Weekend Teaching Series: 11 vs. the World (series premiere, week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: The disciples were ordinary with varied personalities but called by God to bring the Good News to the world.
Service Length: 71 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off a new series about the disciples called 11 vs. the World. It was a short prep week because of our annual staff retreat, but I had the idea of using the GLO Bible app on the iPad to help teach the lesson from a very visual and historical perspective, as well as turn the corner for application and practical challenges for this week. It was a big departure, but I think it worked well. I opened up talking about great teams, and talked about the unlikely team that Jesus put together to spread the Good News to the World. We spent a little time on each of the disciples individually, and ended with the Great Commission as Jesus was setting them up to go on without Him.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend (to help celebrate the 4th of July) we played “Know Your America” with Uncle Hayward (one of our summer interns) and had some fun USA trivia for an iTunes card. Even on a down holiday weekend we had good student involvement.

Music Playlist: The Time Has Come, Forever Reign, Burning Ones, Tell the World

Favorite Moment:Using the GLO Bible iPad app this week to teach was really fun – and aside from it crashing once and me having to furiously rebuild a presentation, it was absolutely incredible. First, because I love technology and the geek inside of me loved it, and second because it is fun to present the Bible in a new way to High School students. Cool stuff, I’ll try to share more on that later this week.

Up Next: 11 vs. the World (week 2 of 3)

Weekend Teaching Series: Promotion Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence:
What I wish I knew in High School.
Service Length: 75 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend the message was taught by all of the HSM Staff. Each of us got on stage and did a short introduction of ourselves and what we did on the team, then taught a single point about what we wish we knew in High School. Subjects ranged from identity, friends, evengelism, purity, the importance of Scripture, etc. It flowed surprisingly well having different personalities on stage – made me happy that our team is so diverse in every way. God uses a ton of different people to come together to minister to all types of students. Awesome.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The weekend had a strong element of fun and lots of student involvment. We had a fun bit up front called “The Freshman Olympics” and played a couple of fun games up front with the incoming 9th graders versus the seniors. We also had a great video-that-turned-into-a-live-performance rap that helped promote summer camp. Lots of students involved greeting, hosting the game, singing and band. Even had a freshman lead one of the songs. Go Brad!

Music Playlist: Summer Camp is Going Down (opener), Rise and Sing, You’ll Come, Holy Holy Holy

Favorite Moment: I love that we can go from a hilarious opener to a powerful worship song at the end with lots of great content inbetween. For sure the highlight has to go to seeing all of the potential of these incredible freshman entering youth group. Pumped.

Up Next: 11 vs. the World (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

Weekend Teaching Series: Senior Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence:
Change is about the only constant in life in and after high school – but never forget that Jesus remains the same yesterday, today and forever.
Service Length: 69 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend the just-short-of-graduating seniors took over the weekend. We had a great mix of students who helped plan the service and a couple of great speakers. Shell was up first – and talked about her battle with cerebral palsy and how God sees her as beautiful and beloved. It was incredible, she was wonderful and each service and completely inspiring. Makenna shared her testimony next, sharing vulnerable moments from her freshman year through graduation. Then Collin got up at the end and shared about the constancy and eternality of Christ in an ever-changing and fragile world we live in. Super clear message, very appropriate as these seniors head off into the great unknown.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend was completely student run – so we had a great Muse opener and a couple of great hosts to do announcements up front. Senior greeters, senior band, seniors helped throughout the weekend.

Music Playlist: (2 more songs I don’t remember), House of God Forever, Take it All

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment came at the end of each service when I got to pray over the seniors. This is their last official service (though they are welcome to attend through the summer). It was a powerful moment and a great way to mark their time in HSM and ask God’s blessing on their future.

Up Next: Promotion Weekend (the freshman are coming in hot!)


Weekend Teaching Series: Baptism (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence:
Baptism is a step of obedience for believers and is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurection and how He washes away our sins.
Service Length: 50 minutes + baptisms after each service

Understandable Message: This weekend we focused on the 2nd step in the basics of faith: baptism. I talked plainly about the who, what, why and when of baptism, using a few personal stories to illustrate it. We planned a shorter service so the students could go right out to the baptismal and watch a few students be baptized right there. We had online signups through the week, so we had a few students lined up ahead of time, and also made it available for everyone during the service as well. We provided shorts, shirt and a towel – we just asked them to get clearance from their parents – better yet invite them down to be a part of it. Really unique weekend, hopefully a good balance of heart, stories and Biblical authority on baptism.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we had another edition of HSM Talks where the host Chris interviews our new summer interns. It was awkward and fun – kinda painful to watch – which means it was perfect. We also took the summer interns on stage and had them do the announcements – trial by fire since it was their first week. We had a good number of student greeters and students also ran the sound, control room and cameras.

Music Playlist: I Whip My Hair, Be Thou My Vision, Our God

Favorite Moment: Without a doubt the best moment was going outside and doing the baptisms we just learned about. Students cheered for their friends and family took tons of pictures. Each one had a story – a very powerful moment. Love it.

Up Next: Senior Weekend

Weekend Teaching Series: Salvation (1-off)

Sermon in a Sentence: A simple message of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Service Length: 72 minutes

Understandable Message: This past weekend Taffy, our student ministry worship director, gave a simple talk on salvation and the need for us to be reconciled to God. You can watch a clip of his talk here. He gave a clear plan of salvation and a strong invitation to stand up if a student had made that decision or were recommitting today. It was a simple message with songs mixed in every few minutes. Good stuff.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We rolled out a new game called HSM Top Pick that allows students to play a “family-feud” style game where we could give simple prizes away for guessing a) the Top Pick and b) guessing all of the answers on the board. We gave away small gift cards to iTunes, Red Robin, etc. The questions centered around pop culture stuff like top musical acts and highest grossing movies. We had 3 proms this weekend, so attendance was light, but the crowd was fun and energetic.

Music Playlist: Rolling in the Deep, Savior of the World, The Stand, Love Came Down, Forever Reign

Favorite Moment: As Taffy invited students to trust Christ, I heard a student quietly whispering a prayer behind me. The girl later sought out my wife and let her know this was the 4th time she had been to HSM and had been saved. Best. Moment. Ever.

Up Next: Baptism Weekend (1-off)

Weekend Teaching Series: How to Raise Your Parents (series finale, week 3 of 3)

Sermon in a Sentence: Real-life parents answer your real-life questions. Each service will be completely different!
Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This week we tried a first in HSM – the parent panel. I’ll post more later about my learnings on how to run a good panel, but for now, I’ll just say it was awesome. We had parents commit to at least 2 services if possible, so we had different parents throughout the weekend. It was incredible to hear their heart and passion, as well as their vulnerability and love for their kids. We had some parents, who I introduced as not perfect by any means, but that loved Jesus and loved their kids. It was awesome. I have almost 500 questions that students sent into us during the 4 services, excited to do a series of posts on them in the future – I think they will be super insightful for youth ministry or even parents themselves.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had pretty straightforward programming this weekend – lots of student greeters and student leaders running the night. We had a video testimony about trust/parents featuring a Life Group leader, Blair Wilson, who really messed up as a teenager – that was solid, too. Tons of student involvement with students texting in their questions to polleverywhere.com which we moderated and pushed to the screen.

Music Playlist: Dancing Generation, Mighty to Save, Sing Sing Sing

Favorite Moment: The parents were incredible. They made the services – and I loved the unpredictability of each service. You didn’t know the questions, you didn’t know the answers – so each service was unique and honestly, really interesting. Oh, and using my iPad2 to push the questions students had texted in right on to the big screen was techno-fun, too.

Up Next: Stories (1-off)

Weekend Teaching Series: How to Raise Your Parents (series premiere, week 1 of 3)

Sermon in a Sentence: A good relationship between parent and teenager is built on trust: trust for your parents and trust from your parents.
Text: Proverbs, Ephesians 6
Service Length: 61 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I had the chance to introduce the topic of trust as the foundation for a healthy relationship between teenagers and their parents. It was also the start of the series, so had some fun setting up my experience as a kid/teenager in my home. Lots of fun stories, and an object lesson about trust where I had a clear tube of colored water that sprung leaks as the parents lost trust in their teenager. We talked about trust-builders and trust-busters – students hopefully walked away with a clear understanding of how important trust is and how to build it between them and their parents.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week was a super tight program that included a fun opening song, a couple videos about upcoming events (HSM Summer Camp and Killball) as well as a funny video about parenting and trust. Clean, direct program, with lots of students involved greeting, cameras, band, control room, creating graphics, etc.

Music Playlist: Not a Child Anymore, Freedom is Here, You’ll Come, Your Love is Strong

Favorite Moment: The opener this weekend was written by McKenzie – it was about parents and how they are crazy and don’t trust their teenagers. At first, I was worried about the song’s message, then when the band got to the last line, it was a total payoff and super sweet. Incredibly creative and a beautiful tribute to parents masked in what really is going through a teenagers mind. Brilliant, I’ll post video when I can find someone who recorded it.

Up Next: How to Raise Your Parents (Doug Fields speaking, week 2 of 3) [read the whole series are here]

Weekend Teaching Series: Thread (summer camp registration kickoff weekend 1-0ff)
Sermon in a Sentence: You are God’s masterpiece.
Text: Psalm 139:13-16
Service Length: 66 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we brought in this summer’s HSM camp speaker to promote this summer’s big event in HSM. We had picked Ron Merrell and were so excited to have him teach what has now become the official registration kickoff weekend. Now, we’ve never done a weekend like this before, and honestly hadn’t heard or seen much from Ron so it was a risk. To some degree, this was going to be a preview of summer camp. It was awesome! Ron is a great communicator and students were introduced to his heart and passion for Christ. Students walked away challenged about their identity in Christ and many were already buzzing about HSM Summer Camp. Mission accomplished, great weekend.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week had some fun on stage with a game of “Let’s Make a Deal” and a cover of a OneRepublic song. We had lots and lots of balloons (goes along with the summer camp theme) and a huge camp signup/info table. Lots of student greeters and energy, especially considering we were coming off the week break from Easter.

Music Playlist: OneRepublic opener, Our God, Divine and Holy, Your Love is Enough

Favorite Moment: I think we just established a new tradition in HSM – the summer camp kickoff weekend. Really inspiring and awesome, proud of the team and excited for our students. The only way it could have been better was if we had the summer calendars to handout, too (my fault, I’m a little behind from vacation still). I spent some of the weekend up in big church doing the announcements and promoting summer camp registration to parents, too.

Up Next: How to Raise Your Parents (series premiere, week 1 of 3) [read the whole series are here]