We had a ton of camp decisions made this summer – just like you will or did. I enjoyed what Mike Calhoun posted today on his blog about making camp decisions stick. He would know, he’s led an amazing camp for what seems like forever. Here’s a clip of his thoughts, worth heading to his site and reading the rest:

  • Remember, decisions don’t change your life, they change your direction. Students should never walk away from a commitment service thinking they are done. They are just beginning.
  • Realize that students are capable of making life-changing, lifelong decisions. Do not discount decisions made by your younger students.
  • Being emotional does not discredit their decisions nor does the lack of emotion. Some students are wired to be more emotional than others. This is not about emotions; it is about facts.
  • Don’t assume the students know what to do following their decisions. This is typically an awkward time for them so help with clarification.Help the students answer the question… “What’s next?”
  • Don’t overload them with the details of the next ten years; help them one step at a time.


Here’s the full 5-minute HSM Summer Camp week in review video. Such a great life-changing week. Yeah!


Taking Time Off

 —  July 13, 2010 — 3 Comments

I’m taking today off.

We’re just coming off a massive multi-week effort to pull of HSM’s Summer Camp completely on our own for the first time and honestly, I’m totally spent. Here’s the problem: there are a million forces pulling me back into work. The rest I need is in direct opposition to everyone else’s needs. Emails are still flying in, phone calls and texts are jamming my phone, I’ve got a pile of mail waiting for me and my office looks like it was hit by a Class 5 tornado. But I’m going to take a 2nd day off, and get back to work full-force tomorrow.

  • Why? If I don’t, I’ll burn out.
  • If I don’t, I’ll die early (and the way I eat, I’ll die early enough).
  • If I don’t, I’ll save the world but lose my kids and my marriage. Not worth it.
  • So if you need me today … well, you won’t be able to find me. I’m hiding from you.

But, you ask, what if it was your day off and Rick Warren himself called a meeting and specifically asked you to be there? What would you do then? It isn’t an easy answer … but I’ll give it to you since it actually just happened. I would be bummed at myself for sneaking a glance at email from home on my day off, then I would make sure that someone could fully cover for me at the meeting. How do I know I would respond this way? I just did!

I’m taking the day off so I’ll have many more great days of ministry ahead.


The HSM Staff

 —  July 13, 2010 — 3 Comments

From time to time people ask who are the paid staff behind HSM – and to be honest, we’ve been in some transition over the past seasons of ministry so the answer would vary from year to year. But in case you were wondering who did what and how we’re structured, here’s some insight:

High School Pastor (full-time) – that’s my job! I cast vision, handle conflict, lead the team, teach and direct the ministry. The buck stops with me, so if something goes wrong – it’s on me. It might be the best job in the world, I sure love it, despite the massive challenges. The rest of the team is organzationally flat, and I report to Kurt, the Student Ministries Pastor.

My assistant/team admin Associate (29 hrs/wk)Alaina just came on the team last week and functions primarily in a support role to my job as well as helping the team with admin tasks.

Volunteer Coordinator (full-time)Ryanne is an incredible minister to our adults who serve students. She works diligently interviewing, training, encouragement and care. She is our first impression to adults, and pastors them well.

Service/Ministry Coordinator (full-time) - AC is also brand new to the team – he’ll be responsible for all of our service projects in the community and helping get students into ministry. He’ll also work with our guys small groups to help make sure they are cared for.

Events/Missions Coordinator (full-time) - Phil cranks out any event we have planned. The dude is a administrative genius, and his top speed blasts by most people. He plans Summer Camp, missions trips, events and activities.

Life Groups Coordinator (full-time)Jessica has been with us just over a year and has a huge heart for our small groups effort. She works hard to make sure volunteers are the right fit, helps manage curriculum and makes sure things move smoothy in the puzzle that is small groups.

We also currently have 2 open full-time spots on the team – we just lost Jake (program, 2nd in command) to be the campus pastor at Saddleback Irvine, and in September we’re losing Robby (pastoral care) to be another campus pastor. In addition to this paid team, we’ve also got 3 amazing 2-year interns and 3 summer interns that function as full-on staff people as well – all of them are brilliant and work 40-50 hours a week and own significant parts of our high school ministry.


Weekend Teaching Series: 5 Ways to Be Awesome: A study through the book of James (series premiere)
Sermon in a Sentence: Troubles are a part of life, but instead of them beating you down trust God to help you through them and shape you into the person He wants you to become. James 1:1-6
Service Length: 61 minutes

Understandable Message: This week we were literally coming off the bus from camp and straight into our four weekend services. The message series has been planned for quite and while and we’ve had multiple sermon/series student brainstorming meetings about it, but it all came together Saturday morning. Prepping so late is dangerous (not my usual style, I promise!) but God really used His Word to speak to hearts this weekend. We talked about troubles, trials and temptations that we’ll face as we follow Jesus. We had a student from camp (Nicole) share her story filled with problems and trials, and she shared how she trusted Jesus this week and was baptized in the ocean as well. So great!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we had some fun playing a game we invented called “Name that James” where we put up a picture of a famous James (or Jim, Jimmy) and contestants rang in and accumulated points. Simple fun, winners got a tube of Slim Jims and the section they represented in the crowd got a candy shower.

Music Playlist: Rise and Sing, Love Came Down, Burning Ones, The Earth is Yours

Favorite Moment: This week at camp we asked students to write down their camp committments and decisions on multi-colored 3×5 cards. We collected all of the cards at camp and surprised students by having them made into a huge mosaic on stage. I tied it into the talk by reflecting on some of the students’ decisions and how they’ll be tested in the days and weeks ahead. Oh, and DubStep.

Up Next: 5 Ways to be Awesome [week 2 of 5]

Day 4 highlight video from HSM Summer Camp 2010!


What an amazing week – still going strong!


We brought along some just-graduated seniors to HSM Summer Camp to do setup, lead music and serve. One of the guys is brilliant with video and is making a recap video of each day. Here’s the first!