I’m away at high school camp this week – here’s the highlight video from Day 1. Off to a strong start … already exhausted from the first 24 hours!
I’m away at high school camp this week – here’s the highlight video from Day 1. Off to a strong start … already exhausted from the first 24 hours!
Weekend Teaching Series: Move Up Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: What I wish I knew when I was in high school.
Service Length: 85 minutes
Understandable Message: This past weekend was Move Up Weekend where everyone moved up a grade. It meant our seniors were gone and the freshman came in for the first time! We went all out this weekend with program, fun, giveaways and message. The message was divided into 6 parts – 6 3-minute testimonies where each person talked about a specific learning they had as an adult that would have really benefitted them as a high school student. Each speaker also had their freshman picture up on the screen, which was absolutely hilarious, too!
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We started with a live dance rendition of One Direction’s Live While Were Young complete with choreographed moves, sparklers and confetti explosions. It was hilarious and set the tone for fun right away. We also played a new classic game in our youth group called Awesome or Awful 3 (you can get either of the 1st 2 editions here on DYM). The game was so over the top but so fun. Students groaned and gagged their way through the challenges – we don’t do messy/gross games very often but it was really fun. Big prizes a couple times a year always helps, too.
Music Playlist: Sing and Shout, Oceans, You Hold Me, Wake
Favorite Moment: This weekend was a crazy one with so many moving parts – but my favorite moment was a quick 10-minute Freshman After Party right after service. Some root beer floats, fun music and lots of our team around gave the freshman a big, warm welcome. Love these new students in our ministry, the start of our 4 years together starts now!
Up next: Worship Together Weekend (July 4th weekend)
Our staff all shared their testimonies about high school in services this weekend – one of our guys couldn’t be there so we recorded some of it on video. Here’s Justin Knowles talking about what he wished he knew in High School from Saddleback’s HSM this weekend.
Here’s a fun video we played this weekend during our Move Up Weekend where all of our classes moved up a grade and freshman came into our high school ministry for the first time. Fun idea, our students got a good laugh out of it for sure, and hopefully a better understanding of some of the personalities that make up some of our leaders. Fun!
I liked this video from our College Ministry here at Saddleback – a unique sermon intro video for their Nameless series that weaved in a real story from their group. Good stuff!
We just finished writing a note to our Life Group leaders to give them a little thank you the day after our Life Groups year ended. Here’s a copy of it you can copy/paste/adapt for your ministry, too!
HSM Life Group Leaders!
YOU ARE LEGENDARY!
It is hard to believe that another school year is wrapping up and another season of Life Groups is in the books. I know from talking to you this year that it was incredible, challenging and life-changing to both you and your students. You are instrumental part of the discipling of our students, and we are so thankful you followed God’s call to lead students to a stronger relationship with Christ this year.
If you led a freshman group: Thank you! Your gift of patience and grace was largely unseen and un-thanked but has eternal significance. You lived in crazytown and we love you for it.
If you led a sophomore group: Thank you for your sacrifice, your time, your hard work and your willingness to hang out with crazy high school students during the week. What a pivotal year for them in their adolescent and spiritual development.
If you led a junior group this year: We just wanted to take time to say, “Thank you.” It really has been an incredible year – and this one is SO important to students as they make their faith their own, and be grounded in the Word as they navigate big life decisions.
If you led a senior group this year: WAY TO GO! You made it! We celebrate with you today – this is a huge milestone and for many of you a tearful, joyful end to 4 years of serving students. The Instagram pictures and stories have been absolutely incredible.
We’ve got a full summer planned and are excited about what God is going to until we kick off Life Groups in the fall. Feel free to join us at HSM Summer Camp and more over the next couple of months. Your presence always makes it better. So again, you are appreciated and we are so thankful for your heart to love God and love students!
Weekend Teaching Series: Excuse Me (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: We don’t make an impact for God’s Kingdom because of excuses.
Service Length: 66 minutes
Understandable Message: This weekend we had our college pastor, Mike Brook teach our high school students. The timing of it was fantastic as our seniors make the jump up to our college ministry for the summer and we have a College Ministry (CM) Preview Night this Thursday. Total win – he did a great job walking students through many common excuses that prevent us from
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We introduced the summer interns this weekend – and played a fun game, “Are You Smarter Than an Intern?” which got some good laughs and was pretty clever spin on a normal trivia game. There were a decent number of faithful students serving in areas of ministry, creating a fun, welcoming environment, too!
Music Playlist: We Shine, God Above All, Wake
Favorite Moment: This weekend we were short one camera person and the students in charge of that ministry jokingly asked me to step in since I wasn’t teaching this weekend. Well … of course! It was so fun, and great bonding with the students who serve every week. The time went SO fast, it seemed like the hour passed in an instant, and I was tense the whole time hoping not to screw up. So fun!
Up next: Worship Together Weekend (Father’s Day Weekend)
Regular coaching and mentoring
All interns should be assigned to both a supervisor who oversees their work and a leader who oversees their experience. For the work they are accountable to accomplish, interns need the management and teaching of a supervisor. This is the person they go to with questions about their projects and draw support from to finish their tasks. To ensure an excellent experience, an intern also needs a leader to help unpack all their lessons and struggles over the course of the internship. This allows a forum for questioning, asking “why is it done this way?”, and talking through failures, possible improvements, and successes.
In Action: At Saddleback, interns receive coaching from their supervisors and mentoring from the Intern Coordinator. It is often informal, but there are also times set aside for one-on-one interaction and discussion. It is healthy for the intern and healthy for the staff.
New and modified goals
One of the most fruitful opportunities for an organization is helping interns dream, pursue goals, and take the next step in the journey of their lives. Saddleback interns meet with the Intern Coordinator during the first week of the internship to discuss their expectations, personal and professional goals, and prayer requests. Throughout the course of the internship, both the supervisor and the Intern Coordinator come back to these expectations and goals to equip and encourage the interns to make them a reality.
In Action: When one Social Media intern came to Saddleback, he doubted his call to youth ministry. He expressed his desire to discern if youth ministry was what he would pursue for the rest of his life. The Intern Coordinator contacted the Junior High Pastor, someone the intern deeply admired, and set up a meeting between the two of them. That intern is well on his way to getting his answer to that question!
Interns understand when they are given something that matters. They understand even more when they aren’t. If you allow them to tackle significant work, they will usually rise to the occasion and exceed staff expectations. If they can recognize the importance of the assignment, and they see it having positive effects on the church even after their internship, interns will undoubtedly step up to the plate. They are waiting for someone to believe in them enough to give them something that matters. Equip them to succeed, give them a deadline, and they will deliver.
In Action: Last summer, Matthew, a Leadership Intern, expressed interest in our campus tours ministry. This ministry was long forgotten and almost ignored because no one on staff took ownership of it. Matthew took the tour material, condensed and improved the tour experience, recruited a team of volunteers to give the tours, and handed the simple management of the ministry off to a staff member. This will outlast his internship! Even though he’s no longer an intern, the tour ministry continues on.
Here’s some more really great stuff from our church on intern ministry – I first posted about some of the backstory a week ago right here - here’s the first section of the acrostic I.N.T.E.R.N.S. – I’ll post the rest tomorrow:
All interns at Saddleback Church are engaged in a planned and intentional training program. This training gives interns an understanding of the church, its principles, philosophy, organizational structure, and mission. This also gives the staff opportunities to meet and develop relationships with the interns. The group of interns spends a day a month with a selected member of the staff, who shares his or her area of expertise, everything from personal life testimonies, job experience, lessons in maturity and growth, prayer and Bible reading practices, and more. One byproduct of an intern program is future staff members who once were interns and understood the organization enough to come back for more!
In Action: Interns receive extensive training in Saddleback culture every month from 9am-3pm. Interns are trained in PEACE, the 5 Purposes, SHAPE, the history of the church, life mission, worship, and even international Purpose Driven training. Group discussion from The Purpose Driven Church and leadership audio sermons prepares interns to understand the church, how it functions, and why it exists. Building and training interns results in them giving back to the church and kingdom in a meaningful way.
Network with other interns
Being a young, fresh intern among experienced professionals can be tough. The experience becomes much easier to process when interns are given a network within each other to journey through the internship process together. A monthly time with other interns facilitates growth and creates an environment of fun. These meetings are consistent, and the last one is a celebration of what the interns have achieved during their season at the church.
In Action: Every month, there is some gathering of interns to discuss, relate, have fun, or grow. Whether they go to lunch after their meetings or a member of staff takes them for frozen yogurt during the afternoon, it is a refreshing time for them.
Sometimes the best way for interns to learn is for them to see how it is done. That could mean an intern sits and watches an employee do his job. If you run out of projects for the intern, teach him how to do your job! This is not wasting staff time; it would actually help the staff to define and refine the job they do. Interns need to see excellence at work. Show them health. Interns will assume however you do something is how it’s supposed to be done. You set the example of the interns’ first experience in ministry, and that will determine how they view and do ministry for a lifetime.
In Action: One day, a film intern watched a member of the film team do the final edit of a video. The staff member pointed out key actions as the intern sat and watched. The intern commented she learned more in that 90 minutes than a whole day of work on her own.
You are directly responsible for the learning experience you craft for your interns. The greatest lesson he or she will take away will be learning how to work efficiently on a project in the context of a team and an organization. This is not a homework assignment they can get done in an hour and a half. Allow them to learn through the tasks you give. When interns are given responsibility, results happen! It is a risk to give away responsibility, but more often than not, the return is well worth the risk. When interns are trusted like staff but treated like volunteers, they will rarely disappoint. It’s okay to give interns a new idea and say, “Try this!” The experience the intern will have as he struggles through bringing the idea to life will be foundational. And if it fails, no staff time was wasted. Your team of interns can become the R&D arena for everything you’ve wanted to try but never had the time or people to accomplish it.
In Action: Saddleback’s marketing video for the intern program was given to an intern as a project early in his internship. He was responsible for shooting, editing, and finalizing the entire video. He struggled through it, but when he left the church, he could say he did an entire video project from start to finish.
A classic idea revisited! We had some fun years ago at a conference where I shot my buddy Jake with a paintball gun for our announcements. This week, we promoted our upcoming summer camp doing the same. So fun!
Weekend Teaching Series: Think Different (week 4 of 4)
Sermon in a Sentence: An experiential week about thinking different
Service Length: 76 minutes
Understandable Message: This weekend we pulled together the Think Different series in a unique, experiential service. Instead of another message, we walked students through some challenges relating to the last 3 weeks of teaching.
- Write a postcard for someone who needs care/love
- Take communion together as a body of believers
- Journal some questions about God/Jesus
- Write down something you need forgiveness
We also had 2 really incredible student testimonies that fit really well to support the series, too. So proud of our students that shared this weekend in front of their peers.
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We had a couple of fun videos and great energy despite 3 proms this weekend! Students did a great job serving all over the place and Shake It ministry (our greeting team) really stepped up to help with communion, etc. Good stuff!
Music Playlist: Wake, Forever Reign, Oceans, Jesus Lead On
Favorite Moment: This weekend was fun because I got to go to our junior high program with my son! Yes, I now have a student in our ministry. So crazy! I couldn’t be happier about him headed into Wildside, the team there is incredible. It was such a fun preview service – looking forward to the official promotion weekend in just 3 weeks.
Up next: Preparing for College (1-0ff, Mike Brook our college pastor)
We’re just about to close out our small group year – Life Groups end for the summer in our youth ministry and we take time to evaluate and make sure we hit the target over the past school year.
When we kickoff the year, we want students to expect these 4 things from a small group:
1. Community::: Eight to ten fellow believers of the same gender who encourage, challenge, and pray for one another.
2. Bible Study::: At small groups, studies go more in-depth than the messages at weekend worship services, giving your son or daughter a wider understanding of God’s word.
3. A Spiritual Mentor::: A loving adult leader from our ministry who, in addition to leading Bible study and discussion, will mentor your son or daughter and promote spiritual growth.
4. Fellowship::: It’s easy for students to feel lost in the crowd during weekend services. Small groups slice the weekend attendance and provide a more intimate environment for students, paving the way for deep friendships.
So how did we do? We’re going to take some time talking to students and leaders here at the end of the year and find out, then make necessary adjustments to do even better next year!
Fun and quick little auditions/tryouts promo video from Taffy and the Cluster of Students. Big news this week in the Griffin house: 1) I now I have a student in our ministry, and 2) he made the band!! Best. Week. Ever.
Here’s week 3 of the Think Different bumper videos – the series took on the topic of The Gospel. A really great weekend even though we were way down because of the holiday, proms and serve trip Impact OC!
Weekend Teaching Series: Think Different (week 3 of 4)
Sermon in a Sentence: The Gospel as it should be
Service Length: 75 minutes
Understandable Message: This weekend I moved from people (week 1) to the church (week 2) to The Gospel (week 3). It was a challenging talk this weekend – sounds so simple to help students understand the Gospel but I really struggled with writing this one. In the end, I thought it ended up in a really good place and included a very clear plan of salvation. To keep it interesting we sprinkled in several poll topics (students used their cell phones to vote on poll everywhere.com) and a couple of discussion times right during the talk, too. Was really fun!
Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We played Is It Really in the BIble Volume 3 and it crushed! We also had a couple fun videos and students greeting, handing out bulletins and more.
Music Playlist: We Shine, We Are the Free, Divine and Holy, Scandal of Grace
Favorite Moment: This weekend I loved the conversation times during the service. We don’t typically have too many of those in our service, it was a fun change of pace and made for some great interaction and dialogue.
Up next: Think Different (series finale, week 4 of 4)