For those of you at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this past week, you heard a talk given by Rick Lawrence about a strawberry. Rick has made the talk available for download on (message transcript and 2 animated videos) if you want to check it out and use it if it feels like something that would work in your context.


Congratulations to our two winners of the Mottsy youth ministry business cards giveaway from the other day:
Chris Standridge at 8:51am February 28

Jason Snyder at 4:31pm February 28

Don’t fret if you didn’t win. You can still order an almost identical set of relational business cards for you and your team at a significant discount. Here’s how:

1) Download this photoshop file (link: )

2) Add your information and ministry branding

3) Head over to and choose the following dimensions: 2(w) X 4(h). Then click the box to add “Rounded Corners”.

4) Enter promo code DODGEBALL at checkout to save 40%. Complete your order and you’ll have a fresh stack of cards on your doorstep in no-time.


Couldn’t make it to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2011? Here’s the dates and location of SYMC 2012! Hope to see you there!


Jake’s new music video from the SYM Conference. Enjoy … and stay classy!

UPDATE: Now from Vimeo, no more YouTube


a good day

 —  March 6, 2011 — 2 Comments

It’s been a great day in Chi-Town.

Here’s my highlights from the day:

1. Gungor! Great time of celebrating Jesus.

2. Deep Dish Pizza

3. Ruth Haley Brown talking about soul care. Need to check out one of her books.

4. Friends. I love coming to SYMC and seeing youth ministry friends. So, great to re-connect and be with people who love Jesus and teenagers.

5. Hanging with my husband. He’s really nice…and hot.

Excited for tomorrow…just finished my powerpoint prep for our Girls’ Ministry workshop!

I have a problem. Okay, maybe problem is too strong of a word.

Issue. There we go, I have an issue. Although not a detrimental one, but an issue none the less.

I constantly capitalize random letters.

I know you’re thinking to yourself right now “Oh My Word! We need to get that guy an intervention” And while it is not a problem that causes any real issue, it is really really annoying.

The sad part is, I don’t even realize that I do it. I do realize that I intentionally capitalize some words for emphasis, such as God or Youth Worker, but more often than not I find myself capitalizing random words like Outside or Yourself. This may seem like a boring topic to talk about, but I promise it will all make sense in a little bit. In terms of grammar, we are taught that we capitalize proper nouns. David, California, and Chick-fil-a. We capitalize the terms that are not run of the mill terms. We capitalize terms that are big deals.

So in essence, when I capitalize the first letter of a word it is the same as saying “Hey look! This is important! This is a big deal”

I have to be careful that I don’t unintentionally capitalize words and phrases that were never intended to be, thus making them a bigger deal than they are. As a Youth Worker, I have to be careful that I don’t do the same thing in how I lead my local Student Ministry.

There are going to be issues and problems that arise in your Student Ministry regardless of how well or how poorly that it is run. That is a fact. Write it down or tuck it away in the back of your mind, because you WILL encounter issues as a Youth Worker. You will have to make tough decisions. You will have struggles. That is just an occupational hazard.

The question you need to as yourself as you lead your Student Ministry is simply this: What will I capitalize and what will I lower-case? Or better yet “What will I make a big deal out of and what will I let go?”

  • Do you capitalize “Numerical Growth” and minimize “Spiritual Growth”?
  • Do you capitalize “Fun” and minimize “Spirituality”?
  • Do you capitalize “What I don’t have” and minimize “What I do have”?
  • Do you capitalize “What others think” and minimize “What God thinks”?
  • Do you capitalize “Lack of budget” and minimize “God will provide”?
  • Do you capitalize “My Students aren’t getting it” and minimize “It’s sinking in”?

What are you making a bigger deal out of than you should? What are you capitalizing that God is wanting to be lowercase and what are you making lowercase that He wants you to capitalize? I had this teacher in high school named Ms. Holt. I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember that she would always give me a hard time when I would accidentally capitalize words that shouldn’t be. Every time I turned in a paper, I would usually get it back with some red marks from my teacher showing where I had capitalized words that I shouldn’t have. It became almost laughable at the shear volume of red marks that would be on my paper when I got it back after being graded.

I wonder sometimes if God looks at us with a red ink pen in hand. Not to correct us or make us feel like we’re doing wrong, but so that He can look at our lives and mark the places that we allow some things to be bigger deals than they actually are. Where we capitalize things that should be lower case. The truth of the matter is that when God looks at you as a Youth Worker and at what you and your local ministry can accomplish, He sees a capital letter.

You may capitalize Doubt, Fear, Insecurity and Ignorance, but He looks at those as lowercase letters compared to what He can accomplish through you. Your mission, your vision, and the ultimate destination for your Student Ministry is a capital letter in His eyes. That thing that you have been fighting and may still be struggling with that you have capitalized is just a lowercase letter in the eyes of God.

He is able to take those things that are big problems in your local setting and make them not such big problems anymore. Those big issues that you don’t see how they can be fixed He can make smaller. Those big circumstances that you don’t quite know how to navigate, He can lead you through. So what are you facing right now in your Student Ministry that you need Jesus to lowercase? Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time to check this post and see if I randomly capitalized any words again.

Noah Watt serves as the Student Pastor at Lone Star Church in Madisonville, KY. When not hanging out with his wife Bethany, Noah can be found hanging out with the coolest group of Students on the planet, reading or writing on his blog, “The Backstage Project”, at

Little video about Group Cares from the general session last night here at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. To learn more about they, check out their website, too.


Posted by Scott Rubin

Ever since the original “Candid Camera” way back when, I’ve been enamored with hidden camera shows.

There’s a new one I’ve seen a few times called “What Would You Do?”, where unsuspecting people run across an ethical delimma… and the cameras film their reaction to the situation.

For instance, they put some teenagers outside a convenience store (they were actors), and told them to ask people going into the store if they’d buy booze for them. It was fascinating to see the range of reactions! The passion of some people, the indifference of others.

I guess I’m intrigued by what people (including myself) do, when they think no one else is watching them.

So — This weekend I’m at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I love it; I think it’s a fabulous event in so many ways. Smart & passionate people, all wanting to help people do youth ministry better & honor God more. I don’t know all of the presenters, but I know some of them – and you know which ones are my “favorites”? The ones who seem to be the same in front of the microphone (or camera) as they are when you’re just chatting casually. I’m so encouraged when I meet authors, or speakers, or artists, and I’m struck by their Christ-like character, or heart, or sincere spirit. Of course none of us can really “know” the hidden-camera part of each other — but some of these people really inspire me by who-they-are-when-fewer-people-are-looking.

I want to be a man of consistent character, for my family, my students, my friends, my team… God please help me!