Blog Highlight

PSA on Comments

Just a quick little announcement regarding comments on the Snapchat piece. In the past 8-9 days I’ve received and responded to hundreds of comments.

Simple fact is I need a break. I have other things going on in my life that are more important.

  • I’m a dad. My kids are more important than my blog.
  • I’m a small business owner, I have work to do.
  • I’m just one person. I legit need a break.

So you are free to leave a comment. Just know that for the next 48-72 hours things will be held for moderation.

I value all comments that are on topic. I don’t permit anonymous comments. And I’m happy to engage with people on topic.

Thank you.

Blog Highlight

Happy Birthday, Blog

Today marks 8 years of blogging at (There was an earlier blog, I don’t know what happened to it.) And I’m marking that anniversary by going back to my very first post. Why am I starting this?

Why am I starting this?

Editorial note: This was my first post on my blogger, version 2.0 of my blog.

Perhaps many people start a blog because they are trying to prove to the world just how smart they are? Perhaps others do it so they can feel like someone is listening to them? Perhaps others do it as a way to share what’s going on in their lives.

But why am I doing this? Mostly as a way to share with myself, just what is going on. I’m not going to use this as a platform for anything else but… Well, whatever I feel like posting. Quotes. Golf scores. Youth Group talks. Carry-over rants. Interesting articles. Stories about the kids. Whatever I want!

That’s been my philosophy for the past 8 years. At the end of the day I’m going to write whatever I want!

It’s hard to believe where this little blog has taken me. From these first days in 2004 when I had exactly zero readers. To today when the things I write before I head off to work are read by a few thousand people by the time I go to sleep.

Who woulda thunk? Certainly not me.

Thanks for reading. And here’s to another 8 years!

Blog Highlight

Top posts for 2011

Top 10 posts

1. Do you need a resume`? It depends.
2.Repairing a wet iPod Touch
3. Tim Hortons Arrives in Romeo
4. Christians and Gun Control
5. St. Patrick’s Day Prayer for Missionaries
6. 14 Must Have Gifts for the Geek in Your Life
7. TSA Resistance
8. SDSU: I Believe That We Will Win
9. American Airlines CEO Quits on Moral Grounds
10. 5 Ways to Be Good News in the Neighborhood on Halloween

No surprises there. Google brings the traffic to some of my backlog entries. But I was surprised to see some of the late November and December articles take off and make it into the top 10.

Top 10 Referrers

1. Facebook
2. Google (Search, Image search, and Google Reader)
3. Twitter
4. StumbleUpon
5. Youth Specialties
6. The Youth Cartel
7. Google+
8. Raginpagin

I had to giggle at #8. That’s a forum for the SDSU bowl game opponent. Facebook out-referred Google by 3:1 in 2011. Crazy!

Top 10 search terms bringing people to my blog

1. resume
2. how to do a resume
3. Tim Hortons
4. wet ipod touch
5. wii bowling
6. sexting
7. tiger woods new estate
8. letter l
9. st patrick
10. ipod touch wet

Again, the power of Google. Looks like I need to spend some time on my SEO of church/youth ministry stuff, eh?

Top 10 outbound links


One of the surprising things that happened to my blog in 2011 was that I didn’t see a dip when I left working at Youth Specialties. As I transitioned from YS to The Youth Cartel I actually saw an increase in traffic, comments, shares, etc. I don’t know what that means but I was happy to see everything go up. (Visitors, Facebook shares, Twitter mentions, RSS subscribers, comments, contacts… everything.)

Blog Highlight

3 Recent Writing Projects

  • I’m a regular contributor at Slant 33. Here’s my latest post on knowing when to leave your current ministry position. I’m turning in one today on social media boundaries.
  • On Thursday, Relevant Magazine published a recent post of mine called, “What to do when you fail.” It was fun to see my work on their front page. I love that post and I hope it gives some people going through hard times some hope.
  • I wrote the theology piece for the November/December issue of Immerse Journal. The article is called, “Open-Source Theology: Re-embracing the priesthood of all believers to become Good News in the Neighborhood.” This article takes the time to unpack and provide theological context for some of my more popular blog posts. I’m super excited about this article.
Blog Highlight

Happy 7th Birthday,!

Photo by persocomholic via Flickr (Creative Commons)

On May 25th, 2004 I wrote a post called, “Why am I starting this?

Perhaps many people start a blog because they are trying to prove to the world just how smart they are? Perhaps others do it so they can feel like someone is listening to them? Perhaps others do it as a way to share what’s going on in their lives.

But why am I doing this? Mostly as a way to share with myself, just what is going on. I’m not going to use this as a platform for anything else but… Well, whatever I feel like posting. Quotes. Golf scores. Youth Group talks. Carry-over rants. Interesting articles. Stories about the kids. Whatever I want!

Seven years later not much has changed. I’m still going and I’m still writing whatever I want.

Some stats:

  • 3,549 posts in 2,555 days = 1.38 posts per day.
  • 6,260 comments on 3,549 post = 1.76 comments per post.
  • 3,549 posts averaging 500 words = 1,774,500 words I’ve published here.
  • Started on Blogger, moved to Typepad, finally now on WordPress.

Thank you, faithful reader

In the early days I was shocked if a handful of people read my posts. Then, a few years later, I remember the joy of noticing that I had hit 100 daily visitors. Then, living in Romeo, Michigan I remember bumping into people at church or even people at the supermarket would stop and tell me something they liked about my blog. Today? A good day sees a lot more than that. And I’m still just amazed that you show up.

Thank you.

Thanks for reading my thoughts– good, bad, and ugly– of a youth ministry guy just trying to figure stuff out.

Blog Highlight

The Light Went Off

In January, I was consulting with a group of doctors who specialize in obesity education. As über intelligent people are prone to do, they were speaking in a high-level code language that reminded me of my systematic theology courses. To make it even more confusing they had just reviewed several recently released studies about obesity treatment. I will readily admit I was lost in the conversation and unsure how I could help them with their project.

I interrupted. “Can you please, in two or three sentences, explain to me why physicians have a hard time treating obesity in their practice? Can you translate all of this into plain English for me? I can’t help you until I wrap my arms around what the problem is.

The Light Bulb Moment

[Read the rest of my guest post at]


Blog Highlight

Highlighting a few friends blogs

Here are three blogs worth checking out. Only one of them is a youth ministry blog, per se. But all of them have strong ties to a vibrant life with Jesus and in one way or another, they have done student ministry. More importantly they are all friends of mine and if you like my writing you’ll probably like theirs.

Becky Daye – Becky went to college with Kristen and I. She and her husband Dave have served in local churches since they graduated, they now live in Connecticut. We don’t get to hang out with the Daye’s very often, but when we do it’s like we haven’t seen one another in 2 days instead of 5 years.

What I love about Becky’s blog is she weaves together her life as a mom, her love for her husband, and most importantly her love for God and His Word. When I read her stuff I am impressed by the depth and clarity. So solid.

Zoe Reyes – Zoe and her husband Manny joined our community group last fall. It took me a while to figure them out but I’m glad they stuck around long enough for us all to fall in love with them. They moved to San Diego from the Bay area for a year, mostly so Manny could do some post-doc work at UCSD and they’d be near family with the birth of their first child, Sofia. And before long they are off to a new adventure in Maine. Crazy!

What I love about Zoe’s blog is the way she draws your empathetic senses in with her descriptions. She walks with Jesus in a deep way that I’m captivated by. Zoe writes when she has something to write. And when she does she really draws you in. So when I get a notification that Zoe has a new post… I go and make a cup of tea.

Brian Berry – I’ve been getting to know Brian steadily more over the past 3 years. The more I get to know him the more I respect him as a leader. Not just a leader in youth ministry… like, he’s a strong dude that I learn a ton from each time we hang out.

What I love about Brian’s blog is that he’s both a thinker and a doer. His role at Journey is HUGE. And yet his mind is wired in such a way that he can take the challenges put before him and describe what is happening and what needs to be done. With about 20 years experience in and around youth ministry, his blog is super helpful.

These are new blogs (writers) I’m enjoying right now. Who do you want to highlight?

Blog Highlight Church Leadership Good News

Being Good News

Today’s video post is a synopsis of about 10 conversations I’ve had in the last 60 days. All of them get to the question, “Adam, something has changed inside of you. I like it sometimes and I don’t like it sometimes, what is it?

One thing I’ve learned to get comfortable with in the last 10 years of ministry is people asking me hard questions, diving into my motivations, and even offering critical responses. I can handle it. I am not intimidated by it. In fact, questions like this actually encourage me.

Blog Highlight Weblogs

How to Blog, Write, and Speak With Integrity

Here’s a quick tutorial for how to blog, write, preach, or teach with integrity.

Let’s say you’ve came across a blog post on Adam McLane’s blog that you really enjoy. In particular, you like something I’ve written to the point where it has inspired you to write your own blog post, magazine article, book, lesson plan, or sermon based off of the thoughts you had in reading my post.

For example, let’s say you read my post The Personal Preference Sin:

I’d like to talk to some people about a rabid sin running rampant and unchecked throughout the American Evangelical church. Maybe if you’re reading this today I’m meant to talk to you. This is, I believe, one of Satan’s most powerful devices for separating our people. And yet, this sin runs so deep and is so approved that it carries back to some things we hold sacred such as denominations… probably 50% of non-denominational churches founded in the past century are the result of this sin.

That sin is personal preference.

I love that post, too. It’s one of the most popular things I’ve ever written.

It’s been quoted, remixed, preached on, etc. Which is all awesome and humbling.

Now, how do you handle my intellectual property in a way that both you and I can be satisfied with?

And how do you handle it if you’ve been paid to write, teach, or speak and you’d like to use something I’ve written?

For blogs: (easy, peasy)

  • Do: Mention in the post where the idea for the blog post came from. “I was reading Adam McLane’s blog yesterday, and I came across this statement that I’ve been thinking about.” Or find a phrase to link to like, “That sin is personal preference.” Or even “HT to Adam McLane” with a link.
  • Do: Link to the original post, this helps your reader know how to find the source. And it helps my blog’s page rank with the search engines.
  • Do: Feel free to link directly to my post for whatever reason you’d like. You don’t have to ask permission for that. That’s awesome, thank you.
  • Do: Feel free to write a response or debate my posts. Just link to the source.
  • Don’t: Beat around the bush. It’s not fair to me for you to use my ideas/thoughts/words and not mention my name and link to me as the source. Don’t say, “a blog I read said…” or “a friend of mine recently wrote.” That’s not fair and it lacks integrity.
  • Don’t: Write the post without linking to me in the post or mentioning me and then privately email me a link thinking I’ll somehow be flattered. I don’t want to be a jerk, but if you use my thoughts as your own so that you can look good I don’t find it flattering. I think you’re a thief.
  • Don’t: Worry about any advertising revenue your post makes. As long as you properly cite my work for your blog, I don’t care that you make money.

For magazine articles & books: (not as easy)

  • Do: Mention my name and properly attribute my blog in the work.
  • Do: Ask me what I think about the idea before you submit it to your publisher as a remix. I have a contact page, I’m pretty easy to work with. I’m not trying to be a jerk, at all, I’m just trying to make sure that if you use my idea to make money, that I’m properly attributed and/or compensated.
  • Do: Allow me to have a look at what you are saying about me, my blog post, etc. before you submit it.
  • Do: Ask me in a way where it’s OK if I say no. Chances are pretty good we can work it out. But it might be that I need to say no and it’s helpful if I’m being asked to know that I won’t be seen as a turd if I say no.
  • Do: Spell my name correctly, that’s a pet peeve.
  • Do: Expect that if you are going to treat me like a ghost writer for work you intend to publish for profit, that I will expect some level of compensation. That’s only fair.
  • Don’t: Think you are going to get away with it because we don’t know one another or you think your sphere of influence and mine don’t intersect. It’s embarrassing for everyone when I get a Facebook message from someone who read something that sounded just like a blog post of mine in a denominations magazine or something like that.
  • Don’t: Pull the “it’s Kingdom property” line on me or “there’s no new ideas out there.” Particularly if you are going to get paid for work you forgot to attribute to me. We all learned in middle school that plagiarism is wrong. I’m not out to make money on my blog (notice there are not ads) but I’m also not out to make money for someone else. If I write something and then two months later the exact same idea and outline is in a magazine, that’s not a coincidence.
  • Don’t: Assume that because this is a public blog that this is somehow public property and you can just harvest my ideas, change some words around, and then sell it.

For lessons, sermons, and classes: (easy, peasy)

  • Do: Acknowledge my work. If you publish your notes, just attribute my work like any other book or website.
  • Do: Proceed without asking. As long as you aren’t pushing off my work as your own, we’re cool.
  • Do: Share with me your notes, how it went, etc. I’d love to see how you turned a blog post into something else. Maybe we can even agree to put it in the free downloads section of my blog?
  • Do: Feel free to print off a blog post to share, just attribute the URL so that people can know where to find me.
  • Do: Contact me if this is going to be a regular thing. If you are going to take something I’ve written, turn it into a lesson, and then take it on the road to make a living… that’s different. We should talk about.
  • Do: If you feel like I should be compensated because you were paid an honorarium (or salary) for work that was essentially mine, please make a contribution to my church.
  • Don’t: Try to pass off my thoughts as your own in a sermon, lesson, or class. It is embarrassing when people in your audience/class contact me and tattle. The internet has made the world pretty small.

Postscript #1: It’s obvious why I’ve written this post. I’m tired of seeing my work ripped off and unattributed all over the place. It’s not right. And it certainly isn’t fair. Most of it is just sloppy so I am assuming its because people don’t know that they are supposed to attribute things or they don’t know how or that content written on my blog actually is my property and they are not free to generate revenue off of it. Now you know.

Postscript #2: Why are people in ministry the worst ones? Shouldn’t Christian leaders demonstrate integrity in all areas of their lives? Especially intellectual property?

Postscript #3: These are pretty much the same rules you should put into play for any blogger. So while this post is about me and my content, you can safely use this as a guideline for most blogs.

Blog Highlight social media Weblogs

Blogging Etiquette

The last two years has brought a dramatic shift on the axis of the blogging community. With the wide adoption of social media consumption there are a lot fewer daily bloggers and a lot more micro-bloggers.

The net result is a world full of newbies posting things online.

With this huge shift comes a need to re-educate folks on etiquette.

  1. Observe the basic rules of the online world. Understand that there is no privacy. And anything you post can/will be used against you in the court of public opinion.
  2. Properly cite your sources. Provide a link to your source. If you are quoting a blogger, mention their name and link their name to the blog post your are quoting. (At the very least, link to their Facebook or Twitter account.) Make sure you spell their name correctly… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been quoted on a site with my name spelled incorrectly. How rude.
  3. Understand the relationship between blogger and reader is reciprocal. The blogger gives you something to read and think about. If you take the time to read it, the reader should either respond with a comment, “like” the post so your friends can see you like it, retweet it, bookmark it, or share it on your favorite RSS reader.
  4. Give credit where credit is due. Were you inspired to write something from another blogger? Than give a hat tip in your post. (You see this as HT to name. It’s also fine to say, “Adam McLane recently wrote about ____.”) Bloggers know what they’ve written about recently. Trust me, it’s rude to see people using your ideas without giving you credit.
  5. Be careful when using proper nouns. That may sound silly, but you have to be conscious that your online rant may impact someone’s online reputation. (Or business or organization) I’m not saying it’s rude to call someone out… just be careful about it.
  6. Don’t steal images. Just because you found something on Google images or Flickr doesn’t mean it is free for you to use!
  • Use your own images.
  • Create your own.
  • Use images published under a Creative Commons license, properly cited and linking back, from Flickr. (Share and share alike. If you use CC images, make sure to post some as well!) Just make sure to read the usage rights… typically using an image for commercial purposes is a no-no.
  • Buy stock photography from iStockphoto or something similar.

Just like in a sport– there aren’t always dramatic consequences when you breach etiquette. But there are social ramifications! Trust me, people are watching what you do online. They are making judgements about your abilities and character. Just like you try to act polite and use proper etiquette in the physical world… you are responsible for your own actions online.

Have an etiquette question? Leave a comment and I will add to the list as needed.