Weekend Teaching Series: [re]THINK: Why Am I a Christian? (series finale, week 2 of 2)
Sermon in a Sentence: Some real reasons to be confident that Christianity is true and a challenge to know your faith.

Service Length: 89 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we brought in Brett Kunkle from Stand to Reason to help teach about the foundation for faith asking the most basic of question: why am I a Christian? Last weekend he took apart the poor reasons (used very commonly) as a defense of someone’s faith and pushed students to think critically about why they believe what they believe. It was a solid weekend that I’m praying causes students to challenge their faith now rather than lose it their freshman year of college. If you’re looking for a strong apologetics speaker, we’ve had great success with both Brett and Sean McDowell in the past.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This we played a fun game called Frog or Duck? based on a hilarious iPhone game called Animal Translate. We also played “I Love Mission” music video as a way to promote our You Own the Weekend series right after the church-wide campaign ends.

Music Playlist: Something in the Water, Oh Jesus, Avalanche, Forever, Divine and Holy

Up next: The Book: 40 Days in the Word (church-wide campaign begins, week 1 of 6)

Weekend Teaching Series: Christmas Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: A student-run service of songs, teaching and Christmas fun.

Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend was all about Christmas – it was a 1-off celebration of the birth of Jesus. Students ran the entire service from top to bottom. Bryce got up first to introduce the subject for the weekend and the heart behind Christmas. He emphasied the true meaning of Christmas amid the lights, sounds and presents of the season. After a few songs AJ spoke about Jesus being the humble King and after another song Julia got up to speak about God’s holiness. They all had verses and Scripture when Ryan got up to teach he used a clip from The Guardian to bring home the idea of Jesus the Rescuer. We rounded out the program with a few more songs and an invitation at the end.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend was a ton of fun with HSM’s new Christmas music video and hot chocolate and cookies after every service. Lots of energy and fun for the last high school services of 2011!

Music Playlist: Mary Did You Know, Silent Night, Born is the King, You Hold the World in Your Hands, O Holy Night, Savior of the World, Go/Joy to the World, Drummer Boy

Favorite Moment: See students basically run the entire service is so incredible. I love being taught by and being led in worship by students. My heart was so full after this weekend, that’s for sure!

Up next: No HSM services — Christmas services in big church!

Weekend Teaching Series: Stories Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: Students share their lives, experiences and faith with their peers.
Service Length: 80 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we didn’t have a typical message – it was time for another Stories weekend. This weekend 6 students shared their stories combined with great music made for an awesome weekend. The students shared on many topics drawn from their experiences, including eating disorders, self-image, faith, loves, abuse, sumer camp highs, salvation, walk with God, worship, serving and much more. The stories were inspiring and incredible – I would highly recommend you trying out a service like this in your youth group!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played a modified version of this “no services” video that played great as well as a new video promoting The Landing (Celebrate Recovery for students). The opener this week was a super fun rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas with a whole group of energetic students on stage, too. Students in the band, did lights, sound, cameras, control room, greeting and speaking!

Music Playlist: 12 Days of Christmas, I Found a Love, Hosanna, Burning Ones, With Everything

Favorite Moment: Without a doubt it is the students sharing – the attention when a student takes the stage is absolutely incredible. There was no pastor on stage this weekend, but there was plenty of preaching!

Up next: Good Neighbor Weekend (no HSM services – more details later this week)

Weekend Teaching Series: Do Something (series premiere, week 1 of 2)
Sermon in a Sentence: We stop talking about serving and Do Something – this week we pack Christmas shoe boxes for needy children in our county.
Service Length: 59 minutes

Understandable Message: This first weekend of this short series before the holidays was designed around Operation Christmas Child boxes. We purchased and collected donations to help fill a to of boxes during the service. Rather than teach about serving and making a difference in the world we sang a few songs, shared the heart behind it then did something right there! From time to time we have big serve projects, but this was incredibly fun and made for a very different type of service than normal. At the last minute our church decided to print up our own shoeboxes and give them out as part of our food pantry and holiday ministries, too. Fun to play a part in helping those in need in our area.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We kicked off the service with a fun rendition of the new Justin Bieber single Drummer Boy. The whole youth room was decorated like Christmas (even though it is early November as I type this). We also had a fun video about how NOT to pack a Christmas shoe box. Lots of student leaders serving as greeters, and in audio/visual areas, as well as inspecting boxes that students had filled.

Music Playlist: Drummer Boy, Joy to the World, Go

Favorite Moment: Without a doubt the best part of the weekend is seeing the letters that students wrote inside the shoe boxes. Some were hilarious, all were heartfelt. This was also a big weekend for the newest member of our team, a Life Group leader named Hannah who ran point on overseeing the whole thing. She did a GREAT job!

Up next: Do Something (week 2 of 2)

Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (series finale, week 5 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Where to go from here after learning the last 4 weeks about friendship, dating, marriage and sex.
Service Length: 69 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I spoke on how to find forgiveness and restoration for a fresh start in the areas we had covered during this series. The message this weekend was more of an “outroduction” since we kinda jumped right in up front. Doing a concluding talk like this was new for us – but it was challenging to try it since it felt like it might end the series with a fizzle rather than a bang. But it was great! Hope also spoke this weekend, bringing a great side to these topics from her experience personally in failures and successes. It was her first time to teach on the weekend and she did a great job walking students through a Biblical plan for guarding your heart and helping you find your identity in Christ first.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a really creative acoustic opener of a Rihanna song, as well as a new HSM Talks video about relationships that was laugh out loud funny and a little over the top. Lots of students involved, and thankfully that last homecoming weekend of the year so we’ll finally be all together once again next week!

Music Playlist: We Found Love, Healer, One Thing Remains, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: This series has been SO great! So excited to think how students can/will/are changing their lives in these key areas with the power of God’s Spirit.

Up next: Do Something (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (week 4 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: God’s plan for your sex life.
Service Length: 62 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend Doug Fields took the HSM stage and brought it! In his usual just-about-over-the-line style he taught students about God’s plan for purity and sex. It was incredible – my favorite part of the talk was when he was talking about “the drift” and how there are forces pushing us toward the world’s way and how we have to admit and correct that before we can really get on God’s path for our sexuality. He used a ton of humor, stories and Scripture to present a biblical challenge to purity, abstinence and forgiveness.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend was lean but awesome – we opened up with a fun acapella cover song using a choir and a fun dance by a fake boy band. The program was lean this week to make room for Fields’ talk, but lots of student involvement in lights, sound, band, control room, greeting etc.

Music Playlist: Hello! [opening cover song], Facebook Official [dance lip-sync], Grace

Favorite Moment: Great weekend! No doubt the highlight was having Doug teach this weekend. There’s no one like him – really really great services.

Up next: Facebook Official (series finale, week 5 of 5)

Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (week 3 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: 7 questions to ask about your dating relationship.
Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I wanted to focus on a biblical perspective to dating – although dating isn’t implicitly mentioned in the Bible and is a much more modern cultural invention of ours. For sure the Bible does talk plenty in principle about WHO to date and HOW to date so that’s the perspective of the talk. I shared a bunch of personal stories from my dating life including heartbreak, and eventually how I met my wife. The talk was designed to build on Doug’s narrow vs wide way challenge from last week and included 7 questions to ask about their current/future dating relationships.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This is the last weekend before our Pumpkinfest event, so we spent a little chink of the program with a funny skit that included an awkward robot and our stage emcee. Really funny stuff, as always trying to make annoucements both memorable and engaging. We also played a funny video from RhettandLink about Facebook profile pictures and dating.

Music Playlist: Enchanted [Taylor Swift cover], Oh Lord, Your Love is Enough, Grace, Cannons

Favorite Moment: The conversations after the service were the best. Nothing like a series like this to get students thinking … and talking. Several students were convinced it was alright for them to date someone of a different religion – by far the most popular discussion this weekend after the talk.

Up next: Facebook Official (week 4 of 5) [Doug Fields teaching about sex]

Weekend Teaching Series: Facebook Official (week 2 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Want to have a great marriage – then start building the right foundation for it now.

Service Length: 78 minutes

Understandable Message: Doug Fields taught about the different paths students could take to end up at the same destination: marriage. He used interactive polls, great illustrations and Matthew 7 to help students that the path they are on today will help or hinder the relationship they have with their future spouse. Really challenging, forward-thinking stuff.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We played a hilarious new game called Facebook Hack. It was INCREDIBLE! We don’t do a ton of full-on games, so when they work this well, it is a big deal. So fun. It was homecoming week for our biggest high school we pull from, so attendance was a bit low but the energy was great. Lots of student greeters, student band, students running cameras, control room and sound.

Music Playlist: Lucky, Yours Forever, God Above All, None But Jesus, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: Having my good friend Doug Fields speaking in HSM is always a highlight. Talking to a student after the service who trusted in Christ after the message was awesome, too. Good, good stuff.

Up next: Facebook Official (week 3 of 5)