YS has me thinking...

Hello again friends.
Youth Specialties has been all over the youth ministry blogs this week with their announcement to bring back Tic Long in a leadership position, and speaking from my youth leader's position, it has brought me a tremendous amount of gladness and joy to see this company making some strides out of a difficult period. But all of it has got me thinking about two bigger points that I thought I'd share with you guys this morning:

1. There's no one like them.
In the time during and shortly after the NYWC in Atlanta this year, it seemed like a lot of us were really worried. We were blogging, pacing around our hotel rooms, and some of us were even ripping what little remained of our hair out. It seemed for a while that the current YS staff was just running around from blog to blog controlling the rumors what we were spreading ourselves, kind of like a really whacked out PR firm. It was scary times.

But I was thinking about this while I was driving yesterday, and I realized the reason that we were all scared was because of how much YS means to us. I tried to think through another industry or career path that had an organization as essential to its survival as YS is to youth ministry. If you're in youth ministry, check your book shelf, I can almost guarantee that there are three or four books on there published by YS. Not to mention the conventions, the blogs, the podcasts, the newsletters, and the job bank, YS is exactly who we go to when we don't know who to go to. Like I said, I thought about it a bunch, and can't think of another profession that has such a relationship with a company in the same way we have with YS.

This is (as we may have realized a bit too well in recent months) a blessing and a curse. I think the big reason we were all nervous over the sale and everything was that we depend on YS so very very much. And let's be honest, even with the confusion, they've never let us down (or at least not me). So I think we owe it to YS to make sure we bless them as much as they're blessing us. (Genesis 12:2) I know Adam and a couple of YS guys have been checking in here a bit lately, so if you all have any suggestions as to how we can best serve you, I'd love to have you share them.

You don't know what you have until it's gone, and I think we all felt the branch creak a little bit. Thank goodness for the YS staff's attention to God's calling, and their willingness to serve!

2. Tic Long is my hero.
That often times sounds sarcastic, or exaggerated or something, but I'm serious. I think Tic's return has just timed out well with a bunch of other things in recent weeks, but I'm just so encouraged to see (no offense Tic) a grey-beard youth leader who still loves what he does and does it so well. There is some sort of myth out there that when you reach a certain age you will no longer be relevant or helpful in a youth ministry setting any more, and I think Tic laughs in the face of such a myth. I've been thinking for a long time about becoming a youth ministry "career man", and barring any changes of plan from God's end, I think that might be what I'm called to for a long long time.

Plus, how much adversity did Tic go through in these recent months with his head held INCREDIBLY high? If I were in his situation, I doubt severely that I would have been able to handle it with as much grace and tact as Tic did. The same could absolutely be said for Marko. I can't imagine what they're learning through all of this, or how difficult it's been, but these guys are walking through God's trials and tribulations with excellence and dedication to God's work. Again, I can only hope that when trials or tribulations come my way, I can handle it the way these guys did.

So those are just some of my thoughts on this week in YS. Anyone else care to share?




adam mclane said...

How can you support YS? Three quick things.

1. Pray for us. We've got a long way to go to get this team put together!
2. Give us feedback. Stuff like this blog post is awesome.
3. Come to YS events. That sounds selfish... but it's really the most practical way you can support us.

The wonders of RSS feeds... I guess you've noticed I read a lot of YM blogs. :)