on what is most important as they head back to school. The summer interns asked if they could own their final weekend on staff and teach the message in 3 parts. They did a great job telling personal stories about successes and failures, as well as teaching through the story on Esther. At the end they had given each student a Popsicle stick and asked them to write a barrier/sin/problem/obstacle on it during the response music time at the end. Then students were directed to take their stick down to the cross at the front of the stage and break it in half as a symbol of God’s power to forgive sin and break down walls we put up. Good stuff.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played a couple of fun cell phone polls on the big screen, including “where do you shop for back to school clothes?” and “what intimidates you most about going back to school?” – both got a good response from students.

Music Playlist: Take It All, The Earth is Yours, One Pure and Holy Passion, One Thing Remains

Favorite Moment: Getting a chance to circle up with the summer interns on stage and pray over them was a great moment. We only allow home-grown students to come back as summer interns (although anyone can apply for a longer internship) so these three are special to us. Thanks Cory, Mariah and Hayward!

Up Next: LAUNCH (week 2 of 3)

Launch Series Arc

Josh Griffin —  August 21, 2011 — Leave a comment

This weekend we’re kicking off our annual LAUNCH series getting students ready to go back to school. If you would like to read a couple “week in reviews” from services last year click here and here, and below is the series arc for this year’s take on the topic:

Week 1: Advice from 3 students who have been there
This weekend our summer interns are wrapping up their 3-month stay on staff. I’ve given them this weekend to talk about their high school experiences and share learnings that will help students launch the school year right.

Week 2: The importance of small groups
Next weekend Jessica Torres (our Life Groups coordinator) will be teaching on the importance of community and encouraging students to grow spiritually in a group this year.

Week 3: Starting each day off with God
The last weekend before school starts here in California (Labor Day weekend) will be taught by a couple of amazing student leaders and I. We’re going to talk about routines, devotions and prayer in the context of walking with God each day.