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Today I’ve been working on finalizing the schedule for the tech room we are going to have at this year’s Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  We’ve got some great seminars lined up that should get any youth ministry geek excited.

Topics include: Using media in your programs, creative branding, free technologies for your ministry, working smart, making video magic, harnessing the power of social media, importance of design, and so much more.  We have enough tech workshops you could make it a tech ministry conference with everything else as a bonus.

Some of our tech speakers are: Tim Schmoyer, Brandon Early, Josh Griffin, Dave Harris, just to name a few.  (I guess I could have listed myself also).

Plus there will be time to drop in with your questions so you can come away better equipped.  All the speakers are around and available to talk with and ask questions of.  It’s really an interactive event.

I would love to have you join us, but the deadline for registration is coming up quick, and it’s almost sold out.  So don’t wait too long.

Visit: YouthMinistry.com/SYMC for more info.

I love the tech that comes out of the student and college/young adult ministries at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.  These guys have brought us some great blogs like steveostudios.tv fun and solid content in their podcast churchtechtalk, usable free resources at stufficanuse.com, now a few cool products at digitalstache.

Their latest resource for ministry, Spin That Wheel, is not free but is worth it weight in SPAM (SPAM is considered gourmet food in Hawaii).  We saw this game for the first time at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference last February (register for this years conference before they sell out again).

Here is a brief description from their product website… “Spin That Wheel is a rockin large group interactive game.  As a stand alone application, the software allows you to add up to 15 custom prizes to the wheel, then spin it to see what you get! (Wow, I just won a bag of Pork Rinds*)  It has a random winner every time.  Find yourself a great host, a really bad outfit, and you are in for a great night.”

*Prizes not included.

The students in our ministry love this game and I want to share a copy with one of you for your ministry. To get a chance at snagging a FREE copy, you must take the following TWO actions:
1. Leave a comment below. Tell us how you are PLAYING GAMES using TECHNOLOGY. (ie. Spin That Wheel, PowerPoint Games, Race This, etc…share your best idea with us).  Leave your twitter name in the comment.
2. Follow youthministrygeek on twitter.  We will send you a direct message if you are the winner.

On Friday December 17 we will pick the post with the best “tech game” idea and send a copy of Spin That Wheel for FREE!  If you don’t will you can always pick up your own copy at digitalstache.com.  Soon you’ll be able to pick it up at Simply Youth Ministry also.


Double Reward Points at SYM

Chris —  November 17, 2010 — Leave a comment

We have something fun going on at Simply this week. Get double rewards points on all purchases. (only till Friday Nov 19).

Double Rewards at SimplyYouthMinistry!

If you don’t know where to start, check the new gifts sections and pick nice out for your Students, Volunteers or Parents.  It’s never too late to start your Christmas shopping.

A while back I began an interview-style youth ministry podcast called 10-Minute Training.  Now that I have published about a dozen, I feel ready to share the process here.  Keep in mind that there are many ways to do this.  Mine is focused on making the least amount of work for me without giving up the ability to edit the podcast afterwards.

I am sure I don’t need to give you ideas on using a podcst in your ministry, but just in case, here are a couple:

  1. Daily/weekly devotion or thought for students
  2. Daily/weekly Bible memory verse
  3. Rebroadcast of your message
  4. Youth volunteer training/tip
  5. Parent update

This will be a series of posts.  Part one will focus on describing the gear and basic schedule, part two will look at the setup and actual recording, and part three the publishing.

The Schedule

I don’t have the kind of time every other week to devote to recording, editing, and publishing the podcast.  So in order to limit the weekly work, I schedule a couple of half days of recording every six months.  I schedule the interviewees a couple of weeks before the recording date and get a basic outline of their training piece via email.  Usually, I am able to get about 30 minutes of content in each one-hour session which is three podcasts.  By doing it this way I cut the weekly work down to about 10-30 minutes depending on how much editing is required.  If you end up doing it this way, I will give some tips for things you can do while recording that will make the editing easier months down the road.

The Gear

I say work with what you’ve got.  If you are starting, you may not need to buy anything, but I found a couple of purchases that streamline the process for me and bring the quality up a bit as well.

  1. Shure X2u ($99 on Amazon) – I reviewed this in an earlier post.  This alows me to take any mic I have and turn it into a USB mic that can be recorded in my audio recording program.  Though your built-in mic will work, this will make you sound professional without spending a fortune.
  2. Skype (Free) – This is what I use to get the audio from the interviewees.  I also pay for a Skypein number so that people who do not have Skype can use a regular phone to call me on Skype. The cost for that is about $18 a quarter.
  3. Garage Band (Free with Mac) – I have access to high-end audio software like sountrack Pro, but have found that this is simple and quick to record and edit something as simple as a two person interview.  It also has built in EQ and Compressors for podcasting that makes the mic and Skype audio sound a lot better.  If you are on the Windows side of things, Audacity is a great free option.
  4. Wiretap Anywhere ($129) – This is a bit of a splurge, but worth it if you can swing it.  Wiretap anywhere will take audio from any program or hardware device on your computer and convert it into a virtual sound card that allows you to record those pieces of audio on separate tracks.  I tried several methods to get this working when I was researching and found this to be WAY above everything else in reliability and usability.  This gets it all into Garage band live eliminating any later steps/synchronization.
  5. Squarespace ($10+ per month) – This is a content management system/hosting solution that I use for our youth site.  It makes publishing the podcast content and feed as simple as posting to your blog.  Pricey if you are only using it for your podcast, but worth it if you are shopping around for web hosting/authoring.
  6. Macbook ($999+)  Even the most basic macbook will do the job.  I will hold back my fanboyness here, but I think that for most youth ministers the ease, quality, and price of  creative tools (most need no more than those included with every mac) along with stability makes it a no-brainer.

My advice with this sort of gear is to go as cheap as possible at the beginning.  If the podcast does well, you can always add sound quality later.  As far as I am concerned, the audio quality cannot make up for poor content, but great content can go a long way towards overcoming less-than-professional audio quality.


Simply Youth Ministry

Over at SimplyYouthMinistry.com you can save 20% off your order for the next 2 days by using the promo code: SCAREANDY.  What better way to celebrate Halloween.  Also there are a bunch of books on sale, and you can double up with the 20% off and really save some coin.  Jump over to the sale category to have a look at those.

Youth ministries have a bad reputation for being underfunded and understaffed because they often are.  That probably translates into you needing to do everything from fix the hole in the wall that happened during a wild game of pin the pool stick on the Jr Higher last week to installing a new hard drive in the Pentium II youth machine.  If you don’t know how to do everything, you will at some point need to use MonkeySee.

MonkeySee is an online repository of free how-to videos that range from how to select home theatre system speakers to how to apply a french manicure tip.  So, next time you have to install a new dishwasher after trying to clean the uncleanable after a youth event, go to MonkeySee.com.


Over on SimplyYouthMinistry.com we launched a great bundle this morning.  The Super Awesome Bundle 2.  It’s 8 great resources for $49. As the bundle sells it get’s better. Check out the bundle page for all the details.

Here’s a little video we made about how we came up with the bundle.  (Why do I always end up in these videos?)

Quantities are limited, so don’t wait too long.

Super Awesome Bundle - Revenge of the Robot - Physical
Also 10% of the sales go to help the Center for Parent / Teen Understanding.

This week over at YouthMinistry.com there was a great series of articles on using games in youth ministry.

Part one: GAME ON! how games can enhance your ministry – it’s a great reminder of why we play games in youth ministry.

Part two: GAME OVER! seven game mistakes that will derail your effectiveness – goes over some common mistakes that can derail your games.

Part three: TIME OUT! three practices that will strengthen your game plan – gives some great suggestions about making your games the best they can.

If you are looking for some new games to play, YouthMinistry.com also has some new free game e-books for you.  You can download  Grass Stain: Outdoor Youth Ministry Games or Rugburn: Indoor Youth Ministry Games.  To get the free downloads you need to sign-up for the YouthMinistry.com Daily email from Doug Fields and Matt McGill, but you also get access to some other great e-books as well as content like these articles in your inbox 4 days a week.

I’ve been involved in a project to provide free Youth Ministry resources online at umyouthpastor.com for a while now.  We thought about doing a training podcast for a while, but wanted to make sure that we were adding something worthwhile rather than just creating more work for ourselves.  After consuming a lot of podcasts, I realized that what I wanted was a periodic training/idea podcast that was short and to the point.  That is where the idea for 10-minute Training (itunes link) began.

Each episode is an interview with a talented youth minister about a specific topic covering everything from having hard conversations to indoor game idea roundups.  Every episode then concludes with a resource recommendation from the guest.  All in about 10 minutes.

I love and listen to tons of long-format podcasts like the SYM podcast (iTunes link), but know very few people who are both entertaining enough to listen to for that long and experienced/talented enough to have that much quality content (Doug and the gang are some of the few in youth ministry).  The point of the podcast is to get you some usable information or idea as quickly as possible, or as the tagline suggests… we get to the point so you get the training. Check it out by going to the website or subscribing via iTunes.


Today is the last day to enter to win an iPad over at Simply Youth Ministry.

Also it’s the last day to save 40% off on almost 300 resources.  It’s only good till 3 PM PST today, so hurry over.

Simply Youth Ministry 40 40 40 Sale