Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: Mission Viejo High School (week 2 of 5)

Sermon in a Sentence: We’re all sinking.
Service Length:
 63 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend the students did an incredible job owning the service – every aspect was done by students from that high school and they did an absolutely incredible job. The theme was we’re all sinking and they talked about how we’re sinking in life without Christ and did a great job explaining the plan of salvation to the youth group. These weekends surge in attendance every year, so it was awesome for them to have such a clear, focused message with a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Killer decorations – they took a totally different approach and rather than going all out with their school mascots,logos and colors they themed it very aquatic – super creative and a nice change of pace from the typical You Own the Weekend. My favorite was the entry way with green streamers hanging from the ceiling, made it feel like you were walking through seaweed when you walked into the youth room. Hilarious videos, too!

Music Playlist: Under the Sea [Disney cover remix], The Earth is Yours, Always, 10,000 Reasons

Favorite Moment: After the service was over students pointed to leaders if someone had questions or had made a decision during the service. But more importantly, they offered themselves to talk to others. This is the essence of You Own the Weekend – students take the lead. Love it.

Up next: You Own the Weekend: Capo (week 3 of 5)


Weekend Teaching Series: You Are Here (What on Earth Am I Here For? church-wide campaign, series premiere, week 6 of 6)

Sermon in a Sentence:
Service Length:
63 minutes

Understandable Message: This week Parker Stech taugh about friendship evangelism.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We wanted to promote our Engage Spring Break mission trip – so brought a student up on stage who went on the trip last year and did a Q&A with her. We also had a couple fun videos. Lots of students involved in the program from the greeting to production as well.

Music Playlist: He Is Alive, Your Love Never Fails, One Thing Remains, We Shine, Here For You

Favorite Moment: After the service a couple of great youth workers were visiting from Indianapolis, IN. They were awesome – had a great time at Red Robin after the service talking about youth ministry, and some thoughts on where they were headed in the next season of ministry. So fun!

Up next: Worship Together Weekend (all-church, no HSM services)


Weekend Teaching Series: Instalife (week 2 of 2)
Service Length:
75 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we wrapped up the incredible Instalife series. I Tweeted the other day about how much I had loves this series – for sure it was the most well-received series of the year. Didn’t mean it was soft or light, but the framework of Instagram really helped make it very relevant to their lives. This week we went after pretending and showing off on Instagram, and how pretty soon we start to get great at covering up. I walked students through some principles from Colossians 3 to help students deal with this destructive mindset. Really, really enjoyed this service.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a couple of great Christmas videos I can’t wait to show you. One was the classic “That’s Christmas” and a new video called A Very Colton and Travis Christmas special. We also played Who Wants to Be a Fraction of a Millionaire (Instagram edition). Lots of students involved, lots of laughs.

Music Playlist: He is Alive, Christ in Me, Mary Did You Know, We Are Saved, O Holy Night

Favorite Moment: At the end of the talk I decided to do an extended object lesson on stage where we built the “perfect Instagram” on stage, then deconstructed it to help teach the lesson. One of my favorites, such a powerful image that our students/leaders pulled off to help strengthen the lesson.

Up next: Christmas Services (all-church, 1-off)

Weekend Teaching Series: Instalife (series premiere, week 1 of 2)
Service Length:
70 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we used the app Instagram as a backdrop for a new series in HSM. This week we focused on jealousy – how Instagram brings out the best and the worst in us in that area. We talked about jealousy from Jesus teachings in Matthew 6 and had lots of fun along the way. One of my favorite weekends in HSM in a very long time – I think a good message, great game, fun look/feel and super relevant and easy to connect with our student’s world.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We played a brand new game called InstaHack – where we bring someone on stage and have them log into their Instagram and then spin the wheel for us to various terrible things to their pictures, followers and feed. They could also win $5 Starbucks giftcards if they were extremely lucky. Super, super fun, crowd died at the right points, and the contestants were always a good sport. We also had lots of student greeters and a fun Christmas rap video.

Music Playlist: Silent Night (Taylor Swift version), Go, Joy to the World, 10,000 Reasons, Your Love is Strong

Favorite Moment: During one part of the talk I called out one of our students (I had his permission, more or less) and talked about #selfies. It was a great moment that I loved and

Up next: Instalife (week 2 of 2)

Weekend Teaching Series: UFC Weekend w/Mark Munoz (1-off)
Service Length:
82 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we invited Mark Munoz, an incredible Ultimate Fighter, to come share his story and testimony for Christ with our students. He talked about his upbringing, how God used painful situations in his life to shape his journey into wrestling and how God is using him and his influence to further God’s Kingdom. Really fun stuff, spoke to a ton of students who came just to see him and left with a new relationship with Christ.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we had a fun musical opener, a couple of quick videos (one we ripped from YouTube and one promoting Winter Camp) some great songs and not much else to give time for the speaker.

Music Playlist: Survival Song, We Are the Free, Hosanna, With Everything

Favorite Moment: Mark Munoz did a good job speaking – but was INCREDIBLE doing question and answer and hanging with students afterwards. He is one of the most accomplished fighters in the UFC, and is humble and completely likeable. He isn’t on the “speaking circuit” but I promise you he will be because God used him in big ways in our ministry!

Up next: Worship Together Weekend: World AIDS Day (1-off)

Weekend Teaching Series: #REALTALK (series premiere, week 1 of 2)
Service Length:
82 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we were excited to welcome Sean McDowell to HSM and he taught an incredible lesson, “If God Exists, Why Is there Evil in the World”? It was super powerful and clear – students were incredibly attentive – I think every year when we start the apologetics series that discipleship can be evangelistic! All students need a strong foundation for their faith, and hearing someone like Sean go after the teachings of popular atheists and tackle big questions is really incredible. I learned a ton this weekend! A ton of his content us available in the GodQuest series that is a creative way to “bring” Sean to your church, too. You can check it out here.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we had a fun “blooper reel” from the HSM Sports Minutes from this fall and did a fun “Awkward Hug” camera during the greeting time. Always like to have a little bit of fun at youth group, right?

Music Playlist: Divine and Holy, Here For You, Cannons, Ancient Skies

Favorite Moment: During the second service Saturday night I did a little “ad-lib” at the end of the message and asked students who had experienced the “evil” or broken world that Sean talked about to stand during the closing and we would lay hands on them and pray for them. Not something I would usually do in the middle of our entry-level program and not part of the plan, but a powerful moment to ask God to be present as students walk through their pain.

Up next: #REALTALK (week 2 of 2)

Weekend Teaching Series: Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

Service Length: 69 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off a brand new 2-week series called Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say – a contrast to some things that are usually attributed to Jesus with what He actually said. It was fun to talk about Jesus and shatter the misconceptions many people have about the church and Jesus words and teachings. This week I taught through what it takes to follow Jesus and trust Him for salvation, and what it looks like to follow Jesus ongoing as well. Fun, very different feeling talk this week – instead of a clear 3-step application at the end of the message, I used two discussion questions to challenge students to consider the message on their own. We also used 2 teaching videos to help convey the message this week – I’ll be sure to post them here on the blog later in the week.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we had another HSM Sports Minute, an epic Pumpkinfest promo video but largely it was a very clean, simple service without too much else happening.

Music Playlist: Dancing Generation, Child of God, Came to My Rescue, Majesty

Favorite Moment: I have so much love for our after service debrief. This weekend I changed up my message a TON right before the service and really appreciated the feedback as well as the adjustments to the message after the first service. Having a group of people who believe in me, make me better and challenge me is HUGE.

Up next: Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say (week 2 of 2)

(this weekend in review was written by Justin Knowles since I was speaking at YS San Diego this past weekend. Check out Justin’s blog right here, good stuff!)

Weekend Teaching Series: Heroes and Monsters (1-off)

Service Length: 70 minutes

Understandable Message: We had author and speaker Josh Riebock. He spoke at HSM’s summer camp 4 years ago and it was awesome to have him back. “Every one of us is both a hero and a monster, and the world we inhabit is both beautiful and twisted. We are shaken by changes, losses, gains, insights, desires, mistakes, and transitions. And just when we’ve gotten settled back down, things get shaken up again. This is the life we’ve been given. So how do we make sense of life’s unexpected nature, find a way to embrace the tension, and live with a sense of peace despite pain?” Josh went over these questions and gave a little bit of his testimony  and killed it in our weekend services. You can get his book on Amazon and I know many students who resonated with his life and story.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had one of our favorite openers to our services that we ever have done. Because we were talking about heroes and monsters, we thought we would start off the service with the ultimate monster/villain, Darth Vader playing guitar and rocking out. We also had HSM Sports Minute Video Volume 4, and a sweet video with a ton of students to promote our tail gate party for our two big football rivalries. Overall it was a very powerful and fun weekend.

 Music Playlist: Imperial March, Go, What Would I Have Done, One Thing Remains

Favorite Moment: I have two. Is that allowed? 1) The Star Wars opener. It was so much fun. 2) Watching so many students respond to Josh’s message that many came to two services or brought a friend because they wanted to hear the message again.

Up next: Stuff Jesus Didn’t Say: You Have To Perfect (series premiere, week 1 of 2)