Vision of Surge

As I have stated we follow the systems/structure of the Purpose Driven model created by Rick Warren at Saddleback church.  In that model Warren uses concentric circles to illustrate the levels of commitment to the local church related to the programs directed toward that audience.  The goal is to move the people on the outlying circles to the inner circle.  The order goes, Community, Crowd, Church, Committed and Core.

Our ministry has programmed to all of these circles to some degree with a hope that some students will move from the Community to the Core over time.

For the Community  we offer community events like “Movies Under the Oaks” – this is a done outside and we choose good movies but not necessarily “christian” movies.  We also do several Family Events throughout the year.  Our Fall Festival on Halloween night is a huge community even as is our Easter Egg drop.  We are a presence at the HS football games and in other community festivals and events.

For the Crowd we focus on Campus Ministry.  At our HS we have a weekly study called “Jesus Pizza”. It is exactly what it sounds like…pizza and a bible study.  At our MS campuses we do a lunch study once a month and bring in Chickfila and do some games and bible study.

For the Church we have Surge worship which is our “big” meeting.  Music, relevant teaching and plenty of hang time.  We also offer a recovery program for teens called The Landing.  This program can be a 1st step into the church for teens who are struggling with addiction, cutting, self esteem issues etc.

For the Committed we have small groups that are age and gender specific, Sunday morning bible study and Huddles which is a part of our Surge worship experience.

For the Core we encourage our teens to be the church and serve the church.  They help in the kids ministry, tech ministry and other areas as needed.  We are also launching a leadership study for a few teens that show next level skills.

That is our process for striving to connect with the random kid in the school and move them toward commitment to the gospel and the church.


Your values shapes your culture

You can tell a lot about an organization by what they value. Walmart values cheap goods.  Chickfila values customer service.

Our Values at Surge help guide us and dictate what we do.  We used the name of our ministry as the acronym.

S – Safe Place – the term sanctuary means a place of safety.  Our ministry is a bully free zone.  Many students come from homes where they are berated by their parents, bullied at school and picked on by their siblings…we make sure this is one place where they are safe.

U – Understanding Culture – We strive to know what is going on…I passed young and cool a long time ago (actually I was never cool anyway) but we will want to know the landscape that our audience lives in so that we may minister more effectively.

R – Relentless pursuit of the lost – We believe that teens in our culture are what the International Mission Board refers to as an unreached people group…in that less that 2% are reached with the gospel.  That may be an exaggeration but not by much.  We are not satisfied until all students have had the opportunity to hear the gospel.

G – Growth of the Spirit – We encourage discipleship through Bible study, mentoring and worship.

E – Exciting environments – From the front door to the bathrooms we strive to make sure that the youth ministry environments are excellent.  We don’t have leftover couches and old tv’s sitting on folding tables.  We don’t do it at all if we can’t do it with excellence.

As students come through our ministry we hope that these values are evident.  We evaluate them several times a year and are not afraid to change, add or subtract something from our ministry if it begins to deviate from our values.


What is the mission?

Yesterday I began a series of posts sharing the strategy of Surge Youth Ministries.  I will take the next few days examining each part of it.  If you get anything out of it great…really I just like sharing it because it solidifies it in my heart.

The mission of Surge is to REACH the students, REDEEM the generation and RESTORE the family by RECOGNIZING our purpose and REVIVING our hearts through worship.

When I first got to James Island Baptist a few years ago Pastor Tom shared the quote that we were here to reach, redeem and restore a lost and dying world.  I loved that phrasing.  So I stole it, tweaked it and made it the cornerstone of my mission statement.

I believe we are here to…

REACH students – first of all that is at the core.  We are a youth ministry.  That is who are target is and who we strive to reach.  That audience guides our environment, teaching, training…everything.

REDEEM the generation – We believe that we have a responsibility not just to the individual student but to reclaim the generation for Christ.  We feel that we have the burden to speak to the widening cultural chasm between the the christian worldview and the secular worldview.

RESTORE the family – As much as I feel like a dinosaur in a world of twenty somethings as a youth pastor of 25 years I have earned the ear of the parents in my church.  My goal as a family pastor is to bridge the gap as much as possible between teenager and parent.

RECOGNIZING – we keep the purpose in front of all that we do.  Through God’s word and mentoring we constantly strive to keep our purpose as a ministry not simply an organization.

REVIVING – Great structure and organization is important…however burnout and scandal is sure to creep into our ministry if we are not powered by and led by the Holy Spirit of God.

Our mission statement shares what we are to do and how we should do it.  It is a broad statement that helps umbrella our ministry.  In the coming days I will share how we do it.

Surge Youth Ministries (an organizational structure)


Every successful ministry has to have a structure.  The pastors who wing it week to week will burn out and they nor their ministry will grow.  Every ministry I have led since the 90’s have been different in culture and style but one thing is constant they needed structure.  My church subscribes to the “Purpose Driven” model created by Rick Warren at Saddleback church.  So in our vernacular when referring to organizational structure we refer to our purpose and the audience.  The bases and the circles.  If you are unfamiliar with the purpose driven model then you should read the Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren.

Surge Youth Ministries is the youth ministry of James Island Baptist Church.  This is the ministry that I was hired to repurpose, retool and relaunch.  It was not an easy task and after 3 years we are finally gaining some steam.  Much of the recent success is that students and leaders are beginning to buy into the culture of the ministry.  I’d like to share our organizational structure with you and maybe it will inspire you or reinforce what you are already doing.

Surge n. A sudden powerful forward or upward movement, especially by a crowd. 

What is the Mission?

To REACH the students, REDEEM the generation and RESTORE the family by RECOGNIZING our purpose and REVIVING our hearts through worship.

What are our Values?

Safe Place

Understanding Culture

Relentless pursuit of the lost

Growth of the Spirit

Exciting Environments

What is the Vision?

Community – Movies under the Oaks, Mega Surge

Crowd – Jesus Pizza

Church – Surge Worship, The Landing

Committed – Connection Groups, Discipleship Options

Core – Core Team

What is the Strategy?

Reach kids on campus, invest in them and invite them to Surge, Grow deeper in the faith through bible study and send them out to reach their friends and serve those in need.

What are the Goals?

June 2017 – worship 50, baptism 5

December 2017 – worship 111, baptism 15

Over the next few days I will unpack each part of the structure, how I came up with it?  Why is it necessary? etc

Dear sandwich artist…


…I could see you were having a bad morning when I waited in the drive thru for 10 minutes and you never came.  When I came in the store you were loading bread in the oven, taking care of a cranky mom in the drive thru and trying to smile at me as I walked in the door.  Yes, I was inconvenienced but as I talked to you and realized you were all alone and your reinforcements was a new kid (that you also had to train) I realized you didn’t need my scolding, you needed my smile.  So, I waited and cheered her on as she prepared my egg white and cheese on whole wheat flatbread. I told her it would get better…I lied.

I left there thinking that the owner/manager of that establishment did her a disservice.  She was not set up for success.  She was not and thus the business was not set up for a win.  I then began to think about all the times I was in her shoes, either led poorly or not at all.  I began to feel a certain self righteousness about us little people.  Until I realized I too am a leader.  I realized that even recently that I have not set my team up for success.  I have often left them untrained, unprepared, undermanned and simply criticized the product.

“Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11a

When you lead people you must…

  1. Cast Vision – people will do almost any WHAT if you give them the WHY.
  2. Resource them – via training, money, staff, equipment…give them what they need to accomplish the goals you set.
  3. Inspect what you expect – know what they are doing throughout the process and limit the surprises.
  4. Encourage – celebrate successes, no matter how small.
  5. Repeat – always go back to the vision…recast it often.

Love God Love People


This month in Surge we are doing a series called Love God Love People.  The series is based on Mark 12:30-31 and will concentrate on 2 areas that we are to love God and two where we show our love for people.  This Sunday we will unpack the power of Prayer and moving from a consumeristic model of prayer to more of a adoration model of prayer by using the scriptures.  The foundational scripture will be in Luke 11 using the Lord’s Prayer as guidance and in our Huddles we will teach the Lectio Divina which is scripture reading, meditating on that scripture and then praying that scripture.

Our program has been slow going the first few years but I really sense God is up to something but I believe it will only happen when we all come together and pray.  Sermons will be posted on this website if you are interested.

Teens prefer hard copies to digital

A photo by Samantha Sophia.

A new Barna study came out that revealed quite a lot of interesting things about current teenage culture in regards to faith.  One intersting insight is that teens prefer hard copies to the bible to their digital counterparts.

 Teens Still Prefer to use a Hard Copy Bible in a Digital Age
When teens read the Bible, they are increasingly doing so digitally, but overall still prefer the old-fashioned hard copy version of the Bible. Among those considered Bible readers (read the Bible at least 3-4 times a year), the most common interactions with the Bible include hearing it read in a worship service or Mass (87%), reading on their own from a print version of the Bible (70%), or attending a small group Bible study (50%). When it comes to interaction with digital formats of the Bible, 46 percent of teens have used their cell phone or smartphone to search for Bible verses or Bible content, and about one third say they have downloaded or used a Bible app on a smartphone (33%) or used the Internet to read Bible content (35%). With the explosive growth of digital technology and mobile devices, usage of all of these digital formats has increased since 2015, with the most drastic being an increase in 13 percentage points in those that engaged with Scripture via their smartphone or cell phone (33% to 46%). One out of six teens (16%) report listening to an audio version of the Bible, and the same proportion (16%) listened to a podcast of Bible teaching.

I use YouVersion often but when I am studying or having my personal worship time…I still need a good solid bible to write in, underline and of course snap gratuitous instagrams of.

If you are interested in the rest of the study you can find it here.