Jason Ostrander is the new lead guy over at Simply Youth Ministry. He’s formerly been the National Youth Director of The Christian and Missionary Alliance and a youth worker. He may have one of the coolest jobs on the planet. Here’s my 5 question interview with him this past week!
Dude you’re the new guy at SYM! Tell us about your past, present and future there!
Well Josh, I can still remember my very first day as a new youth pastor. I sat down at my desk and noticed that someone had left the latest edition of GROUP magazine there. I picked it up and read through it…and it was love at first sight! Seriously though Group’s resources have always been a part of my ministry –and as a National Youth Director I found myself constantly recommending SYM products to my youth workers. Currently I am the leader for SYM at Group and I am super stoked about the opportunity to lead such an amazing team! The future is on hold for now…at least until I can figure out how to use the copy machine down the hall.
The Simply Youth Ministry Conference is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Give us an inside scoop on what will change and what won’t!
Josh, I have been at every SYMC since the very first one in Indy (who can forget Hotel, Hotel.) and I can truly say that my time at each of those gatherings has heavily influenced the way I do ministry. As far as what will change at this year’s SYMC: there will be some fresh new voices in both our workshops and panels (we’re looking to have 80+ of the nation’s most experienced presenters!) and we definitely have some surprises up our sleeves for the evening sessions! As for what will not change, I can assure you that the core of what SYMC has become: a quality youth ministry conference designed “for youth workers, by youth workers” will always be there. Can’t wait to hang with you, Josh, in Indy next March!
You recently wrote the new book 99 Questions Jesus Asked – where did that come from and do you have other projects in the works!
99 Questions Jesus Asked basically came from a dream I have always had to expose what was behind all of those questions Jesus asked in the gospels. There are well over 300 questions recorded in Matthew, Mark Luke and John –so it would stand to reason that Jesus was up to something by asking all of those questions. I wanted to write the book in way that both high school and middle school students could relate. It also makes for a great discussion starter for small group time –just throw a student the book, have them open it to any question and start dialoging about why Jesus might have asked that specific question! As for more projects –I always have something saved on the hard drive, but I think for now I gotta keep my head down on how to best lead in my new position…
Skinny jeans scare me. Do you think you can stand before God someday having worn them and calling yourself a Christian?
Great question Josh, I feel like the skinny jean issue at the office is a bit understated, I mean honestly my jeans are made up of less denim then the other people’s jeans that I work with. Less denim = less dye = less water. See, what I’m doing by wearing skinny jeans is not only good for the environment…its good for fashion. Case closed.
You have 25,000 youth workers hanging in your every word right now. Free for all question, make them count!
How about –what gets you most excited about youth ministry? Answer: thinking about all of the thousands of youth workers out there doing everything they can to minister to the next generation of the church. My life was changed 25 years ago because of three college students who welcomed me into youth ministry when I was in sixth grade. They showed me Christ-like love and compassion week after week (and they asked me to be on their dodgeball team!) Therefore my prayer for youth workers has always been out of 1Thessalonians 1:3, “We continually remember before our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” I pray this daily for them –and for you man. Thanks for the interview, Josh!
You can learn more about Jason over here at SYM’s Community page. Cool dude … even if his eyes pierce into my soul in that picture. Whoa.