holy cow, it’s september! i was traveling for most of two weeks — taking my son to college, then leading two YMCP cohorts in a row. but this week i’m at my desk (which, to be honest, is mostly my picnic table in my backyard — i do live in san diego, after all). and i’m feeling waves of excitement and anticipation this week. there’s just so much good stuff.
here’s a small smattering of that…
Riley and Max
my two kids are both at college (riley at University of Redlands in redlands CA, and max at Regis University in denver). and both are doing really well. riley’s a junior, and has a job this year as the head of the RAs for the program they’re in, which includes two dorms. max is a freshman, and finding his way on a grand adventure.
i love having my kids around, and we miss them. but there’s undeniably some pretty awesome stuff about empty nesting. not the least of these is that i now have regular access to a car!
Growth in YMCP
i’ve never been a part of something so strongly at the crossroads of my gifting and impact on youth workers as the Youth Ministry Coaching Program. we currently have 260 graduates and about 40 in current cohorts. and it’s looking likely that we’ll launch about three more cohorts this fall, and something around 8 or 10 cohorts in 2017. in addition, we’re expanding our offerings under the “coaching” umbrella: we’ve already launched 1-on-1 Coaching, and are days away from launching another cool low-cost growth opportunity. this all has me energized and thankful and hopeful and full of anticipation.
we’ve scaled back on events at The Youth Cartel, putting more emphasis on the things we’re best at. but two of our events still have me very excited. the first of those — the Middle School Ministry Campference — is coming up very soon (October 14- 16), and i’m in the thick of planning and organizing. this is quite literally my most favorite youth ministry event i’ve ever attended or been a part of. it is my tribe.
we also just inked the contract for the Women in Youth Ministry Campference, our 3rd time around (now in a new location!). it will be next spring, and we’ll get stuff out soon on that. but i attended this event last year, and even though it wasn’t great for the Cartel financially, it’s so powerful and unique that we just felt a spiritual compulsion to do it again. it’s missional for us, and mind-blowingly good.
we have some exceptionally good resources that just released — three, to be exact: Slaying Biblical Illiteracy (a short and practical book), Don’t Do This (a highly instructive book of failure stories by youth ministry leaders), and Sunday Comics (one of the most creative curriculum resources i’ve seen in a long time). (oh: we also have brand new editions of our downloadable curriculum series — Viva and NEXT.) and we have some revolutionary and practical and creative resources in the pipeline right now — i’ve been working on these and finding great energy in them!
Starting a New 7th Grade Guys Small Group
last night i started yet another middle school ministry small group. i have nine 7th grade guys in my group this time around. and i’m particularly pumped about my TWO new co-leaders: chris davis (a former co-worker from my YS days), and joel sullivan (one of my son’s buddies and bandmates). i refuse to be that youth ministry guy who only talks about his experience in youth ministry back in the day.
Anniversary Trip to Italy
my amazing wife and i have talked about a trip to italy for years. we almost went for our 25th anniversary about six years ago. we had it planned for earlier this year (for our 30th), but postponed it due to my son’s HS graduation. but we’re going next may, and it’s likely going to be 2.5 weeks long. we’re in early planning stages now, and super excited.
i could list a dozen more things i’m pumped about. maybe i’ll post some time about a new sense of calling i have for a particular sort of ministry as i move deeper into my 50s. but that’s enough for today.
i hope that you’re also finding excitement and energy and renewal in your life and work!