Posted on

Student Justice Conference Bumped to July 28 – 31, 2016


As our May 1st deadline to register groups for the Student Justice Conference approached two things were becoming clear.

  1. Youth workers and students really want to come to the Student Justice Conference, there’s a lot of excitement about it.
  2. Groups were having a very hard time confirming students to bring.

With that information, the organizing partners made the decision to bump SJC to July 2016. 

All of the partners are committed to coming back, we’ve already secured dates with Point Loma Nazarene University for next summer, so save the dates right now for July 28th – 31st, 2016. 

We’ve already communicated this news to groups who were in the process of registering for 2015, but if your group was planning to attend and you hadn’t yet done so, we apologize for any inconvenience.

More info about 2016 is coming. Make sure you hop over to the SJC site and add your name on the “request info” to get the very latest for summer 2016.

Posted on

Elephants at The Summit

The Summit 2015 - Theme

In 2012, Marko and I started The Summit to help spark creativity, stir ideas, and push our friends in youth ministry to think in new ways.

Heading into our fourth year we wanted to make sure that we continued to press into that idea… that the event itself wasn’t itself becoming formulaic and that we’re continuing to spark creativity, new ideas, and push our friends in youth ministry to think in new ways.

So, we made an important shift for 2015, one we’re pretty excited about! Inspired by some of our favorite podcasts/radio programs like Invisibilia, The Moth, 99% Invisible, This American Life, and Serial we wondered, “What would happen if we co-created each session with someone we want to learn from? Could they help us all think in new ways?

So that’s what we’ve done. When you look at The Summit website right now you’ll see that we’ve identified session curators who will act as co-creators for The Summit. Over the coming months we’ll be working with each of them to produce a session pressing into the theme of each session. (see session descriptions below)

As we go we’ll share with you more about that process– including what presenters/topics we’re adding into each session. (Each session will most likely end up with 5-6 presenters, as in previous years.)

Much of the actual format from the first three years will be the same. We’ll have Pre-Summit sessions all morning and afternoon on Friday offering extended learning/training opportunities. And we’ll have 3 main sessions Friday night and Saturday with a series of presenters followed by 3 Digging Deeper sessions. So we expect The Summit to feel brand new even though it’s our fourth year!

The 2015 Theme


Youth Ministry has ’em. In our collective “room,” that is. They’re wandering around, taking up space. We avoid these topics, either because we’re unsure how to respond, or we’re afraid of the implications connected to addressing them.

At The Summit this year, we’ll address three of the Elephants in the Room of youth ministry. And while we’ll still utilize the TED-talk format that has made The Summitso unique and valuable, we’re going to dive a little deeper on these three topics. Each one will be addressed from multiple angles, not in attempt to solve them; but with a desire to fully see them. Our hope is to provide a context for you to address these issues in your own context, your own theology, your own story.

Each of these sessions will be curated by a brilliant mind who will help us shape the dialogue. Here’s our session curators: Dan Kimball, on the elephant of Evangelism and Apologetics; and Charles Lee on the elephant of Immaturity and Transition in Youth Ministry; Ginny Olson on the elephant of ministry to LBGT teenagers; and closing with Jon Huckins on Elephants as Formation Instigators.

Session Descriptions

Session 1 (Friday Evening)

Elephant: Immaturity and Transition in Youth Ministry
Curator: Charles Lee

Charles, along with other presenters, will guide us in an exploration of the awkward topic of our collective immaturity. While misaligned values and unspoken expectations are normally the cause of conflict, we youth workers often seem to have difficulty seeing our own contribution to the problems. Not knowing how to deal with conflict, we too often move on, only to repeat the pattern. Together, let’s look at the plank in our own eye.

Session 2 (Saturday Morning)

Elephant: Evangelism and Apologetics
Curator: Dan Kimball

In an increasingly post-Christian world, how do we talk about Jesus and the gospel with those outside our youth room? While the age of pluralism has caused some to simply stop talking about Jesus and the gospel, others charge forward with 1980s approaches. Honestly, the issues are complex; and many of us find it easier to avoid altogether. Dan Kimball, along with other presenters, will bring a variety of perspectives and ideas to this Elephant in our collective room.

Session 3 (Saturday Afternoon)

Elephant: Ministry to LBGT Teenagers
Curator: Ginny Olson

We’re not out to change your theology (in either direction!). But let’s be honest enough to admit that we are not wildly succeeding at responding to and including gay teenagers (and those questioning their sexuality). And most of us will be totally lost when we have a transgender teen sign up for summer camp or a mission trip. We promise you: the presenters in this session will not all agree with each other. But our hope is that we’ll all learn and think in the midst of the dialogue about this massive youth ministry Elephant.

Session 4 (Saturday Late Afternoon/Early Evening)

Focus: Elephants as Formation Instigators
Presenter: Jon Huckins

This last session is a chance for us to worship together and wrap up the day with a broader perspective. Jon Huckins is an accomplished guide in the arena of peacemaking; but we’ve asked him to apply those insights to how we address the Elephants that exists in our churches.

Learn more about The Summit here

Posted on

What’s new in The Youth Cartel store?



Our little online store, which literally lives in my garage and is shipped by my family, is full of great youth ministry resources. We carry more than just things from The Youth Cartel publishing line, we also carry a handful of products from around the world of youth ministry which we think are excellent and are “Cartel-y.”

Here’s what’s new in my garage…

Non-Cartel Stuff

Can I Ask That? Volume 2

Teenagers are tired of vague, superficial, or nonexistent answers to their tough questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. Just when they’re capable of diving into the deep end of their faith, all too often the church keeps them splashing around in shallow waters. As eight years of Sticky Faith research on teenagers has shown, it’s not doubt or hard questions that are toxic to faith. It’s silence.

The trusted voice of the Fuller Youth Institute and proven best practices from churches around the country converge to provide you tools both to start conversations about hard questions, as well as to lead students toward discovering their own faith convictions.

Leader Guide

Student Guide


DISCIPLE: The Ordinary Person’s Guide To Discipling Teenagers, written by one of the leading voices in youth ministry, Dr. Allen Jackson, is a practical, down-to-earth guide for leading teenagers to pursue Christ. No matter if you’re a veteran or a newbie, DISCIPLE will help challenge and equip you to get serious about disciple-making. Dr. Jackson has spent decades discipling teenagers and teaching youth workers to do the same. He condenses his many years of experience in this short but dynamic book.

If you want to see your students grow closer to Christ and are looking for a practical, biblically-solid framework that will help you lead them, pick up your copy of DISCIPLE today.

Disciple by Allen Jackson

Cartel Stuff


Viva is a series of short, downloadable, curriculum resources. Whether you are looking for a last minute lesson plan or  ideas to add into your teaching, Viva is designed for youth workers leading the revolution.

Viva! Rest

Viva! 1 John

Build your own bundle of 5 – Cinco de Viva

Ordinary Time

This book is your guide to 90 ordinary days—the in-between days in the Church, when we aren’t looking toward Easter or preparing our hearts for Christmas. But don’t think these days don’t count. These days still shape and form us.

That’s because Ordinary Time is marked by growth, maturing, and blooming after seasons of tilling the soil and extravagant spiritual outpouring—like we experience during Advent or Lent. During Ordinary Time, we see the natural, ordinary, everyday growth that results from living through dry, difficult, pruning seasons as well as seasons of abundant, water-soaked, sun-drenched celebration and Spirit-empowerment.

During Ordinary Time, we simply let the fruit that the rest of the year plants in us come to maturity. We let our extraordinary encounters with God enable us to live faithful, ordinary lives in ordinary times.

Ordinary Time by Erik Willits

The Amazing Next

The new go-to gift for the graduate is not a book of promises or a list of life hacks (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s a collection of stories, interviews, and journaling prompts woven together by veteran youth worker Brock Morgan to wake high school seniors up to the world of imagination and wonder—a life of faith lived to the full—that awaits them once the cap and gown have been put away.

The Amazing Next by Brock Morgan

Bigger Badder Board Games

If you think classics like Ker-Plunk™ and Candy Land™ are just for the Sunday school supply closet, think again. Steve Case has taken childhood favorites like these and transformed them into exciting crowd-breakers and main events that can lead to transformative conversations about life and faith. Each of these 24 games includes set-up instructions, a supply list, and rules of play; but more importantly each comes with a set of discussion questions to take players beyond the laughter and fun and into deeper truths.

Bigger Badder Board Games by Steve Case

Posted on

Viva XI



Yesterday we launched Viva! Rest, our 11th edition.

Viva is a series of short, downloadable, curriculum resources. Whether you are looking for a last minute lesson plan or  ideas to add into your teaching, Viva is designed for youth workers leading the revolution.

Here’s a couple of things we’ve learned since we started creating Viva last year:

  • Sometimes all you need is an outline and couple of ideas to create a jumping off point. If you’re like me, you’ve been teaching students for a long time. I often feel like I’ve got really good teaching skills but sometimes I just run dry on ideas and inspiration. Viva has helped a lot of people in that scenario. Looking at the lessons will spur ideas or things that you need to change to contextualize it.
  • You don’t have to make things generic for people to like it. One of the mistakes that I think publishers make is taking the salt out of curriculum writers because you aim at too broad of an audience. We don’t do that with Viva. We cut our writing team loose to be fully themselves because we trust that people who will buy Viva are going to contextualize it anyways.
  • Cheap doesn’t have to mean crap. We love hearing from people who suspiciously bought Viva for the first time assuming it’d be crap because it was only $6. We’re happy to have something that isn’t crap in the sub-$10 category.
  • We love Download Youth Ministry, too. We wanted to sell digital resourced at DYM the moment we heard about it. It’s a blast for us to see how well they are doing and we love that Viva does well on their site.

We have a new edition of Viva coming out every month in 2015. We’d love to hear how you’ve used Viva in your ministry as well as what you’d like to see in a future Viva edition.

[button link=”” color=”silver”]See all 11 editions here[/button]
Posted on

Test Drive “The Amazing Next”


The Amazing Next - Take it for a test drive

This April we’re launching a book unlike anything else we’ve done in the past. It’s called, The Amazing Next.

The brainchild of lifelong youth worker and author of Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World, Brock Morgan, it’s designed to be the perfect book to drop in the hands of your graduating seniors this Spring.

The new go-to gift for the graduate is not a book of promises or a list of life hacks (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s a collection of stories, interviews, and journaling prompts woven together by veteran youth worker Brock Morgan to wake high school seniors up to the world of imagination and wonder—a life of faith lived to the full—that awaits them once the cap and gown have been put away.

And since it’s a book unlike anything else we’ve ever done… we’re doing something with it that we’ve never done: We’re giving it away before it even comes out. Not a samplethe whole enchilada. 

Why are we giving it away to youth workers? Really, it’s simple. We think it’s great. And we think that if you get your hands on it before it comes out in April you’ll think it’s great, too. And since we’re youth workers just like you… we understand that when you hand a book to a high school graduate as a gift this year you’re telling them, “I’ve read this, I found it helpful, and I think you will, too.

So we’re giving it away to youth workers to check out because we trust you. If it’s good, you’ll come back and pre-order them for your graduates from us or Amazon.

Here’s how it works. Simply fill out the form below, tell us a little about yourself and your ministry, hit “Request a Copy” and that’s it. We’ll send you an email to download a PDF of the book.


Sorry, preview copies of The Amazing Next were only available between March 9th, 2015 until March 23rd, 2015.

Posted on

What Does Justice Look Like to You?



As you hopefully know, this summer we’re hosting our very first event for students, the Student Justice Conference. Like a lot of what we aim to do, SJC is a dynamic collaboration with a dynamic group of parters.

  • International Justice Mission
  • Nazarene Compassionate Ministries
  • Plant With Purpose
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • World Relief
  • World Vision
  • And us! 

In the coming weeks we have the awesome opportunity to present the Student Justice Conference to a wide variety of groups. And that’s where we need your help.

We are producing a video that’ll feature a whole bunch of images. And we’d LOVE to get pictures of you and your youth group out in the world, bringing everyday justice in your community, on a mission trip, serving in a nearby town, helping people in the congregation… you name it. 

So, do us a tiny favor, go through your pictures… you know you’ve got millions… and share up to 10 with us. (You can upload them or just give us links to Instagram/Flickr/Facebook/etc.) We’re looking for pictures of you and your group doing stuff.

In short, we want pictures that answer the question: What does justice look like to you?

Sorry. This form is no longer available.


Posted on

An Interview with Steve Case



Last week, we released The Audacious Seven: Life Lessons from Seven Saints Who Didn’t Back DownWe love this curriculum and think that you will too!

Recently, we asked Steve Case a few questions about The Audacious Seven, here’s what he had to say:

TYC – Let’s start with the obvious… with Bible literacy a concern for so many churches, why is a curriculum featuring historical figures important to teach in youth group?

SC – These people are not our history… they are our present. Look around the table at Thanksgiving… that’s YOU. These people are us… today and our students in our future. I see the Saints as people who will be leading us to God for generations to come. Even if you have never taught using the Saints before you can embrace this book. These were Awesome servants and they can teach our students to be awesome servants.

TYC – What are some ways that you use curriculum in your own ministry?

SC – First these lessons don’t have to be taught together. Break them up. Teach the Saint Patrick lesson at the meeting closest to St Patrick’s Day. The same goes for the St Valentine lesson. Teach the St Francis lesson on some bright day in the Summer. St. Joseph is a great lesson to be taught in an empty sanctuary during a lock-in.

TYC – What are some tips you’d give folks using A7 in their youth ministry?

SC – You can teach these lessons in the youth room on a Sunday night or you can follow the old idea about starting a business or buying a house….location location location. Get out of the youth room. Teach these outdoors or flat on your back on the floor of the sanctuary. The lessons are very flexible and can accomodate any youth minister’s creativity. They are also VERY low prep. We’ve all waiting until Saturday night to plan a lesson…okay….we’ve all waited until the drive to church on Sunday to plan a lesson. These are great pull-it-out-of-your-hat lessons.

TYC – You’ve got lessons about a guy who floated while he prayed and a woman who hid her identity and lived as a monk for 20 years. Isn’t that a little… you know… out there?

SC – Most of our lessons we teach the students come from a man who walked on water and cured a man’s blindness by spitting in his face. Is a floating priest or an holy escape artist really that much of a stretch?

TYC – What are your hopes for groups teaching A7?

SC – I really hope these lesson open new doors. Teaching using the Saints is unexplored territory for some ministers. But your students already know St Patrick and St Valentine. Most have seen the wooden statue of St Francis in a garden someplace… why not get to know these name and images as real people…real people who stood up and said “Bring it on” when the world tried to turn their lives upside down.

Posted on

Four New Releases On January 6th



We’re proud to announce that our publishing line is adding four new titles, all of which release next Tuesday. All are available for pre-order with special pre-release pricing.

Posted on

Student Justice Conference – December Update

Student Justice Conference


Over the past few weeks we’ve heard from a bunch of youth workers looking for an update on the Student Justice Conference.

Here’s where we’re at:

  • The cost of registration includes program, housing, and meals at Point Loma. If you’re not familiar with Point Loma Nazarene University, know that we picked it for three specific reasons. a. It’s an amazing, beautiful campus that your students are going to love being at. Literally, it sits on the Pacific Ocean. b. Point Loma gets justice. Every major at PLNU has elements of justice integrated into the course work. Additionally, they have two on-campus institutes for justice that are active in both activating students but also engaging in justice work in San Diego. c. To that end, the Student Justice Conference is not a rental group… they are a full partner on SJC. They are fully committed to the success of SJC15, been part of the planning, and are highly invested.
  • Let’s break down the program elements, since we don’t have a ton of information on the website yet. (see schedule for what it’ll look like –
    • Main sessions – these are going to be the times at SJC15 that everyone is together in one room. The basic elements will include worship, testimonials/stories, some fun, and a teaching time.
      • Morning Main Sessions – Brooklyn Lindsey & Mark Oestreicher will be the primary teachers/speakers at each morning session. Working together, Brooklyn and Marko are going to bring excellent content for students with the aim of expanding their foundation on God’s calling for His people to seek justice.
      • Evening Main Sessions – The three evening sessions we’re booking speakers that’ll inspire us, charge us, and hopefully stoke some fires with students for what’s possible when God’s people act. We have confirmed Eugene Cho (Lead Pastor at Quest Church in Seattle, also leads One Days Wages) and the other two spots will be “presenters of that caliber.” We’ll also have some other elements in those sessions you’d expect at a conference. (Musical acts, talent, stuff like that)
    • Learning Cohorts – We recognize that each of the students you are bringing might have a passion for something unique. With that in mind, we’re working with our partners to provide this unique learning track on each afternoon of the event. These will be 3-day extended seminars (2 hours each day) with a focus on activating your teenagers. In other words, they’ll select a Learning Cohort to attend all three days (the topics of these Learning Cohorts will be released at a date closer to the event), and participate in something more like a workshop (rather than a content-focused seminar).
    • Seminars – On the schedule you’ll see 3 seminar blocks, one each day. In each seminar block we’ll offer several options for your students to pick from. Our amazing group of partners are bringing in seminar presenters that’ll show students what they do in a wide variety of categories from environmental justice to bringing clean water to new places for the first time to freeing slaves to practical steps you can take in your school. One important thing to pass along is that we’re not asking these organizations to bring content that’s “youth-y” or somehow watered down. Instead, we know that you’ll be bringing students who can handle the same information they’d share with adults.
    • Free time and optional field trips – As easy as it’d be for us to pack the schedule at SJC15, we want to leave some space to get your group off campus. (San Diego is awesome!) In the afternoon, we’ll offer some field trip options so you can see some of the amazing justice stuff happening all across San Diego. That might mean taking students to the U.S. side of the border and learning about that or visiting a community garden where resettled refugees grow foods from back home or going to a farmers market where local farmers accept WIC to help families in need get nutritious, locally grown foods or learning about aftercare safe houses for those rescued from human trafficking. Likewise, we want you to be sensitive to the needs of your group. If your group needs an afternoon at the beach, a visit to Balboa Park, or even just using the sports facilities at Point Loma… we’ve created space for you to do that without missing core content.

Big News – Super Early Registration is Open!

We aren’t officially beginning our early registration push until January. But we have opened up a limited Super Early Registration period. You can register your students now for $199 or you can reserve spots (and lock in that $199 rate) with a $50 deposit.

[button link=””]SUPER EARLY REGISTRATION[/button]