my new travel rules

readers of this blog know i’ve struggled for a few years with my travel schedule. the struggle could be characterized this way…

on one hand:
– i love the stuff i travel for
– my company wants me to do the stuff i travel for
– i have secretly loved the travel (maybe it made me feel important?)

on the other hand:
– i’ve been frustrating everyone in my life (mostly my wife and children; but, ironically, even the company i travel for)
– i’ve finally gotten to the point where i’m not enjoying all of it.

i started a one-year sabbatical from outside speaking events (non-ys stuff) in may of last year. the idea was that jeannie and i would see how it feels with none of that stuff for a year, then decide how much was appropriate to add back into my calendar.

problem is: we felt no difference at all over these past 9 months. if anything, things had only gotten worse.

so i came to the ys exec team on our retreat a few weeks ago and told them, “i don’t seem capable of figuring this out. and if you guys don’t help me make some significant cuts, i’m concerned that i will have a truly crappy marriage in another year or two.” thankfully, they took me seriously, and we came up with a pretty significant list of travel guidelines for me.

in 2007, i was away from home 138 nights, not including anything that was truly family vacation or my quarterly silent retreats.
if i’d had these rules in place, i would have been home an additional 54 nights.

i’m hopeful that this will really make a difference in my quality of life, the quality of my marriage and family, and the quality of my leadership at ys.

they are:

No more Non-National Student Events
–If I do a student event, it’s vacation time and there has to be clear family value to these (and, jeannie will be a filter on these)

Zondervan trip one time per month (a total of 8 or so per year). trips to Z should normally be limited to one night away.

One EJ (spanish YS) convention per year (instead of two)

Exec Team retreats only will be three nights away

No more CORE speaking events (i’ll still be on the CORE development team)

Bring any potential youth worker speaking engagements to the Exec Team to filter

Don’t attend YM Executive Council (a yearly gathering i’ve attended every other year)

Convention travel begins Wed at the earliest, and fly home from Convention (in the first two cities) on Monday. (i’ve often been at our conventions for an entire week for each city.)

17 thoughts on “my new travel rules”

  1. Wow! 138? Cutting that back should help a lot in the weight loss, too, shouldn’t it?

    Thank you for taking the time to address this. Not only should it help you last a lot longer (and YS fans like me are certainly glad for that!), but the transparency demonstration is good for all of us.

  2. It helps me know that there are others that struggle with time away from home. (no where the amount that you have gone through) I am thankful that you have people around you to help you keep these goals. Also thank you to you, your wife and your children for all you do and the great sacrifices made!!

  3. Marko
    Seriously this is great that you are addressing this with such honesty and release. I pray for you as you take this journey. Strength, peace, and grace to you and your family. I challenge you to lose your platinum flying status. :O)

  4. The truth is that nobody cares about your marriage, your kids, your health, your need for margin etc. more than you. The requests for your time will keep coming in because people want a piece of you. The only way to protect yourself is by creating some sort of filter like you have. GOOD FOR YOU!

  5. I appreciate you being willing to both make changes and share with us. It serves as a great encouragement and reminder to all of us!

  6. Marko-
    I am glad to see you doing this. I am amazed how in ministry we can take on little things and before we know it we are committed for life and then takes someone close to us (like our wives) to slap us in the face before we remove things from our schedules. I will be praying for you and your family. I can’t thank you enough for your ministry to youth and pastors-you have blessed my life and ministry. God Speed my brother!

  7. Well done! Many of us anonymous youthworkers have been praying for you to slow down and take care of yourself and your family. When I got the email that the YS summit in Michigan was cancelled, I was hoping it was because you needed the break. You are setting a great example for many gifted youthworkers … God certainly didn’t put us in this ministry to wear us down!

  8. Great post Marko – keepin’ it REAL. I will miss seeing you at YMEC, but I am assuming that Tic will still represent, eh?

    Again, great post. Love the transparency.

    Mucho amor, CB.

  9. I’ll say what hasn’t been said – Wow! 138!? Yea, thats a lot. You are a busy man. I give you KUDOS for taking action on this. I also appreciate your honesty here.

    I have a couple of friends who have a speaking council that they filter their events through and allow them to decide if they should do it (one on the council being their spouse). I think you were wise to ask your exec team for advice. “There is safety in a multitude of counselors…” (from de Bible)

  10. You know you have achieve your goal when the Airline calls and ask why you are flying them less, that does happen…

  11. Dude, I don’t want to seem critical… I love you and your work with students and student ministers… but you do need a break. That is entirely too much time away from your family. Shame on YS and shame on Zondervan for allowing you to stretch yourself this far. Shame on you for allowing yourself to be put in this mess.

    Bless your wife and family for putting up with it. I know you are doing the right thing… I would encourage you to always evaluate… What else can I cut out to be with my family? Or how can I get my family to be where I am?

    Of course when you are with them… make the most of it. I remember in an interview with Billy Graham’s wife she once was asked how does it feel when your husband is only home one day a week? She said, “One day with Billy is like a year with any other man.” Make sure your family is adored and attended to by your PRESENCE!!! Your family is the greatest gift the Father has given you outside of His Son.

    Just wanted to encourage you in your decision. I WILL be praying that God will strengthen you and your family through this decision.

  12. i’m not interested in shame, james — doesn’t fix anything. but i am interested in fixing this, and appreciate your encouragement.

  13. you are correct. Shame is the wrong word… but the fact is.. you and they have realized the errors and taken necessary steps to fix them. The decision will bless all involved.

    Again, you don’t know how much of a hero you are to youth ministers across the globe… we all thank you… and thanks for being a humble servant… well… a little attitude is always good.

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