The HSM Staff

 —  July 13, 2010 — 3 Comments

From time to time people ask who are the paid staff behind HSM – and to be honest, we’ve been in some transition over the past seasons of ministry so the answer would vary from year to year. But in case you were wondering who did what and how we’re structured, here’s some insight:

High School Pastor (full-time) – that’s my job! I cast vision, handle conflict, lead the team, teach and direct the ministry. The buck stops with me, so if something goes wrong – it’s on me. It might be the best job in the world, I sure love it, despite the massive challenges. The rest of the team is organzationally flat, and I report to Kurt, the Student Ministries Pastor.

My assistant/team admin Associate (29 hrs/wk)Alaina just came on the team last week and functions primarily in a support role to my job as well as helping the team with admin tasks.

Volunteer Coordinator (full-time)Ryanne is an incredible minister to our adults who serve students. She works diligently interviewing, training, encouragement and care. She is our first impression to adults, and pastors them well.

Service/Ministry Coordinator (full-time) - AC is also brand new to the team – he’ll be responsible for all of our service projects in the community and helping get students into ministry. He’ll also work with our guys small groups to help make sure they are cared for.

Events/Missions Coordinator (full-time) - Phil cranks out any event we have planned. The dude is a administrative genius, and his top speed blasts by most people. He plans Summer Camp, missions trips, events and activities.

Life Groups Coordinator (full-time)Jessica has been with us just over a year and has a huge heart for our small groups effort. She works hard to make sure volunteers are the right fit, helps manage curriculum and makes sure things move smoothy in the puzzle that is small groups.

We also currently have 2 open full-time spots on the team – we just lost Jake (program, 2nd in command) to be the campus pastor at Saddleback Irvine, and in September we’re losing Robby (pastoral care) to be another campus pastor. In addition to this paid team, we’ve also got 3 amazing 2-year interns and 3 summer interns that function as full-on staff people as well – all of them are brilliant and work 40-50 hours a week and own significant parts of our high school ministry.


I’m in the last few rounds of edits on my next book, 99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders (coming this summer from Group). It is due this week to the editor – so far so good, been having a blast writing new training material, mining old blog posts, and asking a few friends to contribute to some sidebar insight as well. I just finished up an early section essentially bringing small group leaders up to speed on the type of students they’ll be ministering to. Thought it might be helpful to you or to pass along to the team – enjoy:

Thanks for jumping in and being a small group leader! Your service to God’s work will not go unnoticed. So what exactly are we dealing with here?

The typical student is quickly adopting the lifestyle of their parents — fast and furious. In our student ministry we recently asked students what the number one issue was in their lives — they answered, “dealing with stress.” They are thinking about college earlier than ever before with an already packed schedule. Not a minute passes without them being bombarded with twisted messages of sexuality from reality shows or musical acts, driving them to think a lot about the opposite sex.

Typical students live and die by their cell phones — their thumbs can text faster than you can type. Social networking is important — they’re online most hours a day looking at screens. Their worldview is being shaped by people who advocate tolerance but shut down most expressions of faith. They are very interested in the being spiritual but not necessarily Christianity. They are searching frantically for acceptance and consistency.

And that’s where you come in.

[ ] If you are young … things aren’t much different than when you were in school but be careful not to be overconfident in your ability to relate to them.

[ ] If you are old … things might feel very different from when you grew up and you might be intimidated by that prospect or feel out of touch.

Here’s what hasn’t changed; no matter your age coming into this, students still need love, acceptance and care. They desire to be known and need to be pointed to Jesus. Hear this: you are the hope. You are the small group leader. You are their guide to navigating this crazy world we live in. And you can do it.


The NEXT Offering

 —  March 31, 2010 — 1 Comment

Next month, Saddleback Student Ministries will participate in a church-wide giving campaign. We talked at length about how we could get students involved, and landed on an idea we read a while ago in Group Magazine. It was from a youth worker who gave out 144 envelopes, each numbered from 1-144. When kids took an envelope, you raised/gave an offering that matched the number on your envelope. In the end you actually raise thousands of dollars!

We’re going to take that same idea and use it starting next month – we’re numbering a bunch of envelopes (and rebranding the student version of the giving campaign NEXT! instead of the “Decade of Destiny” offering) and asking students to take one and bring it back a few weeks later with their offering.

I’ll let you know how it goes!


click here for the full-size cover

Just saw the upcoming cover for Group Magazine, I don’t think I’m supposed to share it, but thought it was really slick so enjoy. If you don’t subscribe, it is one of 6 magazines I read every month, and content from MTDB appears in it every month. Good stuff! JG

I am back from the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2010 in Chicago! It took me a few days to recover from a packed weekend. I learned a lot of tips and youth ministry ideas, but the biggest thing I learned was this: Every involved youth worker should go to a conference like this. Here are 3 reasons why.

A time of learning – I learned a lot. There were so many opportunities to take a class on a subject that will help me to stay in ministry for the long haul. SYMC offered classes on marriage, volunteer training, games, counseling, conflict resolution, preaching, & teaching. I chose the Helping Hurting Kids track and I benefited from probably one of the least discussed topics but one of the most influential problems all teens face — teen depression and addiction. I believe we all need to learn more if we are going to help teens through their adolescence.

A time of encouragement
– The worship and camaraderie I was able to participate in was very therapeutic. I met many people I have had the honor of speaking to online through the SYM Podcast. Getting to meet Doug, Josh, Matt, and Jana in person was awesome. It felt like seeing old friends for the first time in a long time. I also got to meet Andy B in person after so many emails for products. I also met new people like D.C., Matt K., Rick Lawrence, Tom, and many others. Tim Timmons really encouraged me through his worship leading and a few of his songs are STILL stuck in my head.

A time of rest – Youth Ministry is T. O. U. G. H. with a capital STRESSFUL. Dealing with tough kids, tough parents, boards, elders, pastors & ministers can take a lot out of you. We don’t tend to take time for ourselves because we are so committed to getting it right as often as possible. We overwork ourselves to the point we lose much of our drive and passion. Taking a weekend to listen to others who are doing what you do and understand your faith, love, passion, hurts, and struggles can only benefit. I felt loved on. It had been 7 years since I had been to a large convention like this. I forgot how much I needed it. Now that I am back, I feel stronger. There isn’t a huge list of things to tell people about the conference itself other than the encouragement I received. I did come back with this though: the passion and desire to help hurting kids. I think that was worth the admission alone.

Mike Lewis is the Youth Minister for the Westside Church of Christ in Beaverton, Oregon. He writes a blog that might be worth reading at and will gladly be your friend on Facebook, too.


 —  March 9, 2010 — 5 Comments

We like safety. We do things to make our life easy. We like easy. Church looks nice when it is easy. Smiling faces. Shallow conversation. Sports. Weather. News. Kids. Everyone is great. We work hard not to go too far. We don’t want to give up too much, other people might think we’re strange. People we feel safe around.

I have really been convicted in the last couple weeks about the church’s desire for safety. I am tired of safe, easy church. One of my greatest fears and convictions about the modern church in North America is that Christ would be so sickened by our actions and lack of action that he would spit, spew, vomit us out of his mouth (Revelation 3:20). Francis Chan reminds us that this passage is written to believers, to the church.

The church of Laodicea was a safe church. They had everything they needed. God had blessed their area with prosperity through banking, fashion, and a medical training school. They had become dependent on the things God had blessed them with instead of God Himself! Christ called this church poor, blind, and naked! The language of the passage paints a picture of the church making God physically ill. I do not want that for the church I’m a part of or the North American church as a whole.

We talk a good game about what God is doing in persecuted churches, and that we desire for God to grow our churches, but are we truly prepared for what that might mean? I am not sure that the majority of the churches in America could survive if driven underground. I don’t know how many could even survive a major disaster such as what has happened in Haiti.

The other day, I heard Tim Schmoyer from tell about his trip to Haiti. In the midst of this unspeakable disaster, they are experiencing true revival in Haiti. One of the native pastors they met with told Tim that they have been praying that God would do whatever He needed to do to bring the people back to Him. Are we prepared to make that declaration in America? Honestly, the uncertainty of the outcome of that prayer scares me more than a little.

Where is radical thinking among churches? Are we truly working to bring in a revolution that builds and encourages God’s people into falling face-down in awe and reverence to the God that created us and loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us? What are we doing that is so different that people cannot help but notice? I fear that well-intentioned youth pastors and pastors have perpetuated the condition of comfort in our churches (myself included). We have done it with shallow, slick, easy, messages that fail to call people into the dangerous unknown. Do we even know where that is ourselves? We cannot lead students where we have not been, nor where we fear to go. Do we still believe that God can truly bring revival into the context of what we’ve made church today? Are we willing as a church to make whatever changes out of a compelling fear and love for Christ to keep from being spit out, separated, removed from God’s plan. Are you in? It will not be a safe choice.

Brent Lacy is the Youth Pastor at FBC Rockville, IN and the tech guy behind http://MinistryPlace.Net.

I recently read an article in which a Sociologist wrote that youth pastors “need the kind of job description that allows them to spend all of their time with teenagers-there is absolutely no substitute for spending time with youth and sticking to it for a long time.” I agree and disagree with this notion and would like to further explain what I believe after 17 years of full time youth ministry.


I read the book Simple Student Ministry a few months back and never got around to posting a review of it so here goes:

I love a clear discipleship process in youth ministry – the parent book, Simple Church, was one of my favorite books of 2007 and I was hoping their team would bring out a student version of the title. It seems the longer churches are around the more “pile on” programs you have, each intending to help but eventually crowding the discipleship pathway. Simply put, we like to add stuff without taking anything away. Churches have the tendency to program creep, to the point where the core mission is diluted or even disappears altogether. I’m all for simple, clear and effective – to some degree, this is part of the journey we’re on right now with our High School Ministry (HSM). This book strongly urges that direction (large parts of it remind me of a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry combined with What Matters Most) and is a good read if you’re thinking you’re getting over-programmed.