Tag Archives: josh griffin

if the youth ministry blogging world had tectonic plates, they would have just shifted

i was just sitting here at my desk, thinking of all the changes i’ve been involved in over the past four or five years, and i had an image in my minds-eye of a rubber duck riding down a stream that — while just a stream from a human view — feels pretty crazy to the duck!

experientially, i’m pretty qualified to notice when change in the youth ministry world is significant (or if it’s only being positioned that way).

and, when josh griffin and doug fields (along with their downloadyouthministry.com partner matt mcgill and 8 other guests) launch a new youth ministry blog, it’s worth noting.

josh has had the #1 blog in the youth ministry world for a few years, and seeing the numbers behind the rankings, i can tell you that no one was even remotely nipping at his heals. then, the youth ministry veteren but blogging rookie, doug fields, started blogging. and, no surprise, within a year, had become the #2 youth ministry blog (bumping me down to #3, by the way!).

so, josh deciding to leave morethandodgeball.com behind, and doug deciding to shift his blogging over (in effect, shutting down his #2 blog) is a big change!

josh’s old blog — morethandodgeball.com — is being reimagined by simply youth ministry. it will now have a team of bloggers, and will — i’m confident — remain a very important (and leading) voice. if you don’t follow that one, you should.

but LoveGodLoveStudents.com, which will redirect you to the new download youth ministry blog, is the place where josh and doug will now be posting. it’s already live (started last week), and extremely active. i’m following it already, and would encourage you to do the same.

love god love students

Liesl and Max answers Josh Griffin’s questions about 99 Thoughts on Raising Your Parents

you probably know already that i wrote a book earlier this year with my two teenage kids, liesl and max. it’s called 99 Thoughts on Raising Your Parents: Living the Sweet Life at Home.

but yesterday on his blog, josh griffin hosted a little Q&A with my kids about the book. i loved their answers, so asked josh if i could post them also.

Q&A about 99 Thoughts on Raising Your Parents
With Liesl Oestreicher and Max Oestreicher

Marko: Liesl and Max really did write these answers, just like they really did write the book with me (they wrote 100% of these answers, and about 70% of the book). Btw: Liesl is 18 – she graduated from HS last spring, and I currently on a gap-year, living in Ireland at the moment, and heading to India in January. Max is 14 (turns 15 in a week), and a freshman in HS.

Josh: OK, first off tell us about YOU!

Max: Drums + ukulele + bacon = Max Oestreicher

Liesl: I’m a dirty hippy, loving trees one hug at a time.

Josh: OK, now … what’s up with your dad’s beard?

Max: I think he should go pro.

Liesl: Babies and old, senile women enjoy grabbing and stroking it. It’s true, I’ve seen both happen.

Josh: The book is awesome – how did it come about?

Max: My dad wanted me and my sister to write a book about how cool he is. At first i refused, and then he told me i’d get paid.

Liesl: I was sitting in a forest, writing my autobiography, when a glowing figure approached me. The figure told me He was God, who had come down in human form to tell me something. He told me that He had peeked at what I was writing and that it was very good, that it even exceeded the work of the great Mark Oestreicher. He then told me that He wanted me to write a book for teenagers, just like me, about how to get along with their parents. And, of course, I gratefully accepted.
I don’t know, maybe I imagined that. Now that I think about it, my dad just sent me an email one day that said my brother and I were going to write a book and we were going to get paid for it.

Josh: What’s one thing that teenagers can do to change the game for the relationship they have with their parents?

Max: When you are getting in an argument/fight/disagreement with your parents, don’t get defensive. Respectfully communicate your point of view, and then listen to their’s.

Liesl: Respect their opinions. If you don’t, how do you expect them to respect yours?
…or you can just move to Ireland, like I did.

Josh: Tell us a story about when your parents screwed up. Make me laugh!

Max: My parent lost me at Disney World when I was three. They let go of my hand and I decided I wanted to go see KIng Louie.

Liesl: Once my mom and I were on a snowmobile on a family vacation. My mom accidentally went too close to a little dip and our snowmobile rolled over sideways. We couldn’t get up on our own, so before he helped us, my dad laughed as he took pictures.

Josh: Who do you love more – mom or dad? What do you value most about them?

Max: I think my mom is just ok, but compare her to my dad and she’s amazing.

Liesl: I would say my mom, but my dad is more likely to see this, so… definitely my dad.

Josh: You have the attention of a TON of youth workers – what would you say to them about their jobs/roles/calling?

Max: I think youth workers should give a lot of opportunities to get involved in a leadership roles as this has been very meaning full to me.

Liesl: It is really encouraging to here your life stories, especially the times when you screwed up. It shows us (teenagers in your youth group) that it is a safe place to admit to our faults when you do the same.

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that’s the end of josh’s interview, but let me add a couple things.

first: one of the creative youth workers in my youth ministry coaching program recently told me about a very cool way she used the book. she took a single copy, cut the spine off (so all the pages were loose), and handed out each section (there are 6 or 7 sections) to a group of teenagers in her group. the groups read their sections, then made a presentation to the whole youth group, highlighting their own takes on a few of the ideas for improving their relationships with their parents.

and, here’s a goofy little video i shot for simply youth ministry when i was at their offices in august!

Q&A with josh griffin about the middle school ministry campference

josh griffin posted on his blog the other day, asking me three questions about the middle school ministry campference.

3 Questions About Campference with Mark Oestriecher
[marko comment: nice try on spelling my last name, josh. that, my friends, is why ‘marko’ is just easier.]

I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Middle School Ministry Campference coming this fall (October 14-16, 2011) – it is a brand new event designed specifically for junior high/middle school youth workers, and it is a conference…and camp! So normal stuff like general sessions, workshops and great music – but also free-time activities like zip lines, paintball, ropes course etc. Sounds like fun … here’s a quick 3-question interview with Mark Oestreicher, one of the minds behind it:

1) Tell me about your observations about junior high ministry that led you to create this atmosphere for junior high youth workers to get recharged, trained and encouraged?

We junior high youth workers tend to have a paradoxical combination of total passion for what we do combined with an inferiority complex. In so many churches (and at so many youth ministry events), young teen ministry is seen as the youth ministry equivalent of that strange little homeschool kid you just wish someone else would deal with. But, man, we know. We know how critical and powerful this ministry is. We’ve seen how formative these middle school years are, and how students often choose a path for life. At the end of the day, being in a room with a bunch of people who share my strange and unique calling — who get me — is my happy place. A tribal gathering of junior high peeps sounds like a slice o’ heaven to me.

2) Sounds fun! What makes this more camp and less conference? And why wasn’t I invited?

You weren’t invited because you’re a high school sell-out, dude. Good luck with that “corrective ministry” while we kick it in our “preventive ministry.” (Actually, you – and other HS youth workers – would be more than welcome. Someone doesn’t have to be a full-time junior high person to join us — they just have to want to learn and contribute, and be with this awesome tribe.)

We thought about having a more traditional conference. But Kurt Johnston and I were chatting about it, and we thought we needed to do something unique. We decided that ‘camp for junior high youth workers’ was just the ticket. We’ll combine some of the best aspects of a conference (fantastic main sessions and seminars) with some things we couldn’t do elsewhere (experiential learning, for example) and the vibe of a camp (all our meals together, tons of wicked-awesome fun stuff to do that you can never fully enjoy when you’re responsible for a group of 12 year-olds).

3) Tell me a great, quick story that junior high youth workers out there would appreciate. Preferably something gross and/or silly.

Two quick ones:

1. My 8th grade guys small group was recently putting together our own “creed” — things we knew to be true. It was full of pithy statements like “Respect is earned” and “Maturity takes time.” But they insisted on including a very important final statement of what our small group collectively believes: “Farting is best done outside.”

2. I was standing in the baptismal, interviewing Blake in front of the congregation (just remembered this story the other day). I asked him, “Blake, tell us what difference your faith made when your dad died.” He responded, “Well, it made it suck less.” Ah, junior highers — gotta love that truth-telling, baby.

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.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)

link fest

Millennials’ Judgments About Recent Trends Not So Different
report on new pew research

a tease:

As might be expected, members of the Millennial generation are enthusiastic about the technological and communication advances of the past decade. They are also highly accepting of societal changes such as the greater availability of green products and more racial and ethnic diversity. What may be less expected is that, in many cases, they are not much different from the age groups that precede them. And on at least one issue — the advent of reality TV shows — their views differ not at all from those of the oldest Americans.

(ht to bob carlton, via email)

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interesting commentary on christians influencing hollywood
i have zero interest in the “christian film industry”. however, i’m very intrigued by stories of faith leaking into hollywood. this commentary is particularly about the success of the blindside, and came out prior to the book of eli. but i find it especially interesting in light of the fact that many of the mixed or negative review i’ve seen of eli (some reviewers loved it, but certainly not all) had to do with the movie being “too christian” (ironic, since no one connected to it, other than denzel, would consider themselves overtly christian).

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one in eight million
wow, beautiful first-person storytelling and black-and-white photography of new yorkers. i could listen to these stories for hours.
(ht to kevin o’brien, via email)

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david crowder and mike hogan’s amazing book, everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die, has been re-written, revised, re-edited, and re-released by a new publisher. i’m happy to say i had a tiny hand in helping this fantastic book see the light of day again. if you haven’t read it, now’s the time. (my review of the old version)

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really thoughtful post by josh griffin about the correlation between a relational approach to youth ministry and student participation.

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been meaning to post about this for awhile, and this will have to do: eugene cho has started a very cool “organization” (really, more of a movement) called one day’s wages, as a practical, achievable global poverty initiative. really worth checking out.

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as a reader who loved chap clark’s book, hurt, tony jones’ book, postmodern youth ministry, and christian smith’s book, soul searching, i have struggled to understand how they might fit together, when they sometimes seem to have messages that are at odds with each other. tony jones has an interesting post about this, and suggests a bell-curve approach to their compatibility.

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a fascinating study on teenagers and sleep, showing a correlation between lack of sleep and depression. important reading for youth workers and parents.

a snippet:

Results show that adolescents with parental set bedtimes of midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to suffer from depression (odds ratio = 1.24) and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal ideation (OR=1.20) than adolescents with parental set bedtimes of 10 p.m. or earlier. This association was appreciably attenuated by self-reported sleep duration and the perception of getting enough sleep. Adolescents who reported that they usually sleep for five or fewer hours per night were 71 percent more likely to suffer from depression (OR=1.71) and 48 percent more likely to think about committing suicide (OR=1.48) than those who reported getting eight hours of nightly sleep. Participants who reported that they “usually get enough sleep” were significantly less likely to suffer from depression (OR=0.35) and suicidal ideation (OR=0.71).

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interesting commentary (on time magazine’s website, no less!) on whether or not the hit tv show “glee” has anti-christian themes. i’m not sure that one hypocritical christian character makes a whole show “anti-christian” – but it’s interesting reading nonetheless.

(ht to ypulse)