Selma Movie

Anchored Weekend Inspired Pretty Hurts Student Video

Posted by Josh Griffin

I really liked this video from one of our students after attending the Anchored Weekend in youth group last week. She made something really powerful! So cool ... wow.


The Credibility Lesson from the Snowpocalyse that didn’t happen

Posted by Rachel Blom

The whole northeast of the US was on high alert this week for the mother of all snowstorms that was about to happen. Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, the names itself brought fear to every inhabitant of the east coast. Massachusetts issued a travel ban, New York canceled all flights, folks were hoarding toilet paper and water.

The first prediction for my area (just north of Albany, NY) was 10 inches of snow. The result was zero. We got nothing, nada, niente.

The next day, we were supposed to get four inches. We got one.

Yesterday they predicted three to four inches. We got nothing. Well, it snowed last night and that amassed to maybe an inch. Plus it’s snowing even as I write this, so who knows, we might actually get another inch. Which is pretty normal here this time of year; we had way worse last winter.

As a result, the credibility of the National Weather Service took a hit and many people ridiculed their predictions. No doubt, for the next few weeks, or even months, people will take their predictions less seriously. And that could have potential serious consequences.


There’s an old fable about Peter and the wolf. It’s about a boy named Peter who keeps shouting ‘there’s a wolf!’—only to inform his village neighbors that it was a joke. Till one day a wolf really shows up and Peter tries to warn them…but they don’t believe him anymore.

Credibility is a valuable commodity in youth ministry as well. You can only cry ‘wolf’ so many times before students or parents stop taking you seriously.

What do you warn about most? Where do you truly put the ‘fear of God’ for in your students or your parents? And is it worth it?

I try to save the direst warnings for things that are literal life-or-death issues…or even eternal ones. The rest I discuss of course, but I tone down my warnings and predictions. I'm protective of my credibility.

Personally, I don’t blame the National Weather Service. Predicting the weather is far from an exact science. As the chaos theory has taught us: one butterfly in Spain can change the weather here, so there’s that (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, try re-watching Jurassic Park!). I’d rather be forewarned and be pleasantly surprised than to get caught in a snowstorm unexpectedly. But that’s just me.

Youth Ministry Volunteer Overnight Retreat Schedule

Posted by Josh Griffin

I blogged a few weeks ago about a volunteer retreat we did with our high school ministry team. Several people have asked on social media for more specifics of what we covered, so here you go! More details from the 24 hours getaway!

  • Arrival - everyone drives themselves to the location after work and we start with a lost checkin and then dinner. Some fun casual hangout time, fun, relaxing.
  • Dinner - food, food food!
  • First session - this session explained the purpose of retreat and established the guidelines and theme of the event. This was a guest speaker and more of a lecture format. It probably went too long, but was a good start to the event. I think a little "less is more" would work well in this spot.
  • Free time - we had gobs of board games, card games and snacks so everyone could just hang out in to the wee hoursof the morning. It was so fun - easily my favorite part of the whole retreat. Played spoons, ate treats and laughed hard until really late.
  • Sleep! Can't go on a "rest" retreat and not carve out real time to sleep!
  • Breakfast - simple breakfast window of time for simple breakfast foods one of our volunteers laid all out.
  • Retreat solo time - after some introduction everyone was given a handout that included some very powerful exercises on rest, silence, reflection, prayer and more. It was the best session of the event, I also got in a quick nap.
  • Share time - this was some time to divide into small groups and prayed over each other. Such good stuff!
  • Lunch - got to eat! Delicious food is essentail.
  • Reflection time - we did a "year behind, year ahead" exercise with some fun times of drawing, prayer and refelction. This execise was pretty great too. There was even a part of taking your shoes off and reflecting on yourr journey, which was a little weird at first, but I really like it.

Hope this helps if you want to plan your own!


Parent Newsletter About Big Changes Coming

Posted by Justin Knowles

One of my favorite things about the DYM Membership is the Parent Newsletter. It really is worth the praice in itself. This month has been a huge month as we are entering into a relationship and sex series (based off Crazy Town in the DYM store) and we are splitting our jr. high and high school students for steaching times. So in addition to our parent newsletter, I added a little explaination for parents of the upcoming things. I thought I would post it for y'all to see how we communicated all these things to parents. We got a really good response from it. Would love to hear what types of things you add to things like this to your parents:


Hello Parents,

Thank you for taking the time to read this. There is a lot happening in our ministry and I just wanted to let you know of some big, but exciting, changes happening here in a few weeks. So take a look and if you have any questions, please email us and we will get back you with answers:

New SHIFT Website:

We are excited for our new website. This is going to become the central hub for all things SHIFT. It has all the general info about who we are and all registration will be done here for summer camps. There is still work to be done on the site, but it is up and running.


Jr High & High School Split on Wednesdays

As you know, our jr. high and high school students have been enjoying and learning about God together under one roof for a while now. I love it and I think there are some good things about this. We learn to be together as one body worshipping God and I think this is amazing. On the other hand, jr. high students and high school students are in a different place developmentally. I was here with SHIFT when they were combined and I saw the necessary reasons behind of making this decision. At the same time, coming from a place where jr. high and high school had separate teachings, I see the importance of hitting both topical and Biblical teachings in their own settings. Even as a speaker, it is really hard to teach effectively to both a jr. high student and a high school student.

So, with all of that said:

Starting January 28th, we will be doing a relationship series (info about this series is below) and we are going to be splitting for our teaching from here on out. Here is what the night will look like:

Before service –Jr high students will have the Fireside Room to hang out in before and high school students will have the patio/café. **It’s not mandatory to go in there, it is just offered.

Service – All students, 7th-12th grade will worship through music, play games, hear announcements and have fun together. There is a huge win in this as we worship together as one body.

Greeting Time – Students will then be dismissed into their grade appropriate settings.

Teaching – High school students will stay in the Worship Center with Justin Knowles (Lead Next-Gen Pastor) and jr high students will be dismissed into the Fireside Room with Chris Avery (Next Gen Pastor). Both will be going through the same series, but each will be taught in their own age appropriate context.

Dismissal – Both will be dismissed from their areas to be picked up.

** Side note: Most events will be jr high or high school specific. Dates and info on what is to come is coming soon.

Relationship Series – Crazy Town

We strive to be a ministry that teaches Biblical truth to our students in all things that are relevant to them and what they are going through. There will be times we talk straight from the Bible and there will be things we teach on what the Bible has to say about certain subjects. Relationships are a huge deal for students. Friendships, relationships, hardships and their relationship with God are all important. This series we hope to tackle head on what we feel students are wanting to know in order to have Godly, healthy relationships and what the Bible has to say about pornography and sex. We are going to talk about all of it.

**We understand that if you are not ready for your student to hear about certain things, you have every right to not allow your student to attend those nights.

Below is an outline of the direction we will be going for both jr. high and high school students during this series:

Jr. High Students – Crazy Town

Here is a message from Chris Avery about the direction he is going for this series:

JR High students are at a developing stage for relationships in their live. They are adapting to having multiple classes where they are exposed to a lot of new students on a daily basis. We as the church want to spend a few weeks talking about relationships and give JR High students key biblical principals for establishing healthy relationships. As we know, relationships are what will have the greatest impact on people throughout their life. We will be taking them through 2 Timothy 2: 22, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (NASB) The first week we will talk about how to “flee from youthful lusts”, and flee literally means to run away from the things that cause us to have unhealthy relationships. Some of the things we will address on this night is: snapchat, texting, pornography, signs of good / true friends, what we look for when selecting friends and how to actually “flee” from the unhealthy things. Week 2 we will talk about what we should “pursue” in establishing healthy relationships. There are 4 key elements in establishing healthy relationships and we will start with talking about “righteousness” and “faith”. Then week 3 we will talk about the other 2, “love” and “peace”. That genuine love for others is what drives us to create healthy relationships.  Furthermore, that healthy relationship should not be filled with tension and uncertainty, but with peace and joy. On week 4 we will talk about what having a “pure heart” means and that the sign of healthy relationships is having a pure heart, that you are open and honest with friends. It means that you are not engaging in behavior or activities in secret, as 1 Corinthians 10: 31 tells us, “…..whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We will talk about purity and accountability and its importance in our lives. This will be a great series for JR Highers and we are excited to engage them in meaningful teaching that will impact their relationships for the rest of their lives.

High School Students – Crazy Town

Week 1: We have Craig Gross coming to speak to us. He is the leading speaker on pornography, sexuality and parenting with technology. He is the creator of XXXchurch.com and iparent.tv, resources to manage pornography on computers/cell phones and a parent resource for helping you understand what apps and things your students are might be into.

This week he is going to be speaking to our high school students about pornography, its effects and what the Bible has to say about it. He travels all across the US to speak on this subject and we are excited to have him come speak to our students.

Week 2: Justin Knowles will be sharing a message entitled “5 Things Guys Wish Girls Knew.” He will be addressing girls when speaking but the guys are a fly on the wall as we talk about the things godly guys want out of relationships.

Week 3: Justin Knowles will be sharing a message entitled “5 Things Girls Wish Guys Knew” and will be taking the same direction as the week before just flipped.

Week 4: This night will be looking a little bit different. I have not finalized the format quite yet but it is going to go one of two ways:

  • We will have a panel of people of different stages of life and relationships and students will text in any question they have about sex and our panel will answer them with life experience and Biblical truths.
  • Or we will have students write down their questions the week before and Justin will compile them and give a message off the most popular ones asked.

We are really excited for this series and to be able to engage our students in conversation about these tough subjects. If you have any questions, please email us and we will do our best to answer them.

Thank you for trusting us with your student week in and week out. We do not take it for granted and we love the time that we get with them. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in raising your student to love the Lord.


Justin Knowles

Lead Next-Gen Pastor

Christ’s Church of the Valley

Video of Saddleback High School Ministry Anchored Weekend on Suicide, Depression & Mental Health Issues

Posted by Josh Griffin

This past weekend was a special weekend in our ministry - we had a ton of new students and a ton of decisions for Christ. It was called the Anchored weekend and focused on lots of mental helath issues like suicide, depression and more. We don't always post the full message on YouTube, but this week we took the 6pm Saturday night service and posted it for parents adn students who missed it to check out or share with their friends. 


Winter Camp Announcement Videos

Posted by Colton Harker


Like most of you, our ministry just came back from our Winter Camp (we call ours Summit) and it was INCREDIBLE! In our morning sessions, we wanted to mix things up and do announcements over video instead of onstage. 

To make things a little more interesting, we thought we might hurt some people in the process...because nothing says youth ministry like two men getting their legs waxed as a punishment! These videos ended up being so fun at camp because we used both of these props in games throughout the weekend! Check them out!

Note: No students were harmed in the making of these video... just interns... and staff.

Topics: winter camp

Common Sense for Small Group Leaders: Think Wisely

Posted by Josh Griffin

Taught a small group leader training for our volunteers a while back – just ran across it again and wanted to share. Simple stuff, just an encouragement for our Life Group leaders, young and old, to think wisely:

Think wisely ... about what you post on social media
Please realize that what you post is public, permanent and reflects on our ministry as a whole (see more on this subject here). Use common sense when you post pictures or status updates – read everything through a second time before pushing send or submit. And don’t forget – something that is questionable will always be taken out of context. There is a huge difference between a joke between friends at a coffee shop and a joke that will most certainly be misunderstood posted for the world to see.

Think wisely ... when you drive students
I’ve taken tons of students home from small groups or to an outing – and done some questionable things while doing it. We used to “hit mailboxes” – we didn’t really, I just had a student leader in the passenger seat whack the side of the church van when I swerved dangerously close to the side of the road. If you’ve ever used the phrase, “shoot that was close” or “I wonder if we can bury the speedometer” you aren’t using common sense.

Think wisely ... when you consume media
Here’s the key: what you do, say, watch, listen to, eat – whatever – it all becomes a ringing endorsement in the ears of your students. As the leader of your small group, take extra caution to think about what you’re consuming and if that would be good for your student to see as an example or to participate in themselves. Your words, actions and ideas have incredible power. Think before you watch.

Think wisely ... when you talk to parents
You are the youth pastor of your small group – so remember that when talking to parents. I guess first off – remember to talk to parents. Communication, good or bad, directly effects the reputation or the student ministry. Take a few minutes to share with parents what you’re covering in small groups, and share a personal observation about their child. It is OK to talk differently to parents than you would to their student.


What If 3-Week Video Series from Saddleback Church

Posted by Josh Griffin

What If was a 3-week video series we just wrapped up last week that we used to kickoff the New Year at all of our campuses. It was fun! We went with a little bit more of a YouTube style, short attention span video feel for the series - it was definitely our best effort to date. Anyhow, if it is helpful to you, feel free to adapt, download, rip off or even show the videos yourself in your youth ministry. What if ... go for it!


Is Ruth too feminine for youth ministries?

Posted by Jen Bradbury


Like many ministries, our high school youth ministry held it's winter retreat over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. This year, our theme was Naked and Afraid: Vulnerability in Relationships. Throughout the weekend, the book of Ruth served as our anchor.

I must admit, in the days and weeks leading up to our winter retreat, I began to heavily second guess my decision to explore this book.

Since half the teens on my retreat were male, I wondered if I'd chosen a book that was too feminine; If, by choosing a book centered around two females, I'd isolate half my retreat audience in the process.

Here's what's strange about that. In my youth ministry, I teach stories about the men in the Bible all the time. Never once have I worried about isolating the girls in my ministry.

But as soon as I decided to explore a book of the Bible centered around women, I feared that guys would find it irrelevant – a notion our culture also reinforces.

I mean, when's the last time you saw a men's Bible study discuss the book of Ruth?

I'm guessing never. Yet, I'm hard-pressed to think of a women's Bible study that hasn't discussed this book.

Here's why this is problematic.

If the Bible is meant for all people, in all times and places, then aren't its contents also written for all people, in all times and places?

When we intentionally choose ONLY to explore stories centered on women with other women, we contradict that. In doing so, we also reinforce gender stereotypes, many of which have haunted the church for years.

If we never explore Biblical stories with strong female characters with guys, how can we expect them to believe that women have gifts to share with the greater church? If we leave female-oriented stories out of our teaching calendars for fear that guys will find them irrelevant, then how will both guys and girls learn what Godly women are like? If we label a Biblical book about friendships and love as “feminine”, how can we ever hope to teach guys to emote and to value their relationships with others... and with God?

Having wrestled through those questions, in the end, I set aside my worries. During our three-day retreat, my entire ministry dove deeply into the book of Ruth, exploring both it's characters and themes.

And you know what?

Guys were just as enthralled by this story as girls were.

It is, after all, a good story – something that captivates people, regardless of their gender.

And as it turns out, the Holy Spirit didn't stop working just because I chose to talk about Ruth and Naomi all weekend. Instead, the Holy Spirit moved in and amongst my teens. Both guys and girls found themselves – and God - in Ruth's story.

I definitely learned my lesson.

Have you?

When's the last time you taught a female-centered Bible story to ALL the teens in your ministry? If it's been a while, what's kept you from doing so? However intentional or unintentional that's been, what message does leaving out female-centered Bible stories send to the girls in your ministry? To the guys?

My hope is that as youth workers, we'll renew our commitment to teach stories about both men and women to the guys and girls in our ministries – knowing that both are important to our faith formation; That both have much to teach us; And that both are relevant to the world in which we live.

Photo Credit: http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-stories/part-3-deliverance-from-egypt-to-israels-first-king/story-51-ruth-and-naomi/

POLL: Doug Fields on the Cover of Youth Worker Journal

Posted by Josh Griffin


i don't know if you happened to catch this month's Youth Worker Journal cover athelete of the month: Doug Fields. But if you did, you most certainly had some questions about the stunning cover for this latest issue. It inspired this week's poll question, one that is crucial to youth ministry:


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Josh Griffin


Josh is the High School Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co- founder of DYM and is the father of 4 who speaks a little, writes a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot.


Doug Fields

doug_fieldsDoug Fields is a 30+ year youth ministry veteran who is the Author of 50+ books, Founder of Simply Youth Ministry, Speaker, Pastor, Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth & Family at Azusa Pacific University, and a Partner in DYM.

Rachel Blom


Rachel Blom is from The Netherlands originally and has youth ministry experience in several countries, both as a volunteer and on staff.

Matt McGill


Blogging with eternal wisdom. Matt McGill is the visionary behind Download Youth Ministry. He convinced his 2 friends Josh and Doug to partner with him and create this whole place.

Justin Knowles


Justin Knowles is the Lead Next Gen. Pastor of Christ's Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA. He oversees Jr. High, High School and College ministries at the church.

Colton Harker


Blogging about his First 2 Years in Youth Ministry. Colton is just starting out in youth ministry and blogs about what he is learning along the way.

Christopher Wesley


Blogging serving at a Catholic Church. Chris Wesley has been in youth ministry for over 9 years as the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Maryland.

Jen Bradbury

Jen-BradburyJen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus and her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. She also blogs regularly at www.YMJen.com

Neely McQueen

Jen-BradburyBlogging about girls' ministry. Neely McQueen has been working with students for over 15 years. She works in Student Ministries at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA.

Laneita Fix

Jen-BradburyAuthor, Speaker, Director Ministry Development for Asian Youth Ministries. Love 22 years of working with youth and equipping others in the trenches in youth ministry.

Geoff Stewart

Jen-BradburyGeoff Stewart serves the Jr/Sr High School Pastor at Peace Portal Alliance Church in Surrey B.C. and doesn't appreciate the jokes about being Canadian (unless they are funny of course).

Kara Powell

Jen-BradburyDr. Kara E. Powell is executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. A 20- year youth ministry veteran, she speaks regularly at youth ministry conferences and is author or co-author of a number of books and volunteers in student ministry at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, CA.

Walt Mueller

Jen-BradburyBlogging about youth culture and current events. Dr. Walt Mueller is the founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, a non-profit organization serving schools, churches, and community organizations across the U.S, Canada, and worldwide in their efforts to strengthen families.

Duffy Robbins

Jen-BradburyDuffy travels the world speaking to teenagers and people who care about teenagers. Both in the classroom and in camps, conferences and seminars, he's well known for his insights, inspiration and humor.

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