10 Ways to Connect with Me at NYWC

On Thursday, Marko and I fly out to Atlanta for the National Youth Workers Convention. It’s sure to be a fun week of connecting, training, and encouragement.

I’ve always loved the convention and I’m stoked to continue to invest in making the convention an awesome experience for youth workers from around the country.

Here’s my line-up of stuff. I’d love to meet you!


10:00 am – Creating an Online Ministry: Three Timeless Principles for Building a Sustainable Online Ministry

4:00 pm – Getting started as a blogger

10:00 pm – Cartel Meet-up – Party like a youth worker (RSVP here)


8:00 am – Expanding the vision: Rethinking Volunteers (Fishbowl)

5:00 pm – Free and awesome communications tools for youth ministry

6:00 pm – Using Mailchimp for Ministry

7:30 pm – Hosting a meet-up for event planners with folks from Eventbrite (contact me for more info)


10:00 am – Unveiling one of our projects in Big Room


8:00 am – 3:00 pm – Extended Adolescence Symposium (tickets)

A note for those who want to meet-up. I really do want to connect and catch-up. Feel free to contact me via Facebook or here to try to schedule something. A (very good) problem that Marko and I have this year is that most of our time is already booked with meetings and such.

Random sidenote: Based on all the feedback I got on Twitter the other day. I’ll be spending chunks of this week transitioning my presentations from PowerPoint to Keynote.



NYWC: What’s More Awesome Than a Bacon-filled Banana?

The news: Today is the last day to register for NYWC San Diego for Super Early Bird prices.

Bacon and flutophones?  The brainstorm session for this video was a blast. Ian, Tic, and I kicked around a thousand ideas around the concept of “What would be MORE AWESOME?

The shoot: This video was shot all around our office in El Cajon. Literally all around. As Ian set-up and moved lights all around the office to get lighting set, Tic got more and more creative. I stepped out for a phone call with Mark Matlock, came back, and Tic was riding my bike around the office. Hilarious. 

But wait… there’s more. (Videos that is. Coming in a few weeks.)

NYWC youth ministry

What a difference a year makes

A year ago I was packing for NYWC and trying to convince myself that everything was going to be OK. I knew the facts but had to convince myself that they didn’t matter. With the pressure to perform numerically stronger than ever we watched in horror as the economy collapsed. Earlier in the year we’d let go about half of our staff. And preparations for convention just had a heavy, matter-of-fact feel to it. It was anything but fun. I listened to happy music all the time in an attempt to jack myself up.

I put on a happy face, I did my best to encourage folks, and riding the Amtrak to LA I had a feeling like the week could go either way. If I ignored the black cloud we’d be OK. But if I acknowledged it the whole thing would spin out of control.

What a stark contrast to the lead-up to NYWC this year!

First off, we’re not in the same place or under the same pressure as we were a year ago.

Second, Tic is back. He’s solid gold.

Third, it feels like we are taking less risk, in some ways, in the big room sessions. Last year, we had no idea what was happening on our stage!

Third, our creativity was unleashed on the program side… so I’m confident about what we’re delivering.

Fourth, the folks joining us from YouthWorks are so excited– it’s like they’ve been shot out of a cannon.

Fifth, we’re at home. It feels so good going into convention knowing that I’m like 10 miles from my house. Kristen and the kids plan on coming down and saying hello.

Sixth, I love the theme. I love walking into this in full knowledge that people are going to be ripping off our theme for years to come.

Seventh, I get to have normal conversations with youth ministry friends. The last two cities of 2009 felt a lot like a funeral wake. Phew, all of that is gone.

The last line of the video above… when I saw it in the script… I knew it was true for people doing ministry. But a little piece of me knew it was a line for me and about YS.

We’re right where we’re supposed to be. And it’s amazing.

NYWC PlanetWisdom youth ministry

Coming to Dallas and Tulsa next week

Epic. Awesome. Life-changing. PlanetWisdom on Vimeo.

I’ll be in Dallas next week, Monday-Wednesday, meeting with youth workers and chatting up both PlanetWisdom and the National Youth Workers Convention. Here’s the RSVP for the meet-up on Monday.

I’ll be in Tulsa for lunch on Thursday. If you want to meet up and hear specifically about PlanetWisdom but also chat about NYWC or whatever… here’s the RSVP. (Yep, I’ll buy you lunch)

If you are in either of those areas and want to meet-up… let me know. Chances are good I can make it happen. My schedule is a lot more flexible (right now) in Dallas. In Tulsa, I’m literally flying in to do lunch and flying home after lunch.

Goal: Buy a belt buckle.

NYWC youth ministry

The Naysayer

It still giggle every time I hear this. Just the “Ticky” cracks me up.


The Volunteer

I’m a big fan of this video. I think it turned out great. And I think its a great compliment to the first one we released a couple weeks back.

The most loudest people in youth ministry tend to be the people who do it as a profession. But I think we’d all agree that the ones making the vast majority of the impact in youth ministry are volunteers. Hats off to them!

NYWC youth ministry

What is NYWC all about?

I have the coolest job in youth ministry. I get to do what I love, connecting with youth workers around the world and I get paid for it!

At the core of it this video demonstrates the 2 things I love most about working at YS.

  1. Tic lays out the heart of why we do the National Youth Workers Convention. This is really the heart of YS. We do all of this to minister to youth workers… that’s why it is worth it to us.
  2. I get to work with amazing people. Setting aside the amazing people I get to connect with outside of YS as part of my job, I have gotten to work day-by-day with some amazing heroes of youth ministry. These folks continue to be a daily inspiration to me.

When we were shooting this video (ht to Ian) I just kept thinking about those two things.

Dang, I am fortunate.

And dang, I want to be a part of carrying on this legacy.

NYWC youth ministry

Slow motion fun

I think we’ve all had this moment. I love the relationship between the youth pastor, the students, and the senior pastor.

If you had a day to play with a sweet slow motion camera, what would you shoot?

NYWC Travel

Your story matters

My drive plan for next week

Next week, I’m hitting the road and driving from San Jose to just north of Seattle. I guess there are 3 over-arching reasons I’m doing this. Two are a bit secondary and perhaps selfish, which the third is really the justification for everything else.

  1. I love a good road trip. There is something almost magical about driving across our country. If you’ve never done a multi-day drive you won’t understand that statement. My first was “Golf across America” in 2002. My last one was “Travels with Stoney” in 2008. This trip needs a name.
  2. YS is still alive. It’s not that you, my kind reader, doesn’t know that. It’s that a lot of people have an open question… “What’s going on with YS?” And this trip is aimed at answering that question. (This is what’s known as “the business justification.“) Plus, even before all of the changes, I kept begging for this because I knew there was a need to get our staff on the ground talking with youth workers out of the office.
  3. Your story matters. My first two road trips were about my story. (Travels with Stoney was a little more about our families story and our hope for a fresh start.) This trip is about the stories of youth workers. My work has put me in contact with innumerous youth workers… and collectively we have a story to tell. My premise is that as I drive and host these meet-ups I’ll hear (and capture) stories from youth workers which the community will really resonate with.

What’s fascinating about going out to discover youth workers stories is… it’s all about discovery. I’ve got a rough sketch of who I’m going to meet, but I really don’t have a clue where this is going to go. And what makes a road trip so fun for this format of story discovery is that I probably won’t really get a thread through all of the stories until I’m done. Since I’m telling stories as I go, there’s even a great chance that you will see the thread before I will.

Another fascinating element to telling people’s stories, one that I’m just learning to appreciate, is that power of telling a persons story to the person whose story is being told. It’s one thing to tell your own story. But it’s an entirely different thing to have someone come into your life and then to other people about you. As I’ve been scheduling my meet-ups and talking to people, I hear them question, “you want to tell my story?

You are story worthy.

Your story is interesting.

Your story is helpful to you.

Your story is helpful to others.

As a child of the King bought at a price, your story has unlimited value.

you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

Funny Stuff NYWC Video Clip

You’re a single lady, buddy

This is Paul’s favorite sing-along song, too. And I’ve completely been there… wanting to tell my son the truth that he is not, indeed, a single lady. (But if he likes it, he better put a ring on it.)

And yes, boys and girls, that is Carlos Whittacker! And yes, this mean father [sarcasm] is speaking at National Youth Workers Convention this Fall.

[shamelessplug]Registration opens May 5th[/shamelessplug]

If he’d like to share the stage with Beyonce to make up for it, that’s totally fine with us. Her people just need to connect with Tic ASAP.