i’m pretty stoked about this…
– Customized learning about Middle School Ministry.
– Conversations with people who understand you.
– Rubbing shoulders with JH Ministry vets and experts.
– Ziplines and skeet shooting and nature and camp food and silliness and lip syncing and late night secret sharing and rest.
What’s the only place you can experience every single one of those in one weekend? The Middle School Ministry Campference, of course. Come join with your tribe.
Here’s what a few of last year’s attendees had to say:
The MSMC is like getting one-on-one training focused on Middle School Ministry all day long. From the speakers on stage to the person sitting next to you, every person brings it at the MSMC. Every time you start a conversation you know it could be the best one of the weekend.
It’s unlike any other youth ministry conference. Not only do you get great content, but the laid back camp atmosphere creates a great environment for building relationships with other middle school youth workers.
Middle School Ministry Campference isn’t about all the hype and pizzazz of other conferences. It’s about being together with the strange creatures that Middle School Pastors are. It’s not about showing you creative things; it’s about inspiring creativity in all of us. The connections that you make here are 1000x better and more useful than the handful of notes you’ll take anywhere else and never look at again. If I had the choice between Campference and any other conference, I’d choose this every time.
The Campference site is now live, and registration is open! We work hard to keep our all-inclusive rates crazy-low. And thanks to our partners, we’re able to offer Early Bird registration, including LODGING AND ALL MEALS at these great rates:
- $320 – Early Bird Single Registration (register by June 30, 2014)
- $295 – Early Bird Group Rate, per person (groups of 3 or more, register by June 30, 2014)
As added Early Bird perks, we’re throwing in more than $50 of extra goodies, FREE:
- Good News in the Neighborhood ($25 value)
- Viva – Genesis ($5.99 value)
- and, a super-awesome mystery goodie bag of cabin munchies waiting for you at the Campference ($15 value)
today is a big day in Cartel-land. we’ve launched the website and opened registration for The Summit 2014. this is our third year of this truly unique youth ministry event that’s sort of like TED for youth workers.
what is it, you ask? is it pretty much the same as other youth ministry events, you ask?
HA, i say. and then, i stand aside and allow some of last year’s attendees to answer your questions:
The Summit inspires your passion, stirs your mind, and awakens raw and new thinking. You come away with excitement to take on a new challenge or a fresh creativity for the road that you are traveling.
The Summit challenges and sets the stage for a future of ministry that we are about to find ourselves immersed in. It is freeing to have a map and concept for the realities of future youth ministry.
The Summit deliberately provoked my imagination and ministry innovation. Loved it!
and one of my favorite quotes about last year:
The Summit is not a pep rally, group therapy, or a pissing contest of who’s better. It makes the assumption that youth workers are smart people who liked to be challenged and stretched mentally. Thank you. It’s nice to know that not everyone thinks what we do is for dumb-asses in skinny jeans (though skinny jeans were well represented).
here’s the way we describe it on the website:
A Creativity Sparker. An Idea Stirrer. An Insight Inviter.
That’s what The Summit is all about.
We’re all for practical training, but training is not really the focus of this event (there are other events that do that really well). Instead, The Summit is intentionally designed to stir your youth ministry imagination and assist you in discerning God’s leading for your wonderfully unique expression of youth ministry.
each year at The Summit, we pull a thematic thread through the whole event. this year’s theme:
Doing youth ministry in church means we’re part of systems and history and expectations. Good or bad or indifferent, those forces can easily subjugate us into doing things the same way, year after year. But context changes; and teenagers change. Staying true to our calling beckons us to lace up our hiking boots and set off on an adventure of discernment, experimentation, and dreaming. Like adventurers climbing Mountains, diving into Seas, and reaching into Space, let’s lean into: Exploration.
filling out the presenter line-up for this event is a year-long process. at this point, we have 10 of the 18 presenters locked in, plus two “session framers” (a storyteller and a theologian)–new roles this year. check out the current line-up here, and know that we’ll be adding to it in the months to come!
register early for $3.01! (sorta)
if you register yourself or your group this month (by june 1), we’re not only giving you special pricing, but we’re adding a whole combo platter of early reg perks:
Early Bird Price
$149 per person
$129 for groups of 3 or more
Pre-Summit Session of your choice – $40 value
Video of all sessions – $50 value (register by June 1)
Audio of all sessions – $25 value (register by July 1)
Good News in the Neighborhood –$25 value
Viva – Genesis – $5.99 value
That’s correct. If you register by June 1st we are giving you $145.99 in perks. So basically, it’s $3.01… which is absolutely hilarious and crazy.
hope you can join us!! as a wee appetizer, we released David Crowder’s talk from last year’s Summit yesterday (btw: David’s new album, Neon Steeple, started pre-selling on itunes this week).
here’s an update on the Youth Ministry Coaching Program…
we now have four full cohorts going (each have met at least one time so far). three are “closed” groups for denominations: south carolina UMC, western north carolina UMC, and pittsburgh presbytery of the PC(USA). the fourth is our “women in youth ministry” cohort led by april diaz (meeting in orange county, CA, and online).
but we have three other options at this time:
2014 Nashville Cohort
this cohort is off and running in the lead up to a first meeting in august. we’re just now starting to schedule that meeting and deal with other preliminary administrative details. but, while the cohort has its allotted 10 spots filled, i’ve started taking an 11th person in most cohorts. this is primarily in case someone has to back out; but i’ve done a few cohort with 11 people in them now, and have found they’ve been fine. so, if anyone is interested in grabbing that 11th spot in the nashville cohort, it’s first-come, first-served.
2014 San Diego Cohort
filling this cohort has been a challenge. we only need 8 to make this one work. and for two years, since the 2nd San Diego cohort finished, we’ve added people and lost people. we were at 5, and added two awesome people in the last month; but then two of the people who had been waiting forever had to pull out. so we’re back to 5. i’d sure love to see this one make it. there are awesome people in the mix already, but we need 3 more. if you’re interested, jump in!
2014 SoCal/Hawaii Synod of the PC(USA) Cohort
this presbyterian synod approved, last week, funding for a full cohort. participants will only be responsible for $500 of the program cost, plus their incidental expenses (travel, books). the location is still being finalized, but it will definitely be in either LA, Orange County, or San Diego. obviously, in order to qualify for this cohort, you have to be an employed youth worker in a PC(USA) church in the SoCal/Hawaii synod. we’re opening an application period for the month of april. we may or may not have spaces remaining after that period; but if you want in, you need to jump on it (as it will likely fill during the application period). to get an application for this cohort, email rocky supinger ([email protected]), the YMCP grad who had the vision for this and worked the proposal through approval by the synod.
we’re so excited about how YMCP continues to grow and impact lives!
first, i have to provide you with this FREE bit of total awesomeness i found a few minutes ago: a free album download of 8-bit easter hymns by a creative dude named tyler larson, available on noisetrade.com. totally fun. can see using this in youth ministry. note that tyler offers two other free albums of similar music (both free); one is christmas music, and one is just a collection of hymns (but all in that 8-bit video game sound). really fun.
The Youth Cartel (the feisty little engine that could) now has a pretty cool suite of easter resources that you should know about!
first up (and, the newest release) is VIVA! Passion. yeah, weird name if you’ve never heard of it. VIVA! is our very new downloadable curriculum resource that you really should know about. each month we’ll release a set of four new lessons. you can get individual lessons for a buck-ninety-nine, or the four-pack series for a save-your-budget price of $5.99.
the Passion set of VIVA! includes these four sessions:
- The Entry – Jesus begins his final week of life by riding into Jerusalem during Passover and announcing his reign as King… on a donkey. How did Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem show him to be far more than just a humble man willing to ride on a donkey, but as a King who was subverting the expectations of the powerful and peasant alike?
- The Temple – This lesson will explore the temple culture, Jesus’s reaction to it and how we can allow him to “turn things over” in our lives.
- The Curtain – This lesson will continue our look at the last week of Christ’s life and specifically key in on the tearing of the temple curtain after his death. The temple, and more specifically the Holy of Holies, was where God dwelled, where heaven met earth. The curtain separating us from God came down so we all can experience and participate in heaven meeting earth without barrier.
- The Mission – Betrayal, violence, death and disappointment. What a way for the last week of Jesus’s life to wrap up. But then Jesus comes back- with more power and authority than ever. This lesson will look at how the resurrected Jesus chose not to confront his enemies, but to spend the time to find his followers, put his arm around them and bring them back into his mission. The same mission we get to participate in today.
(the first set of VIVA!, by the way, is Viva! Genesis, and includes:
- The Poetry of Creation
- The Story of Adam and Eve
- The Story of Noah
- The Story of Abraham
and there’s a free download sample of that second lesson.
then, CUATRO MAS!
from the freakishly creative mind of steve case, this downloadable resource is totally something you could use as a series, or pull creative bits from for other teaching and programming at this time of year (or any other time of year).
Stations of the Cross is a book of thirteen creative and dramatic lessons that will take participants into the last moments of Jesus’ life. Those who venture into these words will smell the sweat. They will feel the blood roll down his back. They will be taken to the dark place within their own souls and be invited to leave all that baggage behind in the tomb.
Utilizing scripture, dramatic readings, and thought provoking questions, Steve Case provides a unique approach to curriculum that can easily be customized for individual or group use.
Product includes PDF and editable word files of sessions, plus PowerPoint backgrounds and other graphic files for use in group settings or teaching contexts.
this is a fairly new downloadable resource — just came out a month or two ago. it’s not like anything else you’ve seen in youth ministry curriculum.
God Parties takes these big concepts and breaks them down into lessons that incorporate ancient traditions with relevant application for today’s teens. In many ways the protestant church has lost connection with its Jewish heritage. God Parties shows how the festivals point us to Jesus. It helps students better grasp the Hebraic backdrop of Jesus’ world by giving the leader teachable background and historical insights.
For the youth worker teaching week in and week out, it can be difficult to come up with creative ways to involve students so they’re not simply listening to a message. God Parties offers leaders 3 months of opportunities to involve students in the preparation, teaching and learning roles, and connects biblical concepts with food, object lessons and activities that reinforce learning and application–all designed to be repeated each year as God prescribed.
btw, God Parties comes with leader’s guides and student handouts, as well as a bunch of short videos from the author speaking to you (the leader) about what’s most important to focus on in this session. i love how jeff (the author) connects these ancient jewish feasts and festivals to jesus (really, i learned a ton of stuff when we were developing this resource!) and helps apply it to our lives today. for easter, specifically, there’s a full passover seder experience and instructions. as usual, there’s a free downloadable sample on the product page.
two more, quickly:
this award-winning downloadable curriculum (i made up the award-winning part; but it SHOULD be) has gotten such overwhelmingly positive responses from those who’ve used it. it was originally conceived to align with pentecost, but can really be used at any time of the year. includes all sorts of goodies, like intro videos, graphics, and more.
This 6-week series will deep dive your students into the practical realities of a radical life with Jesus. Built around six themes of community life, students will gain an understanding of their role in their community and be challenged by a series of simple experiments they can try. More than a series that teaches your students about being Good News in their community, Good News in the Neighborhood offers practical application based on the life of Jesus and the 1st century Church. Our hope is that your students begin to see how God has called them to become good news in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
and, finally, our award-winning (yeah, not true once again) devotional journal…
Lent: A Journey of Discovery by Addition, Subtraction and Introspection
our second-best selling title ever, in the long history of The Youth Cartel, because it’s so splenderific.
but, alas, you’re too late for this year. stock is gone and we’re not reprinting it until some time closer to Lent 2015. we just want to make sure this is on your radar, so you can continue to be the well-informed and wise youth worker that you are.
Adam sent this out in a nice email to our Cartel email subscribers. thought i’d post it here also!
New San Diego & Nashville Cohorts
YMCP is a year-long, whole-life coaching program for youth workers. It’s built on a cohort approach: Each cohort has 10 youth workers, which provides a shared learning environment, a variety of inputs, and a team of ministry friends who’ve got your back. Full cohorts meet for two days, every other month, over the course of the year. In between meetings, we interact on a secret facebook page, as well as coaching phone calls.
There are still two “open” cohorts (not denominationally-focused or funded) with a few spaces in them:
The 2014 Nashville cohort has five confirmed participants and five more spaces available.
The 2014 San Diego cohort has three spaces available.
Both of these cohorts will launch when we fill them up (and all participants get to vote on meeting dates). For more info, check out this page on our website, or email me and I’ll send you the program overview and other stuff.
What Youth Workers are Saying about YMCP
Here’s the thing about YMCP. You sign up thinking you’re in for some good youth ministry insight and discussion (you are), and maybe the people will be cool (they will). But what you can’t know until you’re in the midst of it is how you’ll grow to look forward to each meeting as a time of sanctuary, how the room full of strangers will be friends by the end of the first day, how your heart will drop a bit at the end of each cohort because you know there are only a few left. My year in YMCP helped me grow as a youth worker, for sure. But what I am truly thankful for is the way it helped me define who I am – as a person, as a follower of Christ, and THEN as a youth worker. The insight and personal development that came out of YMCP for me go way beyond my professional life. I’m more confident in my decisions, my abilities, and my passion than ever before. And I have nine awesome, crazy, amazing friends in ministry and in life that I can call on at any time.
The Youth Ministry Coaching Program is hands down the most important program I have participated in my 13 years of youth ministry. The holistic approach and balance of training, inward reflection and spiritual growth allowed me to be stretched not only into being a better youth leader, but also into being a better person. YMCP is of great benefit for the veteran or rookie youth worker.
YMCP with out a doubt saved me from leaving youth ministry. I was in a tough spot without any direction. This program helped facilitate a safe place to work out and through the situation. It was an absolute highlight of my life so far to be in such a dark place, and over the course of a year with the program be restored with grace through great coaching.
After transitioning from full-time ministry to a volunteer position, I couldn’t see how I would effectively live out my calling. YMCP helped me regain my passion and find direction to help me move forward in my ministry.
since most youth workers haven’t heard of morgan schmidt, the author of our upcoming release, Woo: Awakening Teenagers’ Desire to Follow in the Way of Jesus, i thought it would be a good idea to add a few words in the front of the book about why we chose to publish this work. here’s what i wrote:
A Word from the Publisher
Publishing is tough these days. (I wanted to write, “It’s gettin’ hard out here for a pimp,” but I thought the music/movie reference might get lost, and some would be offended.) Most publishers just cannot afford to release a book by an author who doesn’t have a built-in platform to move thousands of copies on her own.
Morgan Schmidt does not have a platform to move thousands of copies of this book on her own.
But, call us visionary or passionate or stupid, we simply had to publish Morgan’s book. Morgan Schmidt is more than the ideas and words on these pages; we believe she’s an important emerging voice in youth ministry. And built into the DNA of The Youth Cartel is a commitment to find people like Morgan and help them shape all of us.
And the words on these pages—well, I am really not blowing smoke when I write that they are among the most important and reorienting and revolutionary and fresh words written about youth ministry in the last couple years. Plus, as a bonus, Morgan writes in a winsome way that leaves you no choice but to really like her, whether you agree with her proposals and perspectives and time-delayed explosives or not. As with most of the stuff we publish or host at our events, our goal at The Youth Cartel is not that you agree with us (or fall prey to our megalomaniacal plans to rule the world), but that you are invited to think, reflect, and hear the voice of God about youth ministry.
With that, I’m excited to introduce you to Woo: Awaking Teenagers’ Desire to Follow in the Way of Jesus and to the insightful Morgan Schmidt. (You can take it from here, Morgan…)
Partner | The Youth Cartel
oh, and for the record, here’s what some other people are saying about it:
Morgan Schmidt is a snappy and relatable writer. But above all, she is a prophet blessed with a winsome honesty that sneaks up on you as you’re planning your umpteenth mission trip and whispers: “Recalculate.” For Schmidt, being human boils down to desire; and youth ministry that’s honest is about desire too—the desires of youth for God, the desire of God for them. With Woo, Morgan Schmidt joins a new class of practical theologians taking aim at the false gods driving the youth ministry industry, and she restores our focus—and our hope—on young people’s God-given desire to become, belong to, and worship as the body of Christ. Woo completely won me over.
Kenda Creasy Dean, Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary and author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church
Woo is, hands down, one of the most sensible and simultaneously exhilarating books about pastoring students that I have read in a long time. Morgan Schmidt wisely guides us to awaken desire rather than run from it, equipping us to form desire to follow in the way of Jesus. Woo invites leaders to see students as real people, with real longings that matter. Don’t let the warmth and wit of Morgan’s writing fool you—this changes everything you’ve known about youth ministry.
Dwight J. Friesen, Associate Professor of Practical Theology @ The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, coauthor of The New Parish
Woo is a book about desire, the desire of young people to be authentic and real. It is also about the desire for those who serve the Church to be the midwives who help them do just that. Knowing Morgan Schmidt, I can tell you this book is authentic and real. Here is offered one devoted person’s theology and praxis around the ministry to youth. I highly recommend it, and I thank God for this offering to the Church.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, VIII, Bishop of Olympia
Both Augustine and Kierkegaard, in their own ways, asserted that we are what we desire. Consumerism has adopted in a counterfeit but powerful way this theology. When our desires go askew and latch onto consumer goods, political ideologies, or fear about our children, we create pantheons of idols to worship. Like a prophet from the Old Testament, Morgan Schmidt has called out youth ministry for its idol-making, asserting with flare and depth that youth ministry has been captured by desires other than encountering the living God. This is a book that will challenge you because it will ask you to expose your desires. But in so doing, you may find not the idol of successful youth ministry, but the living God who will draw you closer and closer to the humanity of young people this living God loves.
Dr. Andrew Root, Luther Seminary, author of Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry
I really like what Morgan Schmidt is saying to youth pastors in Woo: Awakening Teenagers’ Desire to Follow in the Way of Jesus. We should know by now that approaching the Christian formation of young people in our churches needs something more than doubling down on what we think worked in the past or even a “new” method or model—a full theological paradigmatic shift is necessary. Morgan carefully unveils a more spiritual posture toward the young people we want to do life with. It starts with a passion to approach them with a sense of awe in their personhood. It involves our curiosity and commitment to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work of unleashing a young person’s imagination in the pursuit of discovering his or her beautiful God-given humanity. Maybe if we spent more time nourishing our own lives with God and what it means for us to become more fully human, we might just find ourselves around young people who feel fully alive desiring life in Jesus Christ. If you are comfortably ensconced in a church that puts on programs for youth to consume, and measures its success based on immediate results—don’t read this book. It will either make you very uncomfortable or—if it captures you—it could get you fired. But, then again, it could also spark an awakening in your congregation.
Mike King, President/CEO of Youthfront, author of Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation
Lent Starts March 5th
We’ve got you covered…
Did you know Lent starts in just a few weeks? We know you just got done submitting receipts from the Christmas Party and you’re trying to pre-screen all of the Super Bowl commercials before 25 parents call you about the latest GoDaddy attention grab this Sunday.
Relax. We’ve got you covered.
Fellow youth worker Erik Willits has put together a great resource for your group, a Lenten devotional simply called Lent.
Tons of youth groups (and entire churches) tested Lent in 2013 and loved it.
Bulk Pricing for Lent
- 1-4 copies: $9.99 each
- 5-9 copies: $9.49 each
- 10-19 copies: $8.49 each
- 20-99 copies: $6.49 each
- 100+ copies: $6.09 each
the Open Youth Ministry events hosted by The Youth Cartel and a growing cluster of regional youth ministry organizations is such a cool collection of local, contextualized events. each one or two-day event is local in the sense that the organizing team is at least 75% (or more) local (only adam mclane, from The Youth Cartel, is a non-local on each team); the speakers are almost all local; a local youth ministry organization receives a third of the ticket sales; and each event has a unique feel and format, decided on by the organizing team.
all this is built on the belief that the best ideas often come from local, in-the-trenches youth workers.
add to all that goodness: each Open event costs a ridiculously cheap twenty five bucks!
in 2014, we have six Open events officially happening (and a couple more under consideration). two of them are coming up VERY soon, and registration is live and cranking.
first up is Open Boston, on february 7/8, at Gordon College. this is Open Boston’s second year, and the organizing team is fired up. the main event is saturday; but the team decided to add an early day on friday with a couple intensives, dinner, and a time of worship (all still included in the $25 cost!). i’m actually going to Open Boston this time, and am super pumped about it. see the website here, and register here.
a couple weeks later, the first-ever Open Grand Rapids will take place on february 22, at Cornerstone University. the speakers have been chosen and plans are ready to go. we’re really stoked about adding GR to the list of Open host cities this year. see the website here, and register here.
coming up later this year:
- the first-ever Open Denver on september 13
- the 2nd Open Paris on october 24/25 (we’re adding housing options this year!)
- the 2nd Open Bay Area (CA) in november (date still being finalized)
- the 3rd Open Seattle (date still being finalized, but in october or november)
mark the dates on your calendars if you’re within driving distance of any of those cities and plan on bringing a team! and if you’re near Boston or Grand Rapids, get to it!
wow — the fact that it’s only days from christmas doesn’t seem weird to me; but the fact that 2013 is days from ending, that’s wild to me (as it always is).
if you work in a church, this might not be the end of a budget cycle. but so many youth workers i know are in the final days of a 2013 church budget. and if that’s you, and you have a tiny stash o’ funds left, i’d like to suggest two good uses, all of which are also time-sensitive:
1. FREE SHIPPING in The Youth Cartel store on all orders of $25 or more, for the continental U.S., through tuesday, december 24 (christmas eve!). this is your chance for a win/win. we have way too much product in our “warehouse” (the shelves in adam’s garage). and, of course, you get the double-win of our awesome products AND free shipping. we’re seeing people use this opportunity to do a couple things:
- place bulk orders on a single product (remember, any order of 20 or more copies of a single product gets a 35% discount anyhow!). yesterday, someone bought 20 copies of the “Parent Pack of Awesomeness” (all five books in the Parents Guide series). and someone else bought 40 copies of the Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers, clearly getting ready for a retreat or a small group series or something.
- or, quite a few have just used this to stock up on resources they’ve wondered about, but hadn’t gotten yet. i’m seeing lots of orders with 5 or 6 different titles, just 1 or 2 copies of each.
you don’t need a coupon or code for this deal. just have more than twenty-five bucks in your cart, and a continental U.S. address, and the shipping will automatically get cut. easy peasy, sugar-plum squeezy.
2. Event deposits. we’re offering the very best deal you can ever get on pre-registrations for our two national events, the Middle School Ministry Campference, and The Summit. in both cases, a $25 non-refundable, but fully transferable deposit now (before 2013 ends!), locks in the lowest rate, and we’ll invoice you for the balance at the end of next summer.
- the Middle School Ministry Campference (here’s last year’s website) is a weekend-long tribal gathering for people who work with young teens. you learn a ton, but you’ll also have more fun and build more ministry friendships than any other youth ministry event you’ve ever attended (i am not exaggerating). the event is at SpringHill Camp in seymour, indiana (hour south of indy, hour north of louisville), october 10-12, 2014. and with this special pre-registration, you lock in an all-inclusive rate (really, accommodations and food included!) of $259 per person.
- The Summit (last year’s website) is like TED for youth workers, carefully crafted to spark your imagination and get you thinking in new ways. of this year’s event, Christy B wrote “The Summit left my mind full of new ideas to connect with my students and ways to engage them in their spiritual lives. Can’t wait for next year!” we’re moving the event to nashville for 2014. november 7 and 8. and with this special pre-registration, you lock in an almost absurd rate of $109! (seriously, that’s cheap)
both of those pre-reg deals end the second before ryan seacrest says “happy new year!”