3 HUGE Things I Learned From Saddleback HSM

After spending the weekend at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA., speaking for the high school ministry, I walked away more encouraged than I can describe.  All the leaders – adult and student – in HSM and Wildside are the real deal.  Out of the hundreds of things I could have listed that had huge impact on me this weekend (like their epic youth facility, The Refinery), here’s what made my top 3:

  • Nice is Always Nice.  No matter how big you are or powerful an influence your ministry has had, you can always be down to earth.  Each leader – paid or unpaid – was so welcoming, kind, approachable and self-depricating.  Refreshing to see from a group of people who are a part of one of the most significant youth ministries in the world.
  • You Can’t Fake Joy.  These guys were some of the happiest, fun-loving, full-of-smiles guys I’ve seen in ministry in a long time.  I know their workload has to be tremendous and challenges daunting, but the love they had for the Lord and each other was overflowing to students, leaders… and me.  Interpersonally AND from stage.
  • High Program Quality AND High Student Involvement CAN Coexist.  From start to finish, the program was one of the best I’d seen when it came to care, flow, creativity, clarity, fun, worshipfulness, and warmth.  Amazing weekend.  What was more encouraging was the HUGE number of students who were running the whole program!  And not just once!  The same student crew was there servant-leading for ALL FOUR SERVICES this weekend.  From greeters to tech to music, I saw students involved everwhere.  Ownership is everything.

Special thanks to Josh Griffin, Kurt Johnston and Phil Chenery for the window into “what could be.” 🙂