On January 1st, 2010 I will become an employee of YouthWorks.
Before I talk about YouthWorks I do want to mention some things about Zondervan. A lot of negative things have been said and written (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) about Zondervan through this process. I want to convey publicly what I told them privately. They have been great through this. The last few months have been painful to say the least. (I think the right term is agonizing!) And at every turn the people I worked alongside at Z were professional, kind, and quick to pray for and with me. Whether or not you agree with all of their decisions in the last year or so, know that they are not awful people with maniacal laughs and evil plans. From the CEO (Moe Girkins) to the CFO (Gary Wicker) on down through the leadership team and the ranks of employees, I’ve found them to be intelligent, hard-working, and upstanding people. I’m a better person for having worked with them. I’m thankful and proud of my 18 months of work with Z. (And by proxy, being an employee of HarperCollins and News Corp was pretty nifty, too.)
A couple weeks back, as the deal became final for YouthWorks to buy Youth Specialties, also came an opportunity for me to continue on in my ministry with YS as an employee of YouthWorks. Despite the fact that I had every reason to suspect I would be offered a job, the offer itself still came as a shock! I really had never thought about what my response would be if I were given the chance to stay on.
The next 36 hours were as near to insanity for me as I’d ever like to get. I asked hard questions that needed to be answered. (Of YouthWorks and myself) I listened a lot. I took a couple long walks by myself. I talked to my dog. I wasted gas driving around San Diego for an evening. I shed some frustrating tears. I aimlessly walked around Best Buy for a couple hours. I talked in circles to Kristen. I burned through a few hundred text messages. I put out a Twitter request for a burning bush. Around and around I went. I just didn’t know what to do.
See, it’s not in my nature to do things halfway. There was a lot of wisdom in the advice I was getting… “Play it safe.” But that’s not me. That’s not how I roll. To me, it would have been better to just say no and move on with my life than to do something halfway with an eye on the door. I wanted to be resolute one way or the other. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” I wanted to be true to myself even if it meant putting into action plans B, C, D, or E and all the fear and second guessing that went with that.
Make it clear God! That was my prayer.
Long story short. On Friday morning, I talked to the folks at YouthWorks and let them know that I had decided to stay on with Youth Specialties/YouthWorks.
And so a new adventure begins! After a weekend off, transition work began bright and early on Monday morning and will continue through the Christmas holidays. I’ve got this theory that decisions generate energy. And in this case, I’ve got lots of new energy and enthusiasm for what is next for YS.
Just as surely as it is hard to say goodbye to so many co-workers… its been exciting to meet a whole new staff of people from YouthWorks. Over the past couple months I’ve gotten a chance to meet the leadership at YouthWorks. In my desire to learn more, I even went out looking for complaints and couldn’t find any. Lots and lots of happy customers. Lots of people impressed with their mission trips and how they go about their ministry. As I’ve gotten to know them I’ve been very impressed with how forward-thinking they are. And it’s been scary how much we’re on the same page with overall ministry-styles. I’ve only met about 10 of their staff of 60 face-to-face, so I am looking forward to getting to know more and more YouthWorks peeps over the coming months. They are differently culturally from the SoCal-YS-style, but in heart and ministry value they are very much the same.
Soon, we’ll be rolling out a lot more about the future of YS, what’s next, etc. But just know that a big reason I’m joining YouthWorks is because I have a deep-gut belief that the best days of Youth Specialties are ahead. I know that’s a bold statement considering how great the past has been for YS, but that’s why I’m on board. I think there are even better days to come.
Here’s a few quick FAQs based on the innumerous texts, Facebook messages, and Twitter DMs I’ve gotten in the past couple weeks.
- Will you have to move to Minneapolis? Nope. Sorry San Diego, you are stuck with the McLane family for a few more years. We’ll be keeping it classy together. We will be moving offices eventually. Hopefully, it’ll be something near a trolley stop.
- How does Kristen feel about this? I just want her to get to know my new co-workers. They are, as a whole, very missional. That’ll resonate with her. At this point, she is just glad to have my sanity back. This decision released a lot of energy! She got her husband back.
- What’s the new YS going to look like? More will come out in the next few weeks/months about our plans. I’ll just say I’m really excited about the stuff we’re talking about! I do know this… whatever it is, it’ll be true to the long-term mission of YS and YW, serving and equipping youth workers and church leaders.
- Will you be at NYWC this Fall? Even if I had to pay my own way, I’d be there. You will want to be in Nashville the weekend before Thanksgiving.
- Will you travel more or less? For some reason the YouthWorks staff wants to come here to San Diego more than they want me to come to Minneapolis. Go figure! So time will tell on that one.
- What will you be working on? As time goes on, this will get more clear. But for now not a lot is changing with my job. It’s a safe bet that I’ll be calling 612 now more than 616.
- Do you even own a winter jacket? No, we donated it to the Salvation Army when we left Michigan. I do, however, own a lot of t-shirts, shorts, and sandals. See question 6.
- Can I ask you more questions? You bet. Leave me a comment. (Verbal comments would be awesome!)