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10 Nov 2022

Student Serve Teams

By |2022-11-10T08:46:58-08:00November 10th, 2022|Leadership, student leadership, Uncategorized|8 Comments

One of my biggest challenges in youth ministry has always been getting students involved in serving in ministry. Logically I see the value, but practically I always struggle finding time to train students. I also convince myself that I can do things better than students, so having them serve will mean a diminished program. However, we all know our Ephesians 4:12 job description to “equip the [students] for the work of the ministry.” What I needed was a system—some sort of process to get students equipped and then empowered to serve.

The solution in this season of ministry has been hosting a Serve Night Training. To get to that event, I needed:

  • Various Serve Teams for students to be on
  • Multiple volunteer adult leaders to coach them
  • A training event

Serve Teams: For the sake of getting started, my team decided to focus our Serve Teams (you can call them ministries, volunteer teams, or whatever fits your church lingo) on our Youth Ministry main program. Sure there are roles outside of our main program, and students can get involved in the various teams with the main church but we wanted a starting ramp for getting new students to serve. We landed on 4 teams students could consider.

  • Praise Team
  • Welcome Team
  • Prayer Team
  • Crew Team (setup and teardown)

Volunteer Adults: Next each adult on my volunteer staff took ownership of one of the teams. Every team has multiple adults assigned to it, so everyone has a role. The adults chose teams they had knowledge and ability in, so I didn’t need to train them.

Serve Night Training: This was the key to the success we have seen! In the late summer, before our main program kicked off again for the school year, we hosted a night for anyone interested in joining the Serve Teams. After a short teaching on ministry from me, we split students into 4 groups. Each of my adult leaders were stationed in various parts of the church building, ready to lead a small group through their ministry. Students went on a rotation through each ministry location. At each spot, the adult would give a 10 minute explanation for their ministry, and even a demonstration. For instance, the Crew Team actually setup our 9 Square and tables and chairs, then the next rotation they took down the 9 Square and put the chairs away. Every student got to experience each of the 4 ministry areas, and at the end of the night we brought everyone back together. The challenge for every student was to sign up for a Serve Team based on what they experienced that evening. We had 100% of students sign up to be part of at least one team!

Getting students serving has been such a blessing to me as the youth pastor. It has also given my adult leaders some extra buy-in to what we are doing. But the best part is seeing students become equipped, empowered, and growing in passion for serving Jesus!

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Get the whole room moving and gobbling as they root for their favorite turkey! Simply have students guess which turkey will win the race and let the video run. You can have the winners move on to the next round or keep everyone playing and just keep score. Use the four corners of your room to select the turkey colors, or simply have students hold up their fingers for the turkey of their choice.

20 Apr 2021

One Main Reason Why We Doubled Last Year

By |2021-05-17T16:41:34-07:00April 20th, 2021|Leadership, Podcast, student leadership, Youth Ministry Hacks|68 Comments

This is not a quick fix thing or something you do tomorrow and everything will change type thing. This is something we started in the fall fo 2019 and has taken a year to catch and we have seen it take off. It’s something we probably get asked about more than anything else.

And we saw our ministry doubled because of it. At least, this was what I think was one of the main reasons why.

If you talk with most students about the idea of what evangelism is, most students find it overwhelming. How do we go out and tell all of our friends about Jesus who don’t know who He is? Most students think they need to be bold and stand in the middle of their quad at school and start preaching the gospel in the middle of lunch. Or they think they need to be able to speak from stage. Or they believe they need to stand on a corner and do some street evangelism. Sounds overwhelming. 

When it comes to this simple idea of “who is your one”? It breaks down this really big concept of evangelism for students into something way more doable and way more realistic in their minds… and let’s be honest, way more effective. 

I would say, if I had to pick one thing to see the growth our ministry has seen over the last two years, the idea of “who is your one?” Has been one of the biggest keys. 

What is it? 

“Who is your one” is this idea that each student who believes in Jesus is really intentional about, caring for, reaching out to a friend they already have who they know does not believe in Jesus.

This is not original all to me, it’s Biblical and I even really started to grasp and implement it at my last church, but we have seen it take off at Sandals Church Youth.

Even if you think about your own friend group, you know someone you already have a relationship with and they don’t know Jesus. The idea is that you would spend time with them, be there for them, let them know you are praying for them, invite them to church, talk to them about faith or lack of faith and just be a good friend to them. 

All in hopes they would know you and your faith and because of your relationship with them they see your relationship with Jesus and want it as well. 

If you look at Jesus, there were many times he called out people and wanted to spend time with them one on one, inviting himself over to their house for food and just to be around people who were “not like him”. It’s a much more relational approach to evangelism that I believe students can get behind and function from. 

This is way more doable when we can get students to understand that the best evangelism is done knee to knee and eye to eye in relationship. A student who has a friend they already know and are friends with with the intentionality of inviting them to a 1st Wednesday or a real community of a small group is a great combo and strategy to show who Jesus is about. 

We have seen when students grasp this concept and have just one person they focus on loving and caring for and praying for all year in hopes they know Jesus and get involved in church, it’s been so effective. 

How did we make this a thing in our ministry?

We did a few things to make this a big deal and I will let you know up front… it takes some time and it takes repetition. 

  1. We did a whole vision series at the beginning of the school year (you can go to move.sc/youth to SCY and We Are SCY to go back and watch) which set up these big concepts of why we want to focus on them this year and challenge our students what to do in regards to 1st Wednesdays and Who Is Your One?
  2. At the end of that series we made little business cards with “My one is __________” on them so they filled it out and they got to keep it so they can see it every day and they gave another one to the small group leader for accountability. 
  3. We had training about those very things at the beginning of our school with our leaders to help them understand how they can help their students in their small groups. 
  4. We added an update of “How are you doing with your one?” In the curriculum that all small groups go through at least every other week for the first year. 
  5. We told and shared stories from all our campuses of someone’s “one” coming to church and getting involved in small groups and starting a relationship with Jesus. Stories are powerful and we should have back pocket stories ready to share at any moment. 
  6. Celebrate students and leaders who take this on and do it well. Celebrate them personally but also publicly. Everyone wants to be celebrated and what gets celebrated gets repeated. 
  7. At some point during every service, “Who is your one?” Needs to make an appearance. How you set culture is that everyone needs to hear it all the time and needs to be reinforced over and over for people to gab onto it and make it a part of the culture of your ministry. 

I really do believe taking this concept and giving students a chance to really own it has changed the way we approach this idea of reaching students who don’t know Jesus. Because let’s face it, students are better at reaching other students. They are better at reaching their own friends then we are. But we can do our best to set them up well to do so and help them feel a burden for their un-churched friends in hopes they have a passion to reach them in the name of Jesus. 

The cool thing about “who is your one” is that in reality, you don’t need a building, you don’t need a huge event, you don’t need to be cool or anything like that. You have a friend who is being intentional and has a burden and you provide a safe atmosphere where students feel comfortable to invite friends because they know it’s going to worth it if they show up. Community and relationship is powerful and we have the opportunity to show them the best relationship of all with Jesus. 


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10 Jan 2020

The Wave Starts in the Student Section

By |2020-01-09T21:08:37-08:00January 10th, 2020|Mariners Youth Ministry, student leadership, Youth Ministry Hacks, Youth Pastor Life|2 Comments

  • Is your church old?
  • Is your church dead?
  • Is your church stuck?
  • Does your church lack energy?
  • Is your church inward focused?
  • Does your church not care anymore?
  • Do the same people always attend your services?
  • Does your church lack compassion?
  • Do you need momentum?
  • Do you need help motivating others out of their seats?

The wave starts in the student section.


3 Dec 2018

3 Questions Humble Leaders Ask

By |2018-12-01T22:37:48-08:00December 3rd, 2018|Leadership, student leadership, Uncategorized, Youth Ministry Hacks, Youth Pastor Life|5 Comments

Ever walked out of a meeting or interaction with someone and you have the look of the “stank face”? You know that look. It’s that look of you just smelt something foul or just tasted something nasty. I’m sure we have all been around people who have the non-humble stench. It’s very noticeable. Same is true when you get to experience the opposite. When you get to experience someone who is humble and genuinely interested in what you are doing and cares about how they can help you… it’s refreshing.

My executive pastor is the latter. Every time you walk out of a meeting with him, you believe he cares and you feel that way because he does. How do I know? Because he asks the same questions everytime we meet. It’s something I have been learning great, humble leaders ask.

The definition he wrote out for a humble leader for our staff is:

“I will be fully engaged with all who come across my path, not thinking more highly of myself than I ought to. I will be open to constructive feedback, listen fully and seek out better ideas. I will ask how can I help? How can I hope? How can I honor?”

The 3 questions:

How can I help?

How can I hope?

How can I honor?

If we all begin to ask these questions in every meeting we have with staff, volunteers, students, we can make sure no one walks away with a “stank face” from meeting with us and have us work on being a more humble leader.



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