Too long for a tweet….so a very short blog post.

I often wonder why God has kept me involved in junior high ministry for so long, and if he allows questions when we get to Heaven, I’m sure it’s one I’ll ask.

At a recent Junior High event, while running games:

Katie Edwards: “Blue team, you are in 2nd place but just a hair behind the team in first!”
Me: “Quick…somebody from the Blue team bring me a hair!”

That horrifically lame joke, and the fact that it came out of my mouth instantaneously, will most likely be God’s answer.

Double-Digit Years Worth of Curriculum on SALE!

Save $249 on the ultimate collection of LIVE Curriculum, youth ministry’s top customizable, conversational small group material, today through the end of April!

Have your small groups covered for middle schoolers all the way through college-age students with this package for only $999.00. That’s four sets of comprehensive curriculum for the price of three!

Just  CONTACT MATTY to redeem. More details below:


Thanks for loving students!

Amber / @youthministry

A friend's attempt at the "Resurrection Bun."

A friend’s attempt at the “Resurrection Bun.”

In the last 40 days we have taken the time to reflect, be solemn, and come to celebrate the sacrifice God made on the behalf of our humanity. He was mocked, beaten, humiliated, and tormented. He suffered more than what a body could bear. His heart was broken on behalf of mankind when He took our sin, conquered death. and came out from the grave.
We have used illustrations, videos, object lessons, analogies, stories, games, devotions, sermons, and even an “outreach” to make our point.  Yesterday, Easter, was the epitome of the celebration.
Today is Monday.
In the past I have wrapped much stock in the “holy day” celebrations in my ache to help students grow closer to the Lord. Admittedly, I did it this year as well. I had all of these great ideas, and honestly, some worked and some bombed. Even in my own home yesterday’s church service had different impacts on each of my three kids. One saw it as another day in their journey with Jesus, one was terribly bored, and one was deeply convicted by what they heard.
We have all heard more than once that we should celebrate Jesus everyday, not just on Christmas and Easter. I believe we know the Holy Spirit is always working, and He is moving hearts beyond Christmas and Easter. Yet, somehow the “day after” can feel like a let down.
It hit me yesterday when a couple of Middle School boys I know posted jokes to Instagram about Easter falling on 4/20. (A “day” for getting high.) I was like, “Have they been listening at ALL?”
Here are my thoughts on the morning after the holiday:

You CAN’T MAKE someone want Jesus.

The Bible talks on more than one occasion about how a “veil” is over the hearts of  many. I have witnessed it in loved ones and students who have heard the Gospel over and over and over and over and over and still “don’t get it.”  In the end, the decision of whether or not to respond to Jesus is an individual one.

We can use  “gimmicks,” but not everyone will respond.

I am not saying we shouldn’t be creative. Last week I was talking with two friends who admitted they came to youth group growing up because there were games and food. Ironically, the focus on these were the very thing that made me want to stay away. I wanted to go deeper. Recognize we have different students, with different needs, who learn differently.

Sometimes our great plans flop:

I have learned this particular Easter that my best “laid plans” do not always strike a chord.  I tried a couple of things that worked in the past and didn’t this time.  I tried some new stuff that made students just stare.  Even if it did “great” I was reminded it wasn’t about me anyway. In addition, I was taught just because it flops for “most” doesn’t mean one didn’t walk away affected and that matters.
Recently, my son came home from youth group and was talking to me about a friend of his. He said, “At first tonight when he said he didn’t know much about Easter I thought he was joking. I mean he has grown up in this church. Then I realized he really didn’t know. I don’t think he’s ever listened before.”
Today we keep our eyes forward.  We simply don’t know which day anyone will hear and respond. Remember this day is the one called for salvation.
How are you feeling the “day after?”
Leneita / @leneitafix


“Let’s Talk Youth Ministry”, the short little video blog that me and my friend A.C. (who has written some great blog posts on this very site) have done very sporadically is gonna start taking itself a bit more seriously. Starting next week we will have a new, 15-20 minute post every Wednesday. It will be sort of like the old “Simply Youth Ministry Show”, but not.

One new thing we’d like to try is guest appearances via video from members of the youth ministry nation! Here’s how that will work (we hope)…You film a super short (30 seconds) video and email it to letstalkyouthministry@gmail.com and we’ll make you a guest on the show. Video categories include:

* “Can You Talk About…” - Simply put your youth ministry question in video format and send it in!
* “I Can’t Believe I Did That!” - Share a bonehead story, mistake, or embarrassing ministry moment.
* “30-seconds of Wit or Wisdom” - Share something on your heart, share a joke, inspire us in 30-seconds.

Be sure to start the video by giving us your name and the city/church you are from.

Hey, if we’re willing to put a horrendous cartoon of ourselves on this post, you should be willing to put yourself on a short little video!

Make a video…send it to us…and together we’ll talk youth ministry!

Kurt and AC

Simply Youth Ministry teamed up with World Vision to create a 4-week LIVE Curriculum that can be downloaded for FREE by registered 30 Hour Famine participants and used by leaders as they prepare students for the event.

If you are unfamiliar with World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, I recommend you check out this incredible opportunity to help your students grow in their faith and care about providing for those in need. The next national 30 Hour Famine is April 25-26!


The 30-Hour Famine LIVE Curriculum will prep your students in the month leading up to the Famine. Here are the 4 lessons:

  • Week 1- We Are: Invited
  • Week 2- We Are: Neighbors
  • Week 3- We Are: Hungry!
  • Week 4- We Are: READY

live curriculumOne lesson is written by Leah Swindon, World Vision’s National Director of Youth Mobilization and the 30-Hour Famine (Fun Fact: She has also been involved in youth ministry for the majority of her adult life.) and the other three lessons are written by other seasoned youth pastors.You can learn more about the 30-Hour Famine LIVE Curriculum here!

*If you registered for 30-Hour Famine, then download your LIVE Curriculum here.*

When asked about her favorite part of mobilizing youth for the Famine each year, Leah said, “I love helping young people realize how strong their voice is. People hear statistics and needs all the time, but when they see a teenager speaking up, caring, and taking action, it’s moving. People listen.”

If you, or someone you know, is interested in getting involved with the 30-hour Famine, visit 30hourfamine.org to select a national date (next one is April 25-26) or pick your own.

Have questions about the 30 Hour Famine 4-week prep LIVE curriculum? Give Matty McCage a call at 615-349-7111.

Thanks for caring about the hungry!

Amber / @youthministry

Happy Easter Week Simply Insiders!

Hope you are having a blessed week leading up to Good Friday tomorrow and Easter Sunday this weekend. Wanted to let you in on 2 amazing Good Friday Resources that are only 0.99 on the new $5 Youth Ministry Store!

Good Friday Scripture Reading - $0.99


Use this dramatic reading straight from Scripture to elevate your Good Friday services. Students will convey the tortuous events of Good Friday as they extinguish candles at the conclusion of each section until nothing but darkness covers the room. Powerful. Dramatic!

-1 Discussion Starter in Word & PDF formats
-1 Title Slide
-1 Teaching Slide


Good Friday Prayer Event - $0.99


Six stations are completed with elements from the crucifixion story – vinegar, a crown of thorns, and other items found in the story. Students read or paraphrase scripture as they place special elements at each station. Then the stations are used as hand-on prayer opportunities. It’s great for youth ministry or the larger congregation.

-1 Event Document in Word & PDF formats
-1 Title Slide
-1 Teaching Slide



Hope it helps as you help your students focus on Jesus this Easter!

Amber / @youthministry

Money doesn’t have to be difficult, so why do we make it that way?

When you really boil good money management down to the basics, it’s all about four things: working, giving, saving and spending. That’s it. So when you teach young kids about money, all you really need to do is show them a simple version of what you are (hopefully) doing already. These are the four principles of money that my parents taught me and that my dad and I write about in our new book, Smart Money Smart Kids.


Here’s a truth that applies to both adults and children: The most powerful wealth-building tool you have is your income. When you teach your kids the value of work, you set them up to succeed later in life.

What does work look like for an eight-year-old? My parents paid me a commission, not an allowance. In other words, I got paid to work, not to breathe! When I completed chores around the house, like feeding the dog, taking out the trash, or helping clean the dishes, then I earned a commission. Use the same approach, and you’ll teach your kids discipline and work ethic.


This is what it’s all about. The whole point of building wealth is to change your family’s future and to give like crazy. Sit down with your kids and let them pick a charity. Instead of giving them a dollar in the parking lot at church, let them use their own money to tithe. When it’s their own, they’ll really feel the impact of giving. Then, follow up and show them how the money they gave helped a specific person or organization. To win with money, you have to make giving a part of your life!


This is the easy one, right? Who doesn’t know how to spend?

And that’s the problem. Spending is too easy for most of us. And unless you teach your kids healthy ways to spend, they’ll fall right into that trap. As soon as they get a $10 bill, they’ll go out and buy something they’ve forgotten about by this time next month. It’s all about priorities. It’s fine to love spending as long as you teach your kids the importance of the other principles too.


Saving seems so boring, I know. But it’s one of the most important things you can teach your child. If your son heads off to college without understanding what it really means to save, he’s probably going to graduate with a load of debt—or start digging a debt hole once he starts working. Start talking to your kids about saving early. Help them see their money as it grows by using a clear jar or piggy bank. Then, once they are old enough, open a basic savings account. Continue reinforcing these four principles as your kids get older. Don’t just talk about them once and leave it at that.

If you’ll talk about money early and often with your kids, you’ll be amazed by the impact this will have on their lives as they grow into adults.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel Cruze / @rachelcruze


One thing that has been drilled into the minds of parents everywhere is that keeping the lines of communication open with our children is a vital part of parenting. And in my experience this tid-bit of advice has been very true. And so as Rachel and I have raised our kids, we’ve worked hard to provide an atmosphere in our family where it’s always a good time to talk about stuff.

And while that’s been a good “atmosphere”, it’s actually a lousy strategy. Because it isn’t “always a good time to talk about stuff”. The fact is that sometimes it’s a lousy time to talk about stuff; and everybody seems to have different ideas of when it’s a good time, and when it’s not.

So, my simple tip for today is this: Discover your child’s “window of conversation” and do most of your talking at that time.

Your child may HATE to talk in the car ride to school…the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk in the car ride to school…the window is open, climb through!

Your child may HATE to talk around the dinner table…the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk around the dinner table…the window is open, climb through!

Your child may HATE to talk in formal family “quality time” settings….the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk in formal family “quality time” settings….the window is open, climb through!

Your child may HATE to talk about something in the “heat of the moment”…the window is closed, so don’t force it.
Your child may LOVE to talk about something in the “heat of the moment”…the window is open, climb through!

The problem many parents make is to determine when THEY want to talk with their child instead of being wiling to pay attention to when their child is most open to talking….when their window of conversation is open. When we try to force open their window, they slam it shut!

So much of effective parenting needs to happen on our terms, but I’m not convinced conversation and communication is always one of them.