Last week I attended the CE Leadership Summit (CELS) for youth workers.  One cool thing they do is collect resources beforehand from people attending and make them available to those in attendance.

One resource I contributed was the yearlong planning sheet we use to plan our Wednesday night teaching and curriculum for the year.  You can view or download the sheet here.

I got some great response and feedback on the sheet so I thought I would put it up. I also thought I would paste in an exchange I had with a friend about it…

1. Is this something you do by yourself or with a team?

I plan that sheet mostly by myself. I mean I pull in Dustin and other many leaders and get their feedback but if I am being honest up until now it has been mostly me. That is not a good thing, I have kept this close to me since it is a passion and strength but this next year I need to involve others in this process.

2. Do you just “re-use” this sheet as a template each year (obviously changing the dates, etc.)?

I do re-use the sheet every year and change things. This was the first year it has had all the stuff as it appears now. We didn’t always do testimonies every night etc.

3. How much time does it take for you to compile all of the series ideas?

I am a blog guy and always checking out sites of curriculum, and what other churches are doing so I am compiling ideas and lists as I see them all year.

When our Wednesday nights settle down in May before Graduation I usually try to hammer the next year out in a week. It obviously gets revised and things change. I will email it to my big 3 volunteers after I have it in the first try form. We use the 7 checkpoint Andy Stanley wrote a book about as a guideline so while a title or direction can change it is pretty solid that in certain blocks we will do a book study.

4. Do you find it pretty easy to stick to it the entire year or do you end up making quite a few series adjustments along the way?

It can be hard to stick to things for the whole year for some guys, my biggest flaw is that I am a planner and usually can stick to a plan too much. This year one of the ways we helped stay flexible and adapt to our students was we put in a series called youpick and let students pick what they wanted us to talk about. So I knew that we were addressing wherever they were in the month of Feb-March. Other than that I think I usually have a pretty good idea going in what we will need.


MIND DUMP 3-26-10

  • I haven’t blogged much lately. It’s been a busy season.
  • I had a stretch where I was away from home 6 of 18 days with Kalahari, The Radical Difference Event, and CELS
  • The minute I got home my wife informed me that I would be installing wood floors the next two days. Halfway done on the total project and enjoying a day off for my knees and back.
  • Last Sunday-Tuesday we went to the CE Leadership Summit for youth workers.
  • It’s a great event because it is close, cheap, and relaxed.
  • I love the event but realized last year that I wasn’t taking advantage of what it could be by going alone.
  • This year, Dustin and I each took some volunteers so that was a welcomed change.
  • The event is like $30 per person and you can even get first come first serve free housing. I hope to take 5 HSM staff next year.
  • Jim, Vickie and I had some great time one day for 3 hours to put our entire ministry under a microscope and dissect it against what we were learning and what we have seen this year.
  • In a good way I am now overwhelmed at the changes we need to make in philosophy, structure, and systems
  • Ed Short was the speaker and he basically focused on the church’s job of making disciples. In many different ways he contrasted that against how often we get distracted in running programs.
  • He shared the metaphor that if a car company realized the product at the end of its assembly line didn’t run, or if Hershey’s realized that their end product was just a candy wrapper, they would shut down the line and tweak the process to get the end result they want.
  • Too often the church goes on running programs-classes, youth group, and we are not making disciples.  That is our one job.
  • Luckily I didn’t come away wanting to blow up our model and start again, but I am thinking that if we are going to make disciples through our leaders than our dispcleship of adult staff has to be more loving, consistent, and trackable.
  • I pre-ordered Ben Arment’s new book Church in the Making today. I think I already tweeted about it, but I am geeked to read it.
  • Hopefully this week I can get back in the flow of life, family, ministry, working out, and sanity….and finish the wood floors for my wife.

MIND DUMP 3-17-10

  • Great HSM Wednesday tonight. We finished up our Satan’s Sex Ed series with a night of people sharing their stories and also a panel that answered questions.
  • Pastor Rick and Tammy came and shared their story as far as love and relationships go. It connected real well. So blessed to be at a church where our pastor not only supports me but builds students into his schedule.
  • Amanda Osswald also shared her testimony. It was awesome to be reminded of the growth in her life over the last 2 years.
  • We had double our normal number of visitors tonight.
  • Tonight there were 18 people from Dublin Scioto high school. It was so neat to talk to Taylor Evans as she remembered that 2 years ago when she was a new Christian she was the only one from her school.  I think 14 people were there tonight because of her.
  • Teaching wise tonight I just did a review of where we have been and setup our topic so everyone was on the same page. I shared that God’s pyramid is love-marriage-sex, but the world tries to put that pyramid on its head and turn it upside down.  When a pyramid is standing upside down it can break down and fall over.
  • We had a panel tonight of single people, newlyweds, college students, and older married people. It was great. We have never done anything like that. It felt like a town hall meeting that a presidential candidate would do. We seemed to have everyone’s attention. Probably because with 10 people on stage all ready to talk at any time, most people connected with at least 1 of the 10.
  • Sarah and Stacie the CE Ambassadors were on the panel tonight. It’s cool to see the roots they have with our church. From adults, to OB alum, to students going on OB this summer, and even just everyday students they know and have connected with through Momentum, Kalahari, and multiple visits.
  • A girl named Cathering accepted Christ tonight. It was awesome to see the excitement on her face and her friends Steph who brought. Can’t wait to get her in a grace group.
  • Speaking of we have like 5 groups that need to multiply. Before next fall we have to have a system that can handle 15 groups, 30 leaders, and 100 students in discipleship. I am not happy with our current system so it can’t be the one.
  • We are off next week for Spring break. It will be a good break to re-do some tech stuff in the basement and give people a breather. Our worship guy Josh can get his voice back.
  • Speaking of spring break, it’s amazing how many families go on vacation here. I don’t remember that growing up where I was from.  Even weirder is that many families leave early and skip school on the Friday before.  But even that has progressed and many are leaving on Thursday or even today (the Wednesday before) after school. That is like a 12-day break.
  • I tweeted earlier this week that I saw Dear John and it messed me up. The plot resolved so quickly at the end that I didn’t even realize it was happy. I was upset for a few days. In my sibconscious I think I was in the movie or something. I think I am over it now. In hindsight it had a happy enough ending, just not the one I wanted.  I guess I liked it. If it made me care I have to respect it.
  • I bet all that sounded weird, I am not a movie guy:)
  • Speaking of Dear John I downloaded some songs off the soundtrack. Not my usual diet of country and hip hop. Always trying to be a more predictable white guy approaching 30.
  • Malachi is learning so much right now. Letters, words, and things from his parents. It’s really pushing Kristin and I to look at words we use like “dang it” and media we consume. He’s going to make us better people.
  • I will turn 28 this Sunday. Since I was young I always thought that 27 and 28 would be the peak years of life. Young enough to be cool but old enough to have a career and young kids. Time to say hello to the back half of my peak of coolness.
  • Off to bed, headed to Worthington Christian tomorrow for chapel. Our old worship leader Bronson is in town and rocking out!


  • Kalahari ended last weekend so its probably time I do my mind dump and recap.
  • Every year this weekend knocks me out from going full speed for 4 straight days. I have my annual post Kalahari sickness.
  • It was a phenomenal weekend. People ask and I don’t want to give some cliché answer so here is my best thesis. I love what God does at Kalahari because it seems to meet all our students where they are. Those who don’t have relationship with God hear the gospel, those who aren’t walking with him spend time in a room (small group) and experience the body of Christ. Our leaders are challenged to lead their rooms, etc. No matter where a student is it helps them take steps.
  • Every year it has grown and this year we topped 1,000. Numbers don’t matter, but that one is pretty cool.
  • The other cool number was around 20 churches coming together. A few of the bigger churches shoulder the load but it is so neat to provide that for smaller groups. I love that I get to help provide and event for my home church the way others did for me growing up.
  • One of our big churches that has stepped away might be back in next year so I don’t think 1200-1400 is out o the question. Every year God has blessed this weekend. It is the second largest FGBC gathering behind Momentum. Not really wanting to pass them anytime soon. I am too tired as is.
  • DC Curry was our speaker for the weekend and was just great. He is a magnet and I think our people connected with him in the water park, before sessions, and on stage.
  • His Saturday morning talk about taking whatever we have (based on the 5 loaves and 2 fishes) and throwing it on the ground knowing that God provides the increase, really hit me.
  • Exodus from Liberty University led worship all weekend. We kind of stumbled into these guys last year and the lineup changes every year, but they are spot on. Musically, relationally, and ministry wise they are exactly what we want in a band. Their hearts are great, there leadership is great, and the music is top notch. I can’t imagine not having them because they have raise the standard of what we do.
  • Sidebar if you want to be trained in worship leading I would go to Liberty. They have so many bands and a couple majors that are turning out quality people every year.  I am very impressed.
  • We did something new this year and did 2 meals in rooms so we could save money over the terrible catered meals. I think Domino’s Pizza was a hit.
  • We also surprised everyone with a John Reuben concert on Saturday. I love that even if you have never heard of him or his music he will not let you have a bad time at his concert.  Felt good to see 600 white people with their hands in the air.
  • The Wooster church does so much to make this weekend happen. I don’t know if most people will ever realize it. I am pretty involved and I still feel indebted for the weekend they create for my students. I won’t waste your time but if you are from another church make sure you thank Nick Cleveland and his team. They are living this thing for at least 2 weeks plus the year round planning.
  • We are already in contract for next year. Kalahari 2011-February 25-27. If you are interested in going email me.
  • The sessions this year were fun. Josh Atkins and Ben Framstad raised the bar and added a ton of stuff that was fun using media and other creative elements.
  • Josh and I got to do the music parody video that have been on this blog all week, as well as the entrance video you saw too.
  • On Saturday HSM got to do 2 things in the session. Eric Osswald shared his testimony and it was great. People asked me if I helped him write it and the answer is no. It was a 2 part English paper he wrote to share his testimony to his teacher and class. God has done so many great things in him and I see such maturity. So excited to see him be a goalie at USF soon.
  • Rachel Weng also wrote, produced, and acted in our pantomime for that same morning. It was so great. She stepped up huge and had a vision and made it happen. So proud of her for leading. She didn’t just do what God put on her heart but she empowered other people in ministry. Go Rachel!
  • Stephanie Sollanek made a commitment to be baptized. That was so cool to see her grow this last year.
  • Luke Helmuth came clear from PA. I barely got to see him but I know God is preparing him for big stuff. I joke with him that I will give him my job so any chance I get to provide an experience for him I want to do that.
  • We finally seem to have learned how to get our people registered, in rooms, with leaders, and on busses. Dustin said this year went week. I can’t wait till next year. Imagine how good we could do if we have working email and internet the week before?
  • This year was fun but I can’t wait till next year when my family might be at a stage that I can take them……probably won’t happen but a guy can dream right?


The other day I read a blog entry about the vacuum created when a youth pastor leaves.  Unfortunately I can’t remember where it was or find it to give the link. The post basically said that most youth pastors create a ministry that is dependent on them. It is dependent on their speaking, discipling, charisma, gifts, and presence.

I have experienced this first hand throughout my life and want to always guard against it. I am not making any big announcement that I am going anywhere, but there will come the day that I will need a hip replacement and might not be able to stay up with HSM anymore. Here are some things we do in HSM to make sure it isn’t dependent on any one person.

  1. We don’t care how good you are at something; you shouldn’t do it all the time. No one speaks all the time, no one leads worship all the time, and no one plays any instrument all the time. Some areas are easier based on the people we have, but we want to set the precedent that we are always valuing multiple people and developing the next generation.
  2. Every position has an apprentice. We can improve in this, some grace groups are without co-leaders but again we want our movement to be reproducible in both people and DNA.
  3. Ministry (power, decisions, credit etc.) must be given away to others. You always hear to delegate for success and that means sharing the weight not just in title but everything.

I don’t want to be one of those people that makes my life and ministry sound like an ivory tower so I can’t pretend I accomplish this with perfection, but just wanted to get my thoughts up there.