Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:41:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 College Football Thoughts – Week 4 http://adammclane.com/2014/09/17/college-football-thoughts-week-4-2/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/17/college-football-thoughts-week-4-2/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:41:13 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15693 It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of the college football season is already in the books! It’s a reminder that the senior league (aka NFL) drags on ad nausaem whereas every game counts in college. San Diego State Last week was their bye. This Saturday they play their toughest opponent of the year, […]

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It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of the college football season is already in the books! It’s a reminder that the senior league (aka NFL) drags on ad nausaem whereas every game counts in college.

San Diego State

Last week was their bye. This Saturday they play their toughest opponent of the year, Oregon State.

Notre Dame

I’ll confess that I didn’t get to see the game and I only saw a short package of highlights on ESPN. As I suspected, the Purdue game was way closer than it needed to be. That’s what happens when you play teams like Purdue… it’s their bowl game, it’s their best shot at recruiting for the year, and it’s their only time on National TV. Watching a team like Purdue hang around is one reason I wish Notre Dame would get out of their NBC deal. But who turns down $15 million per year to have their own network? No one. 

The Irish take the week off to heal up and get ready for Syracuse. Sitting at #9 and an easy match-up with Syracuse, they are posed to be ranked in the top 6-7 when they take on Stanford, at home, on October 4th.

Results

Week 3: 8-5 (Speaking of 8-5… this would be a dream record for Michigan this year)

Season total: 11-15

Picks

San Diego State at Oregon State — OSU

Auburn at K-State – Roll Tigers

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech – Hokies

Hawaii at Colorado – Guy on a Buffalo

North Carolina at East Carolina – UNC

Florida at Alabama – Bama

Virginia at BYU – Virginia

Utah at Michigan – Michigan

Miss State at LSU – LSU

Clemson at Florida State – Noles

Miami at Nebraska – Huskers

New Mexico at NMSU – New Mexico State

Oregon at Washington State – Ducks

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Give it some gas http://adammclane.com/2014/09/16/give-gas/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/16/give-gas/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:50:49 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15689 In high school I drove a hoopty, a 1978 Ford LTD Station Wagon. It was a tank. And I think it literally had the engine of a tank. Every morning I stopped on the way to school to get $5 in gas. And on Friday’s I got $5 in gas and a quart of 10W40. […]

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In high school I drove a hoopty, a 1978 Ford LTD Station Wagon. It was a tank. And I think it literally had the engine of a tank. Every morning I stopped on the way to school to get $5 in gas. And on Friday’s I got $5 in gas and a quart of 10W40. That car’s 4-barrel carburetor sucked gas into the engine so loudly you could hear it and you could actually watch the gas gauge drop.

In 1994, retro was not cool. And rolling into the Clay High School parking lot in that broadcast broadly my socio-economic reality. (We didn’t just look poor, we were poor.)  In truth I didn’t really care. Having a car– no matter what it looked like– was a luxury to me.

Lessons from The Beast

I want to share 3 lessons that The Beast taught me which apply to my life every day as I lead my family.

  1. Be happy for what you have not envious for what you don’t. The Beast is what I had and could afford. The crazy thing was that I was actually sharing it with my dad. Even though it was a piece of crap I don’t think I spent much time worrying about what others thought. And while I had friends who had nicer cars if someone thought less of me because of that car, I guess I just didn’t need friends like that. The same is true in adult life. I’m never going to have the nicest car or the best clothes or whatever. It’s not that I don’t see those things or even kind of want those things for my family. It’s that I invest energy in making the most out of what I do have instead of wasting energy on what I don’t have. The same is true with work. I could waste a lot of energy wishing we had x, y, or z thing at The Youth Cartel. Or, I could invest my energy in making the most with what we do have.
  2. Idling leads to stalls. If in doubt give it some gas. When I got to a red light… if I didn’t give it a little gas while sitting still, it’d stall. Heck, you could be driving down the road and it’d start to stall. The answer to both of those problems was GIVE IT SOME GAS. The same is true in life. I think human nature is to hit a resting point and just let things idle or when something doesn’t feel quite right to mash on the brakes and decide what to do after that. In our family, I feel like we coast a bit during the week so when the weekend comes, we hit the gas. Likewise, at work… I’m sure a lot of people are wondering if the Cartel is going to taper off and kind of go away. Ha! No baby, this month we are launching two brand new events for 2015, the Student Justice Conference and the Women in Youth Ministry Campference. Because hitting the gas is what we do.
  3. Get excited when it starts. You don’t drive an old car like my 1978 Ford LTD Station Wagon and not get stoked when it starts. In January of my senior year, right in the middle of a teacher strike, a nasty cold front brought sub-zero temperatures to South Bend for more than a week. And while my neighbors cute little brand new cars wouldn’t start, the Beast took two turns, winked it’s headlights, and roared to life. Sure it would have been awesome to have heat. But it started up and we were rolling when no one else was. In our house we celebrate starts. We get excited when one of our kids takes initiative to start something. Even if it’s their homework or a shower, doing it by yourself is a value to us. The same is true in how we work… we get excited when people start stuff. We don’t spend a lot of time wringing our hands about what we should do or shouldn’t do. If it’s aligned into what we’re all about, do it and let’s celebrate the fact that it started.

I’m not saying that this is a life philosophy. But it’s part of it. I’m a blue collar guy and these are blue collar things that permeate what I do every day.

Use what you have to your advantage. Keep momentum by giving it gas. Get excited when something works.

What about you? What did your first car teach you about life? 

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Why are we investing in Open? http://adammclane.com/2014/09/15/investing-open/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/15/investing-open/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:06:47 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15680 This weekend was our first Open event of the season, Open Denver. In two weeks I’ll go up to Vancouver. Then in late October we’re hosting two Open events on the same weekend, one in Seattle and the other in Paris. (Both cities have towers as their landmark, I’ll let you guess which one Kristen […]

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This weekend was our first Open event of the season, Open Denver. In two weeks I’ll go up to Vancouver. Then in late October we’re hosting two Open events on the same weekend, one in Seattle and the other in Paris. (Both cities have towers as their landmark, I’ll let you guess which one Kristen and I are headed to.) We’ve got 3 more Open’s coming this winter in San Francisco, Grand Rapids, and Boston.

We operate these events in the spirit of the open source movement. The organization of the events is very flat, I’m not in charge of any of them, the local team is. We don’t control how any of the events are structured. And, they are structured so that each of them basically breaks even for us. (We pay the local organizing team 33% of the profits and they designate a benefiting organization that receives 34%.) As a group they generate a couple thousand bucks.

So why are we investing in Open?

The Youth Cartel is not a charity. We are a fee-for-service company. If (and when) we lose money… we don’t have the ability to go out and raise funds to balance our budget. In fact, we don’t want to do that. We want to create stuff that the community wants and is willing to pay for. And being a fee-for-service company one way we know if we’re scratching an itch that needs to be scratched is if it pays for itself. No offense to non-profits but we think that being a for-profit is a great way to serve the church. 

So, why invest in Open… something built to break even? 

  1. Getting the money out of the way invites everyone to the table. Yes, it costs money to make Open happen. And thanks to the partnership of awesome sponsors, we’ve been able to keep Open at (basically) $25 per person. But creating a space where presenters present for free and the venue hosts because they want to host and not because they are getting paid? Well, that creates an environment you just can’t find anywhere else.
  2. organic-stuff copyYouth ministry is desperate for new ideas, we [as a tribe] need a space for them to emerge. There’s very little variation in what happens in church-based youth ministry. There’s a program and there is community. The last big idea that shaped youth ministry was small groups… and that was in the 90s. And while there’s tons of soft innovation we need to keep looking for stuff that’s brand new. My hunch is that this new idea will not emerge out of a youth ministry company (like us) and my second hunch is that it will start in a way that’s not commercially viable enough for mainstream youth ministry training events. So having a place where these ideas to develop without commercial pressure will… and is… helping.
  3. There is a desperate need for new voices, we [as a tribe] need a space for them to emerge. Every organization that I know of says that one of their continued challenges is cultivating new voices and specifically finding voices that reflect the full tribe of youth ministry. (gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic background) Open is becoming that space. We’re investing our time and energy because we see Open as being a great testing grounds for new voices to emerge. Some are ready right now, just needing an opportunity. Jen Bradbury was the perfect example of that for us. She spoke at Open GR in February, her presentation was fantastic, her content was great, and she was saying something a broader audience was ready for right away. So we invited her to speak at The Summit as well as worked with her to release her book next month. And Morgan Schmidt is an example of someone who had great ideas and content but needed some opportunities so she could refine her content for a broader audience. So we invited her to speak at a couple more Open events… and the response exploded. Her book, Woo, has done really well. And her presentation on that content fills rooms.
  4. When it comes to youth ministry training, context is critical. You can’t assume that something that works in Michigan or Southern California will work in Boston or Seattle. Why? Because these contexts are completely different. We’re cultivating Open in a way that keeps it local. It’s awesome to watch as each organizing group owns that. Each event gets proposals from all over the place… and it’s great to see them filter through these proposals from a “what does a youth worker in _____ need?” posture. That doesn’t mean all of the speakers are local. But it does mean that all of the speakers chosen are there because the proposal they’ve submitted fits a need in that region.
  5. It’s crazy fun. Look, I could come up with a gigantic list of “business justifications” for running Open at break even. But one reason we do Open is because it’s fun for us to do Open. Last Friday night at our speakers dinner I met a room full of speaker I had never met before. Of the presentations on Saturday I had heard exactly zero. When I show up to a normal event I expect to meet 1-2 people for the first time. To have 100%? That’s a blast. I know it’s fun for us to be a part of Open. And I know the event itself is fun because that’s what people who come say about it. So “it’s crazy fun” is a pretty good selling point for us.

An Open Invitation

So here’s my invitation. If this post connected with you I am inviting you to be part of the Open movement in a few specific ways.

  1. Bring yourself, bring your team, and bring your mom. OK, maybe not bring your mom. But in all seriousness, we need early adapters like you to come and be a part of Open then give us feedback for making it better.
  2. Invest your time and energy. Open is intentionally flat. If you want to be part of the process, jump in. Contact me and I’ll connect you to a local organizing team that could use your help. (Want Open in your region? Coming to an Open is the first step to hosting an Open.)
  3. Invest your organizations resources. Personally, I’m sick of the silos. We’ve never put our name all over this thing. I think The Youth Cartel champions it more than we “own” it. We’re actively interested in talking to other organizations who want to champion the values I’ve shared in this post. We’ve found that a posture of collaborating instead of competing is good for our tribe, I want to invite any/all youth ministry organizations to partner with us on this. (See getting money out of the way above.)

Have you been to an Open? What do you like about it? 

Not been to one but want to know something? Ask me a question. 

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The Day That Changed Us http://adammclane.com/2014/09/11/the-day-that-changed-us/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/11/the-day-that-changed-us/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:50:11 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15672 Back in college I had to read this book for a class called, “Turning Points.” If you went to an evangelical school you might have had to read it to. While it’s a book about church history the central idea of the text is that the author looks at the history of the Christian church […]

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Back in college I had to read this book for a class called, “Turning Points.” If you went to an evangelical school you might have had to read it to. While it’s a book about church history the central idea of the text is that the author looks at the history of the Christian church and points to specific moments in history that altered the course of church history.

I really connected to that concept. And if you’ve heard me speak or read what I’ve written over the last decade or so you might recognize that I use this concept at times because I find it to be a helpful way to look at the large arc of time.

September 11, 2001

There are three things I’ll never forget about 9/11.

  1. It was a beautiful, cloudless morning in Chicago. I got to the office that day about 4:00 AM. A couple hours later I took my normally scheduled lunch break. As I drove down Des Moines Avenue and went to the Dominick’s supermarket that morning, I parked my car, turned around 180 degrees and just stared at the Sears Tower. About a mile away, it stood there, the city was stirring, but the silence had lingered. Beautiful, warm, perfect day.
  2. We all made decisions. A co-worker, Allen, returned early from lunch that day. He had been sitting at a local lunch counter, having breakfast and drinking coffee while watching Good Morning America when they started reporting that a plane had hit a building in New York. He came into our office telling everyone about it. We all blew him off. But he grabbed another co-workers portable TV and set it up in the office with the volume way too loud. And we all saw the second plane hit on live TV. We didn’t say anything but we all had the same idea. Let’s go home. Within a minute all of our cell phones started ringing. A couple minutes later I got a call from an automated system from our company telling us to prepare to evacuate the building, that they were considering sending home the entire staff of about 5,000 people. I looked at my team, there were about 6 of us, and I made a decision: “Look, we all need to get home. They are going to send us home but they haven’t told us when to release you to do that. And I’ve got a feeling the city is going to close the loop. No one sign out, just leave when you are ready. I’d suggest you go now.” No one ever asked when my team left. But we all left about 30 minutes before several million people in the loop were told to go home.
  3. It was a beautiful, silent evening in Chicago. After I left my office at Blue Cross I drove to Kristen’s office in Buck Town. On the way there I called my mom, waking her up in Vegas to the news. For the next several hours it was the only call I could make because the cell networks were overwhelmed. As Kristen and I drove home on the Eisenhower we had the sunroof open and the radio on. We couldn’t help but look at the sky. We couldn’t help but listen to the news. We drove back to Oak Park and tracked down Megan at her babysitters house, Aunt Mary, we called her. The rest of the day we watched the news in shock… not knowing what else to do. Word had spread that our church was going to hold a prayer gathering that night. I don’t remember going. Maybe we did and maybe we didn’t? But what I do remember was the silence of that evening. Normally, as evening quieted our neighborhood you would take notice of the air traffic over our head. Every minute or so you’d hear a jet in the distance making it’s decent to O’Hare. It was one of those things that you didn’t notice until it was gone. It was gone that night. I think we walked that night. Megan in the stroller and sidewalk beneath our feet. And I remember the silence. A city of 6 million people isn’t supposed to be silent, but that night it was silent in Chicago. Eerily, respectfully, silent.

It Changed Us

Like millions of others, that day 13 years ago is a vivid memory.

But, at the same time, we all have to look at that day as a turning point in our country. It’s easy to point to security at airports or the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as the output of 9/11.

But what I think happened was so much deeper than that. September 11th was the day fear became the most powerful force in America.

For the next several years, if the President said we needed to do something for national security, he could do whatever he liked as long as he said it was for security. Any mention of 9/11 became a selling point for a program.

That newfound fear began to rule our government. Instead of people being innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, people could be arrested for “security reasons” and the public assumed they were terrorists.

That’s not who were are. But that’s who we’ve become. 

And that fear-based rule making isn’t just about our military, it’s about everything. We make decisions about a lot of things, not by values but by fear. My kids will never have a locker at school, in part, because of the fear that was born on 9/11.

For some reason, “national security” lead to individuals buying handguns at an alarming pace. Before 9/11 Americans bought about 2 million guns per year. In 2012, we bought more than 8 million guns. You don’t buy a handgun to express your freedom to do so. You buy a handgun because you’re afraid of something and you think you might need to use it.

September 11th, 2001 changed our society. It unleashed in us something that I hope time heals: Fear. It’s something that seeps into every part of who we are.

And that fear– that turning point toward a society where fear is conquered by nationalistic excuses to become agents of terror ourselves, bombing countries and holding people in nameless prisons without trial– makes me sad. It might be who we are but it’s not who we aspire to be.

Remember Who We Were

Today, like every 9/11, there will be moments of silence and remembrances of those who gave their lives. It was and continues to be a tragedy.

I want to remember those people.

But I never want to forget who we were before that day.

I hope we heal enough to be that nation again.

Photo credit: September 11 Memorial by Jens Schott Knudsen via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Dog Strollers and Other Dumb Stuff http://adammclane.com/2014/09/10/dog-strollers-dumb-stuff/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/10/dog-strollers-dumb-stuff/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:04:04 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15665 There is a woman boarding the plane with a stroller for her dog. Really? — Efrem Smith via Facebook Have you seen dog strollers? It’s a thing. Check out this search on Amazon. There are dog strollers with hundreds of 4 and 5 star ratings. I see them at Lake Murray. There’s a path that’s […]

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There is a woman boarding the plane with a stroller for her dog. Really?

Efrem Smith via Facebook

Have you seen dog strollers? It’s a thing. Check out this search on Amazon. There are dog strollers with hundreds of 4 and 5 star ratings.

I see them at Lake Murray. There’s a path that’s like 3 miles around the lake and you see lots of people pushing little dogs in strollers.

Here’s the deal: Taking your dog for a walk means that you and the dog take a walk. It’s healthy for you and it’s healthy for them. Actually, the healthy part of it for the dog is more than just physical, it’s mental. Walking with you, sniffing other dogs butts, peeing on bushes, chasing squirrels, this is all normal and perfectly healthy behavior for your dog.

Putting it in a stroller and not letting it walk? That’s not good for the dog in any way!

If “taking the dog for a walk” means driving to a park to push your dog in a stroller– you need to know you are doing it wrong.

Exception: Every once in a while I see someone with an injured dog in a dog stroller. I’ll give you a pass for that. 

Dog Flash Lights

14414945780_f8fb89cc08_zYou might think I’m kidding but I’m not. Kristen and I see people all the time with lights attached to their dogs. There are hundreds of collar lights on Amazon. This one has 600+ reviews!

I think the intention is to make the dog more visible at night to owners and other people who might not see your dog.

A dog on a leash walking with an owner doesn’t need a light and it isn’t helping the dog. In fact, while I’m not an canine ophthalmologist, I would guess that the light attached to Buster is actually making Buster see worse because his pupil’s can’t adjust to the low light conditions… meaning that light is putting your beloved dog in more danger than it’s helping them.

“Dogs have evolved to see well in both bright and dim light, whereas humans do best in bright light. No one is quite sure how much better a dog sees in dim light, but I would suspect that dogs are not quite as good as cats,” which can see in light that’s six times dimmer than our lower limit. Dogs, he says, “can probably see in light five times dimmer than a human can see in.”

Paul Miller of University of Wisconsin in Science Daily, 2007

We often go on our evening walk as the sun is going down. In the summer, because the concrete and asphalt is so hot from the sun, it’s a good idea to wait for it to cool off before walking your dog, and as it gets darker we see more and more people sporting flashlights, headlamps, and doggie flashlights in our urban neighborhood.

Look, your dog doesn’t need that to see, it’s probably hurting their eyesight. And if they are on a leash their visibility isn’t important. And, just keeping it real, you don’t need a flashlight to walk through an urban neighborhood either. We have street lights! (Not to mention humans can see OK at night, too, if you let your eyes adjust.)

Let Dogs Be Dogs

In so many ways, I get it. We love our pets. We adore them with gifts and treats and special trips. I do the exact same thing. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve driven 30 minutes to take Stoney to the beach or the hundreds, thousands probably, of dog walks.

But you have to let your dog be a dog. They don’t need to be pushed around like a baby. And they don’t need a flashlight to see at night.

The single best thing you can do for your dog, in my opinion, is let them be a dog. 

Misplaced Care

What is this all about? In this instance, I’m talking about people who love their dogs so much that they are making it something it isn’t. Putting a dog in a stroller isn’t about the dog, it’s about the human.

We do this type of thing all the time. We allow something in our lives to become something it isn’t and in the process, we change it. We convince ourselves that our professional pursuit is about the pursuit when it’s about something more significant. We convince others that we’re working out because we want to accomplish a goal or raise some money for charity when it’s about something deeper. We convince ourselves that we have to parent our kids or they need to pursue education in a certain way for the betterment of that child… when it’s really about something much deeper.

We say it’s about love when, at it’s core, it’s about misplaced care. To truly love that child. To truly love that dog. To truly gain success at work. To truly be healthy– you need to get to the bottom of some of these underlying issues.

A dog in a stroller is misplaced care.

Deal with the stroller in your life.

Photo credits: Dogs! by Weiji via Flickr (Creative Commons) LED Dog Collar by The Pet’s Tech via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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College Football Thoughts – Week 3 http://adammclane.com/2014/09/09/college-football-thoughts-week-3/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/09/college-football-thoughts-week-3/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:47:16 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15663 Well, here we are. Heading into week 3 we’re starting to get clarity on who teams are and aren’t. The narratives will start to shift from new coaches and new players to the core of the schedule. Now we will discover who has depth, who has heart, and who will make it to the playoff. […]

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Well, here we are. Heading into week 3 we’re starting to get clarity on who teams are and aren’t. The narratives will start to shift from new coaches and new players to the core of the schedule. Now we will discover who has depth, who has heart, and who will make it to the playoff.

San Diego State

Saturday’s loss to North Carolina left State fans desperate for a scapegoat when there was none. We were the better team. We were coached better. And we had the ball on the 4 yard line with the chance to beat a ranked team on the road.

And, as Coach Long said at yesterday’s Coaches’ Lunch, sometimes your quarterback makes a bad pass and the other team makes a great play.

Even with the loss I liked what I saw. We are a team that is continuing to develop. When I thought about the loss I couldn’t help but realize we’re 1-2 dynamic players from making that next step and consistently competing with– and beating– P5 opponents. When our star wide receiver went down with a broken collarbone, the talent level dropped significantly enough where that back-up WR got beat on the key play and we lost the game. But a key transfer or signing a local 4-star wide receiver? Well, we win that game.

Notre Dame

I kind of wish we’d run up the score a little more. We didn’t just beat Michigan, we completely humiliated them. The Irish gave Michigan their worse loss in history and the first shutout since 1984. You know it’s bad when the hashtag #firehoke had thousands of posts starting at halftime. Look, I don’t like Michigan generally and I think Hoke was good for SDSU but I’m not a fan of how he left State… so I can’t wait to see him get fired. That said, good luck to Michigan the rest of the way. For ND’s sake I hope they win ‘em all.

Is Notre Dame set to run the table? No. Their schedule is just too grueling down the road to conceive of winning them all. Ahead they have Stanford, Florida State, Arizona State, Louisville, and USC. If they run the table… we won’t need a playoff. Just give them the rings. But they aren’t that elite team they were in 2012. They are good. And I think they could have been elite if not for the players suspended. Get them back and we have a shot. But without them I’m not seeing it.

Results

Week two was BRUTAL for my picks.

Week two: 3-10

Season total: 3-10

Week Three Predictions

Note: I’m trying to pick games that matter and skipping ranked teams against lesser programs.

Purdue vs. Notre Dame – Irish (this game is always closer than it should be)

Houston at BYU – Cougars

Ohio at Marshall – Ohio

Boise State at UCONN – Broncos

Louisville at Virginia – Louisville

Georgia at South Carolina – Cocks

Iowa State at Iowa – Iowa

Illinois at Washington – Huskies

NIU at UNLV – Rebels

Tennessee at Oklahoma – Non-Boomer Sooners

UCLA vs Texas – UCLA

Arizona State at Colorado – ASU

Nevada at Arizona – Reno

Who is your top pick of the week? 

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The Value of Academic Preparation in Professional Youth Ministry http://adammclane.com/2014/09/08/value-academic-preparation-professional-youth-ministry/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/08/value-academic-preparation-professional-youth-ministry/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:26:17 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15659 One of the challenges in youth ministry, as a profession, is that there are a lot of entry points but not a lot of agreed upon credentials. A short list of how people get into youth ministry as a vocation: They earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in youth ministry. Or a more general ministry […]

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One of the challenges in youth ministry, as a profession, is that there are a lot of entry points but not a lot of agreed upon credentials.

A short list of how people get into youth ministry as a vocation:

  • They earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in youth ministry.
  • Or a more general ministry degree like Christian ed, masters of divinity, masters in ministry, etc.
  • They have a degree in something else but answer a calling into vocational youth ministry.
  • They grow into the job or are mentored into it via their local church.
  • They intern their way into vocational youth ministry.
  • They fall into it. Literally, they didn’t intend for this to become a career but somewhere along the way someone asked them to consider it.
  • They are born into it. Their parents are vocational church workers and they grew up in and around it.
  • They have no formal education but applied to a church and leveraged their volunteer ministry as experience enough to land a job.
  • They just answered the call. Don’t know how to explain it, but here they are.

Education Matters

I love all of these entry points. I really do. This is one of the fun things about youth ministry. If you can do the job, if you are talented or gifted in some way, if you love teenagers, if you can teach, if you can mentor, if you can disciple– If you love Jesus and you love teenagers you can answer the call.

The body of Christ needs all sorts of youth workers entering the field from all sorts of different entry points.

But.

BUT.

BBBUUUUTTTTT. 

No matter how you entered this vocation you need to understand the value of formal education. It is awesome that our tribe welcomes all kinds of people from all kinds of background. And, unlike many professional vocations, youth ministry isn’t a place that requires $80,000 in students loans as the minimum requirement to applying for a $32,000 per year job.

But that doesn’t mean formal youth ministry training is somehow something you can sidestep.

It might not be the entry point. But formal education must be a waypoint. 

A Reality Check

One of the things that scares me. Actually– terrifies me when you think of the long-term implications-- is that there are so many people in long-term youth ministry that have absolutely no formal training. Yes, there is value in self-study. And yes, you can get mentored. And yes, there’s a lot of fantastic curriculum out there.

That’s scary to me from a youth ministry perspective. How can history not repeat itself if you don’t know the history of youth ministry? How can you avoid pitfalls if you have no idea what the pitfalls are? On and on.

It’s downright terrifying to me from a theological perspective. Going to church is good. Reading books is good. Going to conferences is good. But that’s not academic rigor.

It’s awful hard to tell the difference between great theological insight and horrible, crappy, made-up-on-the-spot-crap that flows out of some people’s mouths.

The trained ear has a finely tuned B.S. meter.

The untrained ear isn’t so finely tuned. 

Sometimes I read an article by someone or have a conversation with someone who is wondering how a person has gotten so popular among pastors despite being absolutely full of crap. And I think: It’s because so many people are in full-time vocational ministry that have no formal training. 

A Low Entry Point is Not a License to Skip Education

Here’s the point.

I love that youth ministry is one of the church vocations with a low entry point.

But, if you came in through an entry point that didn’t include formal youth ministry education at the undergraduate or graduate level, and if you don’t have any theological training… I’m begging you: Get in school. Take a class a semester. Figure out how to get a ministry degree or a seminary degree.

Invest the time. Invest the money. Go back to school or start school or take a class online or do whatever you have to do. Don’t buy the lie that you can fake it ’til you make it forever. You can’t. You will be better at your job, you will lead students better, you will last longer in vocational ministry, and you will invest better stuff into the lives of students if you take the time to invest in your education.

Do it for your church.

Do it for your students.

But more importantly, do it for yourself.

Get Coaching

If you find yourself 5-6 years into vocational youth ministry and things are starting to get complicated. Like, you absolutely love it but in the past few years you’ve started to find it hard to balance life in ministry with having a life or you’re feeling in a rut or whatever– check out the Youth Ministry Coaching Program.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Announcing the Student Justice Conference http://adammclane.com/2014/09/05/announcing-student-justice-conference/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/05/announcing-student-justice-conference/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:32:45 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15653 Things have been a little loco around The Youth Cartel. While our team has grown, a little, we’re continuing to roll out new stuff at a pretty incredible pace. (We launched 5 new products this week!) Not to be lost in that was our big… MONSTER…. MEGA announcement on Tuesday of our very first event for students, the […]

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Things have been a little loco around The Youth Cartel. While our team has grown, a little, we’re continuing to roll out new stuff at a pretty incredible pace. (We launched 5 new products this week!)

Not to be lost in that was our big… MONSTER…. MEGA announcement on Tuesday of our very first event for students, the Student Justice Conference.

A Series of Fortunate Events

This year, in both the course of doing some research as well as a series of conversations that followed we started to learn two facts, please forgive the simplified generalities:

  1. Social justice organizations, in general, have a hard time connecting with high school students who want to do stuff.
  2. Generally, high school students who were interested in stuff/getting training/doing something big had a hard time connecting with the right people.

This wasn’t a reflection of what organizations wanted. And there’s a lot of factors as to why this is the case. But it clearly isn’t intentional. The end result was two-way frustration. Students want to do stuff, social justice orgs want students to do stuff, they just need a little help connecting.

What’s SJC All About?

I’ll skip past all the boring details about our process of deciding to host SJC. Instead, let’s focus on what it’s about.

It’s for teenagers interested in justice…

SJC isn’t for every Christian teenager. It’s not a “bring your whole youth group” event. SJC is being intentionally and carefully planned to gather and activate teenagers who are passionate about issues of justice and global needs.

In other words, we’re asking you to think about the 4-5 students in your ministry who are fired up about justice and global issues, bring them to San Diego, and spend a few days with them– helping them learn about what they are passionate about. You are going to see them catch fire in a way you might not have seen before and it’s going to be totally amazing!

No teenager versions…

Morning seminars are going to have options for your students to go and learn from people who live and breath the things they are passionate about. One thing that’s been very important to me is that we’re not asking for “teenager versions” of content in these seminars. We’re asking presenters to train SJC students just like they would adult.

It’s about collaboration…

We have an amazing group of partners on this. It’s important that I point out that these aren’t sponsors putting their name on this thing. They are collaborating with us to provide content, ideas, prayer, and all sorts of support. For instance, in about 2 weeks we’re spending two full days with our partners to do the nuts & bolts planning on the content, theme, speakers, and all that jazz.

Inspiration and Education…

We’ll start and end our days with by gathering together for prayer, worship, and teaching. We don’t know 100% what that’ll look like quite yet. But we’ve determined that mornings will be about education and evenings will be inspiring students. Our goal isn’t that your students come and have a good time. We’re praying their lives are changed and that they put this stuff into action.

It’ll be practical…

So, the mornings will be pretty heavy. In the afternoon we’re looking to turn it very practical by putting students into cohorts with peers of people who are passionate about what they are passionate about. And these cohorts will be lead by folks with a bunch of youth ministry experience. In other words, they are going to help your students translate what they are learning into their day-to-day life.

It’ll have field trips…

One of the great things about having SJC in San Diego is that it’s our backyard. We think it’ll be great to have some opportunities to not just learn about stuff, and not just make plans for when we get home, but to actually spend a little time with people doing justice work right here in San Diego.

It’s on campus…

We’re really excited to partner with Point Loma for a few specific reasons. First, they really care about social justice, including their Center for Justice & Reconciliation. Second, they are our partners in this effort… they are doing a whole lot more than hosting us as a rental group. Third, we think it’s valuable to get your students on a Christian college campus. They might not chose to go to a Christian college but I think we’d all agree that it’s awesome to explore it as an option. Fourth, PLNU is a beautiful location that’ll offer inspiration all it’s own. It’s located on one of the most beautiful spots in San Diego… right on the Pacific.

It’ll be affordable…

Last thing, because this is important. We’re keeping this thing affordable. We know that for some folks just getting to San Diego will be expensive. But our registration will include program, housing, and food at PLNU. (Thanks to our partners for this… they are truly making it accessible for all.)

CHECK OUT THE STUDENT JUSTICE CONFERENCE WEBSITE

Thoughts on this event? I’d love to hear what you are thinking. 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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Remember the Graveyard http://adammclane.com/2014/09/04/remember-the-graveyard/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/04/remember-the-graveyard/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:05:09 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15649 Along with my kayaking obsession I’ve been getting into fishing San Diego’s bays. I’ve been mostly out looking for spotted bay bass, but I’d eventually like to go out a little further for some of the bigger fish people are catching on kayaks. And I’m going to try my hand at catching local crab and […]

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Along with my kayaking obsession I’ve been getting into fishing San Diego’s bays. I’ve been mostly out looking for spotted bay bass, but I’d eventually like to go out a little further for some of the bigger fish people are catching on kayaks. And I’m going to try my hand at catching local crab and lobster, too.

I left the house really early last weekend. On Saturday Paul and I left about 6:15 to get to Shelter Island early. Then on Sunday I left the house at 5:00 to get to Chula Vista before sunrise.

Sunday morning, with my kayak strapped to the roof of our minivan and my fishing gear in the back, I blurry-eyed drove through the sleeping streets on my neighborhood to the our local gas station. I got some gas and then headed inside for a cup of coffee.

As I doctored up my coffee the clerk came out from the back room to ring me up.

Me: Are you just starting your shift or finishing it?

Clerk: Hopefully I get off in about an hour.

Me: Dude, I feel you. Worked the graveyard for a few years back in college.

Clerk: It’s not too bad. I kind of like it.

Me: Yup, I get it. You trying to get off the graveyard?

Clerk: For like two years, man. But they just haven’t moved me yet.

Me: Thanks for the coffee. Keep working hard, good things will happen.

I got back in my van and started driving towards Chula Vista, thinking about the man pulling a graveyard shift on El Cajon Boulevard. No one likes the graveyard but it’s absolutely necessary. People who work the graveyard always hold out hope that they’ll get moved to the daylight. But the simple truth is that as a manager, when you find someone who is willing and will do a good job, you never want to move that person. It’s a rare breed. So for that guy, working a dead end job stuck in a dead end shift on a street known for it’s near constant stream of johns looking for prostitutes… he’s going to have to quit to do better. He knows it. Everyone who works the graveyard knows that you can do the graveyard forever.

Remember the Graveyard

Have you ever worked the graveyard?

I worked the graveyard from 1997 to 1999, 10 PM until 6 AM. Then from 1999 to 2002 I worked from 4:00 AM until noon. The last year of it I was joined by a fellow youth ministry friend, Jon Potes, as we were both working on our undergrad at Moody.

Here’s the thing about the graveyard: No one likes it. But you learn to like it. It’s a place of independence. It’s a place of getting stuff done. And it’s normally a place without bosses. (Technically, I was the boss. But I worked hard to pull my weight and not just be “the boss.”)

In every town, big or small, there’s an all-night population that does a lot of the grunt work that you or I rarely see. These are people who work all night at gas stations, convenience stores, factories, security, hospitals, utilities, public works, delivery, and a whole lot more… and their existence is nearly invisible to people who have never worked the graveyard.

People who work the graveyard have a camaraderie. No matter your role, you also identify with other people on the graveyard.

  • You don’t talk about being tired.
  • You try to keep busy.
  • You take a lunch break and call it lunch, even if it’s at 3:00 AM.
  • Some people sleep when they get home, others the afternoon.
  • You need the radio or something that keeps you engaged.
  • You learn to dread days off because it messes up your sleep schedule.
  • You learn to love the independence, the lack of supervision, the lack of distraction.
  • You learn to take advantage of the shift. I used it to complete college, taking classes when I got off work. I also played a lot of golf in the summer, I could be at any course in Chicago by 1:00 PM most days.

The Blue Collar Shift

Even if you’re a doctor delivering babies every night, the graveyard is a blue collar shift. You get to know your city in a completely different way. I knew cops, restaurant workers, grocery store stockers, cab drivers, dudes who worked at places I’d never go into… all kinds of people from working the graveyard.

Remember these people. Without them, your city would be a much less hospitable place.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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College Football Thoughts – Week 1 http://adammclane.com/2014/09/03/college-football-thoughts-week-1/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/03/college-football-thoughts-week-1/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 16:02:02 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15635 A new season has dawned in college football. Off-season storylines fade into the past as new storylines emerge on the field. All of the hype about who is the best without playing a game gets set aside now that we’re at full-contact and full-speed. Some questions going into the season: Will Florida State maintain? Will […]

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A new season has dawned in college football. Off-season storylines fade into the past as new storylines emerge on the field. All of the hype about who is the best without playing a game gets set aside now that we’re at full-contact and full-speed.

Some questions going into the season:

  • Will Florida State maintain?
  • Will the SEC continue its dominance?
  • Can the Big 10 catch up with the SEC and ACC?
  • Will a new coach at USC elevate the Pac-12’s stature?
  • Will any non-P5 conference emerge as relevant?
  • And, of course, what will be the impact of the new playoff?

San Diego State

State continues it’s climb. Our fans and program aren’t just interested in being competitive. We want to consistently be the best in the conference. We’d love to see ourselves as the replacement for Boise State. (Even thought State fans cringe at that comparison.)

We will see how close we are to that goal this weekend as the Aztecs travel to Chapel Hill to take on #25 North Carolina.

It was tough to tell how good we really are from last week’s game against Northern Arizona. We dominated them from the kickoff until the final whistle. It was bad enough where the aging, rusted haul of a stadium known as The Q was mostly empty by the middle of the third quarter. (We left at halftime with the score 24-0.)

But we moved the ball and we played decent enough defense. I think we have a chance to beat UNC if we find some strength at the linebacker position.

Notre Dame

With all the pre-season drama I wasn’t sure what to expect against Rice. What we saw was an Everett Golson who isn’t just interested in a comeback for the Irish, but wants to collect the Heisman on his way to a return trip to the National Championship.

Big questions remain for the Irish. With Austin Collinsworth out at corner for a few weeks, the defenses quarterback, I expect them to struggle against Michigan. But I also fully expect the alma mater to be played at the end of the game. Really bummed to see this on-again-off-again rivalry go on hiatus. Reminds me of when Lou and Bo couldn’t get along and we took the last pause. The Wolverines will be back on our schedule in a President or two.

Results

For those new to this football post, I make predictions for each week and tally them. I did pretty good in 2013.

Week Two Predictions

Michigan at Notre Dame – Notre Dame (in a squeaker) – CORRECT!

San Diego State at North Carlina – SDSU (coming out party!)

Mizzou at Toledo – Toledo

Buffalo at Army – Buffalo

Central Michigan at Purdue – Boilers

USC at Stanford – Cardinal

NIU at Northwestern – Cats

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt – Ole Miss – CORRECT!

Michigan State at Oregon – Sparty

BYU at Texas – Texas

Virginia Tech at OSU – Buckeyes

Air Force at Wyoming – Cowboys – CORRECT!

Colorado State at Boise State – Rams

RESULTS: 3-10

SEASON RECORD: 3-10

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

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