Archives For May 2012

Adding creativiity into services is my favorite thing to do. But I cannot do it all by myself. That is why I love the way we do our creative meetings. Everyone by themselves has a good idea, but working through it with others turns that good idea into a GREAT idea and everyone benefits from it. Here are some key things we do for our creative process for HSM.

We break our creative meetings into 3 parts, but I will just explain the first part for now. Here are some key areas of our big creative meetings:

  • Make them count- We do one big meeting once a month. We want to have ideas for the following month. For example, we will meet in May and think of ideas for services for all of June. We do only one a month because we can get more people, it is an exciting environment to be in because everyone feeds off each other, and all ideas are welcome and developed right then and there and leaves you not being able to wait until the next one.
  • Bring ’em all in- In this meeting we invite anyone who wants to be involved. It has staff, weekend volunteers, students from all schools and grades (there are usually around 20-30 people). Everyone has good ideas, but with everyone, a good idea can turn into a GREAT idea. It is fun community and team building and the energy is super high.
  • Make it fun- Meetings more the most part are boring, but they dont have to be. We have pizza and drinks all around and spend the first part of the meeting just hanging out. We buy little toys and Play-doh for everyone to play with while we meet. I read somewhere that if your hands have something to do while you are thinking creativly, it allows your mind to be free (I do not know if this is completely true, but it’s fun and it seems to be working). We also have gift cards for the best ideas that we hand out after the meeting to the best ideas, and then one bigger giftcard to the BEST idea of the night voted on by everyone.
  • No dumb ideas– At this point, we just want ideas flowing. If it is in their mind, we want it on the board. This is not the area where we want to stunt any idea flows. Get it up on the board.
  • Be focused- We lay out all of the weekend topics across the entire wall, and then color code the different categories for each week. (Topics include: songs to play, videos, set design, take aways, I can;t believe they did that at church, sermon illustrations, Bible, etc). We give everyone 15 minutes to come up with as many ideas as possible and go and tape them under the right week and category. After time is up, there should be a whole wall filed with ideas, then we go through all of them and start taking down ideas that a majority do not have energy towards, and we keep up the ones everyone is pumped for.

From here there are a few other meetings in which we break down these ideas and start to place them into services on the weekends, but I will post those up next week. For now, I hope a little insight of how we do our big creative meetings helps in any way.

What are some things you do for creative meetings? Who is involved in them? What do you do that we do not?


Text Message God

May 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Don’t you wish you knew everything that God had planned for you? If you didn’t know, God has a plan for you, He has a purpose for you, and He cares for you. Have you ever thought that since God knows all and sees all, He would sort of let you in on your own life? I know sometimes for me, it seems like I am in this rut, not going anywhere in my spiritual life or physical life. I have prayed and prayed for vision and direction on certain things and I get frustrated because I can’t see where it will be going in the future. We are in a place now where we expect to get information right away. With our computers and smart phones, we can be on the internet looking something up in two seconds and find out the answer. For some reason, we have gotten into the mind set that we expect God to answer us with the answer right away like someone would a text message, and if it does not come at an instant, we get frustrated and move on.

Psalm 119:115 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

This verse is so simple yet it holds a huge truth. When we are reading scripture, that is God’s litteral voice to us. His words are screaming off the pages to us. But they are exactly that: a lamp. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet, not a spotlight into the woods. A lamp does not light up the entire area, just the area around it. A lamp shows you were to step next. God does not shine a spot light on our life and show us everything, He shines a lamp and shows us our next step.

Just like walking through a forest with a flash light, you have it pointed on the ground showing you were your next step is. When you take that step, you are a little further on your journey. Same thing with our lives, in order for us to move in God’s direction, we first need to take the step He has laid out in front of us. As long as we are going step by step and constantly seeing after Him, He will continually light up our path with a lamp, showing us our next step. The question is, are you going to take that step to move forawrd even though its not completely lit.

I guess that’s why its called faith.

 I have posted something from Perry Noble before. You can go and check out his leadership blog HERE, but I just had to post this. When it comes to conflict in the church environment, you would think that everyone would know how to deal with it. A lot of times, it can be super messy. This is why I thought Perry Noble’s in how to deal with it is awesome. Read it and enjoy:

#1 – Email DOES NOT WORK!  (This would also apply to texting as well as any form of social media!)    

When conflict use to arise with me and someone in the office I used to walk to my desk, log on to my computer and fire off an abusive email, several problems with this…

  • It is the act of a coward, I would do this so that I would avoid a eye to eye conversation.
  • It removes the fact that I am actually dealing with another person…if I type an email I don’t have to look them in the eye and removing that obstacle allows me to say things to them through typing that I would NEVER say to them in person.
  • It often drags out the conflict way longer that it should be.
  • It can easily be misinterpreted, thus causing new conflicts.

#2 – Handle Conflict Quickly – The Bible is VERY clear in Ephesians 4:25-26 that we are not to allow the sun to go down while we are angry.  If we allow something to fester inside of us what usually comes out of that is NEVER pretty.

#3 – Always Assume The Best About The People You Work With – If you don’t get anything else in this article then PLEASE get this, LOVE ALWAYS ASSUMES THE BEST ABOUT SOMEONE…ALWAYS!  If you hate/can’t stand the people you work with then THE BEST thing to do is to begin to ask the Lord, “what is wrong with MY OWN heart?”

#4 – Remember that Email Does Not Work!  

#5 – Stop Expecting People To Read Your Mind – Often times people have said something hurtful to me that they did not perceive as hurtful.  I would become angry with them and actually tell myself, “well, they should just know that hurt me!”  NEWS FLASH – THEY DON’T KNOW, and they won’t know unless I am man enough to look them in the eye (because email does not work), assume the best about them (which automatically assumes they didn’t mean to hurt me) and CALMLY walk them through why what they said wounded me.

#6 – Stop Waiting For Them To Approach You – If you know there is conflict and you know there is a problem to be solved but you are “waiting on the right time” or “waiting on them to come to me” then I would encourage you to read what Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24.  Maturity is when a person is willing to seize responsibility instead of just waiting on something to happen.

#7 – Never, EVER Go Public When You Have Not Even Attempted To Talk In Private – Too often people take their conflicts online when they have never even attempted to handle them in a private matter (sort of goes against what JESUS actually said in Matthew 18:15 as the first step in dealing with conflict!)  People are way too quick these days to read/hear something that someone says and automatically fire off a tweet or blog post without ever attempting to have a conversation with the person that they assume “got it wrong,” causing them to feel like they need to be the savior of the world by jumping to conclusions and making accusations about things that they actually have zero knowledge of.

#8 – And finally, do not forget that Email does not work!  

Past couple of Wednesday we have been looking at the constant battle between service programming and relational ministry. To recap, there is a fine line that all ministries need to balance when it comes to having a great, well ran service and having real, authentic, true relationships with the people who come to the service. Not everyone has a team of people to help them plan and service and focus on relationships. I am thankful to be on a team that we all can put together a great service and still focus on relationships, but I have not always had that. I know both sides.

Last week, I said relationships are the number one thing when it comes to a service. Relationships is what keeps people there, it is where the life changes come from. A church service is just a means to get people within the relationships with leaders or pastors, and ultimately Jesus. While the service can be ran with music, games, a sermon and a funny video, everything within the service should be pointing the students to someone they can talk to and get connected. The lights and music might intrigue them to come in, but after 3 weeks without making a connection with someone that person most likely wont come back.

So does that mean the service should suffer? No way! I love my job. I love creating services in which are fun and engaging and well ran. I wouldnt have it any other way. Give me lights, give me videos, give me great sermon illustrations and fun ways to do announcements all day, but as long as I realize this is not the end all. All these things are to start a conversation or point to someone to have a realtionship with. After all, at Saddleback, our weekend services are to EXPOSE students to the Gospel, to get them introduced to who Jesus is, and the relationships will help guide them to EXPERIENCE Him.

So how do you add relational aspects into the service so people can be guided to start a relationship with someone on your team? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add a 2 minute greeting within the service. Use it as a transition somewhere in the service to have students get up and meet someone new. This gives leaders a chance to talk and make a connection as well. You can read more about this in a previous post HERE.
  • Info cards. We have a tear off section on the bottom of their message notes that if a student turns it in to a leader after service for first time visitors, we will then give them a FREE GIFT, from HSM to them. 1) We get their info and we can connect them and 2) A connection is made and a relationship is started.
  • We try to focus on those students who are sitting alone. We have our leaders and our student leaders in each section go and sit with those who are by themselves. For the most part, if they are by themselves, they are new and do not know anyone. This wil get them a connection and a face to look for the following weekend.

These are just a few suggestions. What do you do in your group during service to get people connected into a relationship? What would you suggest?

Galatians 6:14

14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

What a reminder this is. Today’s world is all about self-gratification and self-promotion. It reminds me of the funny line from Will Ferrel’s movie Anchor Man. “Hey everyone! Come see how good I look!” We are so focused on promoting our own cause that we lose sight of the CAUSE of life: Jesus. I’m not to lie, I fall into it too, because everyone wants to look good, but we need to be careful when we do this. We have to remember it is not about us. It’s not what we ourselves are about.

It is really easy to talk ourselves up. Why though? Everything we have is because God gifted it to us anyways, yet we take the credit. Why then is it so hard to talk up Christ in our non-church friend group? In all honesty, it should be a lot easier to talk up and boast about our incredible God than to talk up ourselves.

Case in point: He created everything that you see. We didn’t. He rose from the grave. I don’t think we can say anything close to that about us.

It’s rather what we do through Christ. Let us boast in that. Let us show others not what we do but what God has done in us.

Such a great reminder. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.

This is a great free resource from Pretty incredible. So make sure you go check them out. It is a great website that has a ton of great resources.

free stuff from ym360

At ym360 everything we do falls under one of these four things:

  • Bible Study Resources
  • Training
  • Community, and
  • Networking

When we say “networking,” what we mean is shining a spotlight on other ministers or ministries doing awesome stuff. We don’t believe in competitors. We believe in ministry partners. We love sharing great resources, whether their ours or not!

Today’s one of those days where we get to share great resources from some of our friends.

If you know LeaderTreks you know they do amazing mission trips and student leadership resources. (You may also know that we’ve partnered with LeaderTreks to create one of the coolest resources around, DNow Online. It’s a perfect solution for your Disciple Now, Retreat weekend, or Summer Camp content needs.) They also give away awesome FREE stuff. And today, they’re giving away 50 Freebies! The 50 Freebies feature assessments, team building initiatives, illustrations, Bible studies, and activities.

Simply click on the image below to head on over to LeaderTreks and access your 50 Freebies.


Oh, the other thing LeaderTreks is really good at is taking care of their customers. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Last weekend we had a worship and music weekend. Our student worship director taught the weekend services about how music triggers emotions. He did amazing! He explained how music moves us and we need to be careful not to worship the worship, but worship God. He then sang some popular worship songs but he explained what each one of them meant and why we sing them and the students went off! It was the most passionate I have seen the students worship. It was incredible.

But since we were talking about music, we thought it would be awesome to open up the service with a music video that we blatantly ripped off from the popular boy band 1Direction. It was a hit, so please enjoy!

Like I said in part 1, I am a pastor first. That is what I feel like I have been called to do. I love talking with people, about Jesus, and genuinely hanging out with students before and after service. One of my favorite times on the weekends is the 5-10 minutes before service starts as students are sitting down and just going around meeting and talking to people. I love it. Being a pastor, it would be obvious that I am relational.

I think this is the number one thing when it comes to student ministry. Being relational and being authentic in that relationship is the number one thing students’ want/need. If you do not have the relationship side down, there would be no kids to put on a service for.

Jesus led in a way that was relational lead ministry and we can take after Him in that. For people who are all about programming services and that is their main focus and we are supposed to model after Jesus in our leadership and we see Jesus being relational, how do we answer that? We simply cannot just ignore the fact that the entirety of Jesus’ time on this earth was for a relationship with all of us. Jesus just hung out with people, eating, drinking and talking. Much like so many of our students do after service. At least with us, In-N-Out and Chick-fil-a are flooded with students simply just sitting, eating, and hanging out. In Matthew 9:10 (ESV) Jesus is reclining at the table with people, it doesn’t say using Planning Center Online to sort out the next time he was preaching, but just reclining and hanging out.

We need to be able to do this as well. If Jesus took the time to just hang out with some intentional relational ministry, we for sure need too.

The service itself is important yes, but it means nothing if we don’t have relationships to go with it. “Real ministry” happens the 15 minutes before and after the service, and the service is just helping them sit and focus on the area you are speaking about so you can then do the “real ministry” (the prayer, the hanging out, the conversation about what stood out to them, etc.) afterwards.

For some students, they will bring their friends just because they know you are the person they need to talk to about something. The relationship got them there, kept them there, and got them to Jesus. For some students, this wont be enough, they are stand offish and they are only there because the service is exciting and is a cool place to be on a Saturday Night. This is fine too, because if the service is getting them coming, if we are doing our jobs right, that will ultimately turn into a relationship which will turn to trust and then will turn to prayer.

Without relationships, we are missing the purpose that Jesus came to earth for us…to have a relationship with us.

But what about the service? If we have a boring service, then they wont bring their friends? They will be bored to death and won’t come back! These are real questions that I have thought myself. I fall into this way of thinking, but it also is my job to run a successful service. This is something I want to unpack next post.

What do you do on the relational side? Where are some of the best places you hang out and have those “real talks”? 

I am pretty excited to announce that I will be teaming up with some of my favorite people from a few different churches, from a few different student ministries, for a great night of worship here in September. Like I posted yesterday, there are no “others” in ministry. It is US, united. I have always wanted to partner up with other pastors and create a night where many groups, from all over, can come to one place and be encouraged that they are not alone, that other churches are doing great things as well, and groups can come together and worship.

In comes IGNITE. This is a team of pastors of a few local churches in the area who want to break the mold of “independent” groups by UNITING students and IGNITING the passion of Jesus inside.

This is not a ONE church thing. It happens to be at ONE church. But joining our groups together in worship is the first step in uniting our next generation of leaders from many churches in one place to first IGNITE their relationship with Jesus so they can unashamedly claim Him as Savior to the world. IGNITE exists to ignite a generation with a passion for Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit to live transformed lives, to accomplish the will of the Father.

It’s a FREE session on September 8th, 2012, to start this journey of breaking down youth group barriers and start to join and work together. I would hope you would want to jump in. Here is a recap of last year:

For more information please go to

I am so into the TV show “Lost” right now. I know, I know, I’m years late but it is on Netflix for for free and I am watching episodes like crazy. I’m only on the second season as of right now (so do not ruin this for me), but for those who do not know, Lost is about a group of people who survived a plane crash on an island and they go an entire season thinking they are the only ones on the island. It’s not until the season finale that they realize there are other people on the island who they are a threat to them. They are known as “The Others” and they are intimidated, frightened, and nervous to make contact with them to talk and see what they are about.

Sadly, this is the way pastors feel about other pastors. They are good on their island and they need to fear the “others”. This is something that needs to change. There are no others, we are on the “team” if you will. I will admit, I will let my pride get in the way and I will either intentionally not read their stuff or walk by without stopping and talking because they, in my mind, are more successful than me. This is something I am slowly trying to break because the “others” mentality is just breaking down the church.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about how the body works together. Every part of the body is needed in order for the body as whole to do what it was designed to do. Each church, ministry, pastor, and congregation is a piece of that body and should be working together rather than co-existing together.

It’s time to stop seeing “the others” and check our pride at the door and find out what other pastors and ministries are doing that is working for them and maybe, just maybe, it could be the tipping point in our ministry if we ask for advice or start working together.

I love talking to other pastors, and how much would it help each ministry of we all shared what are the top things that are working in our own ministries so others my try to implement them and help someone else out. It would be awesome. Let’s set up a network and start having these conversations.

Areyou guilty of viewing some as “the others”? Do you regularly meet with other pastors and share ministry strategies and what is working or not working?