Tag Archives: mark oestreicher

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!).

A Beautiful Mess: What’s Right About Youth Ministry (FREE!)

hey, i have an idea: how about i run a big ol’ blog contest where the winner gets a FREE copy of my brand-new book, A Beautiful Mess: What’s Right About Youth Ministry?

but, here’s the catch: you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to enter, and everyone’s a winner!

i am quite pleased that the creative minds at simply youth ministry suggested we give away my book for two weeks (the downloadable versions). after these two weeks, it’ll cost you a few bucks, and you can also order a physical copy if you want. but for now, you can FREELY download a packet with a pdf, a .epub file for ipad, and a .mobi file for kindle.

how much does that rock? well, quite a bit of rockage, thank you very much.

here’s the skinny on the book: i was starting to sense a weariness in the youth workers i connect with, due to the barrage of “bad news” coming from people like me, as well as the research and books that have been telling us, in a sense, that we’re failing at our calling. i was stirred by a poignant moment i had at an event last year, where i felt i was complicating things, and stopped to try to encourage the good and faithful youth workers in that room (read that experience here, which shows up in the book also).

so, when SYM was asking me for book ideas, i suggested i write something about what’s going well in youth ministry.

at one point the book was called The Glass Half-Full — and that’s really the point of it. sure, there are some problems in youth ministry, and we can’t stick our heads in the sand. but there’s also lots of really wonderful stuff happening in churches all over the place. AND, the subtle notion that fixing what’s broken is completely within our power is, honestly, a bit arrogant and messiah-like.

so, that was the nexus of this baby. it’s not long — a quick read at about 10,000 words. easy, peasy.

here’s the back cover copy someone at SYM created (which summarizes the book very well):

When you think about the state of youth ministry today, are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you cheer or fear? Is the glass half full or half empty? In this honest, frank, blunt examination, veteran youth worker Mark Oestreicher offers a fresh perspective on what’s working in youth ministry today—and discovers that perhaps things aren’t as broken as some of us might have thought.

Theologically and anecdotally, we can uncover plenty of encouraging signs in the realm of youth ministry, according to Oestreicher, whose youth ministry experience includes time as an in-the-trenches youth worker and as a publisher of youth ministry books and resources. A Beautiful Mess features insights on the issues and opportunities facing youth workers, including the trend toward longevity in ministry, the power of smaller churches, the work of the Holy Spirit, the rewards of authentic relational ministry, the need for integration instead of isolation, and the centrality of faith and humility.

This book will help you experience the freedom of your calling, rather than the stress of expectations. You’ll discover an abundance of reasons to remain optimistic, intentional, and faithful as you engage in the lives of today’s teenagers.

so, get to it. download your free copy here!

the 2011 Youth Ministry Coaching Program

“The YMCP has been more fruitful and transformational in my understanding of ministry and leadership than any of my seminary classes or youth ministry conferences I’ve attended to date. As a 17 year veteran of youth ministry, I cannot think of a better way to stretch your leadership quotient or challenge your personal ministry philosophy than a year invested in the YMCP.”
– Brian Berry, Journey Community Church, La Mesa, CA

“There are lots of places to learn about the ‘what’ or ‘how’ of youth ministry. Mark Oestreicher’s YMCP leaves you with such strong sense of ‘why’ that all the other questions seem to fall into place. By focusing on personal growth and values, the YMCP has left me with a fresh view of ministry, a dozen lifetime friendships, and a wealth of knowledge. Truly nothing I have done in my life has ever brought more healthy introspection and growth towards the future. If you are wondering if it is for you, the answer is yes.”
– Luke MacDonald, Harvest Bible Chapel, Rolling Meadows, IL

The Youth Ministry Coaching Program is a whole-life yearlong coaching program for youth workers. Deeply rooted in the idea that a healthy, growing, learning youth worker will stay longer and have a deeper impact for the Kingdom, YMCP constantly returns participants to the formation and expansion of personal and ministry core values.

The cohort approach allows for 360-degrees of input. The lead coach acts as facilitator and guide on this journey; but the other youth workers in the cohort will become friends and co-conspirators, as you will be for each of them. We’ll wrestle with a wide variety of youth ministry subjects, but will also process spiritual, relational, and emotional growth, in a context of safety, honesty, and real life application and accountability.

Previous participants have said that the presentations made by themselves and others were one of the most valuable aspects of the program, allowing them the opportunity to dig deep into a subject or practical matter of their choosing, but also modeling a process of speaking into other peoples’ lives.

Each cohort of 8 – 10 meets six times throughout the year (every other month). In between meetings, cohort members stay in contact with a closed facebook group, homework partners, and one-on-one phone calls with the lead coach. During each two day meeting, each participant also receives a one-on-one coaching session and a 50-minute spiritual direction session.

For 2011, YMCP is rolling out 7 cohorts. Here’s the list of these seven, with their meeting locations, starting months, and program fees:
• San Diego, beginning in May, lead by Mark Oestreicher ($3000)
• Nashville, beginning in October, lead by Mark Oestreicher ($3000)
• Chicago, beginning in September, lead by Ginny Olson ($3000)
• Greenwich, CT (NYC area), beginning in September, lead by Brock Morgan ($2200)
• Atlanta, beginning in September, lead by Paul Martin ($2200)
• Kansas City, beginning in October, lead by Chris Folmsbee ($3000)
• Calgary/Vancouver*, beginning in October, lead by Matt Wilks ($2500)

*The Canadian cohort will meet 3x in Calgary and 3x in Vancouver, and is open only to Canadians.

Each of the lead coaches have been carefully selected, and will receive supervision from Mark Oestreicher, ensuring that each cohort experiences a high level of quality and the values of the program.

For a full description of the program, including expected outcomes, overview of the 2-day meetings, and the application process, click here to download a pdf summary.
If you have any questions, please contact Mark Oestreicher.
If you’d like an application, please email Marko at [email protected]
click here to watch the promo video.

“If you’re looking for the absolute best experience in how to stretch you and your ministry then Marko’s YMCP is for you. I have learned more in the past year in this hands on approach than in 4 years of seminary and grad school. It has been the best thing I have done both personally and professionally.”
– Robb Gossen, Carthage Nazarene Church, Carthage, MO

“The Youth Ministry Coaching Program is more than learning how to lead a small group or finding out the 10 best ways to use a pool noodle. YMCP has been designed to sharpen, challenge and encourage you personally, professionally, spiritually and relationally. This holistic approach is what makes this experience unique and successful! YMCP challenged me down to my core and I am a better Youth Pastor because of it.”
– Nikki Lowery, First Baptist Church, Stockton, CA

“Being part of YMCP has helped me better understand my calling and role in ministry. It has been great to hear what others are doing and get input into how I can better address issues in my life and role in my church.”
– Danny Long, Jamul Community Church, Jamul, CA

“Even after one meeting, this program had made a significant difference in my personal and professional life. I have already addressed issues in my ministry that would not have been possible without this group. It is exciting to think about what this will mean to me personally and to the congregation I serve. I’m grateful to know that I will always have this group to lean on.”
– Glenn Meschko, St. Helena’s Episcopal Church, Boerne, TX

“Benefiting from the experience Marko brings to the group has been great. He has an ability to discern truth that is, frankly, amazing. Marko’s love for students and youth ministers is apparent. He believes in the value of youth ministers and has a passion for developing us into better leaders.”
– Chuck Hilman, Grace UMC, Geneseo, IL

my 1 year anniversary of leaving ys

today is my 1 year anniversary of getting laid off from my role as president of youth specialties.

before i reflect on that in writing, allow me to make a few things very clear:

first, i have nothing against youth specialties. just the opposite: i love ys. always have, always will. i remain close friends with the remaining staff, am speaking at their conventions this fall, and hold onto nothing but hope for them as they continue to move forward with integrity and a missional passion to serve youth workers.

second, ys didn’t really lay me off. zondervan, our then-parent company, laid me off. while i might not have agreed with the choice at the time, there’s nothing about the decision itself (particularly from the distance of a year) that doesn’t make sense. ys was being sold, and there was no longer a role for me. i have lots of dear friends at zondervan also (who i miss, since i don’t get to spend time with them anymore), and my next book will still be released with them.

third, youthworks! (the new-ish owners of ys) are good people. really. and i’ve been so deeply pleased to hear from tic and others how supported they’re feeling during this convention season.

now, let’s talk about me!

leading up to my lay-off, i was riddled with anxiety. as i wrote in an earlier post, i had a zombie soul. the work of trying to re-make ys into a profit machine was not my calling, and — really — beyond my ability or desire. but the two months after the lay-off put that anxiety and hear into hyper-drive. when i spent a bunch of days in silence, giving presence and space to the various emotions i’d been frozen in, i journalled about my fears. i wrote things like (these are straight out of that journal):

I’m afraid I won’t find a meaningful job.

I’m afraid whatever job I find – meaningful or not – will be such a dramatic lowering of income that our family will suffer (which will, as much as I try to convince myself otherwise, totally feel like “my fault”).

I’m afraid I’ll lose my voice.

I’m afraid I’ll lose interest in the things I’ve been passionate about, especially if I’m in a role that doesn’t give me cause to think on them and speak about them.

I’m afraid my kids won’t be proud of me, and think my job is cool.

I’m afraid I’ll have a cool opportunity that will require a move, and a boring opportunity that allows us to stay in San Diego, and that I’ll have to choose, knowing that one seems selfish, and the other feels like death.

I’m afraid of losing our house.

I’m afraid of losing what little retirement we have saved.

I’m afraid of losing my dreams, whatever they may be!

I’m afraid of becoming a shell of myself. I’m afraid that I’ve “peaked”, and nothing else – work wise – will come close to providing the meaning and fun that I’ve experienced.

I’m afraid I’ll have to wear a suit and tie, or at least “business casual”, and give up some of my individuality in order to get work.

I’m afraid I’ll be bored, and even boring.

and here i am, a year later; and i can honestly say that not one single thing on that list has even remotely been realized. not one. in fact, just the opposite has been the experience of my year. i’m more fulfilled than ever in my work; i have more time for my family; i have more space for rest; i get to exercise my gifts (and not spend a large chunk of my time on stuff i’m not passionate, like profitability spreadsheets); i get to speak into the lives of youth workers and churches and ministries; and i still get to wear shorts and t-shirts to work!

even in the early months of 2010, when my new plans started to take shape (oblique as it was at that point), i still wondered if i could make it work. what has become imminently clear to me, especially as i look back, is that i didn’t make this take shape. god did it. god provided for me, met me in my anxiety and fear, and brought a freshness to my life and calling that i would never have been bold enough to “claim”.

this past weekend, the pastor leading a time of communion at a junior high event i was speaking at led the students in that slightly cliche response: god is good, all the time; all the time, god is good. but it struck a chord in me; and the vibration of god’s goodness in my life is the hum of my days.

i look back on a horrible firing i experienced early in my youth ministry career, and i can say with complete truthfulness that i wouldn’t trade it for the world. it’s part of who i’ve become in a way that i cannot separate from the goodness of god. i’m almost there with this current reality. i’m grateful for where god has taken me, how god has protected my heart from bitterness, and all the other blessings in my day-to-day life. and, soon, i expect — very soon — i’ll even be grateful for being laid off. i’m already there cognitively, and expect i’ll be able to say it and mean it soon enough.

(photo ripped from adam walker cleaveland, who got it from april)


with the wide variety of stuff i’m doing these days (speaking, writing, consulting, coaching), i knew it would be helpful to have a website to point people to. there have just been too many times in the last few months where i didn’t have a communication tool other than my blog or email, in order to let people and organizations know what i can help them with. so, thanks to the patient wizardry of mclane creative, it’s time for the official unveiling of markoestreicher.com.

i thought long and hard about the url, knowing that so many people struggle with the spelling of my name. but the easy options (marko.whatever) were all taken. so, in addition to markoestreicher.com, i bought markoswebsite.com. if you struggle to remember the spelling of my name, i hope you can remember “marko’s website [dot] com”. there are pages for the various things i’m doing these days, as well as my current speaking schedule, and an easy-to-use contact page. there are also links to this blog and my facebook page and stuff.

let me know what you think!

revised speaking schedule for 2010

here’s my updated speaking schedule for the rest of 2010 (this doesn’t include consulting travel, ymcp stuff, or personal travel, so there are many other dates i’m not available).

as you can see, i’m pretty full through may, but still have a shockingly empty summer, and plenty of space in the fall also.

if you would like to explore having me join you for a youth, youth ministry, or parent event, please contact tim grable, at [email protected]

9 – 11 – youth ministry event for instituto especialidades juveniles, in guatemala city, guatemala
16 – 18 – reverb middle school conference in joppa, md

april 30 – may 1 – refuel youth ministry conference in ft myers, fl
3/4 – salvation army youth ministry event in orlando, fl
5/6 – lcms pastors and youth workers events, in midland, mi
7 – youth ministry gathering at calvin seminary in grand rapids, mi (i’m pretty sure this is an open event for students and local youth workers, but i don’t have many details on it)
8 – youth ministry network event in holland, mi

9/10 – mississippi youth annual conference (umc), in jackson, m

*nothin’. seriously. there are tumbleweeds blowing through my july calendar.

14 – 17 – youth camp for nc umc, oak island, nc
20 – 22 – youth camp for nc umc, oak island, nc

(btw, i have a couple days to kill between these two camps. anyone in nc or sc got something i can help you with?)

24 – 26 – jr pitch (junior high event for the evangelical missionary church of canada), in kitchener, ontario

1 – 4 – nywc in san diego, ca
15 – 17, jr high YAR (for the illinois great rivers conference of the umc), in carlinville, il

19 – 22 – nywc in nashville, tn

*nuttin’. once again: tumbleweeds.

i’m taking bookings for 2011 also, so feel free to contact tim about those.

my current speaking schedule

i’ve just opened up the rest of this calendar year for speaking and consulting opportunities.

here’s my current schedule:

forest home junior high winter camp, forest falls, ca, 22nd – 24th
salvation army youth worker event, mt hermon, ca, 26th
forest home junior high winter camp, forest falls, ca, 29th – 31st

world vision u.s. (consulting), federal way, wa, 2nd & 3rd
forest home junior high winter camp, forest falls, ca, 5th – 7th
christ in youth (ciy) “mega-church” youth worker event, destin, fl, 9th & 10th
junior high “disciple now” event, first baptist harvester, st. charles, mo, 19th & 20th

youth worker gathering and youth night, oakwood baptist church, new braunfels, tx, 17th
“seismos” youth worker gathering, canton, oh, 21st – 23rd

especialidades juveniles instituto intensive course, guatemala city, guatemala, 8th & 9th
reverb” middle school event, md, 16th – 18th

ft myers youth worker network event, ft myers, fl, 1st & 2nd
salvation army youth worker event, orlando, fl, 3rd & 4th
lcms youth workers and pastors events, ann arbor, mi, 5th & 6th
western michigan youth worker gathering, holland/grand rapids, mi, 7th & 8th

mississippi umc youth event, ms, 9th

i still have space to add something in february, a couple things in march and april, and one or two things in may. then, i’m mostly wide open starting in june.

if you’d like to consider having me join you for a speaking engagement, please email tim grable: [email protected]
if you’d like to consider having my join you for a consulting engagement, please email me directly: [email protected]

i’ll speak for ya, consult with ya, or, you should see me dance…

marko.preachyup, time for some shameless self-promotion.

about two or three years ago, i started dramatically decreasing the amount of speaking engagements i was taking. then, earlier this year, i stopped taking them altogether, in an attempt to focus more of my time and focus on ys and my family. but now, things have all changed, of course!

so, i’m trying to book speaking engagements for youth events, youth ministry events, or even preaching in churches, between now and the end of may. i know that’s a short window, and the speakers for most winter camps and other events in that window have mostly been lined up months ago. but, since i don’t yet know what i’m going to be doing with the rest of my life, i’m not comfortable taking speaking engagements in the summer or beyond. of course, if i don’t have something lined up by then, i’ll be really wishing i’d booked a bunch of things for the summer!

i also enjoy short-term consulting — either for a church or publisher or ministry, or even for any organization that might want an outside leadership perspective, or, specifically, some help thinking through youth and young adult issues.

if you’d like to talk about having me come to your gathering, or creating something, feel free to contact me (mark.oestreicher[at]gmail[dot]com). or, you can contact tim grable at the grable group: [email protected], or (615) 283-0039.