• I am very aware how lucky I am that I get paid to do what I do for a living. Feeling so blessed and grateful for the ministry God has given Kristin and I.
  • Tonight was the last HSM Wednesday night of the school year.
  • Closed out our facedown series with God is love.
  • I talked out of I Corinthians 13 and talked to our seniors for the last time.
  • We talked about living out love as a response to the love God has shown us.  That means loving yourself as God loves you and loving others as God does.
  • I finally got to tell them that the worst part of my job is seeing them put pics up on facebook in college of beer pong, slutty Halloween, and spring break stuff no one should see.
  • These are not cases of loving yourself as the image of God or loving others.
  • The world cannot see us living empty religious love. That is a clanging gong!
  • Time got away from us and I didn’t get to embarrass our worship band and hospitality staff and tell them what an amazing job they do week in and week out.  If you guys are reading this THANK YOU!
  • Jim Heffner got on the mic and embarrassed me.  He said everyone had to give me a hug before they left.  I was honored and I am a hugger.
  • We have so many great students I am going to miss. The bittersweet part of the job.
  • They aren’t gone forever, it was awesome to have tons of our college people back and coming to the house the last two weeks. Awesome to see them grow up and start talking about marriage counselingJ
  • I mentioned that we pause Wednesday nights for the summer.  Let me explain more….We still have our grace groups meeting and they are student lead, we have 5 different trip options for students, and we have monthly gatherings for large group.  Things do not slow down, they just look different.
  • This time of year is so busy. I actually have a yearly list of things I launch into after our last Wednesday night.
  • Tomorrow Dave Nicodemus and I will have the big Momentum planning session for our pre-session antics.
  • In the next week I will also do major work at clarifying the systems, positions and job-descriptions for HSM next year.
  • This is also the time of year that we do the teaching calendar for next year and gather resources and teaching series ideas. Any ideas from someone reading this?
  • We are also launching into our college ministry for the summer. Excited about the people HSM has developed into this next stage of life.
  • Also going on the yearly shopping trip to try and make our basement music/sound and game room stuff functional again.  Some people are of the persuasion that pool sticks need tips, and mic stands should hold mics. I happen to be one of those people.
  • Doing some big planning for the 2010 Kalahari retreat in the next week too.
  • Finally diving into the world of a mass texting service. We dabbled in it before but are now committing money as email, facebook, and websites just aren’t getting it done. Shoutout to Kelly Coville for doing the admin work as it was no small task to input 500 numbers and find out their cell carrier.
  • 7 years ago, I did an internship at Wooster Grace and lived with Jake Workman’s family. This summer he is interning in Columbus so I found him a family to live with. Can’t wait to hang out with him and put him on some blind dates.
  • I actually have at least two other blind dates brewing between friends of ours I want to meet. That is definitely me and Kristin’sguilty pleasure.
  • I am so pumped for the MTV movie awards this summer. I am really digging Aziz Ansari’s comedy and writing and expect this to be a breakout night for him.
  • I mentioned a few months ago I realized I am not using creativity enough in my life. Over the next months I have arranged a coffee house show, hope to write some songs. Hope to oil paint, am going to dabble in comedy writing and filming some videos for ministry stuff. Not sure what any of it will lead to but I am excited.
  • Graduation party season is right around the corner.  Youth pastors don’t have to buy groceries for these 3 weeks.
  • So much more I could write, but I want to eat a bowl of cereal instead.


I am so far behind on life thoughts. Easter Sunday, Worship Night, and re-doing a whole house on top of normal life leave me no choice but a little mind dump to catch up.

If you follow my Twitter you already know most of this in shorthand.

Easter Sunday

  • Second year in a row I got to lead worship on Easter.
  • To say that it was tiring would be an understatement.
  • We did 3 services like usual but they had a whole lot more people in em.
  • Second service was the fullest our building can handle. I’m glad no fire marshals were in attendance.
  • We kept with what we have been doing on holidays recently and wove music and the message together. The longest Rick ever preached was 7-10 minutes in 3 places.
  • After the services we drove to My Grandma Sands’ 85th birthday party. I missed her 80th when we lived in Indiana during seminary and I was able to redeem myselfJ
  • We also got to hang out with Meme my other grandma.

Home Improvement

  • If you thought this section would be about a crappy sitcom featuring Tim Allen and JTT I apologize. (I bet that comment offended Josh Atkins and Jeff Beckley)
  • We finally finished our woodfloor install. In total it pretty much took four days. Now I just have to put the quarter round on by the base boards but it can wait a while.
  • We also painted the kitchen and back dining room wall a color of gold.
  • We got new countertops. Just laminate nothing special but way better than the butcher block ones we had before that were twenty years old.
  • Didn’t get new cabinets, but we are finally switching out the hardware to something silver from this decade.
  • Tonight I just have to do a ton of clean up and put the fridge back. I can see the light at the end of the home improvement tunnel.

Carrie Underwood

  • Yes I took my wife to see Carrie Underwood. A concert seems to be the best way to trick her into a long date within 6 months of a baby.
  • She was in heaven and I must admit it was a really great show.
  • I didn’t know who the opener was but it turned out if was Craig Morgan so I loved that. He brings out the hick in me pretty quick.
  • Every concert we go to I love to check out the production.
  • I counted at least 90 gobo smart lights in Carrie’s rig…..they probably cost 10k a piece.
  • She also had a giant tree limb drop from the celing…and a rope swing too.
  • The coolest thing she did was have a truck with the bed as a stage go the whole way around the outline of the floor on a cable. Great gimmick to be close to people but still be on a stage and not take up floor seats.
  • I knew that Carrie Underwood was a believer but have recently become more impressed by her faith walk as she gets to write more of her songs and control her artistry. I was really impressed with the overall night including her doing a medley with her new single Temporary Home (talks about being aliens in this world as Christians) into a knockout version of How Great Thou Art.

NCO District Worship Night

  • NCO district worship night on Wednesday was awesome. Here’s a video.
  • We had about 350 people and collected 1250 dollars for student ministry in Africa.
  • Not sure why but my own students didn’t really come out to it; easily our lowest night of the year.  What’s up HSM?
  • The band was great.  Big ups to Jeremy and Terra Bury.
  • Jeremy because he had his licensure exam that morning and handled the stress well.  He is a young theologian.
  • Terra is like 9.5 months pregnant so she deserves a shou tout too.
  • Chris Solyntcjes drove down. That guy has forgotten 10 times more about music, tech, and worship than I will ever know. It was great to see him.
  • My NCO small group friend played bass. He is a young Phil Collins.
  • Vickie Darrough and her team knocked the food out of the park. Hopefully it gives some other ministries a vision for what they can do. Check out this pic

And now, you’re up to date!


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 3-17-10

  • 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!


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.


  • I was once told that Satan attacks things that threaten him. He didn’t want tonight to happen and I can see why.
  • Our server died Tuesday night at the church. That means all day Wednesday I couldn’t get to most of my stored files, email, get on the Internet, or print. Just as you guessed it was a frustrating day.
  • On top of that my family has been sick enough that I left Wednesday night before it was over and almost didn’t go at all.
  • As far as the server, I had the important stuff saved on my desktop for Wednesday night.
  • We made a handwritten service order and photocopied it. It felt like a garage band set list.
  • Our check-in was a pen and a paper. Rachel should have fun tracking the follow up this week.
  • Tonight was the first in some stand alones that we are calling “youpick”. Our group voted for Spiritual Warfare, Forgiveness, and a night of worship.
  • Jim Heffner drew the assignment of Spiritual Warfare tonight. He took the angle of a talk show host as we book ended the night with teaching on both sides of an interview.
  • It was simple yet profound. He spoke from Eph. 6 and talked about our struggles in life not bring against flesh and blood but against Satan.
  • He interviewed Rebecca who has had some major attacks in her life that Satan wanted to use. She had every person in the room hanging on her every word.
  • I love that passage in II Cor. 1 that says that God is with us through our pain so we can show his comfort to others. Rebecca did that tonight and the response of people wanting to talk and pray with her proved it.
  • Great time of worship once people had been taught from the Word.
  • Summer trip apps came rolling in tonight.
  • Kalahari is around the corner….more to come on that.
  • I’m tired.