Middle School

Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

If you haven’t met him, let me introduce Jason Ostrander. Jason is the new team leader of Simply Youth Ministry and directs the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, an amazing conference of over 3,000 youth workers happening this upcoming March. Recently Josh Griffin and I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the conference:

What is the heart and vision behind SYMC?

The Simply Youth Ministry Conference (aka. SYMC) has always been unique in the landscape of youth ministry conferences in that it is, by design, a conference “by youth workers –for youth workers”. In all aspects of the conference youth workers are an active part of both its development and implementation.

The true heart behind SYMC it is to be a place where youth workers from around the world can come to learn, connect and recharge and the vision is always to support the local youth worker in every way possible so that they can thrive in youth ministry.

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There are a lot of conferences out there, maybe now more than ever – why choose SYMC?

This is a great question. My immediate response takes me back to when I was a youth worker attending SYMC –I remember that everyone I met seemed to identify with me as well as my journey. It felt good to be known (and remembered year after year!) As the conference director, I would say that SYMC works very hard to cut through the fluff of youth min conferencing so that we can fully engage youth workers right where they are. I have been a part of some SYMC Lead Team meetings in the past few weeks where we’ve cut out potentially “good” things to make room for the “most important” things that we should be offering to youth workers.

When is the best time to sign up and commit to attending?

Of course the deepest discount for SYMC would be the early bird registration ($40 off the regular price) –which ends October 31st!

Any special words of encouragement for the people who read this blog….folks who work with junior highers?

There is a special place in heaven reserved for you, where your mansions will be TP’d only with golden toilet paper. You folks are truly on the front-lines of youth ministry serving in an often Thankless role. So THANK YOU!

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