Trying out a new idea (we undoubtedly stole from someone else – ha!) this week in our High School Ministry – HSM’s Study Hall. We’ve converted a room to a study area during finals week and promoted it as a serious option to come study, hang with friends and eat some snacks. We provide the food, free wi-fi, a few volunteers that can jump in with some basic tutoring and the room!

Students have totally eaten it up and are taking it seriously – great place to get to know them relationally hanging out during breaks. Fun idea!


This past weekend our junior high ministry put on an incredible event called The 3. It is on the 3rd Friday of the month, lasts 3 hours and costs $3. They have had incredible themes and games each time, but this idea was next level: a car smash! So fun … made quite the mess but was super memorable and no doubt the thing talked about when kids got back to school Monday. Brilliant!


Here’s HSM Fall calendar – we handed them out this weekend bundled along with a few promo cards for Pumpkinfest and our weekend services. Our hope is that students will keep the calendar and hand out the cards to their friends and invite them the church.

The calendar is a simple and clear design – we are only doing a few events so the focus is on on-going programs like our weekend services and Life Groups.


This fall we’ve been trying out some new ideas with our fall youth ministry calendar (you can see the actual calendar here if you missed it a couple months ago). It is always tough to make adjustments when things are going well – the tendency is to settle in and keep doing whatever is working. So our motivation was to make things even better was not without risk – but it felt like it was the right time to pull the trigger.

Here’s some of the theory behind some of the changes we’ve made in HSM’s events and activities philosophy:

No More Events
This fall, we had one single event on the calendar for our students. PumpkinFest. Now, we planned for it to be big, we pushed it for weeks. This was not just the only event, it was going to be the one to be at! But other than that one event – you couldn’t find a budget-killing, overnight black hole of time and money planned for our youth group. While we’ve never been an event-driven student ministry – but this is a big change from a youth ministry based on the event to event hype machine from one big thing to the next.

More Activities
So streamlining events and going for more effective has led us to this: more activities. Let me explain the distinction, because on first glance that might sound conflicting. Events take you out an extra night of the week, they take a ton of resources, they take a ton of manpower. Events are a ton of work, and most of the time, not enough return. Often times they’re effective in bringing a crowd, but have little effect on reaching people for Jesus Christ or much less even increasing the number of students attending regular services. Here’s where activities are different than events; they’re attached to an existing program. Activities are a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning. Activities are bingo nights with great prizes after after youth group or hanging out at Chic-Fil-A after small groups. Activities are easy, and fun, build community and hold hands more closely with the actual church.

I think there’s room for both in youth ministry, but I’m loving doing less events and more activities. Thoughts?


Whew – today was exhausting. After a super weekend and a solid day off, I was refreshed and prepared to face the new week.

But the day after something great is always challenging. One moment you could set the world on fire with your passion and faithfulness, the next you’re wimpering in the corner wishing you could curl up in the loving arms of your mother. It seems like without fail a high high can be countered with a low low. I had both extremes today. And I’ve got a feeling I’m not alone – you feel unstoppable and the next minute you’re stopped. You feel untouchable and moments later you’re wounded.

But God is faithful even in these days. You must remember Who you serve and your calling. And with that, I’m going to gear up to get ready to face tomorrow.