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SYMC 2013 – Looking Through The Lens Of A Trainer

I was at SYMC last weekend and I had the privilege to be one of the many trainers / presenters there. Here’s my take on the conference:

SYMC 2014 Glasses

I always like to come a day or two early to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference just for the purpose of serving by being part of the set-up team.  SYMC is led behind the scenes by some amazing staff and truly dedicated volunteers and,  I love to be a part of it.

My first day on site, everyone else had headed out to lunch, when a college age youth intern passed by.  As I focused on alphabetizing some papers we talked of ministry, his heart for the Lord, and his excitement at getting to serve a well-known youth min veteran as a “room host” this weekend.  (They’re the volunteers who make sure speakers have everything they need.) We had a great short talk, and I assured him that he was not “bothering me” as I multi-tasked.  It made me laugh out loud when I ran into the same young man later in the weekend and was told that my knowledge base intimidated him a little:

“I wanted to pick your brain, however,  everyone wants to talk to you,”   he told me. LOL!

When the conference “kicks” in I have the honor of taking on another role,  sharing my opinions, thoughts, reflections, mistakes and practical tips as a trainer in workshops and such.  It always amazes me that people show up when there are so many other great options.  What I loved about my college-aged friend was his willingness to learn and grow.  I was glad someone told him,  “She will take the time for you, go find her.” Continue Reading…

3 Reasons Why I Loved SYMC 2013

If you followed me over the weekend you could not escape the fact that I was at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference! If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I am huge fan of the conference and also part of the IT3 Team, (The ‘In the Trenches’ Team who helped to design and pull of the conference).SYMC 2014

Here are 3 reasons from this years conference as to why I am deeply committed to going as a participant, as well as being invested in creating the conference with other youth workers: Continue Reading…

HOTEL HOTEL 2 [OFFICIAL] Hilarious Video from SYMC 2013

Thanks for Josh Griffin over at – Saw this last night at SYMC. Brilliant and hilarious. All shot at the J.W Marriott where we are staying… It’s a nice hotel!


Be Sick Be Loved: John Acuff – SYMC 2013

This was a great session with the Jordan Howerton Band and Jon Acuff! Here are some of my notes from Acuff’s message:

How do we be stronger and truly allow God to make us stronger… We find a new orientation to who we are first. 

1. Start before we are ready. Fear will often stop us from feeling like we are ready for ministry… We sometimes feel too old or young… There’s always something we are not ready for and always a fear that we have about our next step in ministry… But, if we really believe God’s strength that becomes our strength, we will be ready… It’s not about our strength.

Even Jon Acuff admits he gets to to do stuff he is not ready for…

“I get to do stuff I am not ready for… BUT, we’ll never step into something God is not ready for.” Continue Reading…

REPOST: How to Answers Teenagers Toughest Questions – SYMC 2013

Answers to Teenagers 50 Toughest QuestionsToday at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference I am leading a peer panel on how to answer teenagers toughest questions. Here are some guidelines and ideas I am providing for people in the peer panel. They might also be useful to you too?

When answering teenagers questions here few things to consider: 

YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW IT ALL: It’s OK to admit to students that you need time to research or pray through an answer. Students don’t expect you to know everything, so don’t expect this for yourself!

WORK THROUGH THE ANSWER WITH YOUR STUDENT:  Give them some of the “work” and help them own the answer more effectively. When students go through a process of digging for the answer, it will more likely stick with them.

BECOME AN EXPERT IN RESOURCES: You might not know all the answers, but you should work hard to know where to find them.  Sites like andAnswers to Teenagers Toughest Questions, from Simply Youth Ministry are great resources!


- Use your youth pastor for questions that are well over your head.

- Involve the youth pastor for kids who give you info about abuse or if someone is in danger. (Know your mandated reporting policies).

- Involve the parents. Depending on the question that is asked, I believe it is crucial to get parents to continue the navigation process with their student. Parents can handle follow up questions as they happen. Remember, our job is not to replace mom and dad, but to partner with them…

START LOOKING AT QUESTIONS THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS: Don’t see questions as detrimental doubting, see questions as an opportunity for students to develop a deeper faith. (The autonomous independent thinking student needs to struggle through the tough question in order to have grow deeper)

What would you add to this list? What tip is the most helpful one for you? 

Phil <><

What Greg Stier Can Teach You About Prayer: SYMC 2013

SYMC 2013

What a great start to SYMC with General Session 1! The theme ‘stronger’ was threaded through every element of the general session. It was so refreshing to see a concerted effort to create a theme that is designed to invest in youth workers, so they can in turn invest in their students. Tonight the guy, didn’t talk to us about evangelism as we might have expected, instead he challenged us to become stronger in prayer:

Awkward is Awesome

Tonight Greg not only helped us get back to basics with how to prayer and why to pray, he also led us to pray with and for each other. But, his specific instruction was to pray with someone we did not know… His comment about this, was “awkward is awesome.” If you are like me, it is truly awkward praying with someone I don’t know… But Greg was right… awkward is awesome.

Here are two things (one for my ministry, and one for myself), that stood out tonight.  Continue Reading…

Looking Ahead To SYMC 2013 – How To Make The Most Of The Conference.

I am super excited that I get to attend The Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis this coming weekend. It comes at a good time for me, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be refreshed, grow, and reconnect with many youth ministry friends. If you are coming to the conference, we would love to connect with you. Leneita, Darren, and myself will be there. Just check out the contributors page to see what our mugs look like.  In the meantime, here are 4 simple but essential ways you can make the most of the conference. SYMC 2013 Continue Reading…

Inside The Teenage Brain Webinar With Mark Oestreicher

Our friends at are putting together another brilliant webinar! Let Mark Oestreicher take you “Inside the Teenage Brain” on February 26 at 2pm (central) FREE WEBINAR-

Why I’m Going To The Simply Youth Ministry Conference March 1-4, 2013 (VIDEO POST)

WINNER of Simply Youth Ministry Conference Announced!

Thank you to everyone for the kind wishes on the birth of my son! It was great to see so many tweets, shares, likes, and comments for this giveaway! I just love this conference and I hope that if you did not win, you can still go!!! Go ahead and contact my good friend Matty McCage at (615) 349-7111. Tell him Phil Bell sent you and he will take good care of you!

THE WINNER: Bryan Drum. 

I have done some digging and found that he is a 10 year plus Youth Minister at Midway Christian Church in Winder, GA.

Congrats Bryan! I will be in touch with you soon and give you details of how you can claim your giveaway!

Phil <><

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