the end of ysmarko

this is a hard post to write, but an important one for me.

i’ve experienced some pretty significant a-ha’s in the past week or two, all around the sustainability of my lifestyle, my identity, and my most important relationships.

a month and a half ago, i started a leadership coaching process with john townsend. and i was asked to talked about myself at the first gathering. i wrote a bit about this on this blog (the whole plate spinning thing). since naming that, i’ve had a few more words to describe the dissatisfaction i’ve been feeling about my life; but i still felt way short of clearly understanding what i needed to do about it.

then, last week, on our ys leadership team retreat, we were spending some time talking about blindspots and roadblocks. to make a long story short, it became very clear to me that two things consistently eclipse the relationships and values that are actually most important to me (especially at this stage in life and work):
1. my family
2. the staff of youth specialties

the two imposters that constantly threaten (or supercede) the things that are most important to me are:
1. my travel schedule
2. being the voice of youth specialties (or, to put it in a more negative way, “nurturing my public persona”)

here’s a thought: our behaviors –> reveal our priorities –> which reveals our true values.

here are a couple photos i snapped in new zealand (ironically — mr. travel) of the “community lounge” on the back side of a church

i took these pics because i thought the sign and location of the “community lounge” said something significant about this church’s value of community. in other words: they might have a community lounge, but they don’t seem to actually value community.

this is a metaphor for why i’m making some big time changes.

i’ve been having a value stand-off, between what i say my values are and how i’m living my life. and it’s eroding (and threatening) my long-term happiness, and the life i really want.

let me get to the point:

1. i’m going to stop nurturing the whole “ysmarko” thing. which means, starting today, i’m going to stop using facebook (i’m planning on deleting my facebook account tomorrow), and stop twittering (i’m going to delete my twitter account tomorrow), and this is my last blog post on ysmarko (at least for the foreseeable future, though i’ll leave the blog sitting here for now).

2. i’m also reframing what “essential travel” is for me, which is allowing me to cut back 50 – 75% on my travel. i won’t be traveling internationally in the next year or two (or ever?), other than our canadian convention. and i’m cutting back on all other travel, other than a few truly essential things as well as family-related and personal stuff.

i know this is going to be hard in many ways, and i’ll likely go through some form of withdrawal. but i’m also excited about the new focus, extra time, and relational presence i expect to experience in the coming months.

i’ve enjoyed the interaction i’ve had with so many of you through this blog, and pray god’s blessing on you, as i ask you to do for me.

128 thoughts on “the end of ysmarko”

  1. Pingback: Jesus Creed
  2. While I feel like I am losing a friend (given I only ever interact with you on those mediums), I affirm and applaud your decision. May you bring your family and immediate community the same joy and blessings you have given us.


  3. Thanks Marko for all your have written and what you will now leave behind. I regulated my blogging in January by using your monday update format, and I have gained so much from that ‘look back and look forward’ reflective practice. I’ll miss you and your insights, especially since I just finished YM 3.0 which has only just come out in the UK! Hope to be in the States sometime for a YS conference. AS x

  4. Blessings on you and all the others who are working on healthy boundaries!
    “Less is more” and God DOES speak to each individually…take care of the treasures in your life – the rest will flow out of His rhythm for your life!!!

  5. Thank you for being an active voice in the blogosphere and the online world, you’ll be missed! Feel free to jump back in any time; no obligations.

  6. I’ve always been told that if we have a successful ministry and lose our family, what was the point? Our families should come first. My hats off to you Marko.

  7. Marko-
    Way to “live out” what you “preach.” May we all be so real. I’m certain that great blessing for you, your family, & your ministry will come out of this. Be at peace, my friend.

  8. My thoughts and prayers to you as you through this time of clearing, refocusing and sorting out. I can relate to feeling there is too much noise and scatteredness to life… peace to you.

  9. I’m very proud of you Marko and I’m going to miss hearing how your doing, Be Truly Blessed my friend

  10. Twitter, i can understand. Ditto Facebook. But the blog? How about a YS staffer to get it going again?

  11. Marko,
    I struggle with much of the same stuff…albeit not on the same level…I have no hair, am not internationally known, do not lead a huge ministry. But too often I feel governed by other things. I’ve very nearly deleted my Facebook page numerous times, have at least stopped doing trivial status updates, will not buckle to the Twitter trend…downsizing and going smaller in a world that demands more is a brave and rewarding decision.

  12. “old school” has some great benefits. welcome to a calmer space and pace. enjoy the re-discovery.

  13. As much as I will miss your voice and your recommendations for articles and books, etc. I admire you for making this choice. Thank you for sharing some valuable (and fun!) stuff over the years, and may God bless you in this “new”, old life.

  14. I was just thinking how much I have been missing your blog, hope all is going well, maybe you can come back in some form (maybe alternate a blog with other ys leadership) anyway, you are missed, we are praying for you and your family!

  15. Marko,
    Very good decision my friend. I was so wrapped up in making sure the youth of my congregation were being cared for that I missed my own son’s high school and early college years. I let him down. I am struggling to rebuild a relationship with him now and part of that was leaving my church.

    But I have to tell you, I appreciated YOUTH MINISTRY 3.0 very much as well as your encouragement throughout the years.

    Best, Steve

  16. We are at NYWC Cincinnati this weekend and were stunned to learn that you would not be here. I searched for anything online tonight that would help us to understand what is happening with you. We’re sitting here in our hotel room reading your blog and our hearts go out to you. As greatly as you are missed, you live your life authentically and we admire you for making this choice for your life and the important relationships in your life. May God bless you as you seek His next steps for you.

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