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Tag Archives | serving

The Wrong Way to Approach the Poor

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With summer right around the corner, many of us are preparing our ministries for local and international missions. A big component many of those trips include is caring for the poor, something that can be tricky to do correctly. Our heart is totally there, but our methods can sometimes be a little misguided. Chase Miller wrote and incredible article on Relevant about it called, “The Wrong Way to Approach the Poor.” Here is one of my favorite parts:

Don’t Let Pity Be Your Motivation

Believe you me, the last thing that poor people need is your pity. Your friendship? Absolutely. Your prayers? Without a doubt. The problem is, when we approach someone with pity and then stay at that level, there is never any mutuality to the relationship. They remain a specimen, a project, if you will.

Look at Christ’s example of the Good Samaritan—his first response for the downtrodden man splayed across the roadway was indeed pity. That’s probably why he stopped in the first place. Yet the next phase of their interaction was far beyond pity. It was intimacy.

The Samaritan cleaned and bandaged his wounds, gave of his time and talents, and invested himself in the wellbeing of his newfound friend. Pity by itself allows us to keep people at arm’s length, never developing the reciprocity and meaningful exchange that characterize a real relationship.

I love that he discusses the fine line between compassion and pity. The change in our heart may be subtle at first, but once we switch to pity, our ministry is impacted greatly. If your ministry is doing any missions this year, make sure you read this article and consider adding some of this to your training… especially if your students don’t interact with the poor that often.

Are there any other tips that you would add to the list of “How to not approach the poor”?

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5 Thoughts On Leading Students On A Mission Trip

This past weekend our student ministries went on our local missions trip in some nearby cities. We had a ton of jr. high and high school students give up their Memorial Day weekend (even some students give up going to their prom to serve), pretty incredible. It was such a great weekend. 3 days of different serve projects, night-time sessions and growing together. It is one of my favorite trips we do all year-long. When I got home I was thinking about trip and had some thoughts on leading a mission trip with students.

Have open hands - If you have ever run a missions trip before, you know there is a ton of planning and hard work that go into the details before the trip even begins. When we get out to do those things, not everything goes as pretty as it looked on paper. Don’t grasp on to your plan with closed fists, have open hands. Be flexible. Something might happen to switch it up and instead of freaking out, relax. Sometimes God moves in some big ways even if we didn’t plan them and we don’t want to miss them because we were holding on to our plans too tightly.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable - Mission trips should be uncomfortable. We tell our students before we get to whatever site we were going to be working at that its going to be uncomfortable at first. It’s okay, work past it. God shows up in our uncomfortableness because He uses those things to stretch us and grow us. Every time, students would rise to the occasion and they were glad they keep going even if it was awkward at first.

Have fun - It’s not all work and no play. Yes, we are their to serve and help our students learn what serving is all about, but we can have fun while doing it. I believe laughter breaks down walls. It allows us to be more vulnerable with each other and those we are serving. One of my favorite moments of the trip, we got done with our work early so we took our van to Starbucks to reward them. Some of the best conversations of the trip was from our super casual but fun detour.

Be the example - Students follow us. We are the leaders of the trip, they will do what we do. If we are sitting back, they will naturally want to sit back as well. If you are getting your hands dirty, they will see it’s okay to do the same. When students would get a little uncomfortable on the trip and hover around me, I would say, “Come on, let’s go talk to that person together”. Or “Let’s go clean this thing together.” And they would be all in. Lead by leading them into service. Serve them by showing them how to serve others.

Ask Questions - When ever you have a free moment, ask questions about what you just experienced. Ask about what they saw, what they felt, what happened, what did you like and dislike,where did you see God in all of this? The answers will be great.

I love being able to get to serve along side students. Love when we try and go make an impact on others and what it does is make an impact on us as well. It’s the best.

Have you ever done a local service-type trip? What did you do? Where did you go? Was it a success? Tell us about it below.

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Saddleback HSM Weekend in Review: Volume 245


Weekend Teaching Series: IMPACT OC Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: An entire youth group meeting designed to help students learn to serve and hear stories from last year’s Impact OC Spring Break mission trip.
Service Length: 70 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend I taught the message with the help of Hannah Rich, the director of our spring serve trip and 2 students who shared their stories of serving others. I taught the first part of the talk, then we had a video interview of one of our students and a live testimony shared as well. We looked at the life of Jesus as an example for us to follow.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This was a fun weekend – lots of student involvement and a great way to teach students about serving while modeling it on stage and on video. I’m counting on this trip being great – fun to challenge out students to serve there, in their schools and at church!

Music Playlist: Go, Tell the World, Wake, All I Am

Favorite Moment: This weekend we canceled the 6pm service (the 2nd of 4 identical youth services we do every weekend) because our pastor asked (last minute!) for all of our students to join him in the adult service this weekend. It took a minute to get our bearings, but then we jumped into action to make it happen. When our pastor speaks, we move!

Up next: Worship Together Weekend: May

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10 Questions to Include on Your Student Leadership Application

When I started my job, I inherited a student leadership team that was elected through a popularity contest. As a result, the team was one giant clique, interested far more in what they wanted than in what was best for our youth ministry.

After spending most of my first year battling this team, a year later, I overhauled it’s selection process, replacing the popularity contest with a written application. A written application allows all students to have a shot at student leadership, regardless of their popularity. Because it doesn’t demand applicants fight for attention, it also invites different types of leaders to apply (including introverts).

With that in mind, here are ten questions to include on your student leadership team application:

1. What three words would you use to describe where you’re currently at in your faith journey? Why?
2. What have you gained from your experience in our youth ministry thus far? (Spiritually, Relationally, etc.)
3. To you, what does it mean to be a leader?
4. Why do you want to be on the Student Leadership Team?
5. Read Romans 12:3-8. Which of the gifts listed in Romans do you have? Why? How will your specific gifts benefit the leadership team?
6. (For returning leadership team applicants) How did you grow (as a person, but also in terms of your faith) as a result of your experience on this year’s Leadership Team?
7. What’s one way you’d like to grow as a leader in the next year? How would being a part of our Student Leadership Team enable you to do this?
8. As a Student Leader, how would you welcome someone new to our youth ministry? Why’s this important?
9. In what ways is your ability to lead connected to your attendance at our youth ministry?
10. What other activities are you involved in? (Sports, Extracurricular Activities, Jobs, Clubs, etc.) Are you in leadership roles in any of these activities? If so – which and in what capacity? Will any of these cause a scheduling problem for you? If so – explain.

This application is intentionally long. It’s length builds an element of self-selection into the application, weeding out students tempted to pursue leadership for the wrong reasons.

The questions on the application are also intentionally short-answer, designed to help you get to know potential student leaders better. They paint a picture of a student’s faith journey – the most important thing to know about any potential student leader. They give you a sense of both how teachable a student is as well as how much they’re willing to invest in your youth ministry. Finally, such questions serve as a conversation starter. Should you choose to conduct them, you can build upon these questions during student leadership team interviews, which we’ll talk about next week.

In the meantime, tell us, what questions do you include on your student leadership team application?

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Pokemon Parody Serving Video

This is one of the funniest videos we’ve made in a while! We’re trying to be creative in promoting our next serve event at the end of May called Impact OC. Obviously, we had to call in the Pokemon team to help us out. Silly stuff!


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Summer Camp Student Leadership Promo Video

Here’s a video one of our former students made to help promote graduated seniors serving at our summer camp this year. It is so fun to see their passion and hear their stories of growth, too! This has been a GREAT way to help seniors stick to the end of their senior year!


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4 Reasons Why We Have Small Groups

Last week I posted about the purpose of our youth group services, thought it might be good to followup with a post about they “why” of small groups as well. Our overarching philosophy is that we want students not to just be exposed to the purposes of the church (that’s the large group) but also have them experience them first-hand. This makes our Life Groups so critical to the discipleship process. Here’s a breakdown of why we do small groups:

A couple of weeks out of the month, the small group does significant and intentional Bible study. The leaders prepares a lesson selected from the materials provided/approved by the ministry, and concentrate on helping their students grow in Christian education and faith.

Throughout the month, the small group leader checks in on their students’ spiritual disciplines and holds them accountable to growing on their own. The idea here is to gently disciple students to a faith that they can take with them beyond high school. The leader looks for spiritual conversations and opportunities to challenge a student personally. Tons of resources are close at hand to help a student take a spiritual step forward.

At least once a quarter, maybe as often as once a month, the entire group spends time serving together. Care for one of the student’s teachers that lost a spouse recently, serve at a local shelter, help someone with yard work, adopt a city block, visit a home for the elderly. The ministry provide tons of options and ideas, but each group has the flexibility and freedom to create their own monthly service project.

Take the night off! Pool party, lazer tag, pizza buffet, world series of poker marathon, sledding – whatever, it doesn’t really matter. Just something super fun and community – no agenda, just life on life happening.


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First 2 Years: Christian Clubs

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A few years ago we got frustrated with the status of some of our Christian clubs. It seems like they had just turned into a group of high school students that met on Wednesdays to eat pizza and listen to a 10-minute talk. The clubs rarely saw any growth and weren’t really known for anything but being pretty cliquey. So about a year ago, we decided to ramp up our campus outreach efforts and work more directly with the student-led clubs. What this meant was we needed to push them to fulfill more purposes of the Church on their campuses. Here are a few things that have happened:

Worship- About 3 times a semester, a few of the local clubs put together a worship lunch instead of their normal program. They get a few singers, a guitar player or two, and lead their students to encounter the Lord during their break. They do such a great job! One club even puts together a PowerPoint with all of the lyrics!

Serving- We have had clubs looking for the specific needs of their school and the unique ways that they can serve. One of our clubs (named Cookies and Christ) made the entire football team cookies and gave them out to each player in a bag with their name and jersey number on it right before a big game. We had another school serve their ASB team during the busyness of the homecoming season. We also did a sticky note project at a ton of our local schools. It has been fun to see what they come up with!

Evangelism- We want our Christian club leaders to teach their students how to evangelize at their school. I think too often we just say to our students, “go evangelize,” but they don’t really know what to do with that. So empowering our club leaders to empower their clubs allows for some really cool life change. They have put a focus on relational evangelism this year. The results have been huge–one our clubs has even doubled in numbers!

What are the clubs at your local school doing that are breaking the norm?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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POLL: When is the Best Time for Serve Trips?

This Spring we’re forgoing our tradition Spring Break mission trip to go on a shorter trip over a holiday weekend. I hope the gamble pays off! Our primary motivation for changing was we serve 2 different school districts with our youth group and this year they have very different calendars. Made me wonder when you’ve found is the best time for a serve trip with your students! Vote now!


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Saddleback HSM Student Leadership Application

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We just started accepting Student Leadership applications again and we could not be more excited! For the last 2 years we have been using the same application, so we decided to give it a face lift and add a few things we thought were important. We made the mistake last time of making our application on Photoshop, so editing it was a total pain! This time, we made it on Word. It’s pretty long, but it separates the serious, committed students from the “on the fence,” floater students. I am so excited to see who might be joining our Student Leadership team this next year!

I attached two versions of it to this post, the PDF and Word.doc. Depending on what version of Word you have, the formatting might be a little off when you open it, but feel free to edit or mess with it and make it your own! The PDF one, however, should be formatted perfectly!

HSM Student Leadership Application (PDF)

HSM Student Leadership Application (Word)

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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IMPACT Spotlight Video: Serve in Junior High

Once a month we’re going to try to have an IMPACT video to encourage students to serve. Here’s the 1st video in the new series about having high school students serve in Junior High (Wildside) ministry.


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GUEST POST: How to Get Students to Serve

I was recently challenged by a couple people because I said that I wanted to replace some of our “fun” and “outreach” events with service events. I said that they would be fun, “outreachy” and help fulfill the call to serve. One person outright laughed at me, while others were skeptical whether or not it could be done.
Tomorrow night is our second “Service event”. We will be baking goods and taking them down to a local shelter. The first time we did the event we had a bunch of students who rarely come out to events want to come because it is fun to bake, and they loved the idea of doing it for the homeless in our community. And a bonus is that we have the same kind of attendance for doing it again tomorrow.
So what was the trick? Finding a way your students would love to serve. I have a huge group of girls that love baking, even the girls who don’t love it come because their friends are into it. And then the boys come because the girls are coming. We even have group who come because they are passionate about Social Justice.
Students will serve if you find their niche. I had a student ask if we could get together as a group and bake some cookies and cupcakes… so I took that idea and simply added a service aspect. I am pretty sure if you looked at things your students were passionate about, you would find things you could turn into service events.
These times of serving could be run in a number of different ways. Have a small or mid sized youth group? Get all the students together and do it as a big baking party. Have a huge size ministry? Do it in pockets as a small group event.
This may seem like common sense but I know for myself, I have overlooked so many opportunities because I didn’t think to put a student together with a service option. I am still working on it and don’t have it all figured out yet, but the more I look, the more opportunities I find.
What are some ways you have found that gets students to serve?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle

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IMPACT Spotlight: Shake It! Greeting Team

Fun little video spotlight on one of our student serve opportunities: Shake It Greeting team. So proud of these students who serve so faithfully each week!


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From Passive To Passionate

If we look at our student ministry, the reality is most of our students show up and then leave. That’s it. We hope and pray there is more along that comes with it and we hope there are small groups, discussions, and prayer going on at home when they leave. We all want a majority of our students to be passionate and be serving somewhere in the church and be on fire for the Lord. Truth is, a lot of students are passive. We want them to be passionate.

So how do we move students from being passive to being passionate?

  • Provide opportunities for them to step up- If we want students to stop being passive we need to give them opportunities to step up and give them things that will spark their passion. Whether it’s teaching, leading a workshop, a bible study, audio, lights, crafts, encouragement, serving with little kids or special needs, provide opportunities and they will step up.
  • Allow them to completely own it when they do- One of the hardest parts for us as leaders sometimes are letting go. If we give opportunities in which students become passionate about, we need to let them run with it completely. Let them learn and make mistakes. One of my favorite things is watching students learn. We should only step in if it turns into heresy, HA!
  • Mentor them along the way- When students turn from passive to passionate, they move fast because they are excited. For you or another leader to sit down with them just to talk things over and come up with a plan of action for them before they move could be a big help because you as their leader will be able to walk with them and maybe think of things in which they have not in order to help them succeed.
  • Equip them to succeed- I think why sometimes passion fizzles out is because students get discouraged because they don’t have what they need. It’s one thing to spark movement but to keep the passion going we need to do more than just encourage, we need to equip our students to sustain momentum. Whether that’s a constant meeting with them, constant supplies, training, etc.

It’s amazing what students can do once they become passionate about something. One of my favorite things is watching a student who was once passive become passionate and own a section of ministry and serving or just becoming more passionate about Jesus. That is what I have seen during our You Own The Weekend series we do every year, it’s incredible. It’s our job as leaders to make sure we spark that passion in students and help them keep it going.

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10% of the Church Should be Made Up of Students


Have you ever heard this statistic before?

Youth group should be running about 10% of the whole church attendance.

Well … it turns out to be a pretty decent rule of thumb. And while it certainly doesn’t hold up in every case,  there is a range that seems to work out in most churches. Tony Morgan has done some great research in this area, and come up with several observations about the statistics as well. Here’s a clip, very much worth the effort to travel over that way for the rest:

Sunday Morning — It’s very difficult for churches to reach students if the programming in their Sunday worship services (teaching, music, media, etc.) doesn’t engage teenagers…and their parents.

Serving & Leading — Similar to adults, students will eventually checkout if all you expect them to do is attend “youth group.” Students will stick if they have opportunities to serve and lead.

Mimicking Services — On that note, it’s more challenging for some student ministries today. The teaching and music in many churches is strong on Sunday mornings. In those churches, you can’t just try to mimic the Sunday service on Wednesday night and expect students to show up…because they’ll probably get better teaching and music on Sunday morning. (Back when I was in student ministry, the better teaching and music was at youth group.)


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