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Top Posts of 2007

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So I did some quick recap analytics of the blog and found a few of the most read blog posts from 2007. Thought you might enjoy a quick look back or a good laugh if they're new to you:
1 - My Most Embarrasing Moment
2 - Sunday Night Announcement Video
3 - Youth Pastor Salaries
4 - Youth Ministry Hats
5 - Hotel, Hotel
6 - MySpace Session Notes
7 - Flying and Children
8 -Calling back after a text
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:02 PM |

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Rose Bowl Bound

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Oh man ... tomorrow morning I'm headed with some friends to the Rose Bowl up in Pasadena! USC vs. Illinois - I've always wanted to go, and this is it!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:55 PM |

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Free Airport Wi-Fi

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I've been travelling this week and noticed something great. Columbus, Las Vegas and Atlanta all have their airports completely covered in free Wi-Fi. And for Atlanta, that's 5.8 million square feet of space. So nice!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:30 AM |

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Hillary at AIDS Conference Picture

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Thought this picture of Hillary at the AIDS Conference was interesting. Grabbed it from a likewise interesting article on the subject of Jesus and politics here.

In one way or another, most of the major Republican and Democratic candidates have been hard at work establishing their religious credentials. Some are more explicit, such as Mike Huckabee defining himself on TV as a Christian leader. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton regularly stand up for religious progressives. Even thrice-married Rudy Giuliani has talked about how he once considered the seminary.

At some level, I don't fault them. They are trying to reassure voters they share some of their values. That's what Mitt Romney was doing with his big religion speech recently in College Station, Texas. It was understandable, assuming he and the other hopefuls truly do share the values of the voters they hope to reach.

But we voters better watch out when candidates play the Jesus Card. The child born in a manger turned out to be a radical figure. And his message can take us in demanding, unpredictable directions.

For example, there's that hard command to love your enemies. How would the professing candidates abide by that charge? Shouldn't we ask whether that dictum will affect how they deal with the opposition party on Capitol Hill? With Iran? And if it will affect them, how so?

Then there's the fact that Jesus spent much of his ministry challenging his day's religious establishment. Wow, that could create mighty big sparks if any of these candidates really played the Jesus Card.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:26 AM |

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Religious Beliefs = Christian

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I just finished a great spiritual conversation with a few friends from here in the Midwest. I love times like this, and after searching for months and being helped along the way by countless small contacts, conversations and situations - one of them accepted Christ .

The finishing touch on the night (it's now 3:34 AM here) was when she logged in to change her Facebook status. She went into the "Religious Views" which was originally blank, and typed in the word "Christian." Seriously, how cool is that?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:34 AM |

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Highlights from the Best Man Speech

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I got to give a "best man speech" today at a wedding for a great friend here in the Midwest. Here's a few of the lines I wrote about him:
So fun!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:42 PM |

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Google Searches That Lead Here: Volume 42

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Here's a few of the 341 different phrases people used in Google to find the blog this past week. Some of them are crazy!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:37 PM |

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33

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Angela packed me this totally sweet do-it-yourself birthday kit in my luggage last night ... I turned 33 today but am gone from the family in Ohio for a wedding. It was delicious - thanks, babe!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:19 PM |

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Book Review: The Last Season

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This birthday gift was a perfect read on the plane to Atlanta today. I managed to get in all 300 pages before we landed - and thoroughly enjoyed it since it is way out of the field of youth ministry. Or is it? My first impression was surprise at how honestly Lakers' coach Phil Jackson spoke about Kobe and Shaq, and how the NBA works behind the scenes - really fascinating stuff.

The best leadership lessons I picked up were the challenge Phil faced when he pushed his team. He always wanted to push his people, but not too far. A leader pushes people to the edge, but has to be careful to not push them off the cliff. He shares honestly about successes and failures in his leadership.

It's well written, intriguing and only occasionally gets mired down in basketball stats and minutia. A surprisingly interesting read! B

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:21 PM |

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Jesus Saved by GPS

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Thought this story was funny - a baby Jesus statue was stolen but equipped with GPS so the thieves were caught. Ha!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:18 PM |

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My Favorite Christmas Gift

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I don't know why, but I really loved this gift this year. In my new office I'll be sporting an official Fox Sports Football Robot that stands over 16" tall. Perfect!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:39 PM |

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Merry Christmas

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This is why I love Christmas morning. Merry Christmas, everyone!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:41 PM |

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After the Fire

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Took my family on a scenic tour of the burned areas of Orange County. These were taken about a mile from the house - how crazy are the melted cacti!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:12 AM |

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Christmas Eve at Saddleback

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Going to be fun ... my parents are in town for the week from Wyoming, and we're all headed to Christmas Eve services tonight at Saddleback. I've already done 3 services, and we're excited to watch the Christmas special, too.

The presents are wrapped, there's a TON of them, someone let us borrow an Xbox 360 for the holiday so life is good. Merry Christmas Eve!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:12 PM |

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TheForce.Net in EW

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Some friends have been telling me to be sure to pick of the latest issue of EW. Entertainment Weekly magazine (#971/972) has "The Best & Worst of 2007", including a pull-out section called "The Best of The Web: The 25 Most Essential Fansites For TV, Music, and Film Buffs."

TheForce.Net made the list at #25! Yeah!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:08 PM |

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Book Review: The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

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Just wrapping up my 3rd Patrick Lencioni book of the Fall - the business best-seller and classic The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Honestly, this is an excellent resource to help you recognize who you've got and how to get them to work together. The power of the individual is not as important as the power of the team - and this classic coaching mantra is the basis of the book. The typical dysfunctions, many of which you'll immediately recognize in your setting, are the absense of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountbility and inattention to results.

I'm thinking building trust and security in the team is a good place to start. A-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:08 PM |

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New Camera for the Family

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Heading into the holidays, you can't not have a camera. So, we picked up another little Sony 'disposable camera' - this time it clocked in at 7MP and holds about 650 pictures on the 2GB card. Should be enough for Christmas, don't you think? They seem to last about 2 years in the Griffin house ... I really want to get an SLR but don't trust myself or the kids ... not yet.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:49 AM |

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Singing the Christmas Classics

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I'm not sure why I think this is funny, but I do.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:46 AM |

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Santa on the Cross

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You've heard about Santa on the cross, right? A strong (perhaps misguided?) take on the commercialism of Christmas.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:30 AM |

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Santa vs. Darth Vader

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This article from the OC Register made me smile:

Who's more popular at Christmastime in Orange County: Santa Claus or Darth
Vader? Darth Vader, by a long shot.

That was the case Saturday in Irvine, where autistic children and their parents celebrated the holidays at California Integrative Hyperbaric Center. The guests of honor were St. Nick, of course, and the 501st Legion, an organization of hobbyists who dress up in Star Wars costumes for promotional and charitable events.

"It's great to see these kids happy," said Chris Romines, 40, of Cypress, who wore the enigmatic black mask, cape and breastplate of the universe's primary antagonist. "But between the kids and the adults, we don't know who's having more fun."
Several participants dressed as stormtroopers, one woman was Anakin Skywalker, and a few kids wore furry little Ewok costumes. Gus Aguilera, 37, of Anaheim, donned a scary-looking Tusken raider outfit he fashioned himself.

"It's for a good cause, and it makes the kids smile," said Aguilera, a graphic designer. "We're spreading joy, I guess." The swarm of children around the Star Wars characters outnumbered the smaller group waiting to sit on Santa's lap and take pictures with him.


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:26 AM |

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Armed Forces Network Gets Church

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Just remembered to post that the US Armed Forces Network will broadcast "The Purpose of Christmas" (last year's Christmas service at Saddleback) for all troops around the world to watch. So great - Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks for serving our country!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:53 PM |

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Great Park Church

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So excited for a buddy of mine Doug Elliot ... he's starting a new church with some friends up in Irvine. Great Park Church, it will be called - opens Easter 2008. Congrats, Elliot!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:51 AM |

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What CEO's Can Learn from Pastors

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I really enjoyed this Forbes article on what CEOs can learn from pastors. There's 8 in total, I'll give you one below to get started:
Modeling "Servant Leadership"
"Jesus Christ has given us a direction for the church," says Doug Schmidt, senior pastor of Woodside Bible Church, in Troy, Mich. "That helps create a culture for expectations. People come with a thousand different expectations, most of them unrealistic--and we try to create a culture to meet them." Megachurch member Jordan Rubin says he learns from megapastors how to "sew into the lives" of his employees. "In that way, I need to be the pastor of my company--not a priest, but a shepherd."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:47 AM |

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HSM Christmas Photo

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A fun team photo at the Grand Californian HSM team meeting this week ... Merry Christmas, all!

JG

UPDATE: You've got to see the version with Allison Photoshopped in ... hit her blog to enjoy it.

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:12 PM |

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Wal-Mart TV Christmas Special

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You can now watch Wal-Mart TV's Christmas Special online. My dad also forwarded a transcript of his talk which I'll paste below, too. Christmas services at Saddleback start tonight!
“What is the purpose of Christmas? We find the meaning of Christmas in
the words that the angel gave us 2,000 years ago: It’s a time for celebration, it’s a time for salvation and it’s a time for reconciliation. The angels said three things: I bring you good news of great joy; Unto you is born a Savior and peace on earth good will toward men.

This Christmas, make it a time for celebration. It’s a time for good news of great joy. Celebrate the good news in life, not the bad news. Look for the good news: God’s love for you. Make it a time where you don’t just go through the season thinking you just want to get it over with, make it a time to really celebrate. I bring you good news of great joy.

Make it a time for salvation. You know the Salvation Army for over 100 years has been using Christmas as a time to collect funds that minister to people all year long; the uneducated, the sick, the poor, the defenseless, the orphan, those who need it most. What does salvation mean? In a word, it means freedom, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from bitterness, freedom from loneliness. It means
freedom from my past and free to look into the future with confidence. This is the message of freedom, the message that the Salvation Army has been bringing for over 100 years.

Then make it a time for reconciliation. The first Christmas the angels said, ‘Peace on earth, good will toward men’ and I don’t know a time in our history when we’ve needed the message of reconciliation more. We need to be reconciled to our families; to our neighbors; to our enemies; to other nations; to each other. It doesn’t matter what religious background you have. We need to be reconciled to God and to each other. This is the message that I hope you’ll carry this Christmas.”
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:03 PM |

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3 Free Issues of GROUP

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I love these deals ... but only when there's no credit card required. Like this 3-free issue deal from Group Magazine, which is basically half a year. Nice!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:33 AM |

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Podcast 63 is in the Can

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The Christmas episode of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast is in the can and it should arrive later today. Not much youth ministry in there though, just as a warning.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:10 AM |

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Do Not Disturb

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Hmmm ... my office is in a high traffic spot.

Trying to figure out a way to keep a balance between tasks and people. I am a HUGE people person, but often at the expense of getting stuff done. I know that might seem shocking to some of you, but I like relationships more than I like to work. So, to that end, I'm experimenting with a traffic light Post-It System(tm).

It's also somewhat of a joke, but still:
POST-IT KEY
If you are a student, please ignore this and come in.
If you are a volunteer, please ignore this and come in.
If you are a member of my family, please ignore this and come in.

RED (as little as possible)
Please leave me alone. I am busy changing the world one blog post at a time. You know I want to hang out all day and talk about Star Wars and The Office, but I have trouble saying no, so this little piece of red paper is helping me be focused. Tough love.

YELLOW (occasionally)
You can totally come in; I am willing to push pause on this stack of stuff and the amassing emails from people like Jack Bauer and President Bush to hang out. If you just want to make a face through the window, that’s cool, too.

GREEN (most of the time)
Oh my goodness why would you not come in right now? I am doing absolutely nothing but sitting here bored out of my mind waiting to talk to you! Yes!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:34 AM |

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Courtney Cox at our HSM Meeting

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On Tuesday we had a High School team meeting up at the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland. It was a great Christmas atmosphere as we head into the break. So fun! As a special guest, I invited Courtney Cox to drop in and say hi to the gang. Actually, she and David Arquette were checking in as we were leaving and Shatie Kannon took a quick picture with them. Hit her blog for the details!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:44 AM |

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15 Ways to Improve Church Marketing

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Just read on Kerry's blog about a new article called 15 Ways to Improve Your Church Marketing. There's some good stuff in there (although a couple of them are too general to be immediately helpful) and as a youth worker the one that stood out to me the most was #11:
11. Reduce the number of things you promote.
If a church is promoting too many things, it can intimidate new people. Try not to clutter your church communications with too much information. Have a plan for prioritizing what appears in your bulletin, newsletter and home page of your Web site. An easy rule of thumb is if it affects the entire church, it should be in the spotlight. Use sub pages on your Web site, e-mail and phone calls for smaller promotions.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:26 AM |

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Register for PDYM 1-Day Conferences

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Registration is now open for the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry 1-Day Regional Conferences in Dallas, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida. Details if you follow this link, we'll see you there!

At each stop the first night will be dedicated to Life Hurts, God Heals taught by Megan Hutchinson and the following day will be Doug Fields teaching Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.

This will be a great opportunity for you and your whole team to hear from Doug Fields and learn about Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. You'll be refreshed, rejuvenated, re-energized, and your whole team will catch the vision of learning to balance your ministry around God’s five biblical purposes.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:12 AM |

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Small Group Sugar Overload

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My friend David hosted a great small group Christmas gathering for his junior high boys - you've got to read about his classic youth ministry experiences on his blog...and of course the candy dump. also known as defeat. after eating our hearts out for 20 minutes we had to surrender to the sugary monster and throw in the towel.

I personally don't know why we gave up our goal of eating the whole thing. To be honest I heard a lot of excuses:

"David I have a headache"
"I'm allergic to sugar"
"I want to go home"
"I think my stomach is crying"
"Is C-Group over yet?"
"Can we learn about the bible now?"
"My arteries are twitching"JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:50 AM |

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San Clemente Snowman

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Saddleback's regional campus down in San Clemente has a great lineup of Christmas fun for their holiday weekend. They'll have free family photos, a live nativity with real animals, and Christmas carolers during the services over the weekend. But the best part is Monday - they are trucking in trucking in 30 tons of snow to hold a snowman making competition and children's sled run in the parking lot.

When's the last time you saw a real snowman in Southern California? That is super cool ... my kids haven't seen snow in 2 years, that would be a great time!

JG

PS: Grab some free Christmas music here, too!

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:40 AM |

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Praise and Worship Night

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Last night was a fantastic night for our team - we had an entirely student led worship night with a powerful drama about Simeon's perspective on Christmas, great Christmas music, and baptisms. 10 people were baptized. As I watched the students sing, take communion and celebrate God's presence, I was moved. Powerful stuff after a long week. Refreshed and ready to hit today!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:34 AM |

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Christmas with Rick Warren on Fox News

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Fox News will be airing the Christmas services from Saddleback again this year - here's the dates and times of the broadcast:
December 24
11am PST (2pm EST)
6pm PST (9pm EST)
9pm PST (12 Midnight EST)

December 25

3am PST (6am EST)
11am PST (2pm EST)
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:49 AM |

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RIP Xbox 360 #2

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Dear Xbox 360 #2,

I still think you are amazing and won't stop telling people to buy one this holiday season, but I will sure miss you at my house over Christmas break.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:39 PM |

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Christmas Movie Clips

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WingClips just sent out a note that they've got some good Christmas/holiday clips that might go well with a talk you're during this season. Check them out right here - download them and play for free!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:18 PM |

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Christmas Freebies from SYM

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Tell me you've been soaking up the Christmas freebies over at Simply Youth Ministry! Grab a Christmas message, a New Year's message, a great Christmas countdown, responsive reading and more. Do it!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:13 PM |

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Group Programming Meeting Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is a big day for our preparation for the Group National Youth Ministry Conference - Jake and I are pitching all of our programming ideas to the gang tomorrow afternoon. Just noticed the Couch blog was updated about it, too.

Will there be a new rap video? Of course. Will there be an incredible amount of giveaways? Yes. Will we try to bring back cover songs roaring into the '80s? Without a doubt.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:56 PM |

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Team Song of the Month

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Taffy and I have been talking about a "team song" of the month for high school ministry. For January we selected After Your Heart by Phil Wickham. It is such a good song, and it'll be showing up in our HSM office staff's iTunes as a gift tomorrow afternoon. Here's the lyrics:
Phil Wickham - After Your Heart
from the album Cannons

Can I have your attention
What are we starting here
Just look around you the answer is clear
Listen, listen
and hear the coming sound
All of the children are singing it loud

Let's be the revolution
That lives for hold nothing back, nothing back

Chorus
We're after Your heart, after Your heart
All of the walls now are breaking apart
Live like we see it love like we mean it
This is the start we're after Your heart

Start the ascension
Begin the holy climb
Up to where heaven and the earth collide
Bring your affection
All that you have inside
Enter the kingdom and become alive

Love with no condition
It lives for holding nothing back, nothing back

Chorus

Oh lets go higher and higher
Hear the song of the free
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Lift your soul join with the choir
Sing the song, let it ring
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

We're after Your heart never going to stop until we reach You
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:45 PM |

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Christmas at Disney

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Spent a huge chunk of today at Disneyland. We've been there quite a bit recently - the annual passes we got as a Christmas gift last year expire next month so we're working them hard. There was no one hardly in the park today, so we rode a bunch of rides and enjoyed the Christmas parade under the HUGE tree on Main Street.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... except it was 65 degrees today.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:42 PM |

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Book Review: Lead to Succeed

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I'm just about finished with Rick Pitino's Lead to Succeed - a leadership and coaching book someone recently gave to me as a gift. It's full of practical advice, some pithy wisdom, and a few great sports stories. Rick says there are 10 Traits of Great Leadership, and here they are:
1 - Have a Concrete Vision
2 - Be Your Own Messenger
3 - Build a Team Ego
4 - Act with Integrity
5 - Act Decisively
6 - Be Adaptable
7 - Be Consistent
8 - Maintain Focus
9 - Live for the Future, Not in the Past
10 - Act Selflessly
I'm going to be using a ton of these in the coming weeks . I like to think the book is more of a refresher for many things you already should know, and a reminder of what your leadership most needs to focus on if you're distracted by shiny things. All in all a solid, super straightforward book on leadership. B+

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:44 AM |

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Feeling Used

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I believe there's a fine line with volunteers. They need to feel used without feeling used. Here's some thoughts I had after hearing a conversation about weekend volunteers.
Feeling used - Volunteers won't stick around very long if they are feeling used. If they don't have something specific to do, they will start to question things. If they don't sense a feeling of importance or that you are taking them seriously, they will fizzle out. If they are standing around without direction, expect them to find some direction soon through the back door. Wonder why your volunteers are bailing or potential volunteers are avoiding you in the hallway? Perhaps your reputation is that you take advantage of people or undervalue them. This is a youth worker's worst nightmare.

Feeling used - This should be our goal. volunteers should be in their sweet spot, being encouraged and loved on. They must know they are necessary to accomplish the mission. They are critical to the church, to our students and to fulfill our goals. They all should feel completely and totally used.
So are your volunteers feeling used, or feeling used?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:25 PM |

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Earth Song

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One of my fellow students at seminary played this video as part of his class project. He also did a video with a very different style, but a similar message of creation, the earth and such. Interesting.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:02 PM |

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Jesus Born on This Day Song

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One of my favorite moments of this weekend in adult services here at Saddleback Church was when the final special music was performed. At the very end of each song they always list the credits in the fine print. The CCLI license number, who wrote it, the date - all that jazz.

Well, Jesus Born on This Day, which is a super-powerful Christmas song, was wrtten by Mariah Carey. I love it when people read the fine print, it was fun to see some conversations and realizations in that moment.

Here's the lyrics, in case you were interested:

Today a child is born on earth
Today the glory of God shines everywhere
For all the world
Oh Jesus born on this day
He is our light and salvation
Oh Jesus born on this day
He is the King of all nations

Behold the lamb of God has come
Behold the Savior is born
Sing of His love to everyone
Oh Jesus born on this day
Heavenly child in a manger
Oh Jesus born on this day
He is our Lord and Savior

Today our hearts rejoice in Him
Today the light of His birth
Fills us with hope and brings peace on earth
Oh Jesus born on this day
He is our light and salvation
Oh Jesus born on this day
He is the King of all nations

Today a child is born on earth
(He is light, He is love, He is grace
Born on Christmas day)

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:43 PM |

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Psalty the Singing Songbook at Church

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It was an amazing service in the family venue at Saddleback because Psalty the Singing Songbook was there for a special Christmas treat. The kids loved it, especially since they listen to him almost every night at bedtime. So fun!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:37 PM |

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An iTunes Run: Volume 18

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Just got a little gift certificate for iTunes as a nice early Christmas gift - promptly went and picked up a few songs until my balance was gone.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:52 PM |

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First Semester of Seminary Coming to a Close

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Whew ... finals week is upon me. And even though I've only taken 7 graduate-level credits this go round - this time of year there's more than enough work. Everything is hitting at once ... the projects, the exams, the papers.

Funny, it feels a lot like the old college days. Except, of course, that I didn't have a full-time job at a church and a wife and four kids at home. That seems to make a big difference this time from last.

But, I'm in the home stretch, and that is something to be proud of. This time tomorrow I'll be playing video games not a care in the world - and hey, I've been off the 360 for 24 dys due to work/seminary/life. Whew!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:35 PM |

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Tim Davis Christmas

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Thank you, Tim, for singing in church tonight. Thank you as well for the new CD. So good!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:57 PM |

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Youth Ministry Lemonade

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Hmmm ... I'm about 6 books behind where I want to be right now, though closing in on almost 25 for the year doesn't seem so shabby. I want to add Youth Ministry Lemonade to the stack of stuff to read, it's new at Simply Youth Ministry and sounds promising.
All ten authors give you a peek inside their private thoughts - almost as if you are reading their personal journals. This straightforward approach allows you to learn firsthand from their mistakes, and the leadership lesson you'll pick up are powerful. If applied...they will help you turn your "sour" experiences into leadership success!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:36 PM |

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Getting Dumped Via a Text

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Prepare for ministering to students who get dumped by their girlfriend via SMS.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:34 PM |

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Big Event Planning

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I'm writing a new article for Simply Youth Ministry this weekend and the thrust of it is how to plan a big event. I've come up with 9 considerations to be aware of when planning the first meeting - have you got one to add to this list?
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:26 PM |

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Inspect What You Expect

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"As the leader of a ministry, you must inspect what you expect."
-Some wise old youth ministry wizard I was talking to today.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:19 PM |

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Saddleback Staff Christmas Lunch

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Just finished up the Saddleback staff Christmas lunch - great food, a silly song and Pastor Rick's challenge for the New Year.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:51 PM |

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2 New Saddlebacks This Easter

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McGill is cranking on Saddleback regional campuses ... looks like Irvine and Corona are both on for Easter 2008 starts. He's been out scouting for strategies and help with us moving forward, visiting National Community Church and North Point along the way.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:47 PM |

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Moran Raceway Pictures

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Here's a few shots from the student ministry's Christmas party at Moran Raceway (from the 10 stitches post earlier). More here ... so much fun at 70mph.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:48 PM |

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Thieves Steal 1,000 Copies of Rock Band

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Want to get Rock Band for the Xbox 360 tihs Christmas? These dudes stole 1,000 copies of the game. Crazy!
Regardless, it looks like a pair of thieves was desperate enough to hijack a truck full of Harmonix and EA's hot new party game in LA last night, hold the driver at gunpoint, unload the gear and make off with the goods. Police think it was an inside job, since the truck was unmarked and the driver picked up his cargo late Saturday night -- meaning the thieves must have known the truck was worth jacking, and already have had a place to unload the less-than-compact boxes.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:44 PM |

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Little Black Book - Little Pink Book

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Couple of great new resources over on Simply Youth Ministry today - for the guys it is the little black book series, and for the ladies the little pink book is also there for sale. I guess the series has sold a ka-jillion copies (that's with a "k") ... but I've never checked them out. I'll have to soon!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 11:58 AM |

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Go Carts and Stitches

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No blog posts yesterday - enjoyed some time at the high-speed go kart track with the Student Ministries team for a little Christmas break.

It was an amazing time (pictures soon) though it ended abruptly with Jeff (HSM intern) taking a cart to the knee and us spending quality time together at the emergency room. I have a picture of it from my camera phone, but what little sensibility I have left as a youth pastor is stopping me from adding it directly to this post.

Hang in there, Jeff. Ah, the memories!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:56 AM |

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Merry Christmas from the SYM Podcast

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If you're a fan of the Simply Youth Ministry podcast, you can see our Christmas greeting on the official site today. Merry Christmas!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:54 AM |

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Davy Crockett's Greatx10 Grandson Kills a Bear

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You should read this on ESPN.com. And the kid was 5-year's old. Might make for a funny illustration in a David vs. Goliath talk. Ha!
A 5-year-old Arkansas County boy killed a black bear Sunday weighing more than 400 pounds.

Tre Merritt, a descendant of Davy Crockett, was hunting with his grandfather Mike Merritt when a black bear happened upon their stand.

"His 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett," Mike Merritt said. "And Davy supposedly killed him a bear when he was three. And Tre is five and really killed a bear. I really doubt if Davy killed one when he was three."

There's a picture if you follow the link, too.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:53 AM |

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New Small Group DVD: Tuff Stuff

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Thought this new DVD small group material might be something that you're interested in checking out. Click the image above to head to Simply Youth Ministry and watch an intro video from Kurt Johnston on the new series. Looks great!
The Tuff Stuff junior high DVD curriculum is designed to remove the stress of speaking and preparation for small group leaders and allow them to focus on how to best connect with their students.

Kurt Johnson tackles the hard questions on living life that he gets from his own junior high students in “Tuff Stuff”. Each DVD series includes video of Kurt teaching five lessons, along with leader and student guides. The leader guide has probing questions that will help your students open up and guide them to God’s answers.

Topics for the series include:
  • Fitting In
  • Why All the Bad/Sad Stuff
  • Aren't All Religions the Same?
  • How Do I Know What's True?
  • End Times
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:05 AM |

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Something Else I Want for Christmas

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A camera-mounted USB missile launcher. Amazing!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:55 AM |

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Kay Warren on GMA

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ABC News has a report on Kay Warren from Good Morning America yesterday - here's a clip of the piece mainly centered around AIDS and her new book, Dangerous Surrender:

She wondered how a pandemic so large could not affect her life even in the smallest way. She determined it did have an influence and enlisted the aid of her husband to help her make the world an AIDS-free place.

"Five years ago, her life took a flip. It flipped mine, too," he said said on "Good Morning America" today. "When she first started talking about AIDS, I didn't get it. When it grabbed her heart, it grabbed mine."

Since Warren's revelation, the couple has traveled extensively through Africa and even issued its third conference on fighting AIDS in Africa earlier this year.

"We know she came late to the table on this and we regret it," said Rick, who is the best-selling author of "A Purpose Driven Life." "That was a mistake, but we're here to stay."

Warren's passion became so intense, she penned a book about it called "Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God." The book is her response on the pandemic. It also explains her faith and its role in helping AIDS patients.

Her spiritual awakening did more than just push her to help AIDS orphans; it also allowed her to deal with the feelings of jealousy she had toward her husband and his success. Now, she wasn't thinking about how to get out of Rick's shadow or worrying about how becoming an AIDS activist would help her image.

Warren says she simply was pleased to do God's work.

"That was the most effective way I could show my love to Jesus Christ was to be his hands and feet to this very, very broken world. Then I wasn't in it anymore for me," she said. "It wasn't like what acclaim can I receive? How can I move out of Rick's shadow? It ceased to have anything to do with Rick and anything to do with me. And it had to do with the fact there were so many people suffering and needed a voice."

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:48 AM |

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Wired's iPod vs. Zune

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And the winner is ... the Zune? What!?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:42 AM |

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Church Shootings and Security

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Thought this article was an interesting take on security related to the church shootings this week. A clip of it is below, I also appreciated how Perry reacted to the incident:
"There was chaos," Assam said, as parishioners ran away."I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."Assam had several years of experience in law enforcement and is licensed to carry a weapon.

She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service."I give credit to God," Assam said. "God was with me. I didn't think for a minute to run away."
Christianity Today mentions how Saddleback handles this, too. These are GREAT guys, and Sunday they were more serious than I've ever seen them. Good article here, too.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:38 AM |

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Time Talks Top 10 Games of 2007

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Halo 3 is king in Time's new Top 10 videogames of 2007 report. I agree with most all of the chosen - it's a great year for gamers ... and an even better year for Xbox 360 owners like you and I.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:53 PM |

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Indiana Jones Teaser Poster

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Totally expected ... but of course, perfect!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 4:49 PM |

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15 Baptisms This Weekend

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Every so often I get called upon to perform some baptisms for big church. One of the things that excites me the most is the thought and priviledge to be used at this significant point in someone's spiritual journey. Today I did 15 baptisms, and there were some amazing stories that surround them:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:01 PM |

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3 Types of Dads at a Birthday Party

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I should have taken a picture to illustrate this post today at a birthday party for my son's friend. There's basically 3 types of dads out there I think:
1) I'm sitting around just watching my kid dad - this dad is at the party, and kicking back. Enjoying the time not having to ask the kid to get out of the way of the big screen, enjoying time out of the office and not at work. They might have been forced to be there because their wife had other plans, but they should get at least partial credit for showing up.

2) I've jumped right in and am playing dad - this dad is going down the slides. This is the dad who is as sweaty as the kids, or more so because they're a bit out of shape. This is the fun dad who knows the other school kids' names.

3) "I'm-here-but-I'm-working" dad - this is the dad who looks up 2 times an hour to make sure their kid didn't kill themselves. They are glued to their Blackberry and breath occasionally in between emails. They were thrilled "Jump Town" added Wi-Fi last month.
I so desperately want to be dad #2.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:06 PM |

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Christmas List, Yo

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Silly video from a friend. Inspired by PDYM and SNL, without question.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:39 PM |

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Power Play Volume 4

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Excited to announce that the new Power Play: Volume 4 is now out at Simply Youth Ministry was released today ($16 at SYM). I'm most excited about it because I did a game called "A Hive of Spelling" is included on the disk. I'm the narrator for a spelling be, super silly, I know ... but I can't wait to see the final product.
Power Play includes 20 professionally designed, original games – ready to use, as is. Or, if you want to add your own creativity, it’s really simple because each game also comes with an editable version so questions and answers can be customized specifically to your group. You also get great looking score sheets (PDFs) for each game to make you look even better.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 2:04 PM |

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Credit and Correction

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Easy win if you're a leader: give credit in public, correct in private. Deflect praise as the top leader to your team, and be sure to correct only in a protected environment.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:52 PM |

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Stacking Hands

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I like "stacking hands" as an expression of teamwork. Stacking hands is probably an athletic term from inside the huddle, right? The plan is called out by the quarterback, and everyone puts in their hands to the center and yells out something unintelligible - quickly rushing off to fulfill their specific roles.
Stacking your hand on the pile is saying....

"I understand the play" - if you're hand is in the pile, it means you understand the course of action from here. Things are clear, the next steps are ready to be climbed. Further decisions and adjustments are sure to be made, but in this moment you are up to speed with your head in the game.

"I am in support of this direction" - you might not have been a fan before the meeting or challenged the call during the meeting, but when you leave you believe.

"I will protect the person calling the plays" - there's nothing worse than a coach being ragged on by his players. Putting your hand in the middle says I'm part of this from the beginning to the end and if you win we all win and if you lose we all lose.

"I'm committed to making the play happen" - the team is counting on you to perform your assigned tasks. The success of the play - whether it is stopped for a loss or goes for a touchdown depends on each member of the team. Did you know that most football plays are designed to go for a touchdown if everyone does their assignment?

"I'll pitch in with the team" -Putting in your hand isn't just saying I'll do my best in my little silo - it is saying that I'll keep my eyes open to the needs of others and you can count on me to jump in and add energy and octane when it is needed. It says I won't wait to be asked, I'll take responsibility in part for the whole team's good.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:54 AM |

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AIDS Activist Finds Christ

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Amazing story this past week after the AIDS Conference - Act Up founder and Aids Institute member David Miller accepted Christ (he got baptized, too)! I got to meet him backstage and talk with him for a few minutes - what a guy! Here's a clip from Crosswalk on the subject:
“I gave, in my speech yesterday, a quote from Paul Monay who said, ‘It seems to me the choice is simple collaborate or resist.’ Paul Monay said something else that is pretty exceptional. It was, ‘Thou shalt not be a victim; thou shalt not be a perpetrator most important of all thou shalt not be a bystander.’ The church was a bystander for a while and then the church came into the epidemic via Rick Warren.

“Up until that time, I didn’t see the church doing much in the epidemic and then Rick did a big thing that somebody needed to do.”

There were, however, several Christian ministries fighting a mainly lone battle to wake-up the Church, including He Intends Victory based in Southern California.

Miller said that Rick Warren had apologized for the misdeeds of some American Christian leaders.

“I needed to have somebody ask for forgiveness and then Rick taught me that I have a need in my life; to learn who Jesus Christ is. That was hard to learn, but he gained my trust as a man and this community [at Saddleback] gained my trust as a body and showed me that they really did care.

“Over a long time of souls searching over two years, Rick came over to my hotel World AIDS Day last year (2006) with Steve Kay and David Shaw, and I accepted Jesus in my life. It was a big deal. There were no trumpets; no bright revelation, I just accepted Christ. It was cool.

“This morning, I woke up and my wife and I debated that Hillary Clinton was coming to speak at the summit and we’ve got all kinds of issues with Hillary, but because we’re Christians now, as well as AIDS activists, today’s going to be a day that we will leave it and we let her say her piece at a place like this.”
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:50 AM |

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7 Deadly Interview Sins

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Thought this article was an interesting one on Forbes about the 7 Deadly Interview Sins. Not exactly everything in it applies to the church, but worth a read if you're hunting for what's next. Here's a clip:

Interviewees: Never forget your judgment is scrutinized at every point of the interview process. That means everything--from what you wear to the language you use--will be examined. Hoffman offers another example in which he flew to Nashville, Tenn., to conduct a preliminary interview on a candidate for president of a waste management firm in Chicago before the client met him.

When he reached the baggage claim there was a casually dressed man in jeans and a T-shirt with a box of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve waiting for Hoffman. He recalls thinking, That's so classy that the candidate sent a driver to pick me up. That person turned out to be the actual job candidate.

When Hoffman suggested there might be a miscommunication about the job and its senior level, the candidate told him, "I'm a hands-on manager, I thought this dress was appropriate." "That was the end of the interview," says Hoffman. "I got on
the next flight out of Nashville."


JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:16 PM |

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Tend or Feed?

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Interesting discussion over the past couple of days about small groups. Before Saddleback I've mainly used small groups for discipleship (like a Sunday School replacement, really) where the Saddleback classic model has always had them squarely in the fellowship camp. I heard that the philosophy of the small group can be compared to that of a shepherd, and I loved the concept. Basically there's two schools of thought on the subject:

TEND - Fellowship is what you're going after. You want students to be known, cared for and in a adult mentoring relationship. Like a shepherd, you loving guide and direct sheep through the dangers of life in the wild.

FEED - Discipleship is the key. Students need to be instructed in the ways of the Word and shown God's direction for their lives. Some personal application is made, but the key here is to spread out a big feast.

I'm not sure if there's a "correct" answer in this, as I wrap my mind around it I'm beginning to think both rank on the important scale. Shepherds need to care for their sheep and protect them from danger, as well as allow them to eat and grow. Small group volunteers should probably have a firm grasp of both methods. Thoughts?

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:06 PM |

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5 Family Games at Dinner Time

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I don't blog too much about family stuff, but thought tonight I would share some of the fun games we play around the dinner table. Unlike most California families, we eat 4-5 weekday meals homecooked around the table. Here's the conversation starters:
The Favorite Game - I give the category, they give their favorite.
Standards include color, food and sibling. OK, not the brother/sister
part. Movie, part of the day, thing about dad. Amazing how our
kids each have very different favorite things.

The Island Game - We go around the table in 3 rounds and ask for the 3
people you would want on an island with you and the family. Usually the kids
pick their friends or grandparent, but it always is interesting to me when they
pick an adult or staff friend from our lives. I love it when someone pours into
my kids. They really notice it.

The Question Game - Random questions I make up on the spot. No categories, totally random. Just fun stuff that are progressively more difficult with each round. And the older the kid, the tougher the question, too.

Say Something Nice Game - Look at the person on your right and say something nice about them. Not as easy as you would think, but a great game to teach kindness and making amends after a particularly challenging day.

What Does God Want You to Be? Game - We go around clockwise in 3 rounds and simply ask about what the kids want to be when they grow up. One of our favorite games, last night yielded "ninja" and "fireworks shooter." I couldn't be more proud.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:53 PM |

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Raquetball Knee

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Hmmm ... might have jacked up my knee playing racquetball this morning. Dove for a ball playing 3 guys who wanted a pickup game. When I landed on my knee, the parkay wood actually cracked. I broke the floor! Doh ... maybe my knee, too.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:31 AM |

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Podcast 62 is in the Can

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Another week, another podcast - actually, it's kind of a big deal since they've been scattered lately. Check out Simply Youth Ministry's Episode 62 hitting iTunes later this week - spent an hour today with Doug, Matt and Jana recording the new show. This time we (gasp!) actually answer questions while screwing around making fun of senior pastors.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:03 PM |

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Conversations from the Couch

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Group's National Youth Ministry Conference blog was born born today - check it out at www.conversationsfromthecouch.com. The blog will be a running dialogue of all of the crazy stuff that's happening with the conference, important updates, insider info, etc. They are starting a few contests on the blog today too - cool prizes, free stuff and more!

I hear the web team is inclined to play favorites with people who comment! We've also set up a PDYM discounted rate (an extra $10 off per person) when people register with the code EV7287.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:00 PM |

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Hulu Invitation

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Just got my invitation to HULU - NBC's new online TV website. It's so great! In honor of that, here's a super funny clip from SNL about the iPhone. Enjoy!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:51 PM |

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110%

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You have to give 100% to your job, and how it supports the overall mission of the student ministry and church. Your job is critical to the discipleship process of the ministry, and you have to give it everything you've got. Refuse the temptation to focus solely on your role and not on the big picture.

Worst of all, don't exclude pitching in on the efforts of the rest of your team. Give an extra 10% to other people on your team. Their efforts are also mission critical, and your boost could help it go from "pulling it off" to something really special. The community you bring to the project could help it get that big idea it needs, or help push it to the finish line.

And that's how you give 110%. Pitch in.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 1:31 PM |

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Lessons You Should Learn Now

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Reading the Swerve blog this morning and enjoying the post 40 Lessons from a 40-year old Pastor. Such a strong series of posts with some short but sweet learnings - really worth the click over there.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:10 AM |

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Free YS Conference Stuff

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Thought this bunch of free goodies from YS's convention circuit (thanks Marko) was a nice gift from them today. Grab some cool new videos, backgrounds and other assorted freebies after the link.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:06 AM |

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Book Review: Silos, Politics and Turf Wars

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Just finished up another Patrick Lencioni book - this one on the topic of silos. How departments with businesses and ministries all face the temptation to be little islands to themselves. How often is this seen in the ministry world - the church as a whole is heading one direction, but facets underneath are headed every other direction and are all over the place.

It's time the student ministries supported the direction of the church and we fought against islands and silos that hold us back from being great. His answer: crisis. Crisis unites people and creates within them the sense of urgency to forget politics, silos and turf wars and did achieved something for the greater good. He uses the illustration of an ER within a politic-filled hospital that puts everything aside to save a life. See any parallels?

This book might help you on that process if you identify it in your place of service. What is our crisis? Students are living without Christ, living without a genuine Christian mentoring community, not growing in their faith and not using their gifts for service.

THAT is the crisis ... we don't have time for silos, friends. B+

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:17 PM |

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3 Messages to Your Youth Ministry Girls

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My good friend Neely McQueen has a new article on Simply Youth Ministry. In it, she says there's 3 messages you can't say enough to your female students. Here's the list, head over there for exposition on them:
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 5:13 PM |

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Micromanagement Isn't Always Bad

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Some micromanagement isn't bad. Some people need it. In some seasons, it is completely appropriate or needed. But I would agree, on the whole it isn't my favorite style of management.

As I look and pray about our ministry, I want to find what needs little attention, some attention and lots of attention. Just because something is getting a lot of management or attention doesn't mean it is going terribly. We might need to discover how it is working, we might need to document the amazing process we're using. We might need to overhaul it, we might need to toss it out all together.

Don't think about micromanagement as always a bad thing. I do have a general disdain for it (managing that way and being managed that way). But, it does have it's place.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:03 PM |

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An iTunes Run: Volume 17

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My friend Tony hooked me up with some great tunes this week. What a dude!
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:38 PM |

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Phrases That Crush Creative People

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Don't say these or you'll crush the creativity in the room:
We tried that before.
It costs too much.
That's not my job
They're too busy to do that.
We don't have the time.
Not enough help.
It's too radical a change.
The staff will never buy it.
It's against company policy.
We don't have the authority.
Let's get back to reality
That's not our problem.
I don't like the idea.
I'm not saying you're wrong but...
Now's not the right time.
It isn't in the budget.
Can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Let's give it more thought.
We'll be the laughingstock of the industry.
Not that again.
Where'd you dig that one up?
We did alright without it before.
It's never been tried.
More if you follow the link at the top - good stuff, Corey.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:26 PM |

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AIDS Youth Summit Press Release

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This press release and picture hit newswires today. So cool - what a day!
First Daughter Jenna Bush, author of “Ana’s Story,” headlined the first-ever HIV/AIDS Youth Summit at Saddleback Church, held on World AIDS Day, which capped a four-day Global Summit on AIDS & The Church, co-hosted by Pastor Rick and Kay Warren.

More than 5,000 teens participated in the event, including more than 4,100 via satellite uplink to 200 locations in 35 states and Canada. Related activities included a kick-off concert Friday evening by Disney musical sensation Jordan Pruitt and a high-flying motocross demonstration by Riders for Christ.

“Nothing has taken so many lives and is so incurable as AIDS,” Dr. Rick Warren said. “While we are looking for a cure, we need to care. But before you can care, you need to be aware; then you need to dare to do something about it.”

“Why are we doing this conference?” Dr. Warren asked rhetorically. “Because Jesus cared about sick people, and commands us to have that same compassion. Sympathy says, ‘I’m sorry you hurt;’ Empathy asks, ‘How can I help you?’ but compassion says, ‘I will do anything I can to help you.’”

Kay Warren shared a testimony of her personal journey as a woman “seriously disturbed” by global need as she became aware of how much people around the world want our compassion and love. “We’re here on World AIDS Day to help make a difference,” she said, referencing this year’s theme, ‘Leadership: Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise.’

“I pray for you everyday as young people, because you are the future,” said Mrs. Maureen Mwanawasa, First Lady of the Republic of Zambia. “AIDS has no boundaries, but success has no headquarters. There will be no success in overcoming this disease if you don’t protect yourselves.

“The message is clear: we need you in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” Mrs. Mwanawasa continued. “As parents we play our role, but the responsibility falls on you – and with God, you cannot fail.”

South African pastor John Thomas gave a frank, hard-hitting presentation on ‘Sex: Doing it God’s Way – on Purpose.’ “We don’t talk about sex in church, but you sit there with all those hormones,” he said. “AIDS has drawn back the curtain to our bedrooms, exposed our moral lives and then leaves its business card behind. But God has a sexual plan for your life.”

First Daughter Jenna Bush shared her experiences in Panama working for UNICEF as chronicled in her new book. In “Ana’s Story,” she relates transferable principles that changed her life after meeting a young 17-year-old single mother who was herself infected with HIV at birth and has since lived a life filled with abuse.
“She [Ana] wanted me to tell you that if you know someone, a child, facing similar hardships that Ana faces, you should tell them they are not alone and it is okay to get the help they need to keep themselves safe,” Ms. Bush said.

"You are probably asking yourself how can I make a difference, what can I possibly do?” Ms. Bush continued. “Often it's the smallest gesture of kindness that makes a huge difference. First, get educated on HIV/AIDS and know the difference between myths and facts. Then start a dialogue with your friends and families and at school. But the most important thing you can do is to protect yourself and others.”

Irish rock star Bono gave a passionate plea to the next generation of leaders in the response to HIV/AIDS. "These are important issues -- not just on Dec 1, World AIDS Day, or Dec 2 or Dec 3 -- but for the work Saddleback and your partners in Rwanda are doing 365 days of the year -- that’s an incredible thing; we are a long way from beating this pandemic," he said. "I think it’s important to stop and take a minute to look back at how far we’ve come, but then we’ve got to get back to work -- it’s not a cause, it’s an emergency."
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:54 PM |

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Book Review: The 5 Tempatations of a CEO

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Just finished up the easy read 5 Tempatations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni. It is a really insightful business fable helping high-level leadership make the correct decisions and find success.

The first temptation is to protect your career over everything else. A great reminder of the humility needed in a great leader. The second, which I think I struggle with the most, is the desire to be popular. Wanting to be well-liked is a fatal addiction of mine - the best line in the book says "work for the long-term respect of your direct reports, not for their affection." Wow.

The other temptations also made a lot of sense to me - make clear decisions and don't be afraid of owning failure, allow for some dischord and passion on the team for the greater good, and to trust people with your reputation. Love it - a solid read for anyone assuming a leadership role or who wants to better focus on the challenge of leadership. A-

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 12:47 PM |

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World Vision AIDS Experience

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Just finished up going through the last tour of the AIDS Experience here at Saddleback. World Vision put on an impressive 20-minute tour through Africa. It was a great experiential moment and the best part was reading all of the prayers written down by people on the previous tours during the week and World Aids Day.

The two shots above are of the prayer wall through a cross-shaped window and a shot of my HIV-negative hand stamp from the tour. Loved it. If you can get your students into one of these (or make one yourself in your church basement) do it.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:00 AM |

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25% Off 25 Youth Ministry Resources

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Hit the banner (or this link) to see a bunch of great resources for your youth ministry for 25% off. It runs through Wednesday - and there are still a bunch of CD's on sale for 40% off, too!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:44 PM |

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Does a Can of Soda Float?

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Randy just told me that diet soft drinks float and regular sugar sodas sink. He demonstrated it with a few different types on campus after we came across a tub filled with them - and surprise - he was right. Read why here, here's a clip:
Diet sodas usually contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener, while regular sodas use sugar. Take a look at the nutritional information on the side of the cans. Notice how much sugar is in a regular soda (look under carbohydrates). Most regular sodas have about 41 grams of sugar. How much is 41 grams? Try 18 packets of sugar like the ones you might find at a restaurant! Diet soda is flavored with a relatively small amount of an artificial sweetener (like aspartame) which is 200 times sweeter than an equal amount of sugar. Therefore, only a tiny amount of aspartame is needed. Both sugar and aspartame are denser than water, which can be easily demonstrated by adding small amounts of each to a container of water. So it is actually a matter of how much of each is used. The 41 grams or so of sugar added to a can of regular soda makes it sink. The relatively tiny amount of aspartame used in diet sodas will have a negligible effect on the mass, enabling the can to still float.

So why then do cans of diet soda float? It is all due to the fact that there is a little bit of space, called "headspace," above the fluid in each can of soda. This space is filled with gas, which is much less dense than the soda, itself. It is this space above the soda that lowers the density of diet drinks just enough to make them float. Sugared drinks still have this headspace, but the excessive amounts of sugar added makes the can denser than water.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:54 PM |

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Txt Msgs

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I just did some quick figuring on my phone - I send and receive about 500 texts a month. That's less than I would have thought.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 7:53 PM |

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Welcome to the Moleskin Club

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So, I may have originally made fun of the geeks of the world out there that carry a Moleskin journal with them. Now I'm taking one out for a spin - I've found out that bringing the PPC-6700 to meetings people think I'm texting and doing email (and they would be right), and something old school and offline might give off the impression I'm actually paying attention.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:36 AM |

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Living With AIDS

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This story was one of the other highlights from today's AIDS Summit - a courageous student living with AIDS shared her story to the crowd. Here's a clip of it, for more and a photo follow the link:
Warren's husband, Rick Warren, is the senior pastor of Saddleback Church. He is also known as the author of The New York Times best seller "The Purpose Driven Life." Speakers for the youth summit include Rick and Kay Warren and Jenna Bush, daughter of President Bush and author of "Ana's Story."

On Friday, Clementi and her brother Daniel Clementi spoke at a World AIDS Day event in Tallahassee. Tim and Tracey Dannemiller also attended.

They have also appeared on an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Clementi recently participated in PGTV's "Teen World."Even with the experience of speaking, as a teenager, it isn't always easy for Clementi to share her story with the world.

"I enjoy doing it, but the older I get it's been harder for me to go out there and speak to my peers. I know how they are," Clementi said. "I didn't want my mom going to my high school (to speak) because I was scared of the ignorance," she said.
JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:36 PM |

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4-Year Small Group Teaching Calendar

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Spent some time with a few local youth workers and the crew from Simply Youth Ministry on Friday working on a 4-year plan for small groups. What are the critical passages, stories and topics that should be covered in the life of a high schooler? Sure it's a perfect world scenario, but what is the big picture view of what your students should get in that 4 years of fellowship/discipleship groups?

This was our first crack at it, and actually, this is a picture of me screwing around during a lull in the meeting - I was trying to see how many things I could stack on my laptop screen. BUT, we did come up with a 4-year calendar - after a few more revisions in the next few months I'm sure it will be shared. Stay tuned!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:01 PM |

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Broken Bread Meal

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This was a cool idea at the end of the Summit ...

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:55 PM |

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Jenna Bush and the Secret Service

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Do the Secret Service agents all actually drive around in dark cars and SUVs with dark tinted windows? Yes.

Do Secret Service agents take their job very seriously? Yes.

Do Secret Service agents think the name of the crowd game "Cell Phone Shootout" is not a good titled game right after the First Daughter comes out to speak?

Did I get to meet Jenna Bush? Yes!

What is my clearance rating? I believe I was rated R-8, whatever that means.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:47 PM |

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Students Respond

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So cool to see students during the final song (after the simulcast was over) and head to tables to take a step of action. There developing a "What Now?" website to send to youth leaders after the Summit, and rest assured I'll post the link here when it's live.

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 3:44 PM |

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LIVE Television

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Whew! We're live to over 200 locations across North America with the AIDS Youth Summit at Saddleback Church. What an exciting morning! Doing a conference is challenging enough, but having it broadcast via sattelite makes me feel a bit like SNL. So cool.

Here's a shot from one of the simulcast churches - they are texting in attendance numbers and even sent in this Picture Mail.

Live from New York, it's Saturday night!

JG

posted by Joshua Griffin @ 9:40 AM |

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