soft launch: youth pastor coaching program

for the past 9 months, i’ve been in a wonderful leadership coaching program with dr. john townsend. we meet one day a month, for 12 months, and there are 7 others in the group with me. the 360 process has been one of the most valuable features.

as i’ve thought about what god is calling me to next, i’ve considered lots of options (and even turned down a few gracious offers that didn’t feel like the right fit). sometime in the next week or two, i’ll try to write a longer post about my discernment process, as well as a post about what i’m sensing is next for me. but one of the things that struck me is how much i would love to offer a coaching program, much like the one i’m in, but tailored specifically for youth workers.

i expect to finalize plans for this in the next couple weeks, and hope to open it up for registration. but i wanted to blog about it first to get some responses from you.

here’s some of what i’m thinking:
– i think once a month for one day is not ideal for youth workers (especially if there’s any chance of someone flying in). so i’m thinking we’ll meet for two days, every other month, for a year. so, 6 meetings of 2 days each.
– i’m going to host this first round in san diego to test it. if it fills up and goes well, i’ll consider hosting one or more in other parts of the country. in other words, i have no idea at this point if this will be the one-and-only time i offer this, or if i’ll be doing more of these.
– i’ll be limiting the group to 12 participants, and will likely go ahead with it if i have at least 6. the “cohort” aspect of this process is a key factor, and i want us all to become friends and family.
– our 2 days (each time we meet) will be combination of youth ministry discussions, personal coaching, spiritual growth stuff, and personal development. i expect that we’ll offer spiritual direction for all participants at each meeting, as well as individual meetings with me. participants will have the opportunity to present stuff to the group (plans, ideas, talks, problems), and receive loads of feedback. i’ll bring some topics to the table, and other topics of discussion will be decided on by the group.
– we’ll meet in a comfortable room at a local church here in san diego, and i’ll get some kind of discount set up with a hotel for those who need to spend the night. our schedule would run all day for two days, including hanging out the evening of the first night (so, something like 8am – 9pm the first day, and 8am – 5pm the second day).
– the meetings will all be mid-week (tues/weds, or weds/thurs), so it won’t take anyone away from sunday commitments.
– we would have a closed social networking site for regular communication between meetings, as well as scheduled phone calls with me between meetings and assigned “homework partners”.
– there will be homework (a book for each meeting, as well as homework you and the group will choose for your specific situation).
– i’m toying with launching this officially in the weeks to come, with a potential start of march or april of this year.

as for the cost: well, i’m thinking i can offer this for something around $2500, per person, for the year. that might sound like a lot to some, i realize; but i don’t think i can afford to do it for less than that. i tried to figure out a price that wasn’t completely prohibitive, but would still work for me, considering the time investment (and the other costs i’ll have). i’d really love to consider bringing in some guest speakers also; but i think i’d have to charge something more like $2900 to make that work. all other costs (transportation, meals) would be on your own.

i love that there are so many fantastic undergraduate and graduate youth ministry programs at accredited schools these days. but i also think there’s a level of personal and professional development that can be offered in a program like this that goes beyond what a school setting can provide.

my questions to all of you:
– what do you think? would you be interested in considering this?
– what’s your response to the basic parameters i’ve laid out? any suggestions?
– any ideas for me on how to get the word out about this?
– if you’re interested in being a part of this program, would you rather keep the cost to $2500 for the year, and not have guest speakers, or bump it up to $2900 and have some world-class youth thinkers join us each time to further our thinking and discussion?

48 thoughts on “soft launch: youth pastor coaching program”

  1. So excited about this idea. I just want to toss out that I’d entertain the idea of hosting a participant in la casa de McLane for the 6 trips. We live about 2 miles from Marko, so I’m guessing it’d be within striking distance of the church.

  2. You asked for opinions so I figured I would give you mine. First I will say that the knowledge you would pass on I am sure would be beneficial to any person interested. But the cost seems a bit high. Youth Workers are generally not paid a lot of money, church budgets tightening up would also make it a slim chance that they could pay for it. And then even if they could, since it does not help potential students directly it seems like it could be hurting the youth ministry if someone did sign up for it.

    I hope you do not take this as something harsh, just giving my two cents.

  3. randy – no prob at all, man; thanks for commenting. a couple responses:
    – i do realize the cost is high. but this is far different than attending a conference; it’s more like taking a few graduate level courses. the cost i’m suggesting is a fraction of the cost of the program i’m in. i know, of course, that many will not be able to afford it; but i also know that some are willing to give up other things for the growth they want.
    – whether it was me offering this program or someone else, i really don’t agree with your comment that “since it does not help potential students directly it seems like it could be hurting the youth ministry for someone to sign up for it.” a spiritual and emotionally healthy youth worker, engaged in fresh thinking and a peer community of support and accountability can massively help students directly in ways that leaving a couple grand in the youth budget might never do.

  4. Do you ever think about branching out?
    Like coaching people to be coaches, so that you can reach a broader group of people in need?
    Don’t know if you know/heard of Jim Griffith, but after talking to him and attending a couple of his workshops, having a coach for youth ministries might be a very helpful thing to many churches around the country… and it won’t stretch you too thin but yet you’ll be able to reach many more with people you train and work with to become coaches…

  5. I would be SUPER interested in being a part of the group. I live in NorCal but my sister live in La Mesa and it would be an easy drive/fly down South. If this group comes to fruition, please contact me. I would LOVE to be a part of this program. This week marks my tenth year in youth ministry and it sounds, for not only my spiritual growth, but conveying that growth to my middle schoolers, to be a wonderful opportunity and challenge.

  6. Oh, and if you can pull off $2,500 from your Pastor, then squeezing $400 from the diaconate would be a piece of cake… right?!? : – ) So, I vote $2,900.

  7. Mark, I think the only problem you’ll have is limiting it to 12.
    Great idea. I know it sounds trite, but if its the right thing for the right person, they’ll get creative, they’ll find a way, a sponsor, a whatever and make it happen. Sounds like an inspired idea to me!

  8. Sounds really great. I wonder if there are ways to tap into some funding sources to defray the cost so youth workers who don’t have large continuing ed. budgets, or even ones who volunteer, could participate. I’ll keep my eye out for any grants that might fit this criteria and pass along the info if I find any. It sounds amazing!

  9. I think it’s a great idea. It allows for an opportunity to be ‘real’ with other youth workers because it is often difficult to be ‘real’ in your own church setting. Who wants to work through their junk with the fear of having the parent of one of your kids passing judgment on you while you’re working through fear, confusion, and insecurity? It will be a safe place when many youth workers don’t feel that a safe place is available.

    I think the size is good. The smaller, the better, in my opinion, plus, these will be relationships that I believe will be life long.

    When I first saw the price, I will admit that my jaw dropped for a second, but as you described, it’s much more than just a ‘program.’ It is a life-long investment…friends, experiences, joys, laughter, heartache shared, and life being lived alongside someone who shares your passion for youth ministry. I might suggest finding an avenue for ‘scholarships’ to help people who might not be able to have the money right away. I would imagine that the waiting list will be long because, quite frankly, Marko, you have the passion and heart for God, family, and ministry that is contagious and draws people to hear what you have to say.

    Best wishes on the journey. I support and encourage this idea and hope it ends up being much more than you hope for.

  10. Looks like a good idea. It is true that there are a lot of great YM classes in schools, but they can only go so far. They don’t really teach you stuff like balancing family, friendships outside of ministry, dealing with elders/leadership, etc. I think being coached from a really seasoned veteran is well worth the cost. I’d say do it. Can there be a payment plan or is it a lump sum?

  11. Marko,
    Its about time there was a coaching network just for youth workers. Coaching networks seem to be popular these day. I am a youth worker in South Carolina so travel to Cali would be difficult. Have you given any thoughts to an online network. A worship pastor friend of mine is currently in a creative coaching network with Carlos Whittaker and they meet via the web with video chat. Some group time but also one on one. This would be very appealing to me. I do love the idea. if i can help in anyway please let me know.

  12. Quick two cents… a paid professional youth worker could possibly negotiate $1000 for this, whereas a senior pastor could negotiate the $2500 you suggest. You made the comparison to graduate work, but on a resume a Master’s Degree carries more weight than a mentor. So I’d suggest $1000. That may not work on your end, but I do think that’s a more reasonable request.

    Second – it would be great to localize this somehow. For example, do a round of this with youth workers who are rural settings… then another with those who are in a certain type of church… etc. Diversity is great, but the synergy of your discussions might take off if everyone speaks the same language.

  13. wow – excited. i think this is a great idea.

    1/ the crossover between situational application, personal leadership and professional development in a coaching/peer environment is the kind of holistic approach that makes for integrated, healthy leaders and ministries.. bravo.

    2/ people seem to be talking about the $$ and the accessibility.. both of which I think are valid but “micro” conversations. realistically – I think knowing the kind of research/thinking and preparation that would go into this, it’s not an unreasonable cost. the travel puts it out of my league though. BUT the online/localized stuff is way more downtrack – so folks, think about expansion once it’s been up and running for a year ;-)

    3/ most successful youth ministry development stuff here has happened under a regional coaching model – with less professional “thinking” development but a large amount of skill development. I always think.. influence thinking and you’ll instigate change.. so i’m loving the coach idea.

    4/ on a personal note – i think you’re objective and constructive enough to offer a great coaching perspective to individuals over a period of time. so people should apply, because that would be a great journey for everyone. intentional gathering makes a difference.

    yay, deliciousness.

  14. Marko, this sounds like an amazing idea, and I would love to be able to participate. Unfortunately I fall in with the group that feels like the cost will be prohibitive. I’m a youth pastor married to an elementary classroom assistant. Even if you did one of these programs within a reasonable driving distance (I live near Charleston, SC), I wouldn’t be able to do it. I work in a small church. My operating budget for 2010 is less than $2500. My only chance to participate in your coaching program would be if you offered it locally/online, and if I could find people to sponsor me.

    That being said, I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to discourage you from pursuing this. I’m already getting excited thinking about the potential kingdom impact of this. I just wanted to try to give you some more perspective from those of us in small churches and tight financial situations.

  15. Marko,

    I think that this is a great idea. I have been participating in both coaching and mentoring for the last few years. One idea that I have is to try to see if this could be a part of (for credit) some graduate level programs around the country like Huntington, Fuller, John Brown, etc. This may tap into so additional resources as well as promotional. Also, it might be interesting to offer more specifically tailored cohorts, i.e. urban, rural, global, etc. I really don’t think that money is the issue, if people want to learn/grow, they will find the funding. Also, forget the “other speakers”, make it more personal and less programmatic. They can get the outside input through reading, listening to podcasts. The key here would be the “family” aspect of the cohort with you leading it.

  16. The $2500 doesn’t seem too high for what you are offering, but add to that the cost of travel times 6 ($200-300 per flight plus at least $100 lodging plus food) and this could easily be a $4000-5000+ investment.

    There is something about physical proximity that adds to the value (both perceived and real) so I would hate to lose that element, but what about a hybrid between the virtual and physical.

    What if the year launched with a 4 day trip, had a 3 day trip at the 6 month marker and a 2-3 day wrap up retreat at the end. Combine that with all day virtual intensives once a month in the off months and now I am down to 3 flights and fewer hotel nights. Plus, with a 4 day launch, even the most reserved participant will be fully engaged by day 4.

    If you can add into this a payment plan, it might become even more accessible. Even if it is still pay in advance, but for the cohort that starts next fall, they can start paying $300 per month now (for example).

  17. Marko, it sounds like a great idea to me. : )

    My thoughts on the price … to disagree with some of those saying it’s too much, I’m not so sure that it is. I think a youth worker from a smaller church with a smaller budget (what I spent most of the last ten years working with) would probably be better suited doing a correspondence course or something like that – further education is a great idea. I know the frequent travel to you would have been impossible at my last church. On the other hand, in larger churches with larger staff, I think there’s a great chance that there are youth workers out there that can justify the cost to their budget people in receiving this from you. My church spent signficantly more than that last year sending different staff people and volunteers to conferences around the country. We also spent unspeakable amounts on consulting fees to organizations to help with different programs at our church. It really depends on the church culture you’re coming from. The current economy might make it a little more difficult – some churches are getting hit pretty hard and ym budgets are taking a hit, but I could see a guy in my kind of church thinking it’s well worth the cost.

    I definitely agree that for the amount of time and work on your part, it’s not an unreasonable cost at all. My only thought when I was reading it was you talking about bringing in guest speakers – personally, I’d want the chance to develop the relationship with you, soak up what you have to offer and get the guest speaker experience at conferences.

  18. As the notifications (since I commented earlier) popped into my inbox I wanted to bring up something to those thinking about the money.

    This reminded me of Richard Dunn’s book on discipleship! You are presenting a pacing method(ish) and for some, the cost of that is too high so they aren’t going to go for it. And that’s perfectly OK.

    $2500 is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

    – It’s cheaper than a failed marriage
    – It’s cheaper than getting fired because you are immature.
    – It’s cheaper than changing careers.
    – It’s cheaper than losing your faith.
    – It’s cheaper than a semester of grad school (which I’ve done in YM, very valuable– but there’s probably more long-term value here)
    – It’s cheaper than blowing ministry dollars as you “just try everything” to try to fix your problems
    – It’s cheaper than coaching in pretty much any other professional coaching on the planet.

    The truth is, for those who are serious about growing and doing ministry for the long-haul, $2500 is a drop in the bucket. When you factor in the side benefits of this, it’s worth so much more.

    Just like in any career, those who want to invest in it to better themselves will spend the necessary money to get the type of training they need.

    Marko, back to the value of this concept. I think people will learn, long-term, that the value isn’t just in coming to learn from you… it’ll come from the value of the group walking together. Learning from you is fantastic, but just like in your coaching thing with Townsend, you got to know some people going through similar stuff and that was helpful.

    And regarding the online component folks are mentioning, I like your concept better for the objectives you’ve brought out. I think resisting a push towards online is good for coaching. It’s got to be IRL… IMO.

  19. Marko,

    Love the idea! We were just talking in a staff planning day about how to improve ministry and one of the many ideas that were presented was getting into a mentor type training session. I dont know where the money would come from yet but I would personally love to be involved and a part of this kind of training and coaching. Anything that helps me grow as a pastor and leader that builds the Kingdom of God is AWESOME!!

  20. If I had the cash, I’d be there. I’m not saying it’s too expensive, it’s just I can’t afford it (plus I’m from MN, so travel expenses would be pretty high for me also). But my issue would be the mid-week meeting. I have Wednesday and Sunday responsibilities. So it’d have to be like a Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri thing.

    My $.02.

  21. so many great comments! thanks. a few responses:

    – i could see the online thing being interesting, and maybe i’ll consider that in the future. but it’s not the same as meeting face-to-face. there’s an aspect of safety and vulnerability and relationship (and a lack of posturing) in the group i’m a part of because we are face-to-face.

    – i did think about doing a quarterly gathering for a year (4 times, 3 days each time, or something like that). but i think something significant would be lost. i’m already concerned that every other month won’t have the same intimacy of the monthly thing i’m a part of, but felt it would fit the rhythms of a youth workers life better.

    – i don’t expect many will be able to fly to san diego 6 times. i realize that’s a massive hurdle. i REALLY hope i’ll be able to offer this regionally in other parts of the country. i could totally see one in texas, one in atlanta, and one in the midwest somewhere (chicago? nashville?). but, of course, that would also massively increase my costs on the whole thing, since i would also have flights and other costs. so i felt like i had to “test” it here at home first. my hope is that there are enough who could drive (SoCal, Phoenix, etc), and a few who could figure out funding for flying, that we could make this first time a go.

    the coaching group i’m in has a woman in it who is in a mid-level state job in wyoming. she can’t have a big salary, and i know she doesn’t have a budget to pay for the group. but, in addition to the high cost of the program, she flies from wyoming every month, on her own dime (even taking all her vacation days to participate), because she was so committed to growth in her life.

  22. Hey Marko! Love the idea. One other thought to add to the mix is to consider running one just for middle school / jh workers. I still think the JH summit from a few years ago was so great because it is so rare to find something focused on the hearts and needs of MS/JH workers. If that was the case, its definitely something I would put in a request for the funds to be a part of.

    a Few thoughts on cost…
    Adding the need to fly in and stay at a hotel will make it really expensive for non-locals. Not saying that it’s too high, just something to consider if you were hoping to get workers from across the country or just locals.

    You’ll figure out if the cost is too high when you first open it up. If it fills up, then you know it’s priced right. Supply and demand! :)

  23. Marko – I love the concept. It addresses a very relevant need, not just for youth leaders, but pastors in general. IMO there is such of crisis of leadership in the church today. The proposed cost is an issue, but it’s not unreasonable. It’s not a matter of the end justifies the means in terms of investment vs. sustainibility, it’s just a budgetary reality that the typical youth leader doesn’t hasn’t have the bucks in their budget. Having said that, I think if you tweak your approach, this won’t be an issue. My pet peeve with professional youth organizations is they typically (though not intentionally) only target large churches who have the dollars to spend. That’s only about 7-10% of the church market. I agree with those who have already stated you should consider replicating yourself in training other leaders. It was Jesus’ model with his disciples. It’s not only a Biblical model, but it’s a smart business model. I suggest you launch a local prototype model in your region that doesn’t require extensive travel. Secondly, approach denominational and parachurch leaders about doing this in the context of their organizational structures. Connectionalism within denominations is a huge challenge, thus I think leaders would be very receptive to your “product”. By training other leaders, there will be a trickle down effect within their regions, presbyteries, synods, etc. More importantly, the majority smaller church would benefit. You can also approach large churches with similar results within their networks. I think this model would be financially feasible for both you and your clients.

    Lastly, I want to encourage you to pursue it because your voice is unique. There are many talented and experienced youth consultants out there, but your experience combined with your established platform has great potential to speak into and reach more people.

  24. I think the idea is great and I am sure that most others feel that they are in the same area as I am in that there are few people who can actively speak into their lives with any level of informed authority. Sure our Senior Pastors and direct overseers love us and care for us and even pray for us (I am assuming) but they don’t live in the day to day trenches of youth ministry like we do, so there tends to be a disconnect and often feelings of isolation. There are also a lack of places where we can safely share our hearts and troubles. My concern of a learning community like this would be that it did not become a “my church is doing this to poor little me.” I know that is not your intent just a fear of what it could become if left unchecked. That being said, I too am hungry to interact with a group of Youth Worker Professionals that I could develop a relationship with, trust, and grow alongside. Please count me in on any application process. Thanks for even dreaming of what could be for the future of youth ministry and youth workers.

    I like the idea of a payment plan. If I could find the $2500-$4000 for the group and travel it would be smiled upon by the people who sign the checks and print out the budgets for me to spend $200-$400 a month rather than a big chunk once a year

  25. I would be in this year if I had more time to financially plan it. I am in a Masters of Youth Ministry program and I will say that I get way more out of the program with interaction with my professors not in classes, but on demands I make of them and challenges they give me outside of the actual class time. I have at my disposal five mentors who are much better outside of class with me.

    I would love to do this MarkO, but I can’t swing it this year. I think its an outstanding idea and I think you should charge more and bring in more folks to influence it. If you decide to do it for a year, give us some lead time for the next run through. I think the value is absolutely worth the cost, I personally just need more lead time to pay for it.

  26. I think I would like the $2900 with guest speakers but maybe for the first year trying it at $2500 would be better. This price doesn’t include travel correct?

    The parameters sound great!

    As far as getting the word out Social Media, Blog ads, FB ads, Classified ads in CT and other magazines.

    This would definitely be something we would have to use a continuing ed budget for no way I could personally afford it right now anyways!

    By the way I am totally interested!

    Any requirements as far as experience?

  27. Aaron January 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

    I think that this is a great idea. I have been participating in both coaching and mentoring for the last few years. One idea that I have is to try to see if this could be a part of (for credit) some graduate level programs around the country like Huntington, Fuller, John Brown, etc. This may tap into so additional resources as well as promotional. Also, it might be interesting to offer more specifically tailored cohorts, i.e. urban, rural, global, etc. I really don’t think that money is the issue, if people want to learn/grow, they will find the funding. Also, forget the “other speakers”, make it more personal and less programmatic. They can get the outside input through reading, listening to podcasts. The key here would be the “family” aspect of the cohort with you leading it.”

    Couldn’t agree more! Even with the stuff that contradicts what I posted 30 minutes ago!

  28. Marko,

    I noticed you said that the program is more like taking graduate classes. Would it possible to get some kind of school credit for taking it? This way a youth pastor might include it in his continuing educations budget.


  29. For the cost, it’s really only $210-240 for what you’re asking. I fully agree with Adam; $200 a month is far less cost than a failed marriage, ministry, or spiritual life, and the incredible benefit of building relationships with like-minded people–i.e. leaders who love Jesus and students and want to experience personal growth within community–is absolutely worth it.

    I’m genuinely interested, and would vote for the $2900.

  30. great idea! go for it!
    I don’t think this will be for every youthworker out there, but this will have a major impact in the lives of ‘few’ who really need this. these ‘few’ will eventually influence ‘few’ others…which will eventually have a domino effect. i’ve been to similar type of program for corporate leaders…$2900 is nothing compare to what some of the secular organizations are doing. it seems like secular organizations sometime put more value into people’s lives. but more realistically, finding sponsors/donors to match up with each applicants, might be another way for youthworkers to pay for the cost.

  31. Great Idea in my opinion. I think most large churches budget in continuing education money and hopefully some churches would see the benefit of this year long coaching commitment. I think for some large churches that this would not be a problem at all. I like the idea of eventually branching out and training others to coach, but I think that this is a great way to start. Training others would probably need to be a few years down the road. I also like the idea of doing this in different parts of the country, this would alleviate part of the travel cost.

  32. Perhaps if this venture is wildly successful, you could consider occasionally offering one or two slots per cohort at half price, based on demonstrated need (submit church budget and something like a FAFSA) and maybe some kind of lottery system. I understand that people will make sacrifices for what they value, but I also know that there is a point where a budget can only be stretched so thin, and numerous competing values are at play. Limited resources are just that.

  33. Wow I think this is awesome and I do not think you will have any trouble finding 12 of us to sign up. I would be more than blessed to be one, but with transportation and housing costs, it would be cost prohibitive. If it is the desire of your heart I would like to provide an EAST coast location, here in the Orlando area, you might want to resource, if indeed you go that root. I pray God’s blessing on this new venture, and continued blessings on you and your family. One other thing Marko, I might not be able to go but if there is a need and someone finds themself short I would be more than happy to help in some way with finances, maybe if several of us can do that we can bless someone with a greater need, desire than ourselves! Just a thought.
    In HIS Steps, Bill

  34. Love the idea. Sounds very similar to jeannie Mayos “cadre” which I have considered. This I lthink I ike a little more.Beacause its you and its in Cali. Im in Norcal also But it is something I would seriously consider. Airmiles baby:)
    Wondering your thoughts more on Goals or if there are specific measurable “outcomes” you hope for each member. Or is this something tailor made more for their specific needs?

  35. This is a tough one for me personally.

    First off I think it is well within your right to make the wage you are worth. Secondly I think that this program will have huge value to any one lucky enough to afford it.

    My frustration, and this is not unique to you I think it is representative of the the majority of the top church speakers is that they never make a way for the church area’s that really need it.

    In my situation I am specifically referring to the north east. The north east is one of the most spiritually dead places in the country. It is filled with people so turned off by catholic guilt and irrelevant churches with out dated methods. A 300 person church in New England is like a mega church down south. New England is also home to some our nations largest population area, best schools, medical facilities, biggest companies and richest people. There is so much need to grow life giving youth ministries and churches but from my experience the successful churches, speakers and musicians have for the most part turned their back on one of the most important missions fields in the world.

    I would love to be a part of a group like that but it seems like every program I come across like that not only charge a ton(2500 is bigger than my whole budget) but I have to travel half way across the country at least for anything.

    Marko let me reiterate I believe you should charge what you charge because you are worth it especially when you are in the transitional phase you are in. Youth specialties has made a huge impact on my life and my ministry from a far and I much of that to your heart and passion that we share

    It just frustrates me that very few of the churches, musicians and speakers that have that national presence ever seem to say “Hey I am worth x amount of dollars but I believe there is a huge missional need in new england and I am going to lower that fee once a year, or not even charge so that I can help bring light to a place that is in desperate need of God’s love.

    I will stop my rambling and thank you again for the impact you make in the lives all over the world.

    God Bless,


  36. Another thing to consider besides the price: 12 trips away from the family. This would be difficult for folks with kids, especially young kids. I could probably figure out the money — it would be very tight, but 12 trips away from the kids, rearranging childcare, and the impact on my spouse…. those would be the really difficult hurdles. I’m thinking you would be missing on out on attracting women with children, a segment that is so often overlooked in ministry anyway. I vote for the hybrid model that would require fewer trips. To save on lodging costs, could you rent a cottage or all stay in one place? That might allow for more community building, cooking meals together, and less costs.

  37. Marko-

    Great idea for people in youth ministry. Your experience and gifts would help the workers tremendously. Let’s just hope and pray that people won’t get hung up on the specifics. I have read a lot of comments, and a good chunk of people are saying that $2500 (or $2900) is too much money. Don’t we hear that too much in our churches, people? We want to be the ministry that transforms people, but then, we are acting like how the budget committee acts in a meeting. Pray for guidance and ask God what He wants you to do. Maybe God is calling you to make the impossible possible.

  38. I see that cost question being raised time and again, and I think it has great worth, but it might help if it were unpacked a bit more.

    1 – who is benefiting, the individual, the church, or both (or neither, though I don’t think that’s a possibility)?
    2 – who is paying, the individual, the church, or both?
    3 – is the answer to #2 consistent with the answer to #1?

    If it is important to the individual, they can find a way to pay. If it is important to the church, they can find a way to pay. If it is important to the individual but not to the church, or visa versa, there isn’t any point in asking the other to pony up.

    Of course, until #1 is answered, and I’m not sure that it can be answered until you (Marko) put some more flesh on those bones, I think the cost issue will constantly be raised. “$2,500? What am I getting out of it” is the question that will come to mind (as it should) for anyone who is asked to pay.

    That being said, and i know I’m going to price some people out of this, I think you need to charge more, or nothing at all. I firmly believe that what you’re offering has a value greater than $2,500. Either give the whole thing away, or charge what it is worth. Six sessions, 22 hours each session at $2500, is less than $20 per hour. Maybe a little more if you don’t count potty breaks. Anyone who doesn’t believe that your time is worth more than that, to my mind, isn’t going to be capable of realizing the full potential of your time anyway.

  39. I love the idea and I believe it will work.

    My only sadness in this prospect is that it is yet another case of the haves and have nots. Like Adam pointed out in a popular blog posting months back, there are two kinds of youth ministry and this program strongly feeds the “haves.” Not that anything is really wrong with that as the “haves” also need to be supported well. At this point we are only talking 12. There are going to be 12 blessed youth pastors who will gain longevity and that is never bad.

    p.s. I also am wary of an online version of this as it will not be the same.

  40. Marko, fantastic idea, go for it. and I don’t think the cost is too high. you’ll “exclude” more people by limiting the group(s) to 12 then the cost. if it’s important a lot of people will find a way.

  41. oh my giddy aunt I wish I could take part in this (in the UK).

    This will be gold-dust marko, and I think you have priced this about right.

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