It’s Time To Live Open

We’re starting a brand new teaching series this Sunday with our students that I’m super excited about.  My life has been changed in some serious ways with real accountability.  In fact, I have 3 guys I meet with on a regular basis who have complete access to any area of my life at any time.  I wouldn’t still be in the game without them.  I’m excited to see how this stuff can help our students build this crucial habit into their lives now.


This series is based on the content of Craig Gross’ new book Open.  We’ll be pushing students and families to purchase their own copy of the book to take it deeper.
Here’s some more info on the series itself:

Despite our best intentions, temptation always seems to loom around the corner, threatening to derail us into a desperate world of secret behavior and covered-up indiscretions.  From families to relationships to the drama at school, we are suckers for bad ideas.

Why do we so often make poor decisions that can lead to life-shattering results?

Why do we promise ourselves to do better only to slide back into our old habits?

Why can’t we help ourselves?

The time has come for each of us to become accountable.  To experience the freedom, peace of mind, and overwhelming self-confidence that come from living a life free of secrets and lies.

In every area of our lives, it’s time to go beyond self-help…. It’s time to get accountable.

It’s time to live Open.

Part 1 – Sunday, November 3rd

Part 2 – Sunday, November 10th

Part 3 – Sunday, November 17th

Part 4 – Sunday, November 24th




Developing An Unoffendable Heart

i’m super excited about a new series we’re starting this sunday with our teens at lakeshore. it’s called “No Offense!”


it seems more and more that we’re so easily offended these days, and i wonder what that says about our internal unhealth.  if we’re truly secure in our relationship with God, i have to believe we wouldn’t take things so personally.  it’d still be hard, of course, but at least we’d be able to navigate the situation without it crippling us.

here’s a little bit more about the series as we get word out to the students on it:
we’ve all heard people at times start a conversation with us with the line “No Offense, but…” and then proceed to lay into us and our shortcomings.  there’s no doubt that people’s words can be hurtful and damaging, but the truth of the matter is, they’re not going away.  even if you drop those relationships, someone else will eventually come to take their place.  how do we develop a heart that is secure enough in who we are to not be constantly offended at every lazy word directed at us?  if you’re in junior high or high school, be sure to join us for this important series; we’re confident it will help you manage the pressure of this last month of school!

the graphic above came from one of my favorite sites – creationswap. be sure to go over there and buy the image if you’re thinking of using this in your setting at some point in the future!


Target 10: A Simple Way To Encourage Friend Invites

i’m always looking for cheap and easy ways to empower our students to more actively invite their friends to our student ministry. in a couple weeks, we’re starting a new UFC-themed teaching series called “IDK” (graphics taken from the good people over at – and we’re setting it up towards an apologetics/defending your faith angle.  the hope is that it’ll teach our committed students how to think when they’re basic beliefs are questioned, and for our seeking students to consider the validity of christianity’s worldview.

to try to encourage our students to invite their friends, we printed out a simple poster of a bulls eye with a title at the top.  at the end of the services this sunday, our students will be challenged to grab a sharpie and write the names of 10 of their friends who don’t already attend church that they believe could benefit from this series.  by writing names on the poster, they’re not necessarily committing to actually invite them yet – just to think through and verbalize their names.

we also have some simple business-card sized invites they’ll be given on their way out the door. it’s an idea i stole from someone else, so feel free to take it if it can work in your setting!  what else do you do to encourage friend invites?

You Own The Sunday

this past sunday we started a new 4-week series in our student services called “You Own The Sunday”. like so many ideas we try, it was taken from someone else in a different context (josh griffin’s, to be exact) and tweaked to try to fit ours. the series isn’t done yet, so i can’t say yet whether or not it has truly transferred successfully, but there’s been enough “wins” already to think so. there’s a good chance we’ll be doing it every year.

here’s how it works:

our students are given 4 weeks to “own” all elements of the service – from the greeting at the door, to the tech and video elements, right down to the preaching. the goal is to not have a single adult on stage all morning (but they’re adults all over the place to support them and help them succeed in the weeks and months before).  we divided our students into our 4 most attended school clusters and challenged them to unite together to put on the service specifically for the rest of the teens that go to their school. the students putting on the service are challenged to make sure every single student at their school gets at least 1 personal invitation (not just a facebook event invite).

may 1st = Greece Arcadia Titans own the sunday

may 15th = Hilton Cadets & Spencerport Rangers own the Sunday

may 22nd = all the other schools own the sunday

june 5th = Greece Athena Trojans own the sunday

here’s what i’m hoping to see from it: 

  • more relevant communication (because it comes from people “indigenous” to teen culture)
  • more invites (teens are more likely to invite to something they own)
  • more new visitors that don’t go to church anywhere
  • more connection between teens in our ministry that don’t normally connect together (but should)
  • more involvement after the series from students that normally just sit in the seats
so far we’ve seen a lot of what i’ve been hoping to see… and it’s exciting!

Connected Series Graphics

i’m so spoiled with Shanna… (in MANY MANY ways actually!) but from a ministry standpoint, i’m spoiled with her from a graphic design end. unless it’s a series we purchase and use (like from simply youth ministry) or some graphics that we find at places like creation swap, shanna creates them from scratch. i love how many times she’ll bring a slight “custom” touch to the image that we can then mention throughout the series.

here’s the graphics from our current “Connected” series that she made. if they can be helpful for you, feel free to snag them!