Thank you, Mr. Long

Tic Long & Mark Matlock reviewing their announcement video. They got it on the first take.

Well, I’m in if you’re in.

That was the phrase that began my next season at Youth Specialties. Back in December 2009 I’d been offered the opportunity to stay on with YS after the purchase by YouthWorks. Tic and I exchanged a couple phone calls and texts… and I remember saying to him playfully, “Well, I’m in if you’re in.

Verbalizing with my lips what was in my head for the very first time I wanted to stay on for the next phase of YS’s history. But I wanted it to be with him at the helm. Everyone knew it was our best chance. Just crazy enough to work. And just crazy enough to be fun, too.

Tic rejoining our team meant a world of difference. Instead of pushing the sled uphill we’d take it to the top of the hill, throw our hands in the air, and gleefully shout “wwwhhheeeee” at the top of our lungs.

Today, Tic announced that he was leaving YS to pursue something he’s always wanted to do but never quite felt called to until now, working for his church. I have mixed emotions about that. On the one hand there’s nothing more important than listening to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit and obeying. On the other, when this transition period is over I’ll miss his daily presence in my life.

The last 16 months have been a blast. Knowing you are on borrowed time has made the whole thing more precious. (He made it clear from day one that he didn’t intend to stick around forever. Though, like the video points out, we’d all hoped it would be 2-3 more years. God changed the timing!) Each day of gleaning wisdom and knowledge has been a gift. I’ve known it was a gift– and done my very best to savor that gift day-by-day.

That’s not to say that the last 16 months have been super serious. If you know Tic at all you know the last 16 months have been filled with deep moments where you’d cry followed quickly by massive amounts of laughter. One thing I’ve learned from Tic is that it’s OK to be the guy who is a wussy-sissy-cry-baby and also to break the tension by telling a joke that’d make a middle school boy blush.

All this to say, I’m thankful to Tic for the gift of the last 16 months. Coming to YS three years ago I had hopes that I’d get to know Marko and Tic well. Like a lot of youth workers I kind of grew up in ministry looking up to them. And while I never could have predicted that I’d get to know them in this season of their lives, I’m grateful to call them both friends, to have seen their character exhibited again and again in the toughest of circumstances, and to see them chose the right way versus the easy way again and again… the only way I can express it that its been a gift. A gift I am thankful for.

Am I excited for Mark and the future of YS? Absolutely. I’ll have much more on that another day.

What about you, Adam? How are you doing in all of this?

(Thanks for asking. I appreciate your love for me and my family.)

I love words. And I love making up words in my head that serve as mantras. ย This has been the word/phrase rattling around my head for the last few weeks.I’m Happysadexcitedscaredhopefulangst-tastic.

I’m happy for Tic.

I’m sad that I won’t get to work with Tic forever.

I’m excited for Mark.

I’m scared for Mark because expectations are crazy like that.

I’m hopeful for the future of YS. I wouldn’t work there if I didn’t think our best days are yet ahead.

I’m angst-tastic because it feels like we’re leaving the dock of what we know to sail into the Sea of Unknown once again.

More than anything, today I chose to be thankful.





6 responses to “Thank you, Mr. Long”

  1. Jon Huckins Avatar

    Well said, Adam. Tic has and will continue to be an inspiration and the “guy-that-went-out-on-a-limb-and-gave-me-a-chance” guy for many of us…I know he has been that for me.

    Thankful you are still solidly on the ship as YS navigates the new waters!

  2. Brooklyn Avatar

    Great post Adam. I feel similarly happysadexcitedthrilledwonderfilled-astic ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Todd Porter Avatar

    I agree with your feelings, but obviously in different ways. YS has been in some significant transition that last few years and I am excited to see how this next one plays out. Glad we get one last year to play with Tic at NYWC. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Shawn M Shoup Avatar

    I was wondering what your response to this would be when I watched the video a few minutes ago. I guess it’s about what I thought it would be.

    Glad to see your hopeful outlook for YS. I agree with you that the best is yet to come. And, btw, YOU’ve been an amazing part of what’s been good at YS, too. Thankful for your ministry, bro. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Joel Mayward Avatar

    I like your invented word. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I love your hope-filled response. Transitions are always opportunities, and I’m stoked to see how God uses Tic and Mark (and you!) in the midst of this one.

  6. Daryl A Avatar

    Praying for peace and patience during this time of transition. Thankful you are part of the YS Team. Sad to hear Tic is moving to another role. But, the church will continue to be blessed with his leadership.

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