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Want to watch the Simply Youth Ministry Conference (#SYMC) sessions live and didn’t make it to Indianapolis? You can watch them all online as they happen right here:!

Check out the schedule to see what is next right here, too! Be here even if you can’t be here.


I remember when I first started in youth ministry, I worked super hard on preparing my youth talk for the following week. I would study, prep, illustrate and flavor a 30-minute talk every day, all week long. Over time, I got more comfortable with the audience size (25 students) and took less time preparing. At some point, I would even let myself slide with a “Saturday Night” special before teaching youth group the next night. And if I’m honest, I may have winged it entirely at some point!

There is a direct correlation between the amount of message preparation and the size of your expected audience. This isn’t a bad thing – makes sense even when you step back from it a little bit. If you are speaking to 30 students, you’ll prepare an hour or two probably. If you’re speaking to a 100 people, I’d guess you would prepare for several hours. Speaking to a 1,000 and it would take you all week. Speaking to a stadium filled with people and you’ll work harder than ever and invest a ton of time to make sure you deliver in front of them.

So … what if you prepped this week like you were speaking to 1,000 people? What would your messages be like if you were preparing to like you were about to speak to hundreds instead of a handful? Your students are worth it. God’s Word would be more presented more clearly than ever. Your talk would be tighter, funnier, clearer and richer.

No more Saturday night specials!



A staggering amount of weight was lost during the 90 days of the Youth Pastor Diet!I was able to lose 24 lbs, which didn’t even put me in the top 10 by the end! It was an incredible run for everyone. Here are the final standings of the Top3 winners of the contest. So hap[y for each one of these guys!

$CASH PRIZE$ + 25lbs. of Resources + ALL Live Curriculum lines + registration for SYMC 2014 + dinner with Josh Griffin & SYM peeps at the conference

$CASH PRIZE$ + 25lbs. of resources + ALL Live Curriculum lines

$CASH PRIZE$ + 25lbs. of resources



Every week we play some sort of game; quick interactive, whole group, small group, crowd-breakers, etc.  If you are looking for some game ideas search “games” by clicking magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner.

If you are looking for something super easy and quick to implement check out Power Play 5. This CD (or download) contains 20 interactive PowerPoint trivia games to involve your whole group! For less than $20 this is a great investment.

Don’t use PowerPoint? Never heard of QuickTime?
No worries. We threw in a free version of Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer, and you can download Apple QuickTime from for free, so you can still play the games. They will also work with other presentation software like MediaShout® and Keynote®

What is your favorite game resource? Give us the name of the game or the website or resource you are using.

Running on Empty?

 —  March 1, 2013 — 1 Comment

article.2013.02.12We know the feeling well. The energy of the fall is gone, seniors are already starting to head toward the door, and you’re questioning your own sanity because you were the one championing the junior high overnighter this Friday night. What do you do? You’ll need to find what is right for you, but here are a few suggestions to help you push through the funk.

Take an hour.
Sometimes you just need some space to clear your head for an hour or so. Go for a walk. Journal. Be silent. Exercise. Get a haircut that you haven’t had time for…you’re starting to resemble John the Baptist. Look at your Outlook calendar right now and make and appointment with yourself.

Take a personal day.
Not everybody has the luxury of being able to sneak away for an entire day…but if you do, DO IT! An entire day of rest, relaxation, reading, reflecting and rejoicing might be just what the good doctor ordered. Of course you CAN do things that don’t start with the letter “R” but they probably won’t be as rewarding (see what we did there…another “R” word).

Get some sleep.
When you’re robbing yourself of sleep at night, you’re robbing yourself of energy the next day! Put down the controller, step away from the refrigerator, and find a pillow with your name on it. If your MacBook has sleep mode, you should too.

Clear the calendar.
In some of the most extreme cases, the wisest thing you can do is slow everything down. Trim the calendar. Slash the calendar. Talk to your supervisor about changing office hours expectations. Cancel that thing that has you stuck.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

YouTube-LogoThe tech question I get asked the most is, “How Do I Download a YouTube Video?” Some one stopped me in the hall to day to ask this.  Here are my top 4 ways to grap those clips.


Go to YouTube
Find your video (like this
Delete everything in the URL that comes before and type kiss.  It should look like this===> 


Find your youtube clip
copy and paste URL on ClipNabber site
This site works with Vimeo too allows you to enter a link, upload your own file or brows YouTube.


Video Downloader
The first two choices above require you to install a plugin.  Probably not a big deal but it is still clutter on my Mac.  My first Choice is a Firefox add-on called Video Downloader. This add-on allows you to download almost any video from the web.


Are you using a site or app that helps you grab the videos you need?  Send us a comment below!

SYMC2013unfilteredThe Unfiltered sound stage is up and DJP is currently spinning the plastic round music discs.  The resource center is up and tomorrow it will be filled with a few thousand youth workers. If you are coming to Indy and want to chat tech please stop me, I would love to hang and talk.  SYMC is a great for me to recharge and a great place for me to give.

Speaking of giving, Sunday is the day for two killer tech workshops…TONS OF FREE STUFF!!! 2 workshops willed with Practical, Affordable, and Doable Ideas for Youth Ministry.  Check your schedule to see if you have room for a 9-11am and/or a 2:45-4:45 tech workshop.  Here’s a sneak peek…

We all need friends!

 —  February 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

“People aren’t connected to friendly programs, they are connected to friends.”

I don’t know who said it…(feel free to educate me)…but it is true. It’s true for our students and it’s true for us.

We can attend friendly churches and friendly ministries but we can still be all alone.

There are lots of problems with being alone besides the obvious of being lonely.

We’re designed for community.

I was recently reminded while reading Awakening of Hope by Jonathan Hartgrove-Wilson that we were created in the image of a God who lives in constant community. (Trinity- 3 living as 1) We were created for community- it is in the natural of our Creator and so it is in our natural.

We’re better together. 

Ministry is hard and consuming. Trying to reach and care for students alone is the road to fast burnout. Having friends (real friends…you know the difference, right?) allows you a safe place to be better through encouragement and by providing a sounding board for ministry. We’re better together…much better than when we are alone and isolated.

We can’t teach it, if we don’t live it.

Literally, 90% of my conversations with girls is connected to their friendships. We are always encouraging our students to have healthy friendships. Friendships that encourage them in their faith…and friendships that spur them on. But aren’t we a bunch of fakers if we don’t have those types of friendships. If we live and minister alone…we can’t teach or speak to the power of friendships.

We all need friends. Our students need them…we need them. What are you doing in your life to make sure you are living in community?