Here’s the online premiere of Jake’s new music video for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference! A tribute to the original Hotel Hotel from 2006. Enjoy!



Hey everyone! I’m excited to leave tomorrow for Indianapolis for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. My friend Jake Rutenbar and I are the co-hosts of the event and have some incredible stuff planned. Couldn’t be more excited! Throughout the week I’ll be blogging from the event and sending Tweets and updates from the incredible weekend.

Couple things you should know: 1) Many of the SYMC general sessions will be live-streamed on SimplyYouthMinistry.TV – you can stay tuned to this post for the final schedule as it becomes available. And 2) I wanted to once again list out the bloggers that are attending the event that you can grab learnings from all weekend.

Coming to SYMC? Leave a comment and I’ll add you to the list:



I’m excited to be a part of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference again this year – took a couple minutes to sit down with Jason Ostrander, the conference director and king of event planning for Simply Youth Ministry.

What has been the funniest moment in planning SYMC?
One thing I know about youth ministry is that you “never cut funny”.  In other words, now matter how serious ministry can become (and it is a serious thing) we have to remember that we still work with students – and students are funny.  So watching you and Jake remind our team how funny things like music videos and crazy announcements can be has been hilarious!  Let’s just say it ensures that we won’t soon forget who we are.

What has been the most difficult part of planning the conference?
Walking that fine line between entertainment and ministry.  One of the distinctions of SYMC is that people know they have been ministered to –that’s its not just been a parade of youth ministry “stuff”.  But at the end of the day SYMC is also a hotbed for resources as well as a place to highlight some of the brightest voices in YM culture.

Just saw that Youth Ministry Architects will be there. What’s the plan/idea there?
YMA is an amazing organization that seeks to partner with the local church in a consultant-like role.  They truly want to partner with youth workers to help them create and grow an impactful ministry –it’s like having a YM expert in your back pocket all the time!  They’ll be on site in Indy with a handful of staff ready to meet one-on-one with youth workers throughout the conference.  I would sign-up as soon as you arrive!

What did you learn about Josh and Jake (the conference emcees for 6 years running) last week at your planning meeting in Colorado?
Two things: 1) that Josh is the smart and sensible one, and 2) I would not want to be Jake during the announcement videos come March 1st-4th.

Tell us the #1 reason someone should attend SYMC?
I wouldn’t have stayed in youth ministry as long as I did if it wasn’t for the greater YM community.  I think the best thing about SYMC is the community that exists year after year –its so interesting to watch as the attendees start to arrive, the conference turns into a family reunion literally overnight.  So whether you already feel connected or this is your first time at SYMC remember -the family is waiting!

Thanks, Jason! You can register for SYMC right here!


BeastMode and Coach Pete

Josh Griffin —  January 13, 2013 — 5 Comments

My friend Jake does it again. This time in honor of his beloved Seahawks …


Excited to point you toward the official website of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2013 – one of my absolutely favorite weeks of the year. This time we’re back in Indianapolis, and it is going to be excellent with Lacrae, Shane & Shane, Greg Stier, Skit Guys and much more coming soon. Check out the site and I hope to see you there, too!


Right after the Simply Youth Ministry Conference I always get asked the same question: how did you do that!?! I love a good idea – I love stealing good ideas, too. If anything you saw on the main stage was interesting to you or maybe inspired you to bring something back into your ministry setting – here’s the scoop on what we used or how we did it!

Poll Everywhere – the polls on the big screen were powered by The technology is free for up to 40 responses (perfect for most youth groups) and scales really well to have thousands of responses per poll. Be sure to check them out – we use it all the time in our youth ministry, it is so fast and fun!

AR.Drone – one of the new ideas this year was to use an AR.Drone to hover over the crowd with a gift card attached to it on a long string. The Drone is controlled by an iPad/iPhone/iPod/Android and streams live video from the hovering airship to the big screen. With all of the signals in the conference room it got bogged down a bit, but overall it was a super fun experiment.

Facebook Hack – This is a game we invented in our youth ministry a couple of months ago. You can read more about the game and download the title slide right here.

The Interlude – a fun dance you can download right here.

Digital Stachethese are the dudes behind lots of magic on the screens. We had an idea, they did it. Really stunning guys with tons of freebies and youth ministry resources totally worth checking out!

Twitter – this is actually a feature in the latest version of Propresenter (5, from what I understand). It is a super cool way to put up a paricular hashtag on the screen – it includes full moderation capabilities as well. Looked super slick up there!

Was there something else at the event you would like to know about? Hit me up in the comments!


Got the chance to sit in on The Simply Youth Ministry Show this week with my friends Jake Rutenbar and Kurt Johnston. We had lots of random fun and actually did manage to actually talk about preparing a youth talk. Fun to be a guest on the old show!


Enjoyed Jake and Kurt’s Simply Youth Ministry Show episode 2 today – this one focuses on communication with special guests Adam McClane, Tim Schmoyer and Terrace Crawford.