Tag Archives: mark matlock

tic long’s big move

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.

please pray

two people to pray for today:

my dear friend jason raitz, the middle school small groups pastor at willowcreek, lost his home to a fire yesterday (in -9 degree chicago weather!). jason’s family was not in the house at the time, though his brother was. his brother has some minor burns, but is ok. but it seems they have lost everything (or, at the least, most everything). the middle school ministry team is coming around jason and his family, and there’s lots of support; but this will still be a very challenging season for jason and tracie and their kids.

please pray for jason and his family.

here’s an article about the house fire, which doesn’t even mention jason, but focuses all of how bill hybels used to live in the house.

also, ys staffer mark matlock was experiencing some left arm tingling, chest pain, and facial numbness yesterday, and wisely went to the hospital. they did a cat scan and other tests, and have ruled out a stroke. but mark is still in the hospital for other testing, under the care of a cardiologist. mark was to be on a plane this morning, for a planet wisdom event in florida. it’s not clear yet if he’ll be released in time for an afternoon flight, or will have to stay through the weekend.

please pray for mark, his wife jade, and his kids. pray for the doctors. and pray for those at the florida planet wisdom site, who are scrambling to make sure the event is still great, whether mark makes it to florida or not.

teen ethics

recently, The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics surveyed 29,760 American high school students about their ethics and activities. The results are disturbing at first glance…

*a total of 30 percent overall — admitted stealing from a store within the past year.

*More than two of five (42 percent) said that they sometimes lie to save money.

*A substantial majority (64 percent) cheated on a test during the past year

*More than one in four (26 percent) confessed they lied on at least one or two questions on the survey.

*A whopping 93 percent said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character

read the full summary of the report here.

i’ve been planning on posting on this for a while. but many others have done so; and i think the best summary and reflection was by mark matlock on our ys blog, who helpfully points out some cautions in reacting to the data.

a few interesting thingamabobs

tim schmoyer has lauched the “online missions trip”, which he’s calling a free missions trip. it’s a facebook campaign for youth ministries. interesting idea — check it out here.

adam walker-cleaveland started a little viral twitter thread, called “twitter of faith“. his description:

Twitter of Faith: What do you believe? You have 140 characters – give us your statement of faith in 140 characters. #TOF

you can go to this link and see the 140-character or less statements of faith created by others (assuming they tagged their tweet with #TOF), or this link, which aggregates both tagged #TOF tweets as well as those that use the words “twitter of faith”. interesting challenge, really, to condense a belief into so few words!

mark matlock wrote a really helpful and thoughtful piece on internet predators on the ysblog. if you haven’t read it yet, it’s here. a good piece to point parents to.

planet wisdom joins youth specialties

yup — here’s the big announcement i’ve alluded to a couple times. i’m pretty pumped. we’ve been friends with the planet wisdom gang for a while, and walked down the road of considering merging with them a couple years ago — but the timing didn’t seem right then for a few reasons. as we (ys) were considering our desire to expand into student events more, to compliment our student line of books (invert), we thought it was silly to create something new, when the planet wisdom tour and website is already fantastic, something we’ve promoted, and something we could really help expand.

mark matlock, the main dude at planet wisdom, has spoken at our events for years, and has published a bunch of books with us.

so this means ys will be working with mark (and a few of his staff that we’re bringing on board) to host the planet wisdom event tour, planetwisdom.com (a website primarily for teenagers), and to develop a parent training initiative.

here’s a great announcement video the skit guys helped us make:

and here’s the press release:

SAN DIEGO, CA, July 22, 2008 – Youth Specialties, a world leader in youth ministry resources, has acquired Dallas, Tex.-based Planet Wisdom from Wisdom Works Ministries. Planet Wisdom, a ministry dedicated to teens and those who care about them, hosts student tours, maintains a robust web site and offers a variety of published resources including books and curriculum. Terms of the acquisition, which was effective today, were not disclosed.

“Youth Specialties and Planet Wisdom have enjoyed a long-standing relationship and have a deep admiration for one another so this acquisition makes a lot of sense for both organizations,” said Youth Specialties president Mark Oestreicher. “We have been anxious to expand our services to include student and parenting events and resources, and this acquisition will allow us to do just that with an organization we love and respect.”

“It’s been evident to us that our organizations strongly complement one another and our missions are closely aligned,” said Mark Matlock, founder of Planet Wisdom. “This acquisition will afford us the resources we need to grow and build our events, web site and content of the Planet Wisdom tour beyond what we could do alone. Our commitment is to continue to deliver the quality resources and services we are known for, while improving and expanding our ministry to students, parents and youth workers through innovation and creativity.”

Planet Wisdom will launch the eighth year of their popular student tour in October, with events in 13 cities planned between October 2008 and April 2009. Mark Matlock will again serve as main speaker and presenter, with long time performers The Skit Guys returning, as well as worship leaders Dutton.

Matlock is a long time speaker and presenter at the annual Youth Specialties’ National Youth Workers Conventions, as well as the author of more than 10 books with Youth Specialties publishing. He is currently developing a training curriculum called Real World Parents which will roll out in the spring of 2009. Real World Parents is designed to train youth workers to present parenting resources that encompass a partnership between parents and youth workers in the spiritual development of teenagers.