—  December 18, 2012 — 1 Comment



Imagine empowering your students to spend just a few minutes each day discovering a life-shaping, thought-provoking, Jesus-centered truth that can transform them into the kind of people God crafted them to be.
Sounds like a worthwhile investment, doesn’t it?
The Simple Truth Bible features 366 daily devotionals—each one a tasty, bite-size morsel that powerfully reveals what it means to deeply love and trust God, to lead a Jesus-centered life, and to lean on Scripture for guidance and wisdom.
Teenagers will discover how to experience hope in the middle of tough times, how God deeply and passionately loves them, how to build an authentic friendship with Jesus, and how they were created to lead a life of impact in this world and for eternity.
Each devotion includes:

  • Thoughts on a specific passage of Scripture and how it relates to students’ lives
  • Insights to help teenagers turn their thoughts into prayers as they spend time with God
  • Ideas to follow if students want to spend more than a few minutes each day with God
  • Perspective on how that day’s passage fits into the big picture of the Bible

The Simple Truth Bible features contributions from some of the leading voices in youth ministry today, including Kurt Johnston, Mark Oestreicher, Tim Levert, and Greg Stier. The writers skillfully connect the dots between the ancient truths of Scripture and the issues teenagers face living in the 21st century.
Help students join a generation of teenagers committed to experiencing God’s constant, daily presence in their lives!

Get it! Read it! Share it!


Finally after much delay is the official release of UNFILTERED MAGAZINE! Learn more at

Tomorrow Only Unfiltered Magazine will be $5 for a 1 year subscription…see attached image.

“From the editors of Group comes an all new magazine to help youth workers thrive in life…outside the church walls. Real stories by real youth workers on topics like…

Your heart

Your family

Your health

Your money

Your soul

And many more.

Link here – for $5 sub rate!

Go get your subscription NOW!!


SYMC Workshops

 —  December 4, 2012 — 1 Comment

March is right around the corner and I am excited for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference (SYMC) launch!  If you are looking for a relational and relaxed environment to get some training and make connections with other like minded youth workers this is the conference for you.

I am eager to step away from the office for a few days, to gathering with old friends, and attend learning tracks and workshops.  Here are 5 of the workshops I am looking forward to attending. Ok…two of them are sessions I am teaching, but don’t you want to come to the workshop of a guy who believe in the product he is presenting?  I work hard to make everything doable and practical…and there are usually some really cool give-a-ways!  I am eager to sit in on Jake’s session and learn better management systems, this session is a must fo me.  Reza is a great guy and a solid leader, while his workshop is not on the topic of tech I know I will walk out with some solid content. I actually won’t attend Danette’s workshop (the last of the list below), but I wanted to highlight it knowing a lot of Simply Youth Ministry Network blogs readers are volunteers.  If you are a volunteer or are bringing volunteers from your team this is a workshop to consider, Danette will host a great session! I grabbed a snapshop form the SYMC site, check out the descriptions…they may hit the top of your list like they did mine.




You aren’t the lead youth worker at your church? That doesn’t mean you can’t powerfully influence the lives of teenagers!
Thanks to her 25 years of experience as a youth ministry volunteer, Danette Matty thoroughly knows your world: part-time hours, full-time passion—and no-time pay. But she also knows that you’re an integral part of God’s work in the lives of students and in your church’s ministry to teenagers.
This book will help you discover how to maintain your spiritual vitality, lead from the middle, serve through all the seasons of life, and do what you do best. You’ll also gain insights into working well with teenagers, parents, church leaders, and other volunteers.
Danette’s goal in 99 Thoughts for Volunteers is to encourage and equip you—the volunteer whose commitment, hard work, and dedication are essential to a healthy youth ministry. She’s eager to deflate the “just a volunteer” mentality and inflate the truth of the primo skills and qualities that you as a volunteer bring to the team!

Check it out here!

Thank you to all the volunteers! You are changing and influencing more lives than you realize!


I remember the first time I ever went to a youth ministry conference – I had NO idea they even did things like that! 3,000 youth workers in the same room together? Incredible.

And although I haven’t developed an unhealthy addiction to conferences (like some have, you know who you are hahahaha) I do love getting together with like-minded youth workers who get where I live everyday and challenge me to be better. Here’s why I think you should attend a youth ministry conference in the coming year:

Hang with people who understand your calling
Many of the people in my life are amazed at what it takes to be a youth worker – I smile when someone says, “I don’t now how you do it” but love it when someone says, “I’m going to steal that idea to do with my kids.” Why go to a youth ministry conference? To be surrounded with called people just like you.

Be challenged by people who push us forward
I love reading someone’s book and then hearing them in person. I try to learn from people who I agree with, and be challenged by people who rub me the wrong way. When planning out the schedule, mix it up with some stuff you want and some stuff you need.

Have someone look into my soul and do a tune up
I have sins and secrets that as a pastor I simply can’t share in my context. But finding some Soul Care or pastoral counseling options at an event are important. Don’t just hit sessions and workshops, steal some time away for your deepest heart issues, too.

Get away from it all
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all. Get in a day early and see the sites or stay a day later and go into a youth ministry escape coma for the weekend. Make sure when you head out to a conference you plan some serious down time as well.

There are a ton of great youth worker events out there on the local and national scale – the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis is right around the corner and if you register today or tomorrow, you can get in for $40 off and special gifts if you use the promo code MTDB on the last page of registration. See you there!


I had a chance to sit down with Jason Ostrander, the man behind the incredible Simply Youth Ministry Conference this year – easily one of my favorite weeks of all time. This year we’re in Indianapolis in March – going to be really, really fun:

What is the heart and vision behind SYMC?
The Simply Youth Ministry Conference (aka. SYMC) has always been unique in the landscape of youth ministry conferences in that it is, by design, a conference “by youth workers –for youth workers”. In all aspects of the conference youth workers are an active part of both its development and implementation. The true heart behind SYMC it is to be a place where youth workers from around the world can come to learn, connect and recharge and the vision is always to support the local youth worker in every way possible so that they can thrive in youth ministry.

There are a lot of conferences out there, maybe now more than ever – why choose SYMC?
This is a great question.  My immediate response takes me back to when I was a youth worker attending SYMC –I remember that everyone I met seemed to identify with me as well as my journey.  It felt good to be known (and remembered year after year!)  As the conference director, I would say that SYMC works very hard to cut through the fluff of youth min conferencing so that we can fully engage youth workers right where they are.  I have been a part of some SYMC Lead Team meetings in the past few weeks where we’ve cut out potentially “good” things to make room for the “most important” things that we should be offering to youth workers.

When is the best time to sign up to get the best deal?
Of course the deepest discount for SYMC would be the early bird registration ($40 off the regular price) –which ends THIS WEEK on October 31st!

Hmmm … I should have seen that one coming. Well, youth workers love freebies – give us a deal or secret freebie just for MTDB readers! 
OK…how about a secret MTDB gift bag that includes: a $25 coupon for the SYMC Bookstore, a special early-entry pass for the nightly General Sessions (and other free SYMC-related resources)?  If you register with the code MTDB you’ll receive your gift when you check in at the conference!

Hahaah that’s the best! See you at SYMC!


If you haven’t checked out all there is to see and do at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this year – here’s the full online brochure from the event including a ton of incredible workshops, training tracks and the general session lineup. See you there – sign up by October 31st to get the lowest rate!


I’m beyond excited about the Simply Youth Ministry Conference – here’s a little invitation to attend the event from my friend Kurt Johnston. The best registration rates expire the end of this month – get on it and sign up today!