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Playlist from HSM Summer Camp

Posted by Josh Griffin


One of the fun byproducts of summer camp is the introduction of several new songs to our students! Our students loved the music at camp and we want them to continue to listen to it all year long! We published the list of songs to Instagram and thought you might like to see it as well. You can get the Cluster of Students music here on DYM and the rest on iTunes!


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, songs, saddleback hsm, Summer Camp, top worship songs, music, worship songs, cluster of students, summer camp songs, high school ministry, worship music

GUEST POST: Be Called to Where You Are

Posted by Josh Griffin

Ever had that day where you wonder if you could get a job somewhere else getting paid the same or more in a more beautiful place?

I’ve had those days. I have them more than I care to admit if I was honest. Sometimes I just don’t want to do my role. It might be because I am tired, lazy, am frustrated with politics, I feel broke or I just want a change of scenery.

I was just listening to a Catalyst sermon by Judah Smith in which he challenges pastors to recognize their calling for where they are. We all know the meaning behind the saying that grass is greener on the other side. And sometimes its true, but it’s not where we are supposed to be.

As I listened to him talk about ministering where we are, I began to feel a tug. It was God saying “let go of that dream you have been fixated on”. God was letting me know I am exactly where he wants me to be.

As I began to think about it, I was able to see faces of students who make me smile, and others that break my heart. I was able to see the beauty of the suburb in which I reside. I was able to sense a feeling of purpose and mission to be where I am again.

But how did I get this back, was it just listening to that message. Well, to be honest probably not. But that message got me to praying in which I surrendered thoughts, dreams and attitudes to the Lord. It was a powerful moment of release for me. It was a moment in which a lot of my stresses and pains were lifted away.

I would encourage you that if you are in a place where you are frustrated or tired, lazy or feel burnt out. Surrender it to God. So often we tell students to do that in their lives, but we forget to do it in our own.

Now some people after doing that may still be called to move on or let go of something. But I hope that you are willing to hear the message of a sense of calling to be where you are.

So go, be refreshed and experience the soothing power of relinquishing control back to God. He is in control after all, and it feels good to stop fighting for the steering wheel.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, judah smith, bloom where you're planted, youth ministry calling, surrender, guest posts, ENCOURAGEMENT, kyle corbin, called to youth ministry, ministry calling, purpose, calling, catalyst

Colonial Hills Youth Group Tragedy

Posted by Josh Griffin


Such incredibly difficult news today for our youth worker community. An unspeakable tragedy occurred as a youth group was heading home from summer camp. Here are a few of the details from Fox News:

An Indianapolis congregation on Sunday mourned the deaths of their youth pastor, his pregnant wife and another member who were killed when a church bus overturned with just a mile to go in a return trip from a Michigan summer camp.

Saturday's accident devastated members of Colonial Hills Baptist Church, who had been anticipating a joyful homecoming with the 37 people who were aboard the bus. Youth pastor Chad Phelps, his pregnant piano-teacher wife, Courtney Phelps, and chaperone Tonya Weindorf were killed, said deacon Jeff Leffew.

Dozens of people were injured in the crash, which happened near Interstate 465. On Sunday, six teenagers remained hospitalized, including one who was in critical condition.

Dennis Maurer, a 68-year-old congregation member who was driving the church-owned bus, told authorities that its brakes failed before it struck a raised concrete median and flipped on its side, Indianapolis police said.

The Phelpses, who were in their mid-20s, were expecting their second child, Leffew said. Chad Phelps was the son of the church's senior pastor and became its youth pastor late last year, he said.

Right now the church and family need our prayers ... please stop what you're doing right now and lift them up to Jesus. Tragic.


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, youth pastor death, youth pastor life, Summer Camp, DEATH, tragedy, colonial hills

GUEST POST: 7 Benefits of Developing a Teaching Team for Your Student Ministry

Posted by Josh Griffin


"Hi-O-Silver... Away!" Recently, Armie Hammer starred with Johnny Depp in a movie-remake of the television classic, The Lone Ranger. While the concept of an "I work alone" epic-hero works great in a Hollywood theatrical release, it greatly diminishes the effectiveness of youth pastors and youth speakers every week.

Think about it.

Most youth leaders and speakers do a majority of their message preparation, delivery and review in isolation. For some reason, they have bought into the myth that their creativity is squelched when someone else speaks into their talk. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the more you involve other people in the message preparation process, the better your message will be.

Here are seven benefits to developing a teaching team for your student ministry:

1. Your content will be better.
When you involve others on the front end of your message preparation, they will help you see what you can't see. Youth communicators, when left on their own, miss holes in their content all of the time. When you bring someone else into the process, they will help fill in the gaps.

2. Your illustrations will move from good to great.
Involving a teaching team will expand your illustration options by leaps and bounds. Why just settle for o.k. illustrations and examples, when you can have a plethora of great illustrations at your fingertips.

3. You will connect better with the students you are speaking to.
Face it, you are old. Youth culture changes every six months. Choose a student or two to speak into your message content. They will help you discover creative and relevant ways to communicate your content so that it connects with their peers.

4. You will gain buy-in from volunteers and students.
Aside from just involving some students, when you involve a few adult volunteers in the process, they will immediately feel valued and buy into you, your leadership, your vision, your message and your ministry in a greater way.

5. Your students will get to hear a variety of speakers.
Your students need to hear from more speakers than just you. When you involve others from your teaching team, the students get a different perspective. They will hear God's Word communicated through a different personality. There will be other students who connect with a particular speaker on your teaching team (who don't connect with you as well).

6. You will become a much better youth communicator.
When you involve others on the back-end of your message (review, evaluation and feedback), you automatically begin to improve as a communicator. Your teaching team will help you realize unconscious speaking habits that you have and help you improve every week.

7. You get to invest in other communicators.
Mentoring is one if the most exciting parts of ministry. Developing a teaching team will allow you to mentor select students, youth staff and adult volunteers as you entrust them with the teaching and communication of God's Word.

Matt Maiberger has been involved in student ministry for two decades. He is currently the Associate Pastor of Life Church, in Fort Collins, CO and the founder of Youth Speaker's Coach.

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, sermons, messages, speaking, sermon illustrations, Communication, volunteers, preparing a message, guest posts, Speaking To Teenagers, youth talks, teaching team, matt maiberger, speaking team

GUEST POST: Laugh a Little

Posted by Josh Griffin

Go ahead! Laugh a little. Be happy, be free; your body, your relationships and your ministry will thank you for it! Laughter has its way of lightening the air. It has its way of opening your mind to a world of new ideas and to new possibilities.

Your body
Your body relieves tension each time you crack a grin. Relieving tension reduces stress, releases feel good chemicals in your body and revives energy levels. Laughter will leave you renewed and refreshed, ready to conquer whatever comes your way!

Your relationships
Laughter strengthens relationships and builds bonds. It allows you to focus on the positive, drowning out all the negativity. Your defenses go down and you are able to relax and enjoy the company you are in no matter the situation.

Your ministry
Laughing with other volunteers and young people creates an atmosphere of love and acceptance. When you create this kind of atmosphere, you are drawing people near in which you are able to more effectively minister to. You and the other volunteers will have built bonds through laughter, making for a stronger foundation for ministry.

Everyone could use a little laughter. So laugh a little, shine a little light on not such a light situation and be free. Your body, your relationships and your ministry will thank you for it!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, ministry life, youth pastor life, life in student ministry, ashley fordinal, guest posts, LAUGHTER

HSM Summer Camp Highlight Video: Day 4

Posted by Josh Griffin

Another of our camp highlight videos from this past week. So. Much. Fun!


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, saddleback, saddleback church, saddleback hsm, Summer Camp, videos, highlight video, camp

Guys Only: What Girls Need to Hear (Part 3)

Posted by Neely McQueen

"I get it." {Part 1}

"You belong." {Part 2}

Above are the first two things that every girl needs to hear from the male youth workers in their lives. But we're only half way there.

Everyone loves a good story. A good story inspires you by allowing you to see yourself in the hero(es). A lot of the stories now told to teenage girls are based in fantasy and include vampires/werewolves. Even worse are the real life stories of Disney stars gone wild. Both of these kinds of stories can seem pretty hopeless.


In our churches we need to tell better stories. When we share stories of other females who have gone before the girls in our ministry, we inspire, but more than that, we communicate the third truth that every girl needs to hear:

“You are not alone”

We've told the girls in our ministry they belong by giving them a voice and including them in the programming but that is about the present. What is in their future...or what impact can they have on others...are they alone in their pursuit of faith?

There are so many stories you can tell to point girls in the right direction- here are four places to look for better stories:

The women who have impacted your life

Tell a story of a female teacher or a youth worker who changed your life. Watch the girls' eyes light up as they hear you talk about a significant woman in your life who isn't your mother or wife. The thought that someone like them...could impact someone like you..is hugely inspiring.

The women of your church who inspire

In our church, we have a group of women who decided that they could do something about human trafficking. These women were single, married, young, old, from broken families and broken pasts. Not only did these women become role models to our girls, but they showed these girls a picture of what they could become no matter what their circumstances were.

Who are women in your church who are living a story that could inspire the each of the girls in your ministry? Tell their stories or invite them to come share their stories. (The girls will be inspired...and you just might recruit a new volunteer.)

The women in past in who have shaped the Church

Evangeline Booth, Aimee Simpleton McPherson, Mother Teresa or Florence Nightingale are just a few of the women who have impacted and shaped the Church. Women who gave their lives for the Gospel and for living out the Great Commission. When you tell their stories, the girls in your ministry will see that the Church is a PLACE for them and that they are not alone in their calling and their gifts.

The women of the Bible

The Bible is filled with stories of women...the good, the bad and the radical. Look at your calendar, how many weeks of the year did you spend talking about men from the Bible? Paul, David, Moses, Peter, Abraham...the list goes on and on. Obviously, all of these heroes are hugely important, and our students need to learn about their lives. But let's be careful not to overlook the heroines of the Bible. Otherwise our girls will be left wondering if they really have a place in the gospel story at all. Try bringing the story of Mary to life for your girls. A young teen girl who changed the world by obeying. Or the story of Rahab, a woman who didn't let her past keep her from following God. Or the story of Abigail, a woman known for her intelligence and ability to bring peace. This list goes on and on. Tell their stories and inspire your girls when they see themselves in the pages of Scriptures.

Each week we get to tell a better story. A story that allows for the girls in our ministries to see that they are not alone. That there are others like them both in the past and in the present who have said yes to God's story. These stories encourage and will move them to action.

Will you join me in sharing them?


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, youthmin, ymin, speaking, women of the Bible, girls, student ministry, guys only, alone, youth ministry

Summer Camp Music Video

Posted by Josh Griffin

Fun video shot here at camp just to celebrate this amazing week in our ministry. AC heads up pastoral care and loves students in all seasons of their high school journey. Be sure to check out his blog here, too!


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, yo ac blog, Summer Camp, makenna yeskin, videos, music video, rap video, aaron crumbey, AC

Why You Need Support

Posted by Justin Knowles

We're Better Together 8x10Being connected is important. I don’t care how well you think you are doing, one day you are going to crack and if you are not a part of a well-connected team or a part of a network of other pastors it can be a lonely, lonely place. I am lucky to be on a great team. We talk ministry, we have good days and we have bad days in ministry. But they are there for all kinds of support. Even if I was not on a team, I still have a bunch of other pastors, both my age and older, that I am connected to and make sure I get together with them on a regular basis. I can go to them and vent, celebrate, ask for prayer etc.

Even if you are not on a team, creating sort of your own “team” to surround yourself with is important. Here is why:

Bounce ideas off of: I know how I work. When I have an idea, it’s okay. For me, I love to have people in ministry who I can bounce ideas off of to make them great ideas. I am a big supporter of the idea that you can do something good, but with a solid team that “good” thing can become a great thing. And it is just fun to talk and dream big with people with the same passion.

Celebrate with: Try high-fiving yourself. It’s lame. It’s just clapping. When your team scores a touch down, you want to stand up and cheer and celebrate and be with people who want the same thing. In ministry, it is always nice when God moves, but there is something about surrounding yourself with people who can celebrate with you is huge.

People to pray and support you: Not everyday is going to be a celebration. You might have a rough day with people you work with. You might have a rough day with a student. You might have a rough day with your boss. It is important to have this “team” of people you can safely vent to, talk through the situation with, and have them lift you up in prayer. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself in ministry.

We are on the same team: I cannot believe sometimes how hard it is to get youth pastors together. I love just to talk ministry with, steal ideas from, get inspiration from, hopefully give a little inspiration as well. We are all on a team if you think about it. If you do not have the opportunity to work on a team of people, create your own. Create a network of other student pastors in your immediate area and get lunch once a month. Be encouraged. Pray for one another. Share ideas. Combine your heads. It’s huge and it’s a game changer.

Do not be an island. You were made to be on a team. We are better together.

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, Better Together, together, team, leader support, need support, student ministry, support, working team

The 10 TED Talks every youth leader should watch (1)

Posted by Rachel Blom

I love TED talks. They're often inspiring, challenging and it's a quick and easy way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas.

For youth leaders, TED talks are a brilliant resource. I've truly learned a lot by watching a few talks each month and in this post, I want to share my favorites with you. Here are the 10 TED talks that every youth leader should watch:

1. Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerability

This is the ultimate TED talk in my opinion. It's brilliant, it's funny, it's personal and it will completely change your perspective and paradigm. Literally life changing.

[ted id=1042]


2. Philip Zimbardo - The demise of guys

This is the TED talk that introduced me to the concept of arousal addiction. What an eye opener!

[ted id=1206]


3. Peter Benson - How youth thrive

This talk from a non-Christian who is passionate about teens is such an encouragement.

4. Rita Pierson - Every kid needs a champion

The title doesn't quite cover the content in this case, but listening to this passionate woman with 40 years experience in teaching kids is a delight. Here's my take away: "No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship." Ain't that the truth.

[ted id=1728]


5. Daphne Bavalier - Your brain on videogames

A refreshing and surprising take on the effect video games have on the brain. It contradicts other research I've read on this topic, which makes it even more fascinating. It's proof that there are always two, or even more sides to a story...

[ted id=1618]


Next time, we'll share 5 more TED talks every youth leader should watch. In the meantime, which one is your favorite and do you have any more talks you think are crucial for youth leaders to watch?

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, discipleship, relational ministry, personal skills, ENCOURAGEMENT, pastoral care

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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 Bradbury has been in youth ministry for 11 years. She's the youth director at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. Her writing has appeared in YouthWorker Journal, The Christian Century, and Immerse. She also blogs regularly at 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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