Tag Archives: youth ministry training

video from The Summit now available, PLUS Kid President creator Brad Montague on making things simple

we almost didn’t get video from The Summit this year. we had a professional videographer all lined up, and he cancelled the day of the event in a rather not-so-professional-after-all way. luckily, my partner in The Youth Cartel is both a quick thinker and the owner of a very nice camera, and we had a friend there who was willing to “oversee” it.

so here we go, just a month later, with a little editing magic from adam. 18 videos, all in a TED style. our theme this year was ALL, loosely riffing on the shema (love the lord your god with all your heart, soul, mind and strength). seriously, it’s very rare that you can find a collection of short (the shortest is just over 8 minutes, but most are 12 – 15) videos that will challenge you to think in new ways about youth ministry. use them for training and discussion at your church; or just watch them for your own development. as we said at the beginning of the live event, the real intent of The Summit is not to get you to DO what these presenters suggest, per se. the real intent is that the holy spirit would use these to help you dream new dreams.

so, you can buy the whole lot of ’em for fifty bucks. this year they’re on vimeo pro, which gives you the option of downloading (for use with a team or something) or streaming (quicker, for your own viewing). you can also buy one session’s videos for twenty five bucks, or an individual video for ten. click here to buy.

Session 1: Soul

  • Bryan Loritts (The Anchor of Your Soul)
  • Lem Usita (Identity Formation and Youth Workers)
  • Holly Rankin Zaher (Dancing with Faith and Doubt)
  • Paul Martin (What Playing Guitar Taught Me About YM)
  • Nkiru Okafor (The Dark Night of the Soul)
  • Luke MacDonald (Going All In)

Session 2: Mind

  • Bethany Stolle (Design and Co-Creation)
  • Crystal Kirgiss (Changing Views of YM Throughout History)
  • David Crowder (The Process of Creativity)
  • Michelle Benzinger (Beauty Will Save the World)
  • Carlos Cedeño (Giving Your Ministry Away)
  • Annie Lockhart (Imagination as the Starting Point of YM)

Session 3: Strength

  • Brad Montegue (Making Things Simple Without Being Simplistic)
  • Christy Lang (Bible Interpretation: Starting With Teeenagers’ Interpretation)
  • Jeffrey Wallace (Redefining Urban as a Survival Mindset)
  • Theresa Mazza (Re-Imagining Yourself as a Youthworker-at-Large)
  • Mark DeVries (A Modest Response to the Death of YM)

Session 4: Heart

  • Mark Oestreicher (Choosing the Unchosen and Unloved)

and to give you a little taste of these babies, here’s brad montague’s talk on “making things simple without being simplistic.” brad is the creator of the Kid President videos that have been so viral over the last year or two. he gets hundreds (thousands?) of speaking requests from every sector of society, and he accepts very few of them. so we were truly honored to have him join us. watch and enjoy!

and, speaking of The Summit, we’re officially moving to nashville for next fall. dates are november 7 and 8. of course, there are LOTS more details to come, but we have a super-special “use up the dregs of your 2013 youth ministry budget” deal right now: a $25 deposit locks in the lowest rate of $109/person. we’ll invoice you for the balance in late summer of 2014. these deposits are non-refundable, but fully transferable. click here to go for it!

Youth Ministry Coaching Program update

ymcp leafi’m thrilled with the continued development and organic growth of The Youth Cartel’s Youth Ministry Coaching Program. really, it’s our oldest initiative, now entering its 4th year (it actually started before The Youth Cartel officially existed). cohorts who have completed their year-long journey:

  • San Diego 2010
  • Nashville 2010
  • San Diego 2011
  • Nashville 2011
  • NC UMC 2012
  • TX Episcopalians 2012
  • YMCPv (online) West 2012
  • YMCPv East 2012
  • Ward Church (custom cohort) 2012
  • Calgary 2012
  • Nashville 2013

one of the really cool things about these cohorts is that each of them is an ongoing “private club” of safety and support. they interact all the time on private facebook groups, and most of them have had 2-day working reunions (Nashville 2011 has even had 2 reunions!). at this moment, i have 2 online cohorts nearing the end of their program (YMCPv Central 2013 and YMCPv East 2013).

this past week was a stellar week for YMCP:

  • i launched the new SC UMC cohort
  • april diaz’s “women in youth ministry” cohort filled up (it will launch in the next few months)
  • i’m scheduling meetings for the new NC UMC cohort that’s full and launches in january
  • funding came through for two additional denominationally focused cohorts — a 3rd NC UMC cohort, and one for Presbys in the Pittsburgh area

here’s what’s currently open:

  • i’ve just started forming the next nashville cohort. 4 of the 10 spots are filled. and i have another 8 to 10 who are seriously considering it (which usually means they’re asking their churches for funding!). if you’re interested in this cohort, or even have questions about it, shoot me an email ([email protected]), and i’ll send you the overview doc and answer your questions.
  • the next san diego cohort has been a tough one to fill. the honest truth is that i’ve been trying to fill it for a year and a half. i only need 8 in san diego; but each time we get to 6 or 7 committed, one or two are no longer able to do it and we drop back to 5. that’s where we’re at now — 5 committed. if we can get 3 more, we’ll go for it! anyone interested? you could do worse than a year of growth in san diego!

i doubt i’ll be able to launch any online (YMCPv) cohorts this coming year, as i’ll have so many full cohorts going. and since each person gets one-on-one coaching from me in addition to our regular meetings, i’ll be working with about 40 – 50 youth workers individually this next year as it is. my hope for a few years has been to expand YMCP, offering some cohorts with other coaches. i tried that in the past, and they didn’t fill up (this is one of the reasons i’m so pleased april’s cohort filled up). but maybe we’ll take a swing at that again this year. adam and i are meeting next week for a couple days of looking at The Youth Cartel in 2014 and beyond, and i’m sure this will be one of our topics.

such good stuff! let me know if you’re interested in the Nashville or San Diego cohorts.

YMCP coaching update: new cohorts almost formed, and a new ‘women in youth ministry’ cohort starting

in some ways, the youth ministry coaching program gave birth to The Youth Cartel. at least, YMCP existed before TYC. and it’s still one of our flagship programs. to date, 99 youth workers are either graduates or current participants in one of our 9-month online or year-long face to face cohorts. personally, it’s been one of the greatest ministry joys of my life, and i LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing the growth and transformation of these people and seeing them become some of my closest ministry friends. in fact, i have a 2-day working reunion in a week with my first nashville cohort, which met in 2010 and early 2011. we have all, to a person, stayed in close touch (thanks to a secret facebook group), and our reunion will both an ongoing opportunity for growth and a freaking party.

i’m very close to filling multiple new cohorts, and am ready to announce a brand new one. here’s the run-down:

palm treeSan Diego

my third san diego cohort didn’t fill up earlier this year. i have 5 or 6 people committed, and we only need 8 here in san diego to make a go of it (since i don’t have travel costs). i would love to start this cohort early in the new year, and wonder if there are any more people who are interested. you don’t have to live in SoCal, though the travel costs certainly shift if you don’t! the most recent addition to that pending group lives in dallas.

columbia-as-seen-fromColumbia, South Carolina

the south carolina conference of the united methodist church started talking about forming their own YMCP cohort early this year. and at this point, we have 7 committed people, ready to go. we need 10 for that cohort, so we’re looking for 3 more people. this cohort would really be ideal for any UMC youth workers in the southeast — SC, NC, GA, VA, WV, TN, KY, and even northern FL. and hey, if you’re interested in this and aren’t in a UMC church, i think we can make an exception. :) oh, we’re hoping to start this cohort before the year’s end — maybe in early december.

nashvilleNashville

my current nashville wraps up in november. i don’t have concrete plans yet, but i’ll likely open up the application process for a new nashville cohort that i’ll hope to launch in late winter or spring of 2014.

epcEPC cohort

the evangelical presbyterian church has been trying to fill a cohort for most of this year. they have 5 committed, so we still need 5 more. they’re just now exploring opening it up to non-EPC youth workers, as well as some additional ideas. the location of this cohort isn’t set yet, but it’s likely to be in either western PA or nashville. if you’re an EPC youth worker, talk to me! and if you’re not, i’ll announce the actual plan at some point, if we open it up to non-EPCers.

and here’s the AWESOME BIG DEAL YMCP ANNOUNCEMENT

DSC_0146-2the amazing april diaz, in partnership with me, will be launching a YMCP cohort exclusively for women in youth ministry. april and i have taken the best of the face to face format and the online format and are launching this cohort in a hybrid approach. the cohort will strictly limited to 8 participants (+ april; and i’ll probably be a “guest coach” at a couple meetings).

here’s april’s description of her vision for this group:

This 10 month whole-life coaching program is all about developing and empowering you as a woman in leadership. Being a woman in youth ministry is different. It demands unique skills and awareness as we approach the challenges and opportunities due to our gender. We will learn across a scope of subjects including theology, practical life realities, leading men, and issues defined by this group. This specialized cohort has 8 women in leadership, and meets twice for 2 days plus 4 times online (2-3 hours each). Each time is very intentional and structured to provide encouragement, challenge, and transformation. This cohort provides customized attention to your specific context and needs as a woman in youth ministry.

and here’s the unique (hybrid) schedule we came up with:

  • January – face-to-face, 2 days (in orange county, CA)
  • February – online, 3 hours
  • April – online, 3 hours
  • June – online, 3 hours
  • August – online, 3 hours
  • September – face-to-face , 2 days (in orange county, CA)

we hope to fill april’s cohort quickly, so dates (particularly for the january meeting) can be collaboratively locked in soon.

details, details

all of the year-long face to face cohorts have a $3000 fee. i realize that might seem steep to some of you. but i can tell you this: not one single person who has gone through the program has said it was overpriced, and many have said it was underpriced. sure is cheaper than a semester of grad school, yet the impact on your life and ministry will be exponentially greater.

the women in youth ministry cohort, however, since it’s a hybrid, is $1750.

i think it’s likely i’ll start a couple more online cohorts in early 2014 also. those have worked well, and i just finished two of them and have two more about halfway through the 9 month process. the cost of the online groups is $900.

i’m happy to email you a program overview and or an application. there are a bunch of testimonials and stuff on this page of The Youth Cartel site. of course, email me ([email protected]) with any questions you might have. you can email april directly if you have questions you’d like to ask about her cohort ([email protected]).

a peek into Kurt Johnston’s morning devotions

love this little video of kurt talking about this crazy little event called the Middle School Ministry Campference. kurt helped me dream it up, and was my original sounding board when my dream of the event was just a scattered mess of vision and impulse.

and, in this video, you will catch a glimpse of the quality biblical materials kurt uses for his own devotional life.

the Campference start FIVE WEEKS FROM TODAY! this year we’re adding some awesome new speakers, and some sweet new conversation options, and a bunch of other goodies. (oh, and this week the camp approved our crazy idea of a combo zipline and paintball game during free time. they didn’t go for the combo zipline and skeet shooting, though.) but the best thing about the Campference remains the same — hanging with the middle school ministry tribe.

holy cow. it’s gonna be a blast.

a little help in making your decision about attending The Summit

in case you missed this elsewhere yesterday:

should-i-attend-the-summit-flowchart

and, in case you missed this: the early bird pricing of $149 (or $129 each for groups of 3 or more) ends at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! omigosh! don’t waste the widow’s mite, youth worker!

click here for magical goodness —-> X <---- go back, click there! magical goodness!

April Diaz’s Summit talk, The Summit early bird deadline, and 3 freaking awesome books

seriously, sometimes there’s just so much awesome stuff happening around The Youth Cartel that i feel like i have to meter it out here on my blog. i’ve had people tell me that they feel like my blog is all promotional stuff these days. and that really bugs me, to be honest. i really try to write about whatever i’m stoked about, or whatever i’m thinking about, or whatever i’m ticked about. i don’t want to have this just be a marketing channel, but i get so stinking excited about sharing stuff with you that i’m pumped about.

so: i’ll just lump three or four cartel-y things into one blog post! the haters can skip reading and wait for me to get all ranty in another post.

first: The Summit early bird deadline

you know about The Summit, right? TED for youth workers. imagination ignition. creativity jet fuel. the most diverse roster of provocative presenters who will melt your freaking mind. yup, that event. it’s in atlanta this coming november 8 and 9. but the early bird pricing of $149 for individuals and $129 each for groups of 3 or more ends friday night!

to give you a little appeteaser of the event, here’s april diaz’s fantastic presentation from last year’s event, called Re-Imagining the Role of the Youth Worker. we were so stoked about her talk that we asked her to expand it into a book, which she’s done, and we’ll be releasing that bad boy in early october (just in time for The Summit this year!).

second: pre-sale of The Picture Book Guide to Youth Ministry

9780985153601-3Da youth worker in louisiana named paul records contacted me about this fun and helpful book idea quite a long time ago. somewhere in the midst of our months-long email conversation, The Youth Cartel decided to start publishing books. and we decided to pick up paul’s book. it’s such a fun and solid approach to a book about priorities for volunteer and rookie youth workers. it’s a focus on being the youth worker god made you to be, rather than on having a particular skill set. really, the subtitle says it well: Simple Lessons on Reaching Teens, Sustaining Your Soul, and Avoiding Ministry Meltdowns. and paul created all these fun and goofy illustrations to go with it (which makes reading it really engaging). since it’s a picture book, we laid it out in a landscape design, like a children’s book.

this would be a perfect book to buy for all your new volunteers (and your old volunteers also!) as you approach a new school year. and with that in mind, we’re offering special pricing on bulk purchases.

the book is at the printer right now, and we expect to have it in stock by the end of the month. at that point, the pre-sale pricing will go away — so jump on this one now.

  • 5-9 copies – 15% off
  • 10-19 copies – 20% off
  • 20 or more copies – 35% off

you can download a sample here, by the way.

third: pre-sale of The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers

9780988741355-FRONTyup, leave it to The Youth Cartel and jonathan mckee to publish a youth devotional based on zombies. full disclosure: jonathan was way down the road of having this published by a much bigger publisher (“much bigger” isn’t saying much, in comparison to us!), but a honcho there pulled the plug, saying they couldn’t publish a book about zombies. but we will! and we are! jonathan creatively weaves a fiction (duh!) story, written by a teenage zombie apocalypse survivor, about the lessons he and his friends have learned about staying alive. at the end of each of the 27 short chapters, there’s a collection of reflection questions and a bible verse or two to get students thinking about wisdom (the subtitle of the book, by the way, is “27 Principles of Wisdom When You’re Running for Your Life!”).

just got an endorsement in from josh griffin, who wrote that this is “The most original student devotional I’ve ever read.”

this is a great book to give to teenagers; but really, it would be a blast to use in the context of a small group.

yup, we’ve got special pre-sale pricing:

  • 1-9 copies – Save $1 each
  • 10+ copies – Save $4.19 each (35% off retail)

sorry, we don’t have a sample yet (it’s still in final editorial, and should release in mid-august); but trust me, it’s awesome. everyone who has read it has loved it (including teenagers).

fourth, and finally: continued pre-sale of the Ignite Bible for Teens

Ignite - The Bible for Teensi was stoked to play a general editor role (meaning, i wrote a bunch, recruited other writers, edited their work, and gave lots of input on design and other elements) for this new NKJV bible intentionally created for middle schoolers.

just today, i got this fantastic endorsement from brooklyn lindsey (who really knows middle schoolers):

The Ignite Bible has a grit to it that I’ve not seen in other teen Bibles. The feel of the cover itself suggests that there’s a something resilient and eternal in your hands. I like that the hardiness found in it’s pages doesn’t lend to obscurity. Instead, carefully selected language paves clear pathways, instructing young readers in relevant topics–giving them biblical insight that helps them right where they are in their everyday life. My favorite feature: the short but super engaging book introductions, they were so good I read them all.

you can download the entire book of matthew as a sample here, so you can see both the content and the design.

and, yup: we have awesome pre-release pricing for a limited time. the softcover and hardcover are both $5 off retail, and if you order 10 or more copies, we’ll give you 30% off. seriously.

ok, there’s some of The Youth Cartel stuff i’m excited about. there’s plenty more; but that’s the time-sensitive stuff you needed to hear about!

HOW TO SAVE $30

message-from-lenny

Hi. I’m Lenny, Marko & Adam’s summer intern. I figured I’d be making coffee and copies, turns out I have to wear this stupid dinosaur costume to work every day.

But it’ll be worth it, I’m sure.

Anyway, Marko and Adam wanted me to tell you that this Sunday is the early bird deadline for the Middle School Ministry Campference. Apparently, doing that will save you $30 per person. And that’s a lot of money in my world considering I’m living in a tent in Adam’s backyard and Marko is only paying me $50 for the whole summer.

It’ll be worth it, I’m sure.

Sincerely,

Lenny the intern

my 7th grade guys invite you to the Campference, or at least that’s what they’re trying to do

ok, last week, adam came to my 7th grade guys small group (the guys with all the amazing and hilarious quotes that i post here from time to time). i scripted a little video that i was hoping we could shoot in one long camera shot, with each guy turning and looking at the camera when he had lines. the setting even allowed them to have the scripts in their laps, ensuring (in my mind) that this was possible.

but after about four takes, it became clear these were not, uh, shall we say, professional actors! (in their defense, the whole thing had a little vibe of “how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” since we were having a pool party, and had to finish shooting this first!)

so, we regrouped, and did multiple takes of each guy’s lines, one at a time, over and over again (i often had to say the line to them many times). seriously, it was hilariously and wonderfully middle school ministry just making this thing!

the result is both a fun little promo for the middle school ministry campference, AND a glimpse at real young teens. and as a bonus: you can see me fake-reading a bible and fake-leading a small group in the background!

by the way: the early bird pricing for the campference ends in LESS THAN two weeks, on june 30 (that’s a week from saturday). the ALL-INCLUSIVE early bird rate (all-inclusive means registration, plus accommodations and all meals! seriously!) is a low, low $295 for individuals, and $270 per person for groups of 3 or more. those prices go up something like a million dollars (give or take) on july 1. so, ya know, you’ll want to act now.

the MSMC is — not exaggerating here — the coolest and most fun weekend in the year for anyone who cares about junior highers. you gotta join us. and, in case the three previous links to the website weren’t obvious enough, here’s another one.

update on the youth ministry coaching program (YMCP)

YMCP has become one of the primary ways i spend my time. and i love it. i’ve spent a good amount of blog real estate explaining why, and the impact; so i won’t do that again here.

i just wanted to communicate a “where it’s at” (thanks, beck), so i have a place to point people for info on the current sitch.

YMCPv CentralYMCPv – online groups

today i started my fourth concurrent online group. these groups have 5 participants plus myself, and meet for 3 hours every month for 9 months. the “curriculum” has some similarities to the full program, but is significantly condensed. these groups are going well, but i highly doubt i’ll be able to start any more of them during this calendar year. i’ll probably start a couple more early in 2014.

YMCP – full cohorts

the full program of YMCP consists of cohorts of 8 – 10 youth workers meeting for 2 days every other month over a year (6 meetings). of course, this is substantially more robust than the online groups. and you’d be hard pressed to find one of the 80 or so graduates who would tell you it wasn’t worth every dime and all the hassle of travel and such.

i have two cohorts meeting at this point — one in nashville, and one that i co-lead with matt wilks in calgary.

the western NC conference of the UMC has pulled together funding for a 2nd cohort (i completed a cohort there last year), which i expect to start in august or september. and the SC conference of the UMC is in the final stages of filling a cohort also. if you’re a UMC youth worker in south carolina, and would like to consider being a part of that cohort, please let me know ([email protected]), and i’ll put you in contact with the point person.

i have a handful of other “closed” cohorts in the wind: the EPC (evangelical presbyterian church) is trying to fill a cohort, and has about 4 or 5 committed so far. if you’re an EPC youth worker who’s interested, let me know. and there’s another group of UMCers in TX talking about starting a cohort. again, contact me if you’re interested in that one.

the cohort i’m really hoping to fill at this point is the next san diego (SoCal) cohort. i have 5 committed to it at this point, and only need 8 to launch here (since i don’t have travel costs). i’ve had a hard time filling this one this time around; but i sure would love to get it going in the late summer or early fall. if you have any interest in this SoCal cohort (you don’t have to be from SoCal – i’ve had plenty of participants from other parts of the country in the past two SoCal cohorts), please shoot me an email (again, that’s [email protected]).

that’s the skinny at this point. anyone interested?

my renewed commitment to diversity (one of the reasons i’m stoked about The Summit)

annie lockhart croppedmost people reading this blog would already know that i co-lead a little pot-stirring youth ministry organization called The Youth Cartel. and most would know that one of our most focused chances to stir is our event The Summit. if you’re familiar with TED talks, then you have an idea of what this event is like: 18 carefully selected, unique and brilliant presenters bringing laser-focused 12 – 15 minute talks specifically designed to spark your youth ministry imagination. in the spirit of TED (and, very much in the spirit of the wonderful and fun little book, The Medici Effect), The Summit includes presenters you’ve mostly never heard of offering provocative ideas or suggestions or challenges or prophetic words that are intended to help you dream big dreams; new dreams, even.

there are 50 or 100 uniqunesses about this event that get me pumped about it. i’m not alone in that; and it’s not only because i’m hosting this baby. in fact, those reasons are probably why april diaz, a seasoned youth ministry veteran who’s been to her share of national youth ministry events wrote this about last year’s event:

The best “youth ministry” conference I’ve ever been to! The format was provocative. The content was challenging. The community high caliber. Just incredible.

BethanyStolle-headshot-croppedit’s why marti burger, the head of youth ministries for the evangelical covenant church (denomination), wrote:

Loved the variety of voices, the challenges, the opportunity to dream, vision and create new concepts moving forward. This isn’t a conference where you will walk away with something you can use on Wednesday but a chance to discern how to re-image ministry. Such a gift!

bryan lorittsso, yeah, i’m pumped. but there’s another reason.

a few months ago, my friend efrem smith shared an image on facebook that showed how little progress we seem to have made on reflecting the diversity of youth ministry leaders when it comes to the “stage” and “page.” in other words, we haven’t been intentional enough about finding and raising up both women and non-white youth workers. now: i’m a white dude. add to that: i turn 50 a week from friday — so in the youth ministry world, i easily qualify as an “old white guy.” i still have something to say, and i don’t want to be sidelined because of my skin color or age.

Christy Lang Hearlson Headshot 2012but i’ve really come to see that the church (particularly the evangelical wing of the church) doesn’t have much of a “farm team” system for raising up speakers and writers who aren’t white dudes. i wouldn’t be speaking and writing today, honestly, if i hadn’t given a whole lot of mediocre talks and written some “just ok” stuff when i was younger.

my interactions with efrem about that post (we had a fantastic four hour lunch, and a bunch of emails) convicted me that The Youth Cartel’s value of finding new voices simply must include those who are often marginalized. and in the spirit of The Summit, the best new thinking often comes from the margins. (i have also been reminded of my interactions with dr. soong-chan rah from north park university, who challenged me and mentored me years ago in this area.)

crystal kirgissi’ve had an interesting a-ha. when our criteria for finding presenters isn’t “who’s really well known? who will be good for our marketing efforts?” the process of finding diverse presenters who will bring significant contribution gets reframed. it’s still work. but it’s not an almost-impossible task.

as a result: while the topics planned for presentations at this year’s Summit have me totally stoked, the mix of presenters has me even more so.

holly rankin zaher-croppedwe currently have 14 of our 18 presenters locked in. there are only 5 white dudes in that mix (and only two of us — me and mark devries — would qualify as “old white dudes”). there are 6 women. there are 5 non-white presenters. we’re actively pursuing 5 more presenters this week (with the ideal of landing 4 of them), and those 5 include 3 women. those 5 include 3 people of color.

jeffrey wallacethis effort (and success!) is much more than some sort of a politically-correct marketing ploy. this is core to the DNA of The Youth Cartel. and it’s core to The Summit being an event where you still truly have your imagination sparked. and it’s why you won’t hear a bunch of ideas or thoughts that you’ve already heard in one variation or another sixteen times before.

it was a very happy moment for me at last year’s event when, as Anne Jackson was getting ready to go up on stage, she whispered to me, “i just realized that of the 6 presenters in this session, i’m the only white person!” yeah: and that session totally rocked it.

we hope you’ll join us at The Summit. but we also hope you’ll join us in looking to the margins. it’s pretty rare that fresh stuff comes from the middle.

lem usitatheresa mazza

(oh, and by the way: if you register for The Summit before June 1, you get a VERY sweet bonus. you call ALL the audio and video of this year’s event for FREE!)