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Week 2, Day 3: HSM Summer Camp 2015 Highlight Video

Posted by Josh Griffin

We're at Week 2 of HSM Summer Camp - heading into the last day! Having a blast ... and ready to go home! hahahah


Week 2, Day 2: HSM Summer Camp 2015 Highlight Video

Posted by Josh Griffin

We're at Week 2 of HSM Summer Camp - still going strong! Same speakers, same schedule, same games ... and a few surprises like some free late night pizza in cabins & more. Having a blast!!


Lip Sync Competition Promo Video

Posted by Justin Knowles

To end the summer we are going to be having some Jim Fallon style, all out, pull out all the stops, lip syncing competiion. Contestants will turn in n application video, we will pick the best ones and have 3 weeks of competition with judges and all. The winner will get The Golden Mic and $100. 

This video was made my Emma, our student prgram director, and it was a hit last night in services.

New Website

Posted by Josh Griffin


We just launched an updated High School Ministry website for our student ministry here at Saddleback. We decided to go very clean and basic - just the important stuff for our ministry, easy to find in just a click or two.

We'll certainly be adding more to it in the near future: a key volunteer set it up for us, just a simple Wordpress themed site. Would love to know what you use, and who you think actually uses it as well!


Week 2, Day 1: HSM Summer Camp 2015 Highlight Video

Posted by Josh Griffin

We're at Week 2 of HSM Summer Camp - fun to do them back to back but exhausting, too! Here's some highlights from the 1st couple days!


7 tips for dealing with airplane parents

Posted by Jen Bradbury


A few weeks ago, we looked at 3 types of parents that you'll work with as a youth pastor. Today, we'll continue looking at strategies for dealing with each type of parent. Here are 7 strategies for working with airplane parents, those parents who circle their teens at a respectable distance, giving them an appropriate amount of autonomy.

  1. Give them information as soon as possible. Because they give their children appropriate amounts of autonomy, airplane parents are the parents who are most likely to trust teens with their own schedule. This sometimes results in scheduling mishaps, where teens are double or triple booked. To help prevent this, airplane parents appreciate getting events onto their family calendar as early as possible so they can help their teen plan and prioritize their schedule.

  2. Limit the frequency of your communications. Airplane parents are typically circling several of their teen's arenas at once. On any given day or week, they're not only receiving communication from you but also from their teen's school and extracurricular activities. Don't swamp their inbox with daily messages. Instead, limit your communication to once a week. To help insure that your information gets read, be consistent in when you send it to parents. When you send information the same day each week, parents know when to expect it.

  3. Make information scannable. Airplane parents are masters of multi-tasking. Because they've given their teens appropriate autonomy, they also have time for a life of their own. This means they're exceptionally busy and on the go. So, whenever you send them information, make sure it's scannable. Use headings and different size fonts to create headlines with the most important information. Save details for a smaller font underneath those headlines. This allows busy parents to skim an e-mail, quickly get an accurate sense of what's happening in your ministry, and only read the details regarding the information that pertains directly to their family. 

  4. Equip them with questions. Since airplane parents care deeply about the lives of their teens, they actively and regularly engage them in conversation. Build upon this by getting families talking about faith. Through e-mail or social media, give parents 2-3 questions each week that they can ask their teen in order to help them continue the conversation you start in your youth ministry at home.

  5. Resource them. Airplane parents are too busy to attend parenting programs, classes, or seminars offered by the church; They're already attending the ones offered by the school. So partner with schools to sponsor those programs. Additionally, find ways to resource parents in other ways. For example, establish a library filled with resources on parenting and faith formation that parents can check out and read whenever their schedule allows. 

  6. Host events that connect them with their teens. While airplane parents don't generally have time to attend parenting programs offered by your church, they will often prioritize events that connect them with their teens in healthy ways. Once a year, invite them to attend one of your youth ministry's gatherings. Specifically gear the night for families. This will help parents and teens connect over their faith while also giving parents a glimpse of your youth ministry. Additionally, hold events surrounding milestones like graduation that give families the space to say things that might otherwise get left unsaid due to how hectic their schedule is.

  7. Invite them to serve. Since airplane parents give their teens appropriate autonomy, these are the best parents to have serving in your youth ministry. Still, check with their teen before asking them to serve. (This shows teens that you've got their back.) If a teen is OK with their parent being involved, invite them to serve on mission trips, as a small group leader (preferably not the one their teen is in), or during special events.

Investing in parents is always worthwhile. This is especially true of airplane parents. When you take the time to invest in them, they can become your ministry's biggest supporters.

More in this series: 

7 strategies for working with helicopter parents  

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When God Breaks Up Your Pity Party

Posted by Justin Knowles

So what I'm about to share with you is something I don't like to admit. I know we all go through it at times, if we admit it or not, but we know it happens and we know we at least think it. When I first started writing for DYM I told myself I wold be open, honest and transparent in hopes it could help another youth worker who might be going through the same thing. In all honesty, I don't write for anyone. I write because it helps me process out what's in my head and if it helps other people, awesome... I love it. 

But I had a pity party last night. You know what I'm talking about. It's the thoughts of, "Wow, I'm working my butt off and this is how many kids showed up?" Or, "God, I'm being faithful, trying to keep going and keep a positive attitude but this is what I get? How am I supposed to build something, build a program, build small groups, build a camp culture...". I was at an event and thoughts came rushing to my head and it wouldn't stop.

Ever had some of those thoughts? I'm sure you have. As we were in the middle of the event 3 points came to my mind, which I'm sure it was God speaking to me, challenging me, to get out of this mindset I was in. I thought I would share them with you:

The kids there are the ones who are supposed to be there: Yes, not as many students as I had planned showed up, but some students who I thought would never show up to anything (you know which ones I'm talking about, "those kids", the "why are you even here, you don't pay attention" kids) showed up. I got to have some amazing conversations with them and get to know a little of their back story. If more students showed up, I know it would be crazier and I would have not have gotten the time I did with them and we began to develop a deeper relationship (They are now on my dodge ball team for the tournament we are having Wednesday).

Be faithful with what I give you: I know we hear this a lot, but do you really believe it? I have been reading through Joshua and man, there is a ton of great leadership stuff in their. One of the things I wrote down that very morning of the event was, "Joshua was faithful in all the little things God told him to so it came to the major moves, he was ready." I felt like this was God saying to me, "Do you not listen to anything I am speaking to you?" I was convicted. We all want to build our students, program and effectiveness, it's natural. We want to see things grow and we need to continue to be faithful to our calling.

You build with what you have, not what you wish you had: This thought got me good. Just like anything, you only can build with what you physically have in front of you, not with things you wish you had. Same thing goes for student ministry. You build relationships with the students that show up, you build the program off the budget you have, the events with the resources provided etc. I always get into the mindset of, "If I had this, I would be set. Or if I had more students, then I can do this" and I love to dream and think how things could be, but we can't get into the trap of wishing how things could/should be and miss what is there now and build from it. Build with what you have, stay faithful, and every time in Scripture, God moves in ways we never would have expected. Same thing in our ministries. Build up from what you have and watch God move.




Message from Night 2 at Christ in Youth (CIY) MOVE Event

Posted by Josh Griffin

MOVE 2015 CA1 Day 2pm Josh Griffin from MOVESermons on Vimeo.

I thought I would share a message I gave during CIY's MOVE Summer Event last month. It was a talk during their series on Daniel, focusing on fame and asking the question "who are you living for". Hope it is encouraging to you today, or inspires a similar talk of you own!


What is the perfect youth group order of service?

Posted by Josh Griffin

There is no perfect service order. But, I do believe that the perfect order does exist, but it is a case-by-case basis. Sure there are similarities in the order in which our ministry does things, but we like to see every program like it is its own monster. We first write out every element that we want to include in the service and then we put it together. Our average service contains these elements: a message, a funny video, an announcement video, an opening song, 1-minute meet and greet, worship songs, a game, and a welcome/announcements.

This is the order that we would most likely put it in:

  • Opening Song (cover of a popular song or song that relates to the message)
  • Funny Video (either one we made or one we ripped from YouTube)
  • Welcome/Announcements (2-3 announcements max/sometimes done through video)
  • Announcement Video
  • Game
  • 1-Minute Meet and Greet
  • 2 Worship Songs (usually these are fast and fun)
  • Message
  • 2 Worship Songs (slower and more reflective/Pray and dismiss)

That is our basic order or service. When putting our order together we always keep a few things in mind:

You always want to try to avoid any awkwardness during your services. Some of the most uncomfortable moments are when you are getting to the next element, like switching from band to announcements or announcements to game. We use program elements to serve as natural transitions. For example, we use the videos as time to switch people and sets on and off stage, same for the Meet and Greet. Bad transitions also happen when you make a sudden change in energy. Try to avoid going from a high energy moment right into a serious one. Ease it in.

Is it too long? Too short? Always plan out roughly how long your service will be. We are usually generous with our estimations because things usually take up more time than we originally thought. But stay somewhat true to your timetable. You never want your service to drag, so remind the people involved to keep it interesting but tight. 

Every innovative idea started with a risk. If we aren’t taking programming risks, then we we’ve settled. If you do the same order every time, your students will get bored and you will too. If you aren’t inspired by your program, they won’t be either.

Mix it up, have fun, keep it tight!

JG & Colton

Download Youth Ministry Webshow: Episode 273

Posted by Josh Griffin

Another episode of the Download Youth MInistry Podcast. Enjoy the show - and please be sure to visit and thank our sponsors Orange, Leadertreks, YM360 & Azusa Pacific University. Just enough youth ministry so you don't feel guilty for listening!

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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.

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

Colton Harker

Colton Harker serves college-age students at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He loves Jesus, people, life change, and Netflix.

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

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).

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