Tag Archives: the summit

media from the 2012 summit is available!

you know that time when you had everything all planned for the perfect youth group night, but it relied on a video clip, and the projector would just not cooperate? yeah, GIANT ministries like The Youth Cartel (ha!) have those problems too. we thought we were going to be able to offer video of last year’s uh-maze-ing event, The Summit, within a week or two of the event. but we experienced a perfect storm of tech problems.

finally, after months of shipping strange-format videos around the country, borrowing and buying new ways to play them so we could transfer them (only to find that those ways didn’t work), and asking multiple people for help, we finally have all 18 videos finished.

i watched all of them again in the last two weeks, and was once again thankful and stoked and stirred up. it’s quite the collection of 12 – 15 minute TED-style talks, all geared to spark your youth ministry imagination.

here’s a free sample: amanda drury’s wonderful presentation on Congregations Where Teenagers Have a Voice…

the audio of the event has always been available in our store. but now you can buy video of individual talks, or full sessions (5 or 6 talks), or the whole kitchen sink.

this is the sort of thing you’ll get:

session 1 — the here + now

  • mark moore — Acknowledging our Dependence on God
  • aaron arnold — Global Shifts in Youth Culture
  • nikole lim — Teenagers We Overlook
  • rhett smith — Anxiety in Teenagers
  • brock morgan — Activating the Hearts of Teenagers Who Don’t See a Need for Jesus
  • amanda drury — Congregations Where Teenagers Have a Voice

session 2 — peripheral vision

  • charles lee — Where Good Ideas Come From
  • bobby john — Risk & Faith
  • marah lidey — Best Practices in Activating Young People Around Causes They Care About
  • lucas leys — What We Can Learn from Latin American Youth Ministry
  • ben chestnut — Creating an Environment for Creativity and Empowerment
  • anne jackson — The Process of Creativity

session 3 — the horizon

  • chris folmsbee — Hopeful Imagination
  • andrew marin — Ministry Within Theological Tension
  • seth barnes — Ruining Teenagers and Young Adults for Jesus
  • greg ellison II — Learning to Notice Marginalized Teenagers
  • april diaz — Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker

session 4 — panorama

  • mark oestreicher — Transformation: Resistances and Resources (this one’s a half hour long)

once you purchase the videos, you can stream them (for quick viewing), or download them for viewing at another time or using them to instigate conversation with a volunteer team.

so: click here to see the page on The Youth Cartel store were you can get these babies.

oh, and we’re hip-deep in planning The Summit 2013 (november 8 and 9, in atlanta). i’m completely stoked about our theme and plans for this year’s event. we have 8 of the presenters confirmed so far, and more locking in all the time. we’ll have lotsa info to share on that very soon. you can click here to RSVP for the event, and we’ll notify you the minute registration goes live.

merry year-end budget dregs deal on The Summit and the MSMC

here it is, december 19. maybe your youth ministry budget is only 1/2 over, or even 1/4 over, if your church has a fiscal year that’s different than the calendar. but most youth workers i know — if they have a budget at all — have budgets that wrap up when the father time waves goodbye and that diapered baby of a new year shows up. and my experience tells me the vast majority of youth workers, at this point in the year, fall into one of two categories:

  1. your budget is gone. done. spent. there are only dust bunnies left in that thing.
  2. you have dregs in your budget. like the last drip of coffee in the bottom of a cup, that has a few grinds in it; or like the nickel clinking around in your kid’s piggy bank. there’s not enough to go wild. you’re not even sure there’s enough to do anything with it.

if you fit #2 — we’ve got a screamin’ deal for you. you can lock in a rate cheaper than we will offer at any other time, for the Middle School Ministry Campference, or The Summit, for only twenty five bucks now. surely, your dregs can cover that.

it you fit #1, or if you’re still saying, “budget? what budget?” we have a screamin’ deal for you also! c’mon: it’s twenty-five bucks. we’ll grant you temporary spiritual permission to consider this tithing. in fact, we talked to your church budget chair, and s/he asked that you handle it this way.

but just like 2012, this super dealio ends on december 31!

The Summit 2013
November 8-9, Atlanta GA

The Summit is a 2-day youth ministry event low on hype and high on story; low on entertainment and high on flammable ideas.

Here’s a sample of feedback from this year:

“You guys nailed it… great presenters, great vibe. It was exactly what I had hoped it to be.”

“I was blown away at how each presenter brought something incredibly helpful and thought provoking!”

We’re coming back in 2013 with a brand new group of presenters. We’re hoping you’ll plan to attend.

With a $25 non-refundable deposit, you’ll get our guaranteed lowest rate of just $109. You’ll reserve your spot and won’t have to pay your balance until November, 2013!

The Summit 2013 Deposit

Middle School Ministry Campference 2013
October 11-13, Seymour IN

The campference is a 3 day gathering for youth workers who specialize in working with middle schoolers. Another thing that makes it unique is that we meet at a beautiful camp in Southern Indiana. With all-inclusive registration, once you get there we take care of the rest. (Lodging, food, activities.) There’s simply no other gathering like it anywhere.

But the Campference isn’t just a weekend full of lectures and long seminar blocks. There’s plenty of time for worship, play, and rejuvenation of your soul. It’s everything a tribal gathering should be!

With a $25 non-refundable deposit, you’ll get our guaranteed lowest rate of just $259. You’ll reserve your spot and won’t have to pay your balance until October 1st, 2013!

MSMC 2013 Deposit

NOTE: Deposits are transferable, but not refundable.
Deposit deadline for both events is December 31st, 2012

The Summit that was

before The Youth Cartel even officially existed, i started dreaming about an event for youth workers somewhat fashioned around TED. but when adam joined me a little over a year ago, we chose to move it from idea to risk. we spent some time refining the idea, and set out a few “fleeces,” little bridges we needed to cross in order to feel an initial sense that we weren’t merely smoking our own idealism. we agreed that we would launch if, within a couple months, we were able to get:

1. a good location that would host the event for free
2. three presenters who would agree to participate with our “profit sharing” approach
3. one partner organization who believed in what we were trying to do, and would help with a bit of capital and some marketing

all three were fulfilled within one week.

so, for months and months, our little dream of an event that was fine-tuned for sparking ideas, trusting attendees, and doing things differently played out as the two of us revised speaker lists (starting with topics rather than speakers), created a website and videos, reworked budgets, made multiple to-do lists and spreadsheets of logistical details our company of two needed to pull off.

going into this past weekend — i’ll admit — i was more anxious and nervous than i’d been approaching a youth ministry event in many, many years. maybe it just felt like so much was riding on it (probably an overstatement; but that’s how it felt). as adam and i drove to the airport in san diego last wednesday (along with our friend tash mcgill, who’d flown in from new zealand to be our third emcee), we remarked that this sort of felt like a “coming of age” event for the cartel.

fast forward to session one, on friday evening: this session was focused on “the here and now,” with 6 presenters giving 12-minute talks on a facet of our current reality. halfway through mark moore’s opening talk, i started to calm down. i knew, somewhere inside, that it was working. when we transitioned from that first session to the first “digging deeper” session, where attendees chose one of the 6 presenters to spend an additional 45 minutes with, in a dialogue about contextualization and application, i started feeling thankful. every room had a grip of highly-engaged youth workers mixing it up with the presenters, leaning in (both literally and conceptually), wrestling and imagining and dreaming and asking and reflecting.

saturday’s “peripheral vision” session (6 presenters from other fields who we could learn something from — a hotspot of divergent thinking), and “horizon” session (5 presenters sharing a facet of where we might be or should be headed), continued to build my awe. it wasn’t awe in myself or adam. i was awed by god’s spirit, awed by thoughtful youth workers who were passionate about being stirred up, awed by speakers who stuck around as participants, awed by partners who helped us own the event (so far beyond being ‘exhibitors’), awed by seasoned communicators who — every single one of them — didn’t bring their shtick but worked hard to create original and compelling presentations that fit the uniqueness of the event (and awed when they gushed about being involved, even when our attendance of 200 people didn’t allow for hardly any of the “profit share” that might have been), awed by the conversations that just didn’t stop — in the lobby and hallways and the breakfast area of the hotel and even a couple pubs.

a few particularly memorable moments (there are way too many to list):

– gosh: i hardly know how to not cite something from every single presenter. seriously, there was not a single dud, not even one partial dud. but i’ll be thinking about brock morgan’s presentation about reaching teenagers in a post-christian culture for a long time. i’ll be thinking about what we learned from amanda drury about the role of testimony in the identity and faith formation of teenagers. i’ll be noodling more on bobby john’s quiet and gentle words about risk, and how my response is more important than the risk itself. and greg ellison’s staring us all down, for a quiet that seemed to last forever, then telling us all how it’s good to see us, as he’d been praying for us for weeks — that awkward/beautiful moment was surely memorable.

– countless people who paid to be there offered help. i was regularly moved by the question, “what can i do for you?” and when i started taking people up on those offers, they carried some of the load with confidence and completion.

– our partner organizations didn’t just exhibit. they hung out with people, engaged in lengthy conversations (and not just about their organizations). it reminded me of my experience at zappos, when i sat with a phone rep and listed in on a 90-minute conversation with a lonely guy who wanted to exchange a pair of shoes he’d bought for his mom.

– and then there was uncle wally. we didn’t want this event to have fluff. we were intent on an event that wasn’t a dog and pony show. but we knew we needed a few “breathers”, a taste of sorbet to pause between the courses of the meal. chris coleman was wonderful in leading worship. bone hampton gifted us with laughter. a classical guitar player brought a quiet touch of beauty. but an old hawaiian dude named uncle wally was the surprise hit. wally hobbled up to the stage with his ukulele and wide-brimmed hawaiian hat and played a few songs. he led everyone in a goofy little sing-along song that — in the magic you can only hope for when planning something like that — was embraced by the crowd (geez, he was like the hero of the event).

leading up to the event, it was starting to look more and more likely that we would repeat this thing. but during the event it shifted to “absolutely.” so, it’s official: The Summit 2013 will take place in atlanta on november 8 and 9. we sure hope you’ll join us!

i’ll wrap with this tweet from one of the presenters — april diaz:

Telling lots of people today that @YouthCartel #thesummit was the best “youth ministry” conference I’ve ever been too.

it’s not too late to register for The Summit (and, Terrace Crawford’s Q&A with me about it)

yesterday, the one and only terrace crawford posted a series of questions he asked me about The Summit and The Youth Cartel. with terrace’s permission, i’m gonna re-post it here, since he asked questions i liked!

terrace: What is The Summit?
me: It’s a youth ministry training event; but our intention has always been to do something very different than the many other excellent training events offered in the youth ministry world. For those familiar with TED, you can probably see how it was somewhat of an inspiration for The Summit. We want to stir imaginations and spark creativity in thinking about each attendee’s unique context. We’re not promoting a particular approach, or suggesting a methodology, because we firmly believe that–today, more than ever–those approaches and methodologies need to be spiritually discerned, unique, and contextually appropriate. So, think of The Summit as the “chemical agent” intended to bring about a combustable reaction leading to change!

terrace: How does the event set itself a part from other youth ministry conferences?
me: To be clear, The Summit is not a “skills training” event. It’s an IDEA event. We believe that by bringing together a group of carefully selected presenters, each giving short, concise talks based on ideas that should shape our thinking and practice, youth workers will leave buzzing with applicable and unique thoughts about the “new things” God might want to do in their ministries.

To that end, each of the first three sessions will have five or six presenters, each giving a 12 – 15 minute talk on an area of expertise. Each session is grouped under a theme umbrella; so there’s a sense where the presenters in each session will each share a unique facet of the same cut gem. After each of these sessions, attendees will self-select one of the presenters with whom to spend another 45 minutes in what we’re calling “Digging Deeper.” The presenters are preparing these times not as further lecture, but as a guided interaction toward contextualization for everyone in the room.

terrace: I love the theme “Panorama: A Big Picture of Youth Ministry — Past, Present, Future.” I noticed many of the speakers aren’t youth workers. Do you think these presenters will be able to help discern where youth ministry is at or needs to go?
me: Actually, the session themes are “Here and Now: Naming our Current Reality,” “Peripheral Vision: Voices from Other Fields,” and “The Horizon: Where We Could or Should Be Headed.” In the first and third of those, all but two of the presenters are youth workers (of various sorts). It’s just that second session where we were intentional about bringing in voices from other fields of study or practice that we think have something we could learn from. So, on one hand: yes, i totally think these presenters can help us discern where youth ministry needs to go. But on the other hand: I don’t think it’s the role of the presenters (or me, or any other youth ministry speaker or youth ministry organization) to, ultimately, tell youth workers where they need to go. Youth workers need to exercise their own spiritual discernment, listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance about what God is calling them to do in their unique context. The event is an aid to that process, rather than the answer(s) to that question.

By the way: I look at that second session (Peripheral Vision), and am just blown away by the line-up. That session alone would be something leaders in other organizations would pay a grand or two to hear. I’m really looking forward to every aspect of the event; but, honestly, that’s the session I’m salivating to hear (sorry, let me wring out my beard).

terrace: I really like how a couple of the sessions are followed up by time to have teams wrestle with application to the big ideas shared at the event. What do you hope this will accomplish? Any expectations?
me: I suppose I mostly answered this one already! But, yes, we really wrestled with how to make the event more than just hearing from 18 gifted presenters. With that many ideas flying around, it could easily feel like drinking from a fire hose, right? So, we came up with those Digging Deeper sessions as a way for youth workers to, well, dig deeper on three of the topics that really caught their attention or heart or curiosity. If those unfold as we hope they will, I think they’ll massively multiply the take-home value of the event.

terrace: What’s next for The Youth Cartel? Do you plan to bring these special events back next year?
me: Man, we have so many things going on, it’s just crazy! We’re publishing now, and have our 3rd and 4th books coming out at The Summit; and we have another six or so titles coming out in the next 6 – 9 months. The Middle School Ministry Campference was a massive success last weekend (its second year), and we’re definitely repeating that. Our Open events kicked off with Open Seattle a few weeks ago (which surpassed all expectations); and we have Open Boston and Open Paris in the first half of 2013. The Youth Ministry Coaching Program is moving forward: I’m close to wrapping up a cohort that’s been meeting in San Antonio; I’m starting a new Nashville cohort in January (there’s still space for one or two people, btw); We’re launching a Canadian cohort in December; and I have two online groups starting in December with the beta-test of the new YMCPv. I’m still writing lots of stuff, and have a couple more books coming out with Simply Youth Ministry in the next few months, plus a JH Bible I general edited coming out with Thomas Nelson mid-year 2013. And, our consulting roster is full of wonderful organizations we’re honored to partner with.

terrace: Any last minute notes for those who aren’t registered?
me: It really isn’t too late! The event, in Atlanta, is next Friday and Saturday (November 9 and 10). If you’re in driving distance, deciding to attend at this late date is totally do-able. There are cheap hotels very near the event location. And, heck, this amazing event–even at this late date–is still under a hundred and fifty bucks (plus, everyone will be getting freebies worth about $50!). And, hey, if you want to attend, and can’t even afford that, shoot me an email ([email protected]), and I’ll do what I can to help you out.

top 7 reasons today is a big deal

7 is, of course, the holy number. so, in keeping with that, here are the top 7 reasons today is a big deal:

  1. it’s the beginning of a long weekend (well, if you live in the states — sorry to my global friends).
  2. it’s the early bird deadline for The Summit. prices go up twenty clams tomorrow. here’s the snarky, manipulative email The Youth Cartel send out about it this morning.
  3. it’s the last day to enter the ipad contest sponsored by our friends at the youth culture report. all the details are here — but we’re giving out TWO ipads (one for peeps who follow the instructions at that link, and another to a randomly chosen person already registered for The Summit). i promise you, these are the best odds you will ever have in a win-an-ipad contest, other than the contest where you go to an apple store and shout “i’m a winner” then buy an ipad for yourself.
  4. it’s the last day to enter the contest for a FREE registration to The Summit in partnership with our friends at 30 hour famine. we’ve been giving away a free registration every day this week over on their twitter feed, and as i write this, there are only a few entries so far today (meaning, it would be pretty easy to win!). click here for instructions.
  5. it’s the last day to get free mp3s of ALL 18 talks from The Summit. all early bird registrations automatically receive them. we’re not even sure yet if we’re going to make these recordings available to anyone else.
  6. it’s the 12th day of the 14 day cleanse i’m doing. i haven’t had caffeine or hardly anything in 12 days. in fact, i’ve not eaten anything other than water, carrot juice and apples for 12 days. 12 DAYS I TELL YOU! i can’t wait for monday.
  7. it’s friday!

An Important Legal Notice to all Shareholders of The Youth Cartel

An Important Legal Notice to all Shareholders of The Youth Cartel
Prepared by Winston Chippy, Attorney at Law
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Re: The Summit Early Bird Deadline


  1. “Shareholder” should be assumed to imply “any of you who give a rip.”
  2. “The Youth Cartel” should be understood as a revolutionary conglomerate heck-bent on doing things in new ways, but, often appearing to be more conglomerate-y then they really are, since it’s just Marko and Adam and all the shareholders.
  3. “Legal Notice” should only imply that we want you to read this, and nothing more.
  4. “Important” signifies that, well, it would suck if you didn’t read this.
  5. “An” is simply an indefinite article, and could easily be disregarded, should you choose.

Whereas, The Youth Cartel is hosting an off-the-charts freakin’ amazing youth ministry event this November 9/10 in Atlanta called The Summit (hereinafter SUMMIT) …

Whereas, the early bird registration deadline for SUMMIT is this Friday, August 31, 2012 …

Whereas, the prices for both individuals and groups registering for SUMMIT increase by something like twenty bucks each after Friday …

Whereas, Mark and Adam (a.k.a. “The Youth Cartel”) are a bit freaked about how many of you have told us you’re coming but haven’t registered yet …

The Notice
Let it be known that, on this day, August 28, 2012, The Youth Cartel has notified all shareholders that we:
a. really want you to join us at SUMMIT (you’ve seen the website, right?
b. really need you to register, because we’re starting to crap our pants (just a little bit)

Shareholders should also be informed that, if they are registered by the aforementioned early bird deadline, they will be automatically entered into a wee contest, sponsored by our friends at The Youth Culture Report, to win an iPad! Really, you’ve probably never entered a “win an iPad” contest where you had better odds, wonderful shareholder.

Ready for something new? Ready to have your youth ministry imagination sparked, and your thinking stirred, and your dreams re-kindled? Yup, we thought so.


Winston Chippy

Winston Chippy, Esq., Attorney for The Youth Cartel

hey kids! it’s the summit word search!

hey kids! pull out a number two pencil, and have fun with this word search! (don’t write on your computer screen though, silly! you can click on the pic and print it out, or download this PDF!) all the words are perfect for describing The Summit, the TED-like youth ministry event taking place in atlanta this november 9-10.

oh! and there’s more! the early bird deadline for The Summit is this coming friday. the prices for this puppy are a low, low $129 for groups and $149 for individuals. but they both go up twenty clams saturday.

oh! and there’s more! if you register by the early bird deadline, you are automatically entered in a drawing for an ipad, thanks to our friends at the youth culture report.

oh! and there’s more! if you register by the early bird deadline, you get access to FREE mp3s of all the presentations. that’s got to be a $3000 value or something.

have fun!

The Youth Cartel is giving away TWO iPads!

no joke. our friends at the youth culture report — partners of ours on The Summit — are helping us give away TWO ipads. for reals.

here’s how it works. click this link and follow the instructions to “join the cartel” (basically, this means you’re liking us on facebook and joining our email list). that’s it. do that — even if you’ve already liked our facebook page and are on our email list — and you get one entry for one of the ipads. and, if you use the supplied link (after signing up), posting it on your twitter or facebook page, and 5 of your friends use it, you get a 2nd entry.

that’s for the first ipad.

the 2nd ipad will be given away to a randomly selected person who’s registered for The Summit, during the week following the august 31 early-bird deadline. in other words, sign up for The Summit by the early bird date, and you’re automatically registered to win this 2nd ipad. in contest terms, your chances of winning this baby (assuming you’re registered for The Summit) are really high!

oh, and help us spread the word!

a wee chat with some of the presenters for The Summit

over the weekend, we locked it down, baby. the list of 18 presenters for The Summit (what? you haven’t heard of The Summit? it’s only the most amazing and revolutionary youth ministry training event since, well, ever!) is finalized, with the addition of our final two:

  • Anne Jackson, author of Mad Church Disease and Permission to Speak Freely, talking about The Process of Creativity
  • Naomi Hirabayashi, CMO of DoSomething.org, giving us Best Practices in Activating Young People Around Causes They Care About

those two off-the-charts interesting presenters and topics are added to session two — Peripheral Vision: what we can learn from other fields. they are joining these 12-15 minute TED-like presentations in that session:

  • Bobby John, serial entrepreneur, tech savant and lay pastor, talking about Entrepreneurship and Risk
  • Ben Chestnut, founder and CEO of MailChimp, talking on the theme: Creating an Environment for Creativity and Empowerment
  • Lucas Leys, author, Spanish YS director, and president/publisher of Vida Publishers, helping us all understand What We Can Learn From Latin American Youth Workers

and that, my youth working friends, is ONLY SESSION TWO!

anyhow. tash, who’s coming all the way from new zealand to be one of our emcees (i’m not kidding), and i had a chance to “chat” with some of the presenters. hope you enjoy the conversation!

The Summit: A chat with some of the presenters from The Youth Cartel on Vimeo.

visit The Summit site for more info, or to register.
and help us spread the word by sharing this video on Facebook and Twitter, will you?

stupid-amazing incentives for The Summit early reg expire tomorrow!

we’re NOT going to send you messages in october telling you we’re hoping for more attendees at The Summit, offering a special last-minute discount.

instead: we’re trying to entice you now.

have i made it clear how pumped i am about THE SEXIEST OF ALL YOUTH MINISTRY EVENTS? i’m so excited because, well, adam and i created a youth ministry event we would want to attend. TED-like, with a mix of presenters that will spark your imagination and stir your thinking.


in fact, we locked in another presenter just yesterday morning: mandy drury will be presenting on (we’re still finalizing the title, so this is a bit of a place-holder) “Congregations Where Teenagers Have a Voice.” she’ll present in session 1 (the here and now). most of you haven’t heard of mandy before — but that’s part of what’s freakin’ awesome about The Summit: we’re working hard to find people you should hear, not just people you’ve already heard before.

but that’s not why i’m posting today. i’m posting today because of the crazy-stupid-amazing incentives we came up with to get peeps to register early. there are a few tiers of these babies, but the first set of them runs out tomorrow at midnight (june 1 at the end of the day; so technically, 11:59:59, since midnight would be june 2!). here’s what you’ll get if you register by tomorrow night (or what you’ll miss out on if you don’t):

  • An invite to our private Friday night after party (value: they’ll likely be selling on craigslist for hundreds, i’m guessing)
  • A vote for who gets to speak in the soapbox session (value: the power is in your hands!)
  • Video downloads of every session (value: don’t know the actual dollar value of this; but, seriously, you know it’s huge, right?)
  • One registration to a pre-event session (value: $40. that’s not a figurative value – that’s the actual cost of the pre-event sessions)

the early bird price of $129 for groups and $149 for individuals (really, it’s that cheap) still stands beyond tomorrow night; but those incentives go away. i hear from SO MANY of you who are planning on attending — don’t wait. even if you don’t have all the names who will make up your group, just give ’em a fictitious name (get creative! name one “Marko’s Beard”!), and you can change it later. all kidding aside, i just did some quick calculations, and without exaggeration, that group of incentives is worth about $435. and you get it all free if you register for The Summit by tomorrow midnight.

(you know the crazy thing? it would be cheaper to register now and NOT attend, then to pay for the video downloads at a later date.)