Tag Archives: adam mclane

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex & Dating (and the Parent’s Guide 5-Pack Set)

first things first: i’ve been a really lousy blogger of late. these last few weeks have just been a blur, really. all filled with really wonderful stuff (including some days in detroit with my extended family, a sort-of partial vacation). but i haven’t been able to get “write blog post” up on the to-do list above items that were more pressing. and there’s nothing good about blogging out of obligation. plus, i always remind myself that approximately 4/5 of my blog readers don’t actually come to the blog to read stuff: most of you use a blog reader or subscribe via email. and those who DO come to the blog usually do so because they’re following a link on facebook. so, to you small handful who have typed in w-h-y-i-s-m-a-r-k-o-.-c-o-m into your browser, only to see the same ol’ posts that were previously there, i apologize. and: it’s unlikely to get much better in the next week or so!

ok, but!

parents guide, sex and datingi had a new book release last week! and i have to tell you about that!

when i was working on developing the “A Parent’s Guide” series for Simply Youth Ministry, we started with about 15 possible book topics, and narrowed it to 10. as part of the approval process with Group (as is true for all publishers), sales has to speak into the viability of a proposal; and Group’s sales peeps wisely suggested we start with 5 books in the series, rather than 10. narrowing the list to 5, i instantly knew who i wanted to work with on the co-authoring of A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls (that would be brooklyn lindsey), and on Teenage Guys (that would be brock morgan). the Social Media one was a complete no-brainer (duh, Adam McLane). and i knew i was just going to punch out the Teenage Brains book on my own. But A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex & Dating initially had me a bit stumped, both on the final title (i know this title could sound like it’s a sex guide for parents! but all other “more clear” variations were just making the title too long, or sounded creepy) and on who i might ask to co-author it with me.

joel mayward is a graduate of my Youth Ministry Coaching Program. i’d been working with him on developing the idea, and then the manuscript for his book Leading Up (a FANTASTIC book, btw). i knew joel to be a fantastic youth worker, an uncommonly deep and clear and curious thinker, and a really wonderful and skilled writer. so i asked him if he had any interest in helping me write to parents about this subject. surprised to be asked, he was stoked about it.

really, i love this book. it’s a short and easy-to-read overview of what’s most important for parents of teenagers to understand when i comes to both understanding their teenager’s sexuality and in how to talk about it. it’s theologically grounded (probably more so than any of the other books in the series), and surprisingly deep, considering the length and style.

here’s the back cover copy:

Helping your child make wise choices about sex and dating requires more than just one chat. It’s about building bridges of ongoing dialogue throughout the teenage years.

But youth workers Mark Oestreicher and Joel Mayward realize many parents don’t feel comfortable or prepared to have these kinds of conversations. That’s why they wrote A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex and Dating—to equip you to initiate healthy, honest discussions with your teenager. This book will also help you understand some of the relevant trends and issues in today’s youth culture.

Your role as a parent is to do more than provide your teenager with information about sex and dating. You have the opportunity and the calling to help your child live wisely and honor God in this sometimes tricky, occasionally awkward, and always vital area of life.

parents: get it. youth workers: get it for parents, or tell ’em about it.

parent-5-packand while we’re at it…

this book is the last of the five in the Parent’s Guide series! so The Youth Cartel is now selling the whole set at a $5 discount (a buck a book off!). the whole set inclues:
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls (co-authored with Brooklyn Lindsey)
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Guys (co-authored with Brock Morgan)
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Brains (written only by little ol’ me)
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media (co-authored with Adam McLane)
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex & Dating (co-authored with Joel Mayward)

you can download samples of each book by following the links. or, go here to order the whole set at a discount.

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media

i’m really pleased with how the “Parent’s Guide” series i developed for Simply Youth Ministry is unfolding. three of the five titles have released previously:
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls, which i co-authored with brooklyn lindsey
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Guys, which i co-authored with brock morgan
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Brains, which i wrote all by my big-boy self

and A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex & Dating (co-authored with joel mayward) should release around february 1, i think.

but the fourth book in the series just released, and i think it’s going to be very, very helpful to lots of moms and dads (and, youth workers, frankly). introducing: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media (btw: there’s a free downloadable sample at that link). i co-authored this one with my partner in crime, adam mclane (and let’s be honest: you all know that with this topic, he did the heavy lifting in terms of writing. if i were writing a social media book all by myself, it would probably be called “how to offend people when you think you’re being mysterious online, how to host a twitter feed for facial hair, and how to blog about weird nativities, all to the glory of god, of course.”).

like all the books in this series, it’s very short and to the point. but don’t make the wrong assumption that the content must, therefore, be lightweight. this little baby is much more than “teenagers like to text” and “have you heard of facebook?” really, i learned SO much co-authoring this with adam because the dude knows his stuff. in other words, i think youth workers would benefit from this just as much as parents.

here’s the back cover copy:

With each passing day, teenagers’ lives become increasingly intertwined with social media. How can you as a parent stay informed and involved in healthy ways? How can you help your son or daughter make wise decisions and remain safe online?

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media will equip you to have meaningful conversations with your teenager about the best, wisest ways to get connected while staying safe.

Your guides for this journey are Mark Oestreicher and Adam McLane, who draw from their own wells of experience as parents and youth workers. They’ll help you chart a course toward discovering and practicing wise family online activity.

check out this nice amazon review that got posted by “tim” yesterday:

As someone in youth ministry who is fairly “connected” with social media, I started the book a bit skeptical of it teaching me anything new but read it to see if it would be good to pass on to the parents of teenagers I know. Not only would I recommend this book to all parents of teenagers, but I found myself learning things I didn’t know before and gaining new insights into the world of social media that not only relate to teens but my online activity as well.

A book about technology and what’s popular runs the risk of getting outdated quickly but the principles in this book can be applied to whatever is popular online at any time.


  • if you’re a parent, get a copy (and maybe another copy for a friend)
  • if you’re a youth worker, get a copy for yourself (there are very few youth workers who won’t learn something new in this)
  • or, if you’re a youth worker, consider getting a dozen or two (they’re SUPER cheap), and hosting a conversation with a group of parents in your church.

click here to see more, download the free sample, or order the physical or digital version.

campference rants

at the middle school ministry campference last weekend, our saturday morning tribal gathering didn’t have a full-length speaker. instead, we had four 7-minute “soapbox rants,” each in response to the question, “what’s one thing you wish all middle school youth workers would start or stop.” it was quite amazing how the four of them flowed together, even though we didn’t know what each was going to say (and they hadn’t communicated with each other).

brooklyn lindsey shared a wonderfully transparent challenge to be honest about who you really are. money quote:

“Stop being someone else. It’s time to be you!”

our second rant was crowdsourced. we invited all the attendees to submit a summary of what they would rant about, then posted the submissions without names on an online survey for voting. joel daniel harris, founder of the newly launched organization TomTod (an organization attempting to come around middle schoolers with a justice/social cause dream and help them turn it into a reality) spoke to us on our need to dream. he talked about “double scope integration,” the fancy term for imagination, connecting it to our calling to exercise imagination in the overlapping spaces of our culture and the kingdom of god, which he referred to as “sacred imagination.” brilliant stuff.

adam mclane was up next. and, since adam has blogged about his rant, you can read it here. adam pushed us to think about decentralizing youth ministry in order to be more responsive to the 42.7 million teenagers in america. money quote:

We must decentralize our role, invite more adults who minister to teenagers already to the table, and multiply our effectiveness.

bringing us home was scott rubin, who — like brooklyn — pushed us with his honesty while challenging us to think about where we “put our worst foot forward.” scott (who blogged the notes from his rant here), unpacked the reality that in an age of facebook and twitter, we’re constantly thinking about how to put our best foot forward in little snippets, constantly presenting the image of ourselves that we want people to have, constantly sharing an edited 2-dimensional version of ourselves. money quote:

Not getting 100 more twitter followers by Christmas isn’t going to disqualify you from ministry.
Not having someone who knows your secret world could bring your ministry – and life – to a grinding halt one day.

great stuff. i’d encourage you to click though on adam and scott’s stuff and read more.

3 books coming out in august

i’m pretty pumped to announce that i have THREE books releasing in august. crazy, huh?

i’ve developed a series of little pocket guides for parents of teenagers for simply youth ministry. these are really designed to be a quick and accessible read for any parent, with the goal of increasing understanding (which, i’ve often found, puts parents in a better place to connect with their teenagers). the books are something youth workers could buy in bulk (they’ll be super inexpensive), and make available to parents.

there will be five books in all, releasing over the next 6 months or so. on four of them, i recruited a fantastic co-author.

the first two in the series are:

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Guys: Remembering Who He Was, Celebrating Who He’s Becoming
by Mark Oestreicher and Brock Morgan

A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Girls: Remembering Who She Was, Celebrating Who She’s Becoming
by Mark Oestreicher and Brooklyn Lindsey

the other books in the series will be:
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Teenage Brains, which i wrote on my own
A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, which Adam McLane co-authored with me
and, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Sex & Dating, which Joel Mayward is co-authoring with me

and… (i’m really pumped about this one!)… i co-authored a book with my two kids, Liesl and Max! They really did write the bulk of it. the three of us went on a writing retreat, framing out the whole book and writing 2/3 of it. then, on a family vacation over spring break, we finished writing the last 1/3.

it’s a book for teenagers, also published with simply youth ministry. and it’s called:

99 Thoughts on Raising Your Parents: Living the Sweet Life at Home
by Liesl and Max Oestreicher, with Mark Oestreicher

you’ll be able to get them all on the simply store, or on The Youth Cartel store, or anywhere fine books are sold! and, of course, you can count on the fact that i’ll let you know when they actually release (very soon!).

Good News in the Neighborhood

one of the things i love about my partner in The Youth Cartel is that he is SO much more than a smart, tech-savvy youth worker. adam’s a guy with a particular vision for youth ministry, one that has implications for how he and his family live. one of adam’s strong values is about how the gospel should be good news to the people we live among. in other words, our homes, and our youth ministries, should be present to the real people and real needs of the community around us. and adam and his family live that out.

along those lines, adam teamed up with his friend jon huckins (author of the excellent book Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling, who is likewise committed that kind of incarnational community presence) to write a 6-week youth ministry curriculum called Good News in the Neighborhood. it’s pretty robust — with videos for each of the lessons. here’s what you get:

    Printable PDF of teachers notes
    Editable Word version of teachers notes
    6 introductory video stories (One for each week)
    Multiple options for each session to fit the needs of your group (Activity ideas, discussion starters, teaching options)
    6 experiments for students to try between sessions

and here’s the outline:

    Week 1: Tuning In (Experiment: Ethnography/Observation)
    Week 2: Diving Deep (Experiment: Participating)
    Week 3: Crossing Borders (Experiment: Two-fold inviting)
    Week 4: Advocating for What Matters (Experiment: Standing up for our neighbors)
    Week 5: New Eyes (Experiment: New eyes)
    Week 6: Living a New Story (Experiment: Commissioning)

the whole thing is downloadable (including the vids).

this is one of the first forays into publishing for The Youth Cartel. you’re going to see a whole lot more of this during 2012 (we have a pipeline of cool resources in development!).

you can check it out here.

and here’s a video teaser (a trailer, of sorts):

a big day for The Youth Cartel

let’s start with this: watch the video.

hopefully that video allowed you to chuckle a bit, and get an actual overview of our news today. i started The Youth Cartel several months ago. but for a while, it was just the umbrella under which i put all the stuff i was doing (including the Youth Ministry Coaching Program and the Middle School Ministry Campference). my friend and former ys co-worker, adam mclane, has walked with me through this last 18 months, meeting for coffee, being a sounding board, developing my websites. i trust adam completely, and we share so much similarity in terms of vision for youth ministry and the church.

recently, adam and i began a conversation about what it would look like to partner together. while we share vision and values, adam has a complementary skill set to mine, and i knew The Youth Cartel would be able to offer so much more with him on board. so, after a couple months of dreaming, praying, planning, and working out details, i’m stoked to announce that adam is joining me, officially starting september 1 (but doing some part-time stuff prior to then).

not only does this ramp up what The Youth Cartel can offer, it put me in a place to re-imagine the future. out of our discussions, a shared passion came out to help identify and lift up emerging voices in youth ministry. we’re going to do this in a wide variety of ways, many of which are only ideas at this point. but we’re stoked about Instigating a Revolution in Youth Ministry; and the reality is, we can’t do that alone, nor should we.

today, in addition to that snappy little video (which we shot in the california desert this past saturday!), we’re unveiling a new website for The Youth Cartel. we invite you to poke around on the site. you’ll find a much deeper and broader description of what we’re doing.

and we’re launching a bunch of ways for you to connect, becoming part of The Youth Cartel:

  • “like” our new facebook page here. that’s a place where you can stay up to date on new stuff, youth ministry discussions, and a community of people who understand you.
  • follow our twitter feed here. we won’t annoy you with tweets about what we’re eating or the location of our oil change, promise.
  • sign up for our e-newsletters here. our first, youtube you can use, will launch in september, and provide you with a weekly link to a youtube video, as well as discussion questions and creative ways to use it. other e-newsletters will follow.
  • add The Youth Cartel blog to your reader. in addition to my blog and adam’s blog, The Youth Cartel blog will be a place for conversation and revolutionary ideas.

oh, and would you do me a favor? tweet this (see the button below), or post it on facebook or google+ (both also below). help me spread the word!

shoot me an email or leave a comment with your ideas. we’d love to hear from you. my hope is that this won’t just be a big day for The Youth Cartel, but will be the start of something fresh for the people i love: youth workers.

youth leaders and church leaders: interested in exploring a trip to haiti?

i’m so glad i took adam mclane to haiti this past february. i’m glad because i really enjoy him as a friend, and it was great to spend that week with him. but it’s much more than that — adam was clearly moved on our trip, and followed up by taking a 2nd trip this summer, with a random crew of peeps he recruited via social media (as only adam would do).

but now’s he’s at it again. adam wants to take 10 – 15 youth leaders and church leaders on a trip to port-au-prince, december 26 – january 1. he’s specifically hoping to include people on the trip who are either considering taking a group (but want to check it out first), or are considering a church partnership.

here’s adam with a few details:

i couldn’t encourage you to go more strongly. my church has a church partnership that has already been so wonderful for both churches (in fact, my church has a team in haiti at this moment!).

if you’re interested, contact adam: facebook, flickr, website contact page, twitter, or walk into the freakin’ ys office and let him show you the bullet hole in his window.

top 20 youth ministry blogs

adam mclane’s research is complete, and he posted his list of the top 20 youth ministry blogs on the ys blog earlier this week. i’m super pleased to see whyismarko somehow land at #2. to be honest, i’m rather surprised by this, as it seems like my traffic never fully recovered from the 6 month blog sabbatical i took last year (and, even since i’ve started blogging again, my traffic has been on a slow downward arc). some of my slowing traffic, i’m sure, is that i have chosen to not care about it like i used to (the old 2 posts a day, every single day approach i used to use). these days i post when i want to, and rarely more than once a day. and if three days go by without a post, i choose to not care.

my ranking was certainly helped by the fact that, for whatever reason, my technorati ranking is pretty good at the moment (526), while josh griffin’s blog (who, i’m VERY confident, gets WAY more readers than mine) has an oddly low technorati ranking at the moment.

i like adam’s approach of considering influence as a subjective portion of the rankings. all rankings are, ultimately, subjective in one way or another (the compiler chooses which metrics to care about, which are often in opposition to one another). but i think the list will be even better next year, when those voting on influence are the last year’s top 20 (or, will that make it worse, like a church elder board that has the power to choose their own replacements!?).

some of the list are the expected standards of youth ministry blogging. but i was pleased to see tash mcgill pop up from 41 last year to 16 this year. tash is one of the only female bloggers on the list (kara powell of the fuller youth institute blog being the other), and one of only two non-US bloggers (the other being ian mcdonald of the UK-based youthblog). her blog is really worth reading (she’s a great writer), and i’m glad this list will give her more exposure. i’m also a fan of jeremy zach (as a person, youth worker, and blogger), and glad to see his blog on the rise.

the two biggest “injustices” on the list, in my opinion, are josh griffin not being in the top 2, and the fuller youth institute blog coming in at 13, where it actually dropped from #5 last year. the FYI blog is, i think, the single best youth ministry blog out there. if i were creating a “blogs youth workers should read” list of my own (100% weighted on my subjective opinion), the FYI blog would be #1. i’m not sure how it could drop this year, as the content is better than ever. but i have to believe it’s because not enough people know about it, and with the addition of “influence” in adam’s formula this year, it didn’t score high enough with those who provided the input on that factor. (there’s also a little “injustice” in people who barely ever blog at all making the list. for example, my good friend chris folmsbee makes the list at #8, a climb from #21 last year, but hasn’t posted since mid-march! or, how ’bout mark riddle, who rose this year also, but hasn’t posted since mid-january!)

ultimately, whether i made the list or not, i’m glad adam created it, because there are a few in the top 20 that i’ve never heard of — and i want to start following them.

here’s the list — happy reading!

2010 Rank / Blogger Name / Blog address (2009 Rank)
1 / Youth Specialties Blog / http://youthspecialties.com/blog (12)
2 / Mark Oestreicher / http://whyismarko.wpengine.com (3)
3 / Tim Schmoyer / http://studentministry.org (3)
4 / Josh Griffin / http://www.morethandodgeball.com/ (2)
5 / Adam McLane / http://adammclane.com (7)
6 / Adam Walker Cleaveland / http://pomomusings.com/ (1)
7 / Orange Leaders / http://www.orangeleaders.com/ (–)
8 / Chris Folmsbee / http://www.anewkindofyouthministry.com/ (21)
9 / Ian MacDonald / http://www.youthblog.org (9)
10 / Walt Mueller / http://learningmylines.blogspot.com/ (–)
11 / Jeremy Zach / http://www.reyouthpastor.com (28)
12 / Jonathan McKee / http://blog.thesource4ym.com/ (19)
13 / Fuller Youth Institute / http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/ (5)
14 / Mark Riddle / http://www.theriddlegroup.com/blog/index.htm (25)
15 / Mike King / http://king.typepad.com/mike_king/ (15)
16 / Tash McGill / http://tashmcgill.blogspot.com/ (41)
17 / Gavin Richardson / http://www.gavoweb.com/ (8)
18 / Matt Cleaver / http://mattcleaver.com/ (29)
19 / Kurt Johnston / http://simplykurt.com/ (10)
20 / Stevan Sheets / http://www.stevansheets.com/ (10)

lessons from failure

adam mclane posted some great thoughts about things he’s learning from failure the other day. i’m a firm believer in failure. in fact, i loved the language that rose during a discussion i was part of a few months back with a group of youth workers: we talked about how learning from failure is so much more forming than learning that comes from success; and if that’s true, how could be embrace and “create a culture of failure” in our churches. of course, some churches have a deep culture of failure, but their biggest failure is in failing to celebrate it or learn from it.

i’m not suggesting i’m naturally disposed to embracing failure. but i’m getting better at learning from it, and embracing it for all the opportunity it provides.

anyhow, here are adam’s insights, which i found so helpful:

* Failure is statistically interesting. I’m a highly emotional person in my decision-making, but I am also typically emotional when the data backs up my theory. So when something crashes and burns that means that my data was bad. And that’s interesting.

* Don’t cross that idea off the list just yet. One of the things I’ve noticed in companies/individuals who are failures is that they give up on a good idea to quickly. “We tried that before and it didn’t work.” That’s a phrase you hear from people who are so afraid of failing that they are only looking for snake oil. Maybe the timing was wrong? Maybe the execution was bad? Maybe your location/placement was bad?

* Working harder rarely significantly impacts my results. My instinct is… when the plan is going bust to just work harder and longer. But experience has taught me that holding onto a failure instead of letting it just fail is an energy burn. A failure is a failure no matter how hard I work.

* I need to study the fail in order to get away from the anecdotal reasons to the real reasons for the failure. That typically means I have to beat some stumps and dig through some data before I can really learn from the mistake. It might end up being something simple… and it might be something complex. But until I put on my forensic glasses I’m just not learning anything.

* A failure doesn’t make me a failure. This is where playing sports teaches you about redemption! There is a good chance I’ll be in the exact same situation again another time… not learning, recognizing, and adapting from that previous failure… that’s what makes me a failure.

* When a project completely failures to deliver, despite my ability to adapt the plan, sometimes this reveals a God aspect. At the end of the day I can work as hard as I can or plan my best plan but if it isn’t meant to be I need to be OK with that in recognition that I’m not the author of my life.

if i could just figure out how to comment on adam’s blog without registering on yahoo-something-or-other, i would have merely applauded him there. instead, his blog failure got him the opportunity to have me post it here!

an odd conglomeration of diverse bits, part 2 (of 2)

three more bits that i wanted to post, but hadn’t gotten around to…

adam mclane, my good friend and former ys co-worker, went along with my on our late february trip to haiti (the youth ministry advance team: haiti). adam was so deeply moved that even before we flew home, he was saying, “i don’t know how or when, but i know i’m coming back.” well, adam’s keeping that promise. and he’s opened up the trip to other youth workers, or, really, anyone who would like to go. the trip is limited to 20 people.

some details, from adam’s blog post about this trip:

* July 19-25, 2010
* Cost is $390 + travel to Port-au-Prince (seems like the flight is about $800 from San Diego, maybe more or less where you live.)
* The maximum size of the team is 20. I’d like to know who is going by mid-May.
* The team is open to anyone 21+… whether you know me from church, my work at Youth Specialties, or are a blog reader.
* This is an adult trip– which means we’ll be a team when we’re together, but it’s not quite the same as a youth group trip!
* Just like my first trip, this is being put together by Adventures in Missions. I know the team there and some of the people we’ll be working alongside.
* Kristen is going with me. Though it’s not a “couples” trip this may be an amazing opportunity for a ministry couple to go and do ministry together.
* Ideally, you have a heart for serving the Haitian church and have been praying for God to open an opportunity for you to go.
* If you are thinking of leading a team in 2011 and want to go on a preview trip, this is perfect for that.
* I don’t know 100% what we’ll be doing every day of our trip. (That will become more clear later) At this point I can only guarantee you that we’ll be doing some type of earthquake relief and working through a local Haitian pastor.

here’s adam offering the invitation to join him:

years ago, a handful of us who had been to the amazing british festival, greenbelt (SO much more than a music festival!), started dreaming about creating an american version. our conversations took many forms and turns, at one point thinking of the event as a mash-up of an americanized greenbelt and an americanized taize (i even had a terse email dialogue with a monk from taize in france, who informed me that, while he wished us well, did not think that trying to replicate taize merited any consideration at all). ys was part of this discussion for a while, and we were in serious chats with youth front camps, in the kansas city area. but we never really got anywhere with the idea. others got involved and ys stepped back (but karla yaconelli continued on as a part of what has become the board of the new festival).

i was starting to think the idea would never really come to life. so i was really pleased to see that the festival — now called the “wild goose festival” (wild goose is a celtic reference to the holy spirit, btw) — looks to be real. they’ve just hired an executive director (a guy with great greenbelt experience), have a blog up, and a date (june 2011). pay attention to this one.


my jaw literally dropped while watching this dude. damien walters takes parkour and flips and trampolines and gymnastics to a truly hard-to-believe place:

(ht to neatorama)