Review: Our Last Option

Option 1: I’m right and you’re wrong and that’s that.

Option 2: We’re all right in our own opinion and that’s that, let’s just get along anyway.

These are the two options most of us see when engaging in our society. You’re either pro-choice or pro-life. You’re either anti-gun or pro-gun ownership. You’re for gay marriage or you’re against it. You’re either FoxNews or HufffPo.

It’s exhausting and most people seem to teeter-totter between engaging in the topic du jour and ignoring it. They are exhausted by it because it lacks productivity. Few people can argue another person into change. But we seem to live in an age where winning is more important than virtue.

Church Leadership Contest

GIVEAWAY: Love is an Orientation DVD by Andrew Marin

What it is…

Love is an Orientation DVD is a video curriculum based on The Marin Foundation’s ground breaking work in the LGBTQ community. The byline is, “Practical ways to build bridges with the Gay Community.” I’ve heard amazing things from adult small groups and church leadership teams who have worked through this content together. Andrew’s ministry and work is truly a revolutionary approach.

Who is Andrew…

I first met Andrew in the lead-up to the 2008 National Youth Workers Convention. He was the guy coming in to talk about the hot-button topic and I was the guy trying to build buzz around the convention. During the 3-city tour we became friends and our friendship continues to grow.

Yup, some people don’t like Andrew. Either they think his approach goes too far or they think it doesn’t go far enough. That’s the tension The Marin Foundation lives in each day. And something in me says that this tension is just about right. (He’s speaking at The Summit on the topic of, Ministry within Theological Tension, see the connection?)

Why I like it…

3 reasons I like this.

  1. I’m in it. Ginny Olson and I teamed up on the youth ministry portions and I love how it turned out.
  2. There’s nothing out there as good. Andrew has presented this content to hundreds of churches, to hundreds of thousands of people, and in a bunch of countries. It’s really, really good stuff.
  3. It breaks the ice. I’ve talked to a few leaders who have used it and they love that it gets people talking about ministering in the gay community in a fresh, hopeful, loving way. Like any good teaching it causes great self-reflection and personal change.

How you can get it…

BUY IT. The more direct way is to head over to The Marin Foundation website and buy it.

WIN IT. Leave a comment of any kind to this post and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the DVD and a participants guide. (Comments close at midnight tonight, winner announced tomorrow.)

WINNER! SarahD92 – You’re the winner! Send me your mailing address and I’ll get it out to you.

Church Leadership

Love is an Orientation DVD now available

Last May I spent a day in Chicago’s most historic gay bar, Roscoe’s.

Besides having great food and a very helpful staff, the reason I was there was to shoot the adolescence portion of The Marin Foundation‘s new DVD curriculum Love is an Orientation.

Why was I part of this project?

First – I believe that the church as a whole, and youth ministry in particular, does not have an answer for ministering to the LGBT community. I should rephrase that… there are some rather unhelpful extremes. What I love about The Marin Foundation and Andy Marin‘s approach is that they don’t pretend to have all the answers. But they do know one thing. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you were made in the image of God and Jesus loves you enough to die for you.

There’s a lot of power in saying you don’t know all the answers. Their approach might not be the most popular and it certainly doesn’t lead to easy fundraising like their pro-gay or anti-gay counterparts… but standing in the middle is a powerful position and they have good company in acting as bridge builders.

Second – I believe a lot of bad things happen in youth ministry because there is inadequate training for youth workers. I feel pretty confident that Ginny Olson and I give solid training for ministering to individual students who are LGBT, including how to handle it when a student comes out to you, as well as how to create a safe environment for all types of students.

Why should you buy this DVD?

There’s a good chance you’ve already read Love is an Orientation. Essentially, this takes the teachings of the book and melds it into 6 sessions for a church team or small group to work through. It’s interwoven with teachings from the book, interviews with people in and around the LGBT community, and a sprinkling of outside voices like Ginny and myself.

Sorry for the shameless plug here. I’m not making a dime off of this thing. But I do want to encourage you to head of to The Marin Foundation’s online store and buy a copy of the DVD.


Church Leadership

The Marin Foundation Featured on BBC

1. Heart and Soul: God and Gays: Bridging the Gulf     

To play the audio, click the play button

I have huge respect and admiration for the work of Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation. Their ministry is simple– build bridges between the LGBT community and the evangelical community.

While Andy hasn’t been as active on the Christian speaking circuit as he was in 2008-2009, this year the influence of The Marin Foundation has stretched into high levels of government and education here in the US and around the world.

Recently, Andrew was featured on BBC World Service show, Heart and Soul, all throughout the UK and around the world. In this 28 minute segment, you’ll hear from Andy, the history of The Marin Foundation, and their work in Chicago and around the world.

Here’s the source for the audio.

hmm... thoughts

The weekend ahead

I’m looking forward to a fun and crazy next 5 days.

We’re going to Disneyland!

We might be the only family in Southern California who has never been to Disneyland. And that’s all Megan wanted for her 10th birthday. So today, after school, we are going up to do just that. We’ll be in Anaheim tonight through Sunday. I’ve actually never done anything at a Disney park, either. So we’re all pretty amped up about it and a little nervous, too.

Sunday morning, I’m getting up at the butt crack of dawn to leave Disneyland and come back down to La Mesa to teach at Encounter. My talk is called, “So I’ve been thinking about how to be good news in my neighborhood.” It’ll be all about unleashing your creativity to be good news. (I’ll post the notes in the free section.) After church, I’m back to Anaheim to hop in the pool and then drive everyone home.

Monday afternoon through Tuesday, I’m off to Chicago to help out my friend Andrew Marin. He’s working with a publisher to produce some training materials for his smash hit book, Love is an Orientation. Actually, I’m not 1000% sure what my role is in that. But I know that I’ll be speaking into the youth ministry portion of the content, helping youth workers practically minister to adolescents in matters of sexual orientation.

I’d appreciate your prayers for this whirlwind 5-days.

Church Leadership

Andrew Marin on CBN

[video link]

Still proud to call Andy a friend. I love his missiological heart and I love how he’s making a deep impact in a place where most Christians are totally afraid. Kristen and I are not just fans of The Marin Foundation, we lend our practical support wherever we can.

What do you think about this video? Am I the only one that wanted to know what Pat Robertson had to say off camera?

Church Leadership

I Support The Marin Foundation

Recently, I had a conversation with someone at convention that went like this.

Someone: So, you did the blog design for Andrew Marin’s blog?

Me: Yep. I had a lot of fun doing that. I really believe in Andrew’s ministry.

Someone: Well, you make money on stuff like that. So of course you like it.

Me: Well, yeah I do make money doing that kind of thing. But I didn’t get paid for that one. I did it because I believe in what he is doing.

Someone: What? You didn’t charge him? That’s crazy talk.

Me: Of course not. Why would I?

Someone: Because that’s how you make money.

Me: But that’s also how I give money. Money he didn’t spend on a blog he can spend doing ministry. I don’t have the cash I want to give to his ministry, but I can give something that costs money so that he doesn’t have to spend it.

Someone: Oh. Wow, I never thought about it like that. I bought his book…

I don’t bring this up to make myself look good. In fact, I really wish I had the cash to write checks and support The Marin Foundation. I know, like any non-profit, cash is tight right now and he really does need cash donations. But the simple fact is I don’t have the cash to help The Marin Foundation like I wish I could.

I bring this up because too often we say we love someone’s ministry, or that we’re behind them, or that we’re excited about what they are doing… but we don’t do anything to actually further their ministry. The tribe of people that I hang with– youth workers– often don’t see the connection between “I’m supporting that person” and “I’m putting my treasures behind that person.” Because we’re fairly low on the church totem pole we feel a little weird about the money thing when it comes to church… and we carry that forward into other areas of life.

The challenge here is not simple. In fact, it may require some creativity on your behalf.

The challenge is to tangibly support the things you love with your treasures.

For me, my commitment to Andrew has been like this. He has my friendship, my support, my prayers, and anything he asks of me I try to make happen. In the past year that’s meant that I pray for Brenda and Andrew daily, Kristen and I have hosted him in our home when he’s in town, I help him with his blog and tech stuff, I talk about him to my friends, I keep my ears/eyes open for things I think are opportunities for him, I tell every ministry leader I know that their staff needs to wrestle through his book. On and on. I find ways to tangibly support his ministry.

I believe in what he is doing and I try to back it up. Like I’ve said, I don’t have the cash to back up my love for what Andrew is doing to change the church… so I give him my time and talents where I can. The stuff I help him with would both cost him cash and I forego earning cash from helping other people. So, it’s not cash but it is like cash. That’s why I’m saying… if you support something give it your treasures.

If you’ve heard about Andy’s ministry of bridging Evangelical culture and the GLBT culture, and you’d like for it to continue to help these two communities learn to love one another, it’s time to support The Marin Foundation. Don’t just say you are behind him, get behind him.

Learn more about Andrew’s story and The Marin Foundation.


NYWC personal highlights

Right now I am on the Surfliner Amtrack train headed south. As I travel home to San Diego my mind is full of thoughts, reflections, and highlights from this weekend. Here they are in no particular order:

1. I may have the best job in youth ministry. Sure, I’m not on stage or writing books or in any way famous. But, I am doing work I love. I getthw unique job of meeting lots of people– practitioners of youth ministry, researchers, authors, speakers… And loads of folks who do they day to day work of reaching this generation for Jesus Christ.
2. I averaged 4.5 hours of sleep. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. The David Crowder Bamd show at The Roxy in Hollywood was incredible. My favorite part was bringing Ben Kraker. Two dudes from te trenches were VIPs for a night and that’s rad.
4. I sat in on a conversation between Brian Berry and Shane Hipps after Shane’s big room talk. I’m still thinking about it. I want to be more present to the people in my life and less distracted by the technology I love.
5. I spent a lot of time with Andy Marin. I love Andy and his ministry. He has grown so much in the last 12 months. Not that he wasn’t great last Fall. But he was better this year.
6. Meeting Francis Chan was great. I can’t wait to air his podcast segment.
7. Changes to convention were fantastic. I was a little bit nervous aboutthe changes but it was amazing to see people embrace and get excited about what we are doing and where we are going.
8. Open space Saturday. This fundamentally changes the game. While there will always be for experts, ministry culture is moving so fast that we need practitioners to equip practitioners. I hope a higher percentage of youthcwprlers stickcarpund for it in future cities.
9. LA was intense. I had more deep conversations I’m the last 5 days than all of last year combined.
10. Youth workers are hurting. With culture inside the church changing so rapidly, and the stress of the economy on an already poor group of people… There were a lot of tears this weekend.
11. Speaking of tears. The session with the Daraja Childrens choir had everyone crying. I think it’s that shared story of making it through pain to hope that caused an electric response to their presence.
12. I loved Perry Noble’s talk. My guard was up, but Perry was very encouraging to me.
13. The /live experience was great. I think the adjustments I made to the social media plan for convention went really well.
14. Tash McGill is a rock star. She is going to tire of me piling her brain one day, for sure.
15. Speaking of rock stars, Ian straight up carried our lab with his techno-knowledge of all things video.
16. I still think it’s funny that I got a speakers packet.
17. This was a difficult convention. I’m thankful for amazing contractors and volunteers that give way too muxhctp YS for convention. With a number of our people getting sick, I noticed they really stepped up and that was amazing.
18. The postgame show was great. Now to make it better.
19. For the first time, I sat in the hall for all of the big room sessions. Loved that.
20. I’m exhausted and energized at the same time. Bring on Cincy!

iphone Web/Tech

Two projects are now live!

It’s well documented that I like managing projects… but I love finishing and releasing projects more than anything. In the last 24 hours, two little babies were released into the wild. I hope they both flourish.


1. Myguitar iPhone app. This is the second application we’ve published from YS, with a few more deep in the process of testing and stuff. This one was fun for two reasons. First, it’s stinking fun to play guitar on your iPhone. My favorite feature is that I can play the guitar along to my favorite worship artist, David Crowder. My life would be complete if he would try it. Then again, my adoration for Mr. Crowder’s work is well-documented so that should be no surprise.


2. Love is in an Orientation. Speaking of adoration, I’ve also documented my admiration for Andrew Marin’s work in bridging evangelical and the GLBT cultures. More imporatantly, I’m lucky enough to count him as a friend. So when he asked me to help him get a “real blog site” I was happy to jump in and help out.

I don’t want to sound obnoxious. But this is turning into a whale of a year for me. Lots of great projects. Lots of nice things said. And lots, lots more where this stuff came from.

Books Church Leadership Video Clip

Andrew Marin goes to Washington

I probably seem like a total fanboy for Andrew Marin. Thing is, I think he’s one of those few prophetic voices within Evangelicalism. Here’s a message he presented as part of the Inauguration Weekend in Washington, DC.

I’m really digging his book, Love is an Orientation. It comes out soon, you can get yours today at Amazon.