my friends at ys made a pretty massive announcement this morning, via the video below.
tic long (the executive director of ys) and i were having a drink together in early january, and i mentioned how we really needed to find an executive pastor at my church. after explaining why for a bit, tic responded, “i’d love that job.” i completely thought he was kidding, and laughed. he didn’t laugh. he said, “i told you that before.” then he laughed — but only because tic and i have learned that we both, occasionally, have selective hearing with each other. he went on to explain the reasons he mentions in the video, including, “i’ve spent my life in a national ministry; i’d love to spend my last decade doing ministry at a local level.” tic and his wife terrie had, at that point, only started attending my church a few months earlier, and were really connecting with the vibe and values of the place.
a half hour later, i called our lead pastor, and told him about the conversation. his response, “you could push me over with your pinky finger right now.”
within a week, the three of us were meeting for coffee. more coffee appointments followed. more meetings. i was giddy. i kept telling our lead pastor, and eventually told the church board, “we shouldn’t have this opportunity — no church gets the opportunity to have a world class leader like tic, who we already know and already knows us, join our staff team.” everyone agreed, and tic is about to start as our executive pastor. he’ll phase in slowly, transitioning out of ys and into our church over a number of months, allowing him to finish strong at ys (though, with tic, nothing actually moves slowly, and he’s already met one-on-one with most of the pastors). tic will continue leading the national youth workers conventions through this fall, though he’ll be full-time at the church by that point (our church has a great kingdom mindset, and is totally fine with him taking those weeks off).
it’s a funny twist in my long story with tic, really. we were friends (like hundreds are) for a decade before i joined ys; we worked together at ys for 11 years; the boss of my parent company made me lay him off in 2009, just a few months before she laid me off; right before i got laid off, i started conversations with tic (on the sly) about him rejoining us; after i got laid off, youthworks hired him back to lead ys; and now he’ll be one of my pastors (btw: i’m not employed at my church, but function like an adjunct, lay pastor, teaching a various settings, advising and coaching a few of the pastors, and — of course — leading a middle school guys small group).
as for ys: well, i’ve been less privy to the process on that side of this story. but i agree with tic that it’s a good time for a new day and new leadership. i worked with matlock for a couple years, and believe he brings a great raft of ideas, skills and experience. i’m excited to see how things unfold in the next couple years. and please understand, this is nothing like the shake-ups we went through at ys in past years: no one chose that stuff; this is, i’m confident, an intentional hand-off, a natural and good transition.