Selma Movie

Few Things We Are Trying With Parents

Posted by Justin Knowles

One of the biggest things we wanted to focus this year in our ministry was partnering with parents. We are trying something new this year that we never have really tried yet but I am very excited to see how it works. Over the past few months I have been putting together and formatting a curriculum our team wrote for all of our small groups and we wanted to try and figure out how we can get parents in on it. Now this is something that is being rolled out this month so we don't really know how it's going to do but I thought I would share some key things we are trying to connect parents with what is going on in our small groups this year.

Parent Gathering

  • Before we officially launch our small groups, we do a Meet N Greet (If you want more info on Meet N Greet click HERE). At this Meet n Greet we did a parent gathering where we can give our hearts behind small groups and how we want to partner with parents while their students are in small groups this year. The turn out was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. We shared our hearts, we shared our curriculum with them and we allowed any questions regarding small groups.

Parent Curriculum Newsletter

  • One of the key things we want to do as a ministry is keep the conversations that happen at small groups happening at home. We are going to be sending out a parent news letter once a month giving them a a short paragraph of what their student will be studying each week and 2-5 questions they as parents can ask their student during the week to hopefully stark some great conversation between parents and students in the home. Our goal with this is so our leaders are not the only ones talking about spiritual things with our students but hopefully parents will be as well.

Personable Touch

  • Josh gave his cell phone number to all the parents who attended the gathering. It's his goal to have a very small church, personal feel when it comes to parents and communication. Parents were blown away. We made the goal to make sure we will get back within 24 hours of any phone call or email a parent sends. Our team is up for this challenge but we want to make sure parents know that if there is something they need to talk to us about or a concern that they will be heard and not lost in the crowd. I feel this promise to them gave a ton of them great comfort and confidence in us to support us in what we are trying to provide for their students.

I know these do not seem that big, at least they didn't to me, but I felt the love from parents with some of these simple steps when it comes to partnering with them within small groups.

I know there are some great ideas when it comes to ministry and parents and I would love to hear some great ideas on how you partner with parents that you wouldn't mind sharing with us!

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, parents, newsletter, student ministry, CURRICULUM, parent ministry, youth ministry, partnering with parents, personal touch

The Week After Student Devotional Guide

Posted by Josh Griffin


I'm excited to show you a new tool our youth group started last month - it is a student devotional tool they can do on their own throughout the rest of the week. We want to get our students in the Word every day! The student devotional is set up with questions, Scripture and prompts to help deepen and process the message they heard at youth group. The format is still in progress but we're sticking to super simple, 2-3 minutes for each day, and simply photocopied. The example one here is for our For the Win series (see the series overview here) and is meant to inspire you to do something like it with your students, too!

Download it now: The Week After - For the Win - wk 1


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, devotional, 1-minute devotions, devotional tool, discipleship, for the win, the week after, series arc, talk sheet, student devotionals, series overview, helping students get into God's Word, take the message deeper, the other 6, devotions

Saddleback HSM Weekend in Review: Volume 227

Posted by Josh Griffin


Weekend Teaching Series: For the Win (series kickoff, week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Character is where all of your decisions flow from, and integrity is one of the most important foundations of it!
Service Length: 76 minutes

Understandable Message: This past weekend we kicked off a brand new series about biblical character qualities called For the Win. This week I took students on a journey through integrity, talking about why we don't choose integrity and why it is so important in our lives. Students responded well to the message and I had great conversations after each service. We also included a specific resource for students to pick up at the Grow Booth this week (Live Large, Be Different, Shine Bright by Doug Fields and I) as well as gave students a memory verse key tag to be reminded to have integrity, too.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This week we played You've Got to Be Kidding Me and had a fun couple of videos that helped promote some upcoming events. Fun, clean program!

Music Playlist: Eye of the Tiger (cover w/rap), We Are the Free, Here For You, Overcome, God I Look to You

Favorite Moment: Our whole church added a new service to Sunday afternoons (a 5th youth group service each weekend) this past month and it has had pretty low attendance from the inception. This week, instead of just repeating our program again, we just ordered a pizza a hung out and talked about the topic of the weekend. It was so relational, so fun and delicious. Total win.

Up next: For the Win (week 2 of 3, Kurt Johnston speaking)

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, saddleback, for the win, saddleback church, saddleback hsm, Kurt Johnston, eye of the tiger, high school ministry, Josh Griffin, Weekend in Review, sermon series ideas

For the Win Bumper Video: Integrity

Posted by Josh Griffin

Tried a new style of bumper video for our For the Win series - there will be a different narration/style and smoke bomb for each character trait in the arc of the series. I think it turned out really well!


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, integrity, character quality, character, for the win, character traits, videos, bumper videos, sermon bumper, sermon and series ideas

Busy in Ministry

Posted by Doug Fields

Have you ever noticed that in ministry-circles we’ll often treat busyness as a badge of honor? You run into a friend at a ministry conference who you haven’t seen in awhile and the exchange might sound something like this:

  • “Hey, how are you doing? Stayin’ busy?”
  • “Oh, I’m slammed! You?”
  • “Yep, totally in over my head!”
  • “Yeah, me too. Can’t believe the season we’re in right now. God is really blessing…”
  • “I hear you. Good times. Who needs sleep anyway, right? The enemy doesn’t sleep so why should we?”
  • “Glad to hear you’re doing well!”
  • “Yeah, you too. Congratulations!”

Doing well? Really? Is being busy truly good? Well, in the eyes of many, busyness is a sign that you’re doing something special. People need you. You’re important. You’ve arrived.

Wait, that’s a lie. Do you see it?

Busyness is not contained to the ministry-space either… it’s common and everywhere and destroying lives.

I have a good friend who has bought into this lie and his busyness translates into rarely being at home. I know him well enough to gently and lovingly confront him on this situation. He listened, but quickly became defensive. He said, “Doug, I’ve got to stay busy to pay the bills.”

Personally, I think he has a lot of unnecessary bills that are more tied to status and success than survival. He recently bought a brand-new Hummer. He said he purchased the expensive vehicle because it was “safe.” Sorry, but I’m a little skeptical. He has also chosen to live in a neighborhood that is far above his means, where he can show off his overpriced military artillery (albeit “safe”) vehicle.

I guess he was telling the truth when he said he was “staying busy to pay the bills.”

This type of living is killing people. It is destroying marriages, crippling families, shriveling hearts, and eating away at the ability to experience the fullness of life that Jesus offers.

How about your life? Do you wish you could pull back the throttle of your schedule? If so, could part of the solution be to confront the lies that are justifying your busyness? Are you making poor choices to make you feel successful in ministry?

As you continue on the journey to face those lies… start by finding some moments in your day when you can pull off the race track and stop, become quiet, and connect with Jesus? Cease activity, if only for a few moments, and consciously focus on walking with Jesus… not running ahead of him. Ask Him to help you in your choices.

I think when those of us who are leading ministries “get it” then we can begin to infuse “it” into our ministries and families

Give it some thought… unless you’re too busy.

On a similar journey that I continue to battle,

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, ministry life, burnout, youth pastor life, pace of ministry, keeping busy, headed for burnout, exhausted

YS Idea Lab: Greg Stier from Dare2Share

Posted by Josh Griffin

Had a great time at the National Youth Worker's Convention a couple weeks ago in San Diego (there's still time to join us in Nashville, too!). I was thankful to be a part of the incredible YS Idea Lab talking with many of the leading voices in youth ministry. Here's the first one that was just released today - an interview with Dare 2 Share's Greg Stier!


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, evangelism, NYWC, Greg Stier, dare to share, Youth Specialties, friendship evangelism, Dare2Share, YS, share your faith, Dare 2 Share, talk to someone about Jesus, youth worker convention, youth pastor conference

Who knows and supports your youth ministry vision?

Posted by Rachel Blom

Most of us know deep down how important it is to communicate our youth ministry vision. We’ve read it, we’ve heard it, we know it from experience.

Yet time and again mistakes happens and problems arise because we still forget. Just last week, I heard about a conflict between a youth pastor and the board of elders stemming from a failure to communicate the vision or the youth ministry.

So here’s a quick list of groups you need to make certain are on board with your youth ministry vision:
1. senior pastor
2. other pastors or ministry leaders
3. parents of students
4. board of elders, board of directors or any other board your church has
5. students themselves

Do a quick check: does each of these know and support your youth ministry vision? If not, you have some work to do…

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, youth ministry management, leadership, vision, youth ministry leadership

Real Ministry: 15 Minutes Before and After

Posted by Justin Knowles

After the services this last weekend I had a great time hanging out with some students. It's one of my favorite times of the weekend. It got me thinking...having a service to help students experience Jesus is only half the equation. As some would believe they would think the most important part of our weekend services would be the services because they are the main reason why students come. The most important part, the most crucial part of our weekend services are the 15 minutes before and after each of the services. This is where the real ministry happens.

Here is why I think they are so important:

  • 15 minutes before and after the service is prime hang out relational time. This is where all leaders should be out and about talking and meeting people left and right. This time is the time where students are there waiting for service to start or they are hanging out after the service just ended.
  • 15 minutes before service is a prime time to meet new students because they are just there. They are not going anywhere, only inside service. If you meet a new student, you can offer to sit with them and talk more.
  • 15 minutes after service everyone just hangs out and talks. You can mingle and talk about the service and what it meant to them.
  • 15 minutes after the service is where real conversation and prayer takes place. It is where a student it touched by something in the service and you are able to talk and pray with them.
  • 15 minutes before and after service is just a night hang out session. This is the time to joke and play and really get a chance to know how students are outside of church and it allows them to see who you are as well. Conversation is the first step to connection.

15 minutes before and after service is where the real ministry happens. Services expose students to Jesus, the relationships before and after services literally show Jesus' love to the students through conversation and relationship. To not jump on this time would be wasteful.

Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, real ministry, saddleback church, before or after, 15 minutes, student ministry, weekend program, youth ministry

Halloween Homecoming Scare Video

Posted by Josh Griffin

Fun video we made to promote the Halloween Homecoming event coming up in our high school ministry. Had a blast scaring these unsuspecting friends!


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, promo videos, videos, halloween dance, Halloween homecoming, promotional video

An Awesome Display of Character

Posted by Josh Griffin

We played this video this week in HSM as part opening message during our For the Win series and showed the character on display of the Nebraska football team in this amazing scene from their Spring game this past season. It has over 8M views, and with good reason, it is a beautiful display of compassion, love and character. If you're teaching on a similar subject soon or have a different angle on it, please take the idea because it landed really well with our high school students. Good, good stuff!

There's also a great follow-up to the story in the NY Daily News, too.


Topics: Youth Ministry Posts, integrity, jack, character, for the win, sermon illustrations, series videos, videos, brain cancer, nebraska football

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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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