youth ministry, youth work we all own ys May 3, 2006 marko 14 Comments wow — what a wonderful post by bob carlton about the zondervan acquisition of ys. Share this:Tweet
14 thoughts on “we all own ys”
i agree with the sentiment, and it sounds nice, but i think its a silly premise, that doesnt recognize the nature of business. i am a supporter of the purchase. i think it solidifies ys, and gives me hope that it will be here for a long time to come.
i do, however think that its silly to ignore the fact that corporate interests will have to be the priority now. and i do worry a bit that some things will change for the negative.
i also have faith that the people who make ys happen, like you and tic, wouldnt stick around if ys became simply a front for moving products.
Please help me understand why the vast majority of people are excited about this? This is not sarcasm, I am honestly baffled how the cheers and accolades are so numerous and the concern is so minute. YS is now no longer its own voice but an extension of a much larger company whose first concern is not youth ministers and youth ministry. The moment YS needs to take a stand or make a decision that it feels is best for youth ministers, youth ministry, or faith in general but threatens the profit margin, how can anyone doubt Zondervan would not reign YS in? Zondervan is a NewsCorp-owned publishing company, not a ministry. Yes, YS is a company, as well, but it was a smaller company with a more personal touch that extended a sense of community and ministry. My fear is that Zondervan’s need to keep YS a profitable purchase will gradually strip away what made YS so important and instead reduce it to Zondervan’s Youth Ministry/Emergent publishing arm and reduce YS’s relationship with youth ministers to mere consumers. Again, I desperately hope to be wrong. I owe much of my start in youth ministry to the YS online job boards, I owe much of the rekindling of my heart for God to the writings of Yak, I owe much of my sustained journey as a fulltime paid youth minister to my annual pilgrimage to the NYWC, but I owe most of my adoration of YS as a company to all the people of YS who so often seem to eschew business-as-usual actions and policies in favor of personal contact, authentic concern for individuals, spunky/quirky/humorous antics, and a strong sense of fellowship with youth ministers. Maybe I’m in the minority (seeing YS as deeper than a mere company that publishes youth ministry resources), but I really don’t think so. That’s why the overhwelming praise for this transfer of ownership is so disconcerting: it feels like throngs of people praising, “more money!” without wondering what the deeper ramifications may be….
May much love and peace follow you and flow through you throughout all of this.
ok — i’ve refrained from commenting to all the comments streaming in (because there are just so many of them!). but i’ll respond to you, tree. my primary response is: let us prove it to you. if what you say is true — that your primary connection with ys is with our people; and if that isn’t changing one bit (all “our people” are still here, and staying where they are), then why would we change? and don’t you think that most of us at YS WOULD choose to leave if we were forced to change? we’re here, all of us, because we were drawn to this passion and desire to serve and all that stuff that has meant so much to you. i could be naive — but i believe i know the heart of those in leadership at zondervan who chose to pursue this. and i can say that i trust them, and i trust their heart for what we do. when i was with the entire staff of zondervan on tuesday morning, and this whole thing was announced, their wildly warm applause weren’t for “more money” — they were responding to the fact that they are SO jazzed to be a part of our mission to serve youth workers. they lined up afterward to tell me this in their own words.
and to everyone with reservations or concerns or fears or worries: thanks! really. every one of us at YS had the same responses. but we’ve been convinced that this is good and right. so, again i say: let us prove it to you, over time. and let zondervan prove it to you, over time. i think you’ll see that we’re gonna continue to do what we do and be who we are.
Marko, I’m not attacking your character, but I have a problem with the decision that you were involved in – there is a difference. Change is not bad and change always happens. But some changes are for good and some are not. There have been a number of wonderful posts both for and against this acquisition. The first post by 1ChurchVoice had a lot of valid points, as does his second – they sound like something the Bible says about serving two masters. Bob Carlton wrote a heart-warming post, with an incorrect premise – we DON’T all own YS. Rupert Murdoch owns YS. You are now tied to Rupert, Harper Collins and Zondervan. Every press release, every TV show, every book and every magazine article they produce reflects on you. YS is just a piece of NewsCorp, and from the looks of their holdings, a very small piece. YS has been one of the largest influences in youth ministry in the world, and – this is the point I am stuck on, Rupert Murdoch now owns it.
The problem is that when YS was a company unto itself, it had control over everything that went out the door. Your (YS) partnership with Zondervan was a Client/Publisher relation. YS being the client. When you are a client the publisher caters to you. It is their job, in part, to make you as happy as they can. But the relationship has changed. YS is now a part of Zondervan. That means that YS has to answer to Zondervan and at some level make them happy.
We all understand that you (Marko) and the others at YS will walk away from YS if Zondervan/Murdoch try to force you down an immoral path. The problem is that that leaves those of us in youth ministry out in the cold. We have counted on YS to be there for us. We have thanked God for your existence as a small Christian company. If YS goes in a bad direction because of Murdoch/Zondervan, what do we, in the trenches do? Where do we go?
YS has trusted God to support them and continue the mission. In turn, God has made it possible for YS to continue for all of these years. I fear that YS has taken the less dangerous path at this point and that some of your “dangerous wonder” has been lost.
All the Monday Morning Quarterbacks…
So let’s say it all ends up sucking. What happens then?
Karla got paid and has no headaches anymore and is able to honor Mike’s legacy.
And Marko and the group start up another YS.
I see it all as win/win. No one thought YS was selling out when they got rid of the Door. And you all are now subscribing to the sexy new Student Ministry Journal. Give them time and space.
I wonder how you all would feel if Mike was still around? I’d love to hear Wayne’s take on it all.
ken — i don’t disagree that there is risk involved (believe me, i feel that!). who knows what the future holds, or what unforseeable bad outcome could come from all this. but then, who knows (besides god) what unforseeable bad outcome would have come from NOT doing this. at some point in my own processing over the last several month (remember, i’m along for the ride on this thing — i didn’t “own” youth specialties!) i got to the point where i knew our motive was good and pure, and i trusted zondervan enough (and had seen BOTH how they’d been owned in a hands-off way by harper-collins, and done the same with another division of theirs, vida publishers), and i just had a sense from god that this was the right thing.
oh, and — this kinda cracked me up — we haven’t had total control of everything that went out the door since… well… ever! first, we suck at control — so even if we wanted to and could, we would be bad at it! but we’ve in partnering with zondervan for 32 years on all our publishing! every book we publish has to be approved by them also, because it really is also their book (it’s a co-publishing deal). we’re going to be 100% completely still in change of setting our own publishing agenda, choosing and developing books, and designing them. so “the control” thing just isn’t changing at all — yes, they have control, but not much more than they had three weeks ago!
all i’m asking, for those who have reservations or concerns — hey, hold onto them! really. turn those reservations or concerns into prayers for us, please. then see what happens.
but don’t waste your time making predictions about ys losing its wonder, or about rupert bossing us around.
Last time I checked God is in charge of News Corp and Mr. Murdoch and therefore no matter what HE runs YS.
Marko man I support you and will continue to offer you guys my prayers!
I believe in you decision and your direction. I agree with Brian when he says that God is in control.
To the critics who lean on YS – remember that they are a helpful tool. The minds and hearts behind the tool are seeking God. If YS should “change” or “go away” we will still have those great minds and hearts to help us and encourage us. Keep seeking God Marko and keep up the great work!
to me this boils down to a few key concepts:
Legitimacy: every youth worker, youth org., feels an intrinsic disconnect from legitimacy in Christian ministry. It’s not hard to see how this deal feels like greater legitimacy for YS.
Accountability: To a greater or lesser extent YS has been an advocate of the struggling youthworker. that was Yac’s message every time. i think that the natural suspicion over the corporate agenda is warranted. We see evidence of large corporations bending their acquired companies into their mold. So is it still possible for YS to advocate in the same way that it used to? i don’t think anyone will know that for a long time. But there is no escaping the perception that the prophetic voice will be compromised. I think it is interesting that a company who chooses to identify itself as such a strong advocate for youth workers would not choose to consult even more broadly (than they did) and more transparently with those they claim to advocate for. No wonder people are suspicious. to many this must feel like a catagorical loss.
Opportunity: I wonder about what the reaction to this announcement says about youth workers. Does it actually reveal “us” to be so attached to this (and other similar) ministry “teets” that we can’t think independantly on our own. Of course everyone is scared that YS is gonna become homogenous but then maybe this really is the wake up call “we” need to get off our collective rotundas and stop blindly swallowing every latest regurgitation that the circuit preachers hand down from on high. Reading this blog over the months highlights this precise tension. It really is an opportunity.
All the best Mark as you nav. the ship. This may be the most revealing view of the trust that has been given you. I hope it can find a place in your heart to bless you (even the tough reactions). But I also hope that this trust that has been endowed to you will continue to scare the hell out of you.
Almost seems like ministries working together. There’s a thought. The Kingdom of God being bigger than any one church, YS, Zondervan, etc …but God uses them. Oh, how wretched am I that God would use me. I think this is a good thing. Before I cast stones though, I’d like to get this little Forest out of my own eye and start some lumbering ..Thanks.
Oh, and congrats to YS and Zondervan for the Vision.
when we meet face to face again soon :-) I’ll be interested to hear the story behind the decision and the processes involved. Here in Malaysia, we have less of these matters to wrestle with. For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed the video announcement!