Author Archive | Josh Griffin

Using Instagram to Promote Events


We don’t do a ton of announcements at youth group. We have a text list we really concentrate on, but there’s an unspoken limit how much you can send in a week directly to someone’s phone. We print a few pieces a year but not very much, honestly. Facebook still works, but barely the return it used to have. So how are we getting word out to our students and parents about events, activities and opportunities?

Right now, Instagram is our primary way of getting the word out about youth group meetings and events. We have and official Instagram account for our student ministry, but also work hard to provide graphics that people can post on their own. So we’re hoping that yes, people follow our Instagram account, but we’re also hoping that they’ll take the images and run with it themselves. For our recent You Own the Weekend series, it was fun seeing Instagram feeds literally flooded with invitations for students to come to our youth group.

Just an idea worth sharing and maybe worth stealing!


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Thank You Letter to You Own the Weekend Students

We just finished the incredible You Own the Weekend annual series in our High School Ministry – it was an awesome 6 weeks of students doing EVERYTHING in our ministry. Each high school was assigned a weekend, picked and theme and pulled it off with an adult mentor. No adults have been on stage for almost 2 months. Incredible!

Here’s a letter I’m sending to everyone involved with it today:

HSM students,

I couldn’t be more proud of you!

I just had to write and share the 3 awesome things I love about what you did the past few weeks during the You Own the Weekend series:

1) You invited your friends – I’ve met more brand new students that visited our ministry in the last few weeks than I have in the past year combined. That could only happen if you are inviting your friends – and you sure did! Not only that, I know several students that accepted Christ this past month and you had a HUGE part in that. So many faith stories start with You Own the Weekend. So proud of you! Incredible.

2) You served the church – it was incredible seeing your creativity and energy. From great object lessons to inflatable cougars, greeters, awesome messages, fun openers, skits and great music, you used your talents to serve God and do His work. My prayer is that this is just the beginning — that you’ve got a taste of what it would be like to own every weekend. What a great model for other students to see in action! Thanks for loving our youth group and loving our church. So proud of the way you served!

3) You started a movement in your schools – don’t let You Own the Weekend end with this series! Start a movement on your school campus, create a culture where students are invited to church and are greeted warmly and openly when they arrive. Live out your faith this week wherever you go.

Love you guys SO much – have a great week!

Just noticed the resource we created to help others pull off a You Own the Weekend series is this week’s $1 Download. Grab the You Own the Weekend resource right now and do one of your own, too!


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Saddleback HSM Weekend in Review: Volume 244


Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend (Santa Margarita High School)
Sermon in a Sentence: Adam and Eve committed treason against God, so do we, but Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice on the tree on Calvary. Treeson.
Service Length: 71 minutes

Understandable Message: It was exciting to add a new school to You Own the Weekend series this year! we had enough students pull together from Santa Margarita to run the services and they did a fantastic job! The message was taught in 2 parts: Emerica talked about the story of Adam and Eve and introduced the theme of treason. Then Jonathan (pictured above) shared his story about his sins and treason against God and how he led other people astray at his high school. It was an incredible weekend, VERY powerful message and clear presentation of the Gospel to a crowd that included many new, non-churched students. So good!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The opener was fun, the atmosphere and stage decorations were great and despite having less students than some of the other schools there was a great energy to the room. Students were great greeters and everyone wore matching “Treeson” shirts they raised the funds for and had printed. The game Egg Roulette was a hit, and we definitely discovered a few more students who are good on stage!

Music Playlist: Let It Go [Demi Lovato cover], We Are the Free, Hosanna, Oceans, Scandal of Grace

Favorite Moment: I love You Own the Weekend. For sure my favorite series of the year! I haven’t been on stage in 6 weeks, and our youth ministry didn’t miss a beat. In fact, it improved! Ha!

Up next: Easter Sunday (Worship Together Weekend)

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Free Student Leadership eBook from SLU


I’ve had the privilege of speaking at a couple of Youth Pastor Summit training events this Spring and love what the folks at Student Leadership University are doing. They contacted us this week about a terrific book for student leaders – wanted to make sure we passed it along to you right away. Grab it for free right here in the DYM store!

Inside you’ll find insight from leaders and experts in ministry and business:

  • Pat Williams, Co-founder and Senior Vice President, Orlando Magic
  • Dr. Danny Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Brad Lomenick, President, Catalyst
  • Mark Miller, Vice President of Development, Chick-fil-A


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GIVEAWAY: The All-New GroupGames App for iOS


If you’re a you’re a youth group leader then chances are you’ve got a few great games in your back pocket you can pull out at a moment’s notice. Well, what if you could literally pull a few more great games out of your back pocket! There’s an app for that and it’s called Group Games.

Group Games is a database of over 120 fun, tried and tested youth group games for iPhone and iPad and it’s recently received a major update! Watch the video below for details.

I love the idea that in a pinch you can grab a great idea, or when you’re all out of ideas you can find 120 there waiting for you. Calum, the youth worker behind the App, has generously given me 10 free download codes for the App (normally $1.99). All you have to do to claim a download code is be one of the first 10 people to comment on this post!

Jump in the App Store to get it or check out the GroupGames homepage, too!


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If You Are Doing Youth Ministry Alone

I Tweeted this the other day after a great discussion with another youth worker about the biggest learnings I had in my first few years of youth ministry. I’m not sure I would have articulated it this way back then, but feel this strongly and clearly about it today!

If you are doing youth ministry alone … you are bottlenecking your ministry.
If you are doing youth ministry alone … you will burnout.
If you are doing youth ministry alone … you are building a personality-driven ministry.
If you are doing youth ministry alone … you are missing developing other leaders.
If you are doing youth ministry alone … your ministry will collapse when you leave.
If you are doing youth ministry alone … you are doing youth ministry wrong.

Build your team this week!


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DYM Tax Week! Refunds Every Hour


Download Youth Ministry is giving away a ton of refunds this week – 1 every hour to be exact! Check out DYM’s Tax Week Refund Sale right here! This is going to be fun stock up and you just might get all of your cash right back! Orders are selected at random (using Ultrapicker, actually), so good luck!


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POLL: Taking the Summer Off

We were talking about crazy ideas a week ago as a team and someone came up with the idea that we take the whole summer off – and come back with a big launch in the fall. I have heard of youth ministries doing this in the past, and wondered what percentage actually do that. I’m not talking about changing it up a bit in the summer, I’m talking about largely taking most of the summer off. Vote now!


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Youth Group Idea: Sponsor the Local Sports Calendars


Money is always tight and precious youth group funds from car washes and bake sales need to be spent wisely. An idea we are experimenting with this season is sponsoring the local high school school sports calendars. Maybe contact your local high school and see if there’s a last minute spot or one they still need to fill you can get on the cheap! Simple way to get your ministry in front of students in the community.


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GUEST POST: Bossy Circumstances

Who knows that circumstances far too often try to boss you around and tell you how good or bad your day is going to go? Chances are, you know! Do you remember the dirt road my GPS took me down a few weeks back? Well! My GPS did it AGAIN! But this time instead of tensing up, I was praising Jesus the whole way down it. I had my worship music up, speaking out the promises of God and how good He is when, about a mile down the road, my car stopped in a pile of mud. All of a sudden, I had a choice here. I had a choice to cry out, “God, why me?!” Or a choice to continue speaking of His goodness.

I wholeheartedly chose to speak out His goodness, and allow His words to saturate the air. Shortly after, I called roadside assistance and told them I was on an abandoned dirt road, stuck in the mud, and an hour and a half after continually putting me on hold to answer another call and trying to locate me, she tells me my insurance only covers $120 of the tow and that it would cost more than that. Long story short, she did not send anyone out and my phone was about to die.

Still, here I was, speaking words of praise. Because God is bigger than any circumstance, He is in ultimate control. And that’s exactly what I confessed, even though this lady would not help me, I knew my God would. After being out there for 3 hours and no cars driving by, here comes a truck driving by! And you know what, he JUST picked up a tow rope from his house because his work van got stuck in the mud on another road nearby!

As easy as it would have been to MAKE a big deal out of this circumstance, it really WASN’T a big deal. It was only a minor setback, which turned into a crutch for the glory of God, that I had the privilege of experiencing. I call this a privilege because I was able to experience God’s mighty hand at work in other people’s lives, including my own, as I use this as a testimony of His sovereignty and goodness. Therefore, rest assured, God’s plan prevails. He is above ALL and will work all things together for the good.

This week, I challenge you to show your circumstances Who the boss really is! Our great God!

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

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Download Youth Ministry WebShow #242

Another week, another episode of the Download Youth Ministry Show! This week we’re all back together talking shop! We talk about youth ministry for 45 minutes every week or two, your questions answered every time! Join Doug Fields, Katie Edwards, Josh Griffin and Matt McGill around our roundtable.

Just enough youth ministry so you don’t feel guilty for listening.

As always, thanks to our amazing sponsors who help with incredible giveaways:

Send in your questions to webshow@downloadyouthministry.com to be answered on a future show, too!

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Webshow Sponsor: Check out YM360′s FREE Easter Vault

Free Easter Bible Study Lessons, Student Devotions, and more!
Our friends and faithful DYM Webshow sponsor youthministry360 have just launched this year’s Easter Vault which includes an incredible selection of FREE Bible study lessons, devotions for your students, and more. To grab these FREE resources, head on over to YM360. And if for any reason you need help or have questions, their team is great about helping out, just let them know!

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YS IDEA LAB: Tim Eldred on Student Ownership

Another great YS Idea Lab video from the National Youth Workers Convention this past fall – this time Neely McQueen talks with Tim Eldred about helping students truly own your youth ministry. Good stuff to challenge you here!


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3 Things Good Youth Workers Do

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Philippians 2

Was reflecting on this passage of Scripture last week, shared some of it with my team and thought I would share some thoughts here on the blog as well. Hope it is helpful and encouraging to you today!

A good youth worker is part of a team
This passage stresses the importance of unity. A youth ministry team must have one-mind, one vision and one goal. These individual parts alone can do only a little, collectively their force is magnified exponentially. Get on board with your church’s vision, and make sure your team loves each other and are all headed in the same direction.

A good youth worker is unselfish
Youth ministry is about others. It is about helping those in need. It is about everyone else, then you. In the passage it refers to people who are out for their own gain, or who are in the trenches for the recognition and spotlight. Check your heart today to see if you are looking out for yourself, or constantly shifting the focus to yourself.

A good youth worker is a servant
Always pick up the trash in the church parking lot. Never be above everything. Clean out the rain gutters. Shatter the stereotype of entitled youth workers. Change the perception of youth ministry in your church culture. Give, give, give.

May this describe us this week!


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Saddleback HSM Weekend in Review: Volume 243


Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend (Tesoro High School)
Sermon in a Sentence: God loves you … now.
Service Length: 64 minutes

Understandable Message: We haven’t had an adult on stage in 5 weeks. We’re in the thick of our annual You Own the Weekend series and this baby is running strong. Tons of new students. Tons of students involved. Tons of fun. Not that it hasn’t been work, just that the works is all behind the scenes and the stage time is all students. This weekend students from our local Tesoro High School took on the challenge of running a weekend from start to finish and did a great job communicating God’s love for everyone with a powerful message, a great video, fun and an awesome testimony. They were totally dialed in – their message was on point and loud and clear!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: The opener was hilarious – a fun over the top version of the Hannah Montana classic Nobody’s Perfect. They did a great job of tying that into the message as well. Lots of warm greeters, amazing decorations and solid videos.

Music Playlist: Nobody’s Perfect [cover], Alive, Divine and Holy, Majesty, Grace

Favorite Moment: I loved Sheridan’s testimony video. Her mom came with her to a Worship Together Weekend recently and trusted in Jesus! She was baptized just a few weeks ago in a jacuzzi right before a major cancer operation, what an amazing story of God’s faithfulness and love. Amen.

Up next: You Own the Weekend (Santa Margarita High School, week 6 of 6 = series finale)

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