So thankful to be a part of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference again this year (since the beginning, actually!) and love this video of highlights from the whole thing. Can’t wait to do it all again next year in Columbus!


So much of youth ministry seems to be about what “not” to do. Don’t spill Kool-Aid on the carpet. Don’t play games in the sanctuary. Don’t get on the wrong side of this committee or board. Don’t do this. Don’t do that…

The following post by Josh Griffin (with help from Kurt Johnston) does a good job of focusing on what we should “do” in ministry. The post is from Josh’s blog, More Than Dodgeball, and was originally part of the Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter.

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Youth Minsitry Do’s

More Than Dodgeball and SYM Today are great idea resources for you. I encourage you to check them out as often as you can.



An expanded video from the opening video from the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this weekend. Great narration to accompany the imagery – trying to set up the idea of disorientation and frustration that would be resolved by the end of the weekend.


Dave and Steve created this fun infographic-style video based on a script I wrote about the attendees of the Simply Youth Ministry Conference 2013.


Incredible video put together by Matt and Grant to help introduce the theme for the 2013 Simply Youth Ministry Conference. It was the 1st of 3 videos.



Change is one of the only things that is always present in our work with Group Mission Trips. I’ve had at least 6 job titles in my 11 years working with this ministry. I can’t tell you how many different job descriptions I’ve had during that time. We’ve gone from doing only one kind of mission trip, Workcamps, to 3 different mission trips (Week of Hope & Lifetree Adventures) and a single-day of service youth event (The Big Day of Serving). Things have changed from a single team of people focused exclusively on organizing and supporting mission trips to combining forces with our partners Group Youth Ministry/Simply Youth Ministry to help bring everything we can to support youth workers.


Change is hard. Change isn’t easy. Change can cause pain. For some people change is welcome and they jump on board fast but don’t fully take stock of the potential trouble spots. For others change is difficult and they seemingly fight against it every chance they get. And many people fall in the middle of those two extremes.

It’s not any different in church ministry than in a mission organization. How you manage change is just as important and dreaming and thinking of the change. Here’s three great ideas for managing change in your ministry:

  1. Make sure everyone involved in the change is part of the process. One member of out team is constantly preaching the message of communication to the rest of us. And he’s right! Especially when it comes to change. You cannot communicate enough. Before the change is even finalized. When you announce the change. While the change is being implemented. After the change is now the new normal Communicate And the biggest part of communicating – listening. Listen to what people are saying. And try to hear what they are not saying. Involving everyone will help to give people a chance to make the change theirs.
  2. Help people understand how the change will benefit them. In every change there are good things for everyone. New opportunities. New ideas. New responsibilities. New working relationships. New results to shoot for.  New And new can be very unnerving unless you help people know what is in it for them. Even in ministry, your team will want to know how this change will benefit. Them as an individual. The ministry as a whole. The youth who area  part of your ministry. Giving everyone an understanding of how the change is good will go a long way to navigating the process of implementing the change.
  3. Regardless of how good a change is, someone will be negatively affected – at least in their mind. Seek those people out. If a team is getting a new role in the ministry because of the change, spend time with them as they adjust. If it means there isn’t a spot for someone, give the the space and time to grieve the loss and give them your time to process. If possible, implement change in stages or steps so that those affected the most have time to adjust. If the change you are implementing has a bunch of negatives (even small ones), spacing out the change will allow those most affected to move through the process with grace.

Change isn’t always easy (I know) but it can be incredibly good. Keep these steps in mind the next time your team and ministry go through change.

Youth Ministry Don’ts

 —  February 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

article.2013.02.19This week we’re taking on a few youth ministry do’s and don’ts! With our experience, we’ve learned a few things about both sides of this—we’ve both had some solid successes and some epic failures! Would love for you to read these, and then add your own in the comments, too!

Don’t avoid the stuff that doesn’t come easy to you.
Too often youth workers simply ignore what they don’t want to do, or what they aren’t good at. That explains why the chairman on the finance committee is always shaking his head at you when it comes to receipts. Just because something isn’t natural or in your gifting doesn’t give you a free pass to avoid it and hope it goes away. It doesn’t go away; it gets worse! Ministry is full of what we call the “hate to/have to” stuff we hate to do, but we have to do!

Don’t avoid the difficult part of youth ministry.
Follow-up with that parent. Don’t leave someone hanging. Report it to the authorities. Speak the whole truth—do it in love—but speak it all to them. Receive criticism well. Be a learner.

Don’t give up on your relationship with the rest of the church.
For many youth workers, they want to take a rowboat out to youth ministry island and live there. Be a part of the church! Otherwise you’ll create a great ministry at a church your graduates will never attend. Be one with the leadership, the vision, direction, and the whole church.

Don’t miss the small things that matter to other people.
Be on time. Fill the van up with gas. Let someone know about the problem before they stumble onto it. Clean up the youth room. Pick up that trash as you walk in from the parking lot.

Don’t be ignorant of your perception.
A wise man once said, “perception is reality” and it is never more true than when we apply it to youth ministry. Know your reputation, know your weaknesses, and work to get better on the stuff you fail in. If you are blind to your blind spots, you will be blind-sided.

Just a few youth ministry “don’ts” to get your week going. Got one to share with everyone, too?

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.

Starting this Friday you’ll be able to see pretty much every member of the Group Mission Trips team at SYMC in Indy. We’re helping in tons of different ways at the conference. There will be members of the GMT team checking you in when you arrive, helping with getting the general sessions ready, working in the resource area, and well… I can’t remember everywhere else.

Toby Rowe and I will be leading several workshops as well. If these topics interest you, we’d love to have to participate in one of these.

Saturday afternoon – “Using Service to Create a Servant’s Heart”

Sunday afternoon – “Making the Most of Your Mission Trip”

Monday morning – “Fundraising for the Big Event”

In addition to all this, you will not want to miss Toby (and a bunch of us) on Sunday Late Night after the general session! He’ll be leading “Games We Never Should’ve Done”. It’s going to be a fun crazy time of reliving some of our best “mistakes” from all our years of Mission Trips and giving other youth ministry vets a chance to share theirs.  It will be a night you won’t soon forget.


If you’re not registered yet for SYMC, it’s not too late. We are nearly Sold Out but we are not there yet. There is room for you. Go here to register.