“That’s not my job”

My stress level quickly elevated when I arrived in the returns lane.

How am I going to get all of this stuff and that little boy to the airport in time to catch our flight?

A car seat. Two check bags. Three carry-ons. And one sleepy toddler.


Pushing Forward by Letting Go

The beta test year for OpenYM is now about 3/5th complete, with Boston this weekend and Grand Rapids at the end of the month.

Three years ago Open started as a whitepaper. Something I was tentatively calling “YouthMin Camp.” It was forking the very best of WordCamp & some of the flavor of BarCamp, and adding in a few elements to make it work within the youth ministry world.


The Digital Farmer

Adam’s Weird Dream

Last night, I had a vivid funny dream.

The vivid part was that I was just going about my normal day-to-day life. Running errands, going to meetings, taking kids to school, going to the bank and post office and all the normal stuff I do every day. That part is not funny. What was funny was that as I made my way around all day with a horse trailer with a horse in it. So, in the dream, I was navigating normal SoCal life in San Diego with a horse in tow. So I’d have to leave a meeting to go feed or water the horse. Or I’d have to figure out how to parallel park a pick-up truck & trailer on El Cajon Boulevard.


The Key to Doing is…

yc-all-black-200This week Marko and I are hosting The Summit for the 2nd time. It’s a TED-talk style event for youth workers, 18 presenters each delivering a 12-15 minute talk on a topic related to an overarching theme.

It’s a gathering of a few hundred people looking to have their imaginations sparked, new ideas ignited, and fellow sojourners more interested in helping youth ministry find new realities than hanging onto the past.


Team Hustle


Can I share a little secret about being an entrepreneur?

  • You don’t have to have the best idea.
  • You don’t have to have the best team.
  • You don’t have to spend the most money.
  • You don’t even have to be the most popular.

So what are my keys to making it? I’m 3-0 in start-ups, batting 1.00 lifetime in a role most people fail.


How do you create an environment for innovation?

The Saturday morning session at The Summit last year was the strongest single session of any event I’ve ever attended. (And I’ve been a part of a few events) I remember leaning over to Marko and saying… “I’ve paid way more money to attend events that weren’t nearly this good.” It was that good.

Ben Chestnut’s talk is so important for leaders. He’s not just talking about this stuff out of an ethereal or academic perspective, he’s  talking about it as the CEO of one of tech’s most healthy, creative, and on constantly innovative companies: MailChimp.

He dives into one of leaderships most challenging questions: How do I foster an environment that is insanely creative, moves faster than the marketplace, and sustainable so it doesn’t burn people out or run out of cash.

Questions from Ben’s Talk

  1. What’s the impact of not creating “things” in your work? (Non-profit, for-profit, etc.)
  2. One of Ben’s core learnings was that he can control time people get on a project. How would that translate to your context?
  3. Do you think your role as a leader is primarily connecting things?
  4. What in this talk  doesn’t correlate at all to your context?

The Distraction of Perceived Competition

Competition versus Perceived Competition

  • Did you see what ____ is doing?
  • Did you see what ____ had on their blog?
  • I heard ____ is going to do ______ next year. Wow. Total game changer.
  • _____ is kicking butt with ______.

If you are in leadership, any kind of leadership, you hear this stuff all the time. 

I catch myself going there from time-to-time. And I’ve learned that it’s nothing more than a big, fat distraction.


Actually, Failure is an Option

Wait a minute...
Wait a minute…

The most common thing

I love what you guys are doing.”

This is a phrase I hear today about our work at The Youth Cartel. It’s a compliment. I say thank you. But I hear it so much– usually 3-4 times per day in one form or another — that I’m not even sure what it means anymore.

I just know it’s a whole lot better than,  “So, have you thought about looking for a job?” Yep, I heard that a couple times per week when I had another job. No one has said that to me in a long time. And for that I’m grateful.

The second most common thing


The Chase

The Grind

working-the-penske-grindSitting at a stop light.

Mind racing.

Texts flowing in, trying to ignore them.

Kids in the car, not looking forward to school, but not fighting it either.

I’m trying to distract my racing mind by listening to the radio. But that P!ink song is on. And if I hear it one more time my eyeballs may pop out.

In so many ways it’s just a normal day.


Your ever evolving vision


  • Knowing what we know now what can we do better?
  • All this got us here. What do we need to learn to get us there? 
  • If this is level 1 or 2 what will level 7 or 8 look like? 

Last week, I re-watched our first video announcing my joining The Youth Cartel. This was the Cartel on July 10th, 2011.