Weekend Teaching Series: Trinity (series finale, week 3 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: A focus on the 3rd person of the Trinity (3 Persons = 1 God).
Service Length: 75 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend’s message focused on the 3rd person of the Trinity: God the Spirit. We’ve taught about him before, but it was fun to do a message on who He is and what is the significance of Him in our lives as followers of Jesus. The main passage was from Galatians 5. We talked about the Holy Spirit regenerating, guiding, correcting and sealing believers. As always, teaching theological depth to an entry-level crowd is one of the biggest challenges – in addition to a short week of prep because we were getting ready for HSM Summer Camp and coming off a sweet staff retreat.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This whole series we’ve done Minute to Win It games, and this week we enjoyed another simple but fun game. We played a clip from Kung Fu Panda (a part to illustrate the Spirit) and Filled with the Spirit – one of Jake’s classic music videos gave the service a strong start.

Music Playlist: You’ll Come, King of All Days, Consuming Fire, Our God, You Are Here

Favorite Moment: At the end of the message I challenged students to nail their sins to the cross and be filled with the Spirit. We had a cross on stage and invited students down to write their confessions and sins on paper and attach them to the cross. The idea was to help them make the first step in dealing with their sin and the nature that is in opposition to the Spirit. Really powerful ending to the talk – and going through them all after each service was really powerful/insightful, too.

Up Next: 5 Ways to be Awesome (a study through James) [week 1 of 5]

We’re giving birth to our first HSM Summer Camp – Phil bought this fun cake to celebrate. We leave in the morning – here we go!


Every year, the student ministry team gets away for a couple of days for a little getaway to refresh and gear up for the year ahead. It always comes at the perfect time. Here’s a few reasons you might need a little retreat, too:

GO OFFLINE: Really, no email
How often do you go a day without even having your phone on you? I am so attached I instinctively check it like an electronic tether every minute or so. Not this week! Email, calls, even texting on an extrememly limited basis. Just what I needed … a little break from the noise. I only Twittered once!

STAY LONGER: An excuse to stay an extra day with my wife … and the kids
I stayed an extra night with my wife, and two extra nights with the kids and the in-laws. My wife takes the brunt of student ministry’s pace, so some extra time away with her and then the family joining us was really special. Lots and lots of pool time.

WORK AHEAD: We leave for camp in 24 hours
We’re taking a ton of students to camp this summer – couldn’t be more excited about that – we leave July 5th. So did that stand in the way of a real retreat? Honestly, it was difficult to NOT think about camp every once in a while. It is such a critical part of our summer emphasis and a big deal, but we did our best. The team worked hard to make sure we didn’t have to work hard at the retreat.

READ UP: Devour a good book
OK, so I brought 4 books along with to read … and didn’t read any of them! I was too busy spending time with people, sleeping and watching World Cup. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts!

Feels good! Now off to teach 4 services and leave for camp. Here we go!


I posted 5 camp leader expectations earlier in the week – here are the remaining seven expectations for Summer Camp volunteers. We had an amazing camp volunteer leader meeting this past week – and leave for camp in eight days!

Follow the Rules and Enforce the Rules
Students will always look to leaders to see how far they can push the rules. It is important that you are following the rules as well as enforcing them.

Respect the Staff and Campus
Please respect the campus and the camp staff. If the camp staff asks you to do something…please do it…and make sure your students are do the same.

Model Christianity
Possibly our greatest ministry is modeling what Christianity is all about. This will happen through our love for them, our passion over our relationship with God, our attitude, and through our servant heart.

Know Where Your Students Are
You are responsible for knowing where the students from your cabin are at all times. Whenever you sit down for a meal or show up for an activity do a quick head count to make sure they are all there…and go find them if they are not. Unless it says optional next to an activity on the schedule, every student should be at every activity.

Be On Time
Please help your cabin be on time to all meals and events. We have created a schedule for a reason and with such a large group even one cabin being late can throw something off.

Stick to Ministering to Your Same Gender
If you are a male you need to be ministering to male students and if you are a female you need to be ministering to female students. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with students of the opposite gender, but MOST of your time should be spent with students who are of your same gender.

No Pranks. No Exceptions.
Everyone likes to have fun, but when one person starts a prank the next person always takes it to another level. We want our students to have a good time. It is possible to have fun and be relational without wedgies, licorice slapping, excessive AXE body spray, nakedness, handcuffs, and stuffing small freshman in a duffle bag. Please help us protect our students, our ministry, and the integrity of our church.


We had an amazing leader’s meeting the other night for our summer camp volunteers. We listed out a dozen or so expectations we have of our summer camp team, here’s the first 5 if you’re interested in adapting them for your setting, too:

This Is the Student’s Trip
We need to do everything possible to make this the greatest week of their life. In our role of leadership we need to model servanthood and take our turn last at everything.

Know Everyone’s Names
By the end of dinner the first night you should know everyone’s name in your cabin. Also, please work to learn student’s name outside of your cabin.

Be Highly Relational
This trip is our “big-time” relational trip (building significant relationships is the backbone of our ministry). Of course you will need to steal a few quick moments for some personal time to hang out, but the majority of your time should be spent investing in the students in your cabin. You should be exhausted by the end of the week from working on relationships.

Maintain a Great Attitude
Without question, the attitude of the leader will set the tone for the entire cabin. If the students in your cabin complain about something, they will listen for leader’s response. Keep positive and free from complaining, and you will see the students do the same. Your attitude is crucial.

Don’t Be Afraid To Discipline
Our philosophy is to discipline with grace and truth. Grace enters in when we remind ourselves they are high school students and we need to allow them the freedom to be teenagers. The truth enters in when there is a need to speak honestly about their behavior. If there is a relationship built you shouldn’t have any problem (rules without relationships lead to rebellion). If you need help or are unsure to how to handle a student feel free to talk to bring it up at the leader meeting.


One of our small group leaders named Dennis (who runs volunteeryouthministry.com) had a great post about challenging his small group boys with next steps over the summer. Some good stuff in

1. Grow spiritually! Just as they should be further along spiritually than they were when the school year began, they should be further along spiritually in the Fall when we come back together for small groups. To help them do that, I remind them of some of our discipleship tools (HABITS — see the link below) they can do on their own. I actually have a few copies there so they can take something with them if they choose.

2. Stay connected! Even though we are not having small groups over the summer, there are plenty of ways for them to stay connected through the church. I have plenty of our ministry’s summer calendars so those who don’t already have them can grab one. I especially highlight our summer camp because that’s where the best connections and spiritual decisions are made.


Silly video promoting summer camp for our student ministry blog (it was cut form the weekend, sorry Taylor!).


The first in a new series of videos created by our summer interns to help promote HSM Summer Camp.