After three amazing years of working at Youth Specialties, it’s with a crazy concoction of sadness and excitement, that I’m sharing today that I’m leaving Youth Specialties to start a new venture. It’s impossible to put into words the emotions I felt just now as I wrote, then again as I rewrote, and over the past weeks as I’ve meditated on having to write those words. Truly, few jobs could have shaped, challenged, encouraged, and forced me to grow more than these past three years at YS.
My hope is that I’ve received the gift which my time at YS was and it’ll act as a springboard for my next season in life.
At the same time, from a different place of emotion, I am bouncing up and down with excitement for the opportunity I have to partner with my friend Marko (Mark Oestreicher) in launching The Youth Cartel.
I told you it was a crazy concoction of emotions!
My last day as an official YS staff person will be August 31st and I’ll start my new role with The Youth Cartel on September 1st. I’m still coming to both NYWC in San Diego & Atlanta as a seminar speaker, fish bowl moderator, and presenter in the multimedia area. So I hope to see you at convention! Likewise, with my new role, I’ll have more free time at convention to chat with fellow attendees instead of racing from thing to thing.
First — A Look Inside My Head
The last several months have been incredible. The Spirit has been at work in our house, shaking things up and reassuring us at the same time. He has used many people to speak bold unmistakeable truth to us. We’ve had deep, long conversations with trusted friends, and even remarks from others such as, “Maybe your just doing what you’re doing to learn?” Or “I feel like God wants you to dream bigger.” Or even, “We’re wondering just how serious you are about San Diego. Do you want to be here for a long time?”
Into those messages have come some close friends, acting as a discernment group, helping Kristen and I weave together what we needed to do vs. what our heart might have been telling us. In the last several weeks, as we really dug into this thing, that group of men helped me (specifically) see past my own expectations and limitations and get a plain view of what God was calling me to do. (I’ll have to write about the wisdom of plurality in decisions another day.)
More important than even those outside voices has been the voice of Kristen. At every turn she’s been bold in telling me the truth. And when I said, “What do you think about this thing with Marko? A start-up is crazy.” She just looked at me and said, “It sounds crazy enough to be a lot of fun.” Yesterday I wrote a post about being bold and courageous. She lives that out better than anyone I know.
Housekeeping, literally house-keeping. Unlike a lot of ministry moves this life-change means we are staying put in San Diego and have no intention of moving any time soon. I’ve re-upped my San Diego State football tickets and added men’s basketball, as well. I mean… what’s not to love about San Diego?
Second — A Look Ahead
Stoked isn’t quite the right word for what I feel about The Youth Cartel. Marko and I have continued to grow closer as friends over the past three years. Originally, I thought maybe God was asking me to start my own youth ministry organization. But as Marko and I shared our hopes and dreams for youth ministry it became abundantly clear we needed to work together. Our byline is “Instigating a Youth Ministry Revolution.” If you’ve ever been with me for more than 20 minutes you know that’s what I’m all about. This venture is all about finding and elevating new ideas, new voices, and a new era of youth ministry. It’s that “sharedness” that drew Marko and I together to do this. As I shared in the video, we have some cool stuff in the works. And I can’t wait to give my full attention to this in September.
A fun sidenote: This is my second youth ministry start-up. My first, Youth Ministry Exchange, Marko led the way in buying from me in 2008.
Third — A Look at the Big Picture
What’s crazier than one start-up? Simultaneously running two start-ups. I’ll be sharing my time between The Youth Cartel and McLane Creative. To some degree, both organizations operate in very similar ways so it’s a natural compliment. I’ll continue growing McLane Creative with innovative design, marketing services, and coaching with my non-church clients. And all of my church/youth ministry related stuff will be part of The Youth Cartel. My hope, long-term, is that I can stay involved with both as they grow, with eventually handing over the day-to-day operations of the design firm to a protege`. (Or even one of my kids!)
That’s my news. If you have questions, leave me a comment (public) or even use my contact page. (private)