Tag Archives: msmc

middle school ministry campference, the time is now!

hey, my middle school/junior high ministry peeps. as i travel around the country and connect with youth workers, i’ve had so many tell me they’re jazzed about the idea of the middle school ministry campference. so many have told me they’re thinking of coming.

but… if i’m being totally honest with you… the current registration numbers don’t reflect that.

we never expected this to be a big event — in fact, we didn’t want it to be big. we wanted to create an intimate, open, dialogical tribal gathering. i’m stoked about how fun it’s going to be, and how unique. but the event is drawing near (october 14 – 16), and it’s time for action.

so, i’m hoping (and praying) that more of you will click through and join us.

all but one of our speakers/presenters/dialogue leaders is one of us – an in-the-trenches young teen youth worker. the one who isn’t is michael flaherty. you might not know michael’s name, but you’ve been influenced by him, as have every one of your middle schoolers. that’s because michael is the founder and CEO of walden media. walden is responsible for all the narnia movies, as well as holes, charlotte’s web, bridge to terabithia, journey to the center of the earth, and a host of other films. when the middle school pastor from michael’s church told me that michael might be willing to join us, i asked if he could speak about the importance and power of story, and i’m really pumped to hear what he has to say.

andrew, the middle school pastor at michael’s church, put together this little intro video for us:

hope you can join us!

kurt johnston offers 5 reasons he’s excited for the middle school ministry campference

kurt johnston, who oversees all of student ministries, and is hands on in junior high ministry at saddleback church, is a key player in the formation of the middle school ministry campference. recently on his blog, he posted these 5 reasons he’s excited about the MSMC.

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If you work with middle school students, and haven’t heard about the upcoming Middle School Ministry Campference, hosted by Mark Oestreicher’s new ministry, The Youth Cartel, let me be the first to tell you about it!

In short, it is a three-day conference in a camp setting…thus the title, “Campference”. I am really excited to be joining the fun, and am looking forward to it for several reasons:

1) It’s middle school specific. There just isn’t much (if anything) out there that targets the young teen youth workers. Every general sesssion, every workshop…everything about the event…is designed to encourage and equip men and women who work with middle schoolers!

2) Marko is the leading thinker and “banner waver” in the junior high ministry realm. Frankly, I just want to be part of something he is putting together because I know the conversations will be rich.

3) I want to hang out and rub shoulders with others who actually enjoy middle school ministry!

4) I’ve always wondered what camp would feel like if we could go to camp without students! And that is exactly what the campference will be. it will feature all the cool things of camp, but we won’t have to worry about our junior highers! Too good to be true.

5) October is the perfect time of year for a retreat. Fall is in full swing, and the holidays are still a few weeks away…a perfect time to set aside for some personal growth.

Please consider joining us for what promises to be an amazing event.

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don’t wait! register today and join us for the party.

today is the early bird deadline for the MSMC

hey middle school youth workers — don’t forget that today is the last day to get the early bird rate for the middle school ministry campference. individual rate of $270 (including program, accommodations and food), and group rate (3 or more) of $295 end at midnight (in some time zone — not sure which one!). after today, the prices both go up $30.

hope you can join us!

terrace crawford interviews me about the middle school ministry campference

SUPER IMPORTANT AND TIMELY STUFF at the bottom of this post!

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i’d been familiar with youth worker and blogger terrace crawford for a couple years before we had any interaction. and i kept hearing from other people what a great guy he was. we connected when he went through a painful situation, and wanted some input. and, as often happens, we bonded a bit in that space, and became friends. but we were still (!) friends who had connected via facebook and blogs and phone calls and emails, but had never actually met (in a reality that is still baffling to me, the same is true of my friendship with josh griffin!). but that changed when i spoke for a youth ministry event hosted by the virginia baptists in may. terrace was there, and we got to spend some time together.

he’s asked if he could interview me for his blog, about the middle school ministry campference. we had coffee together one day, and decided to conduct the interview on video, while we were driving back to the event. it made for a shaky little piece of video – but at least you can tell it wasn’t scripted!

i cracked up at these observations terrace added on his blog:

I learned a few things here (a part from the campference talk):

1. I’m not a good camera man.

2. It appears I am obssessed with Marko’s beard from the camera shots. I mean, its a nice beard and all…

3. I never remember to put my seat belt on when I’m a passenger. I just don’t. Don’t judge me.

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SUPER IMPORTANT AND TIMELY STUFF!

the early bird rate of $295 (which includes accomodations and food! — $270 for groups) ends this thursday, june 30. after that, the price goes up a bit. so visit the website for more info, or go right to the registration page if you’re ready to join us!

the middle school ministry campference: you belong here

don’t miss the early bird deadline of june 30. individual rates are only $295, which includes accommodations and all meals. group rates (3 or more) are only $270.

the middle school ministry campference website.

or, jump right to the registration page.

if you work with middle schoolers or junior highers, or care about them at all, i really hope you can join us.

ryan nielson’s Q&A with me about the middle school ministry campference

ryan nielson of pastor2youth.com asked me questions about the middle school ministry campference:

1. What will make the Middle School Ministry Campference unique from other events?

Hopefully dozens of things. But the three big differences that jump to mind first are:

Middle School Focus. Other than some smaller “summits” and “forums”, I can’t think of another event I’ve heard of that was focused exclusively on ministry to young teens. Usually, we’re a sub-set (a minor one, at that) of larger youth ministry events. But, at the MSMC, it’s all about junior highers, baby!

Camp/Conference Combo Context. (Did you see how I alliterated that? Pretty cool, huh?) We’re trying to do something different by taking the best of a conference and mashing it up with the opportunities a great camp can offer. And we’re intentionally choosing this route, not merely to be different, but because we think it fits the vibe of middle school ministry (and the fine people who are called to it).

Life Together. Most youth ministry events have the participants, understandably, coming and leaving, going this way and that way. But with this event, we’re trying to create a shared experience. We’ll eat together and hang out together and play together and worship together and learn together. Even the invited speakers are all expected to stay for the entire event, as player/coaches.

2. Can you give us any quasi-revealing hints about special surprises at the MSMC?

here are some hints:
Attendee hosted playlists
They might not sound great, but they move our hearts
Coffee cart
Mail Call!
Middle School Ministry Fail Moments
Giant Lightbrite
Thief in the Night
Freebies!

3. What do you hope that participants at the MSMC would gain/take away from this event?

More than anything else, we hope they’ll leave feeling deeply encouraged; that they’ll have a renewed sense of passion and vision; that they’ll know God’s deep love for them and their calling. We hope they’ll feel like they’re a part of something special and unique, but not alone. We hope they develop dozens of new friendships that will sustain them long after the event is over. We hope they’ll have their thinking challenged. We hope they’ll leave with a metaphorical bucket of new ideas they can immediately apply. We hope they leave saying, “Yes! That was my tribe!”

the first-ever middle school ministry campference will take place at spring hill camp in evart, mi, october 14 – 16 of this year. check out the website for lots more info, or to register.

Q&A with josh griffin about the middle school ministry campference

josh griffin posted on his blog the other day, asking me three questions about the middle school ministry campference.

3 Questions About Campference with Mark Oestriecher
[marko comment: nice try on spelling my last name, josh. that, my friends, is why ‘marko’ is just easier.]

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Middle School Ministry Campference coming this fall (October 14-16, 2011) – it is a brand new event designed specifically for junior high/middle school youth workers, and it is a conference…and camp! So normal stuff like general sessions, workshops and great music – but also free-time activities like zip lines, paintball, ropes course etc. Sounds like fun … here’s a quick 3-question interview with Mark Oestreicher, one of the minds behind it:

1) Tell me about your observations about junior high ministry that led you to create this atmosphere for junior high youth workers to get recharged, trained and encouraged?

We junior high youth workers tend to have a paradoxical combination of total passion for what we do combined with an inferiority complex. In so many churches (and at so many youth ministry events), young teen ministry is seen as the youth ministry equivalent of that strange little homeschool kid you just wish someone else would deal with. But, man, we know. We know how critical and powerful this ministry is. We’ve seen how formative these middle school years are, and how students often choose a path for life. At the end of the day, being in a room with a bunch of people who share my strange and unique calling — who get me — is my happy place. A tribal gathering of junior high peeps sounds like a slice o’ heaven to me.

2) Sounds fun! What makes this more camp and less conference? And why wasn’t I invited?

You weren’t invited because you’re a high school sell-out, dude. Good luck with that “corrective ministry” while we kick it in our “preventive ministry.” (Actually, you – and other HS youth workers – would be more than welcome. Someone doesn’t have to be a full-time junior high person to join us — they just have to want to learn and contribute, and be with this awesome tribe.)

We thought about having a more traditional conference. But Kurt Johnston and I were chatting about it, and we thought we needed to do something unique. We decided that ‘camp for junior high youth workers’ was just the ticket. We’ll combine some of the best aspects of a conference (fantastic main sessions and seminars) with some things we couldn’t do elsewhere (experiential learning, for example) and the vibe of a camp (all our meals together, tons of wicked-awesome fun stuff to do that you can never fully enjoy when you’re responsible for a group of 12 year-olds).

3) Tell me a great, quick story that junior high youth workers out there would appreciate. Preferably something gross and/or silly.

Two quick ones:

1. My 8th grade guys small group was recently putting together our own “creed” — things we knew to be true. It was full of pithy statements like “Respect is earned” and “Maturity takes time.” But they insisted on including a very important final statement of what our small group collectively believes: “Farting is best done outside.”

2. I was standing in the baptismal, interviewing Blake in front of the congregation (just remembered this story the other day). I asked him, “Blake, tell us what difference your faith made when your dad died.” He responded, “Well, it made it suck less.” Ah, junior highers — gotta love that truth-telling, baby.

mad-lib post about the middle school ministry campference

the other day, my family and i were doing a mad-lib during dinner (not an uncommon occurrence for us). in the middle of it i thought it would be a riot to try a mad-lib blog post. but when i sat down to write it, i thought i’d make it about the first-ever middle school ministry campference. i solicited words in a post last week. so, now, thanks to those few-but-fine contributors, i give you this (mad-lib word contibutions IN CAPS):

It’s A FARTING CONTEST for junior high youth workers!

Let’s be honest about this: it’s not every adult who wakes up FLIPPING, “How can I spend some time with NOISY JUNIOR HIGHERS today, and influence them for Jesus?”

That calling, that wiring, is extremely JUBILANT and ENORMOUS. And our wise and wonderful God, who cares so passionately about the young teens in your church, chose THE GARDENER! You are truly one of the few, one of the FANCY; and you are God’s plan for showing love to middle schoolers.

But this ministry is WIGGLY, and sometimes ABNORMAL. You need to be surrounded by others who are CLOSE TALKERS, who are BOISTEROUS. That’s why we created the Middle School Ministry Campference.
We’ve blended the best of an AIR BISCUIT LAUNCH with the experience of a TACO BELL OPENING for youth workers who care about young teens. Whether veteran or rookie, known or unknown, we’ll all be in on this CHUBBY BUNNY together.

This is not a FIRST KISS conference, but a tribal gathering and growth event, with an opt-in mix of SCRATCHING, TRIPPING, SPITTING, SKIPPING and POPPING A FLUFFY.

Bring a CHOCOLATE COIN if you can; but even if you come FLEXIBLE, you won’t be DUBIOUS for long!

for the real skinny on the MSMC, check out the website.

the middle school ministry campference website is live, and reg is open!

the web minions have been busy beavers, getting ready for this day; and now it’s here:

the 2011 middle school ministry campference website is now live, and registration is officially open!

woo-hoo!

i’m so pumped about this thing. here’s the copy from the home page of the site:

It’s camp for junior high youth workers!

Let’s be honest about this: it’s not every adult who wakes up thinking, “How can I spend some time with 13 year-olds today, and influence them for Jesus?”

That calling, that wiring, is extremely unique and wonderful. And our wise and wonderful God, who cares so passionately about the young teens in your church, chose YOU! You are truly one of the few, one of the unique; and you are God’s plan for showing love to middle schoolers.

But this ministry is difficult, and sometimes lonely. You need to be surrounded by others who understand you, who share your calling. That’s why we created the Middle School Ministry Campference.

We’ve blended the best of a conference with the experience of a camp for youth workers who care about young teens. Whether veteran or rookie, known or unknown, we’ll all be on this adventure together.

This is not a traditional conference, but a tribal gathering and growth event, with an opt-in mix of learning, worship, community, dialogue and play.

Bring a team if you can; but even if you come alone, you won’t be alone for long!

click here for the website, or here to go straight to registration!