YMX: Something on the side

We are youOver the last few weeks I’ve had several people ask me about Youth Ministry Exchange. I don’t mean people from the community, I mean people from Romeo.

So here is the scoop.
Back in November-December 2005, I created a website with some friends of mine. It’s an online community for people like me… people who do youth ministry vocationally or as volunteers. Feel free to check it out, I’ve got nothing to hide.

What, were you bored?
Nope,just crazy. We just set out to meet a relevant need. From there God has blessed it and it’s taken off. In a lot of ways it’s taken a life of its own.

So it’s a place where people vent about their jobs or waste time at work?
While there is always that kind of thing at any online community (facebook, myspace, etc) there is actually very little of that. Most of what I participate in is practical advice, encouragement, and that kind of thing for people working/volunteering with youth groups like ours. I know for me personally, I don’t go to the site much during the day at all… well, unless I need advice on something at work! Like… I need an event and I’m looking for something cool… got any ideas?

What about all these other websites?
If you look on my sidebar to the right you’ll see a bunch of other websites that YMX owns. These are “sub-sites” that operate within the youth ministry genre but to a slightly different audience within youth ministry.

I heard you do web design “on the side,” is that true?
Yes and no. I do all of the church’s sites and all of YMX’s sites. But I’m not a professional web designer by trade so I always feel uncomfortable building other people’s sites. So, if you’ve got a project… just understand that as much as I like you… if it’s not for the church I’ll have to charge you and I’ll have to do it outside of my “work hours” at church or on a day off. Hints, discussion, advice are always plentiful and free!

Is it profitable?
This is the question that every person from the church wants to ask but is afraid to! Yes and no. Yes the site generates revenue and pays for itself. No, I don’t take a salary from the site. We simply reinvest profits into growing the site. Kristen and I are in it because we want to encourage other people…

Are you a solo act on this thing?
Nope. Never! Yuck. Boring. I have a great business partner. Also, I have an incredible group of moderators who oversee the “heavy lifting” part of the company, the forums. (1300 members and growing every day) The other thing we are getting known for is our youth ministry content. All of the credit for that goes to our managing editor. Seriously, Amy is awesome.

Is the goal for this website to become your job and for you to stop being a pastor at Romeo?
Not at all. The aim of the website was always to encourage other youth workers. I am more passionate about reaching this amazing generation of students here in Romeo than ever. As Kristen and I like to say… we have 28 years left on our mortgage so we intend on being here for a long time. We don’t know the future. Really, YMX is the result of responding the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Just like I love building into the lives of Romeo’s students, for some reason the Holy Spirit is directing us to build into the lives of youth workers around the country. The church is always #3 in my life. And YMX is generally a distant #4 or #5.


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