Sometimes it’s maddeningly difficult to discern where in the world God is taking you. Other times, it’s painfully clear to see where He’s leading. I’m stuck in a furious limbo between the two. So where does that leave me? or lead me rather?

This past September, I just finished out a summer internship with Saddleback Student Ministries worship (Cluster of Students). Before the fall semester started, I was asked by the worship pastor if I’d like to continue interning through the year. I decided to think and pray about it before giving an answer, and after a couple weeks of prayer and counsel I didn’t have total peace about continuing as an intern. As a result, I did what I thought was best for me.

I ignored the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Sure enough, I could feel fatigue setting in. I was spread thinner than a crepe (those really thin pancakes). Between all of the responsibilities that I had, I can’t believe I knew which day was which. It’s funny how tightly we hold onto our own plans. Let’s face it though, we all do it. God says “No,” and we say, “sweet, I was thinking yes too.” By the grace of God, He redeemed the next few months for His glory, like He always does. He also convicted me and the pastor that I was working with that God wanted me elsewhere. We communicated after heavy prayer, and we both heard the same thing. He knew that I couldn’t be a key contributor everywhere. He KNOWS what you need.

What an example of God’s conviction and His grace! I disobeyed; He redeemed it. Next time you find yourself at a crossroads, between decisions (Del Taco or Carl’s Jr?), here are a few things that you can do first to save yourself from your plans.

Ask Your Dad . . .  your heavenly one. Trust me, He has a better way. We don’t consult God because we want to include Him in OUR plans as if we have any idea what we’re doing. We invite God in because HE has a better plan than we do, and He wants to guide you for your benefit.

Address Your Sin . . . like I didn’t. I desperately wanted to be, well wanted. As soon as I found out that somebody wanted to work with me for the next year, I had an opportunity to fulfill that insecurity. Instead of listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I listened to that little voice that craves the approval of people. Sin has a habit of blinding you to the picture that God is painting. It’s a beautiful picture, it’s worth seeing.

Abide . . . in the vine. Allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the joy and peace of God. He has an abundance to give, and He wants you to overflow with it. Be in the word, be in fellowship, and be in REST. Practice sitting in your room or on a couch, and soaking in the Lord’s presence. No pretense, no rules. Just soak. Some hang time with your creator will make any decision sound much less daunting.

Chance Espinoza is a college student from Orange County that loves Jesus, music, and eating breakfast until he falls asleep. He has been serving in youth ministry for 7 years with a heavy heart for worship and creativity.

Taffy has been the Student Ministries Worship Pastor at Saddleback Church for nearly 11 years. He will be bringing a group of students from Saddleback Church to help lead and teach a Worship Clinic. FREE!!!

Location: South Bicayne Baptist Church – North Port, FL
Date: May 7
Cost: FREE!

This clinic is for students, youth pastors, volunteers, worship pastors, or anyone who is involved in leading worship.

8 essential things that will be discussed:
1) Students leading worship music
2) Moving “worship leaders” to “worship pastors”
3) How to start and maintain student bands
4) Student band dynamics
5) Developing hearts of the students leading worship
6) Drums, bass, electric guitar, and keys
7) Student stage presence
8) Expectation and commitments of students in a band

9:00 — Welcome
9:10 — Time of Worship
9:30 — Taffy (8 Essentials)
10:45 — Break
11:00 — Workshops and QandA
12:00 — End

If you’re interested, plan on attending, or would like more information please contact Taffy via email:


I mentioned in our weekend in review for services last weekend that we did a cover of Mumford & Sons’ The Cave. Here’s the video of it! Maybe the first time we’ve ever had a banjo used in a service, too. Ha!


Used to be a prerequisite that you had to play the guitar to be legitimate in youth ministry? I don’t … do you?


Weekend Teaching Series: 2020: The Future is Now (week 2 of 6)
Sermon in a Sentence: Each day matters in creating your future. Take time to get spiritually ready in the morning, respond at noon, and reflect at night.
Service Length: 70 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we zoomed in from the big picture life goals from last week and talked about how each minute eventually becomes a day, that days become weeks, years and eventually your future. We talked through 3 sections of each day and how to give it all over to God. The point of the talk was to not increase the amount of time we give God, but give God everything. It was a fun challenge to give students, seemed like students totally got it. We had a countdown timer on the stage the entire service, started at 70 minutes, the idea was the end my talk right at zero to emphasize the importance of making each minute o our life count.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had the return of Parker from the Future – this time Parker came back to warn us about some new changes to the political situation in the future. In order to stop this from happening, they needed a contestant from the audience to play a Minute to Win It Game called Elephant March. The game was fun, and the return of our guy from the future was great. We had lots of greeters and the choir doubled as cleanup/setup/greeters, too. Played some funny videos in the talk as well as the message.

Music Playlist: Clocks [Coldplay cover], Majesty, Savior of the World, Dancing Generation

Favorite Moment: Having a choir made up of students is always epic. We don’t do it too often, but when we do the energy is super high and the songs seem more powerful than ever. Lots of other great moments this weekend, but watching students worship passionately through song is something I’ll never get tired of.

Up Next: The Future is Now: week 3 (Doug Fields speaking)

I got a chance to speak at Fantastical this weekend with our student ministry worship pastor Taffy and in our notes we shared the songs we’re singing the most often this fall. Thought it might interest you – what are you playing in your student ministry? Got an undiscovered gem you want to get out there? Share in the comments!

Top 10 songs right now for our student ministry
1. “The Earth is Yours” Gungor
2. “Savior of the World” Ben Cantelon
3. “Burning Ones” Jesus Culture
4. “How He loves”Jesus Culture or David Crowder
5. “With Everything” Hillsong United
6. “Rise and Sing” Steve Fee
7. “Love Came Down” Ben Cantelon
8. “Beautiful Things” Gungor
9. “Our God” Chris Tomlin
10. “The Stand” Hillsong United
11. “Tear down the walls” Hillsong United


Taffy and I promised all of the youth workers in our track at David Crowder’s Fantastical Conference a few forms and graphics for them to download. Here you go!

1) get the CRUD form. This is the document we use for students in bands. Could be super valuable to you! CRUD stands for Commitments, Requirements, Understandings and Dress Code. Thanks to Taffy over at for the freebie.

2) here are some links to graphics and videos that may help you with the worship (in music):