youth ministry coaching program – calling all ‘growers’

ok, i know i’ve written about the awesomeness that is the youth ministry coaching program many times here. and i apologize if you, fair reader, think i use my blog to promote stuff too often. but baby needs new shoes, and without the muscle of a big marketing machine behind me anymore (what?), i don’t gots much marketing options besides my blog and facebook (or the graciousness of blogging and tweeting friends). what’s a former youth ministry bigwig to do?


— senior pastors, looking for a way to invest in your youth worker’s growth and longevity (rather than cycling through a new youth pastor every few years)?

— youth pastors at larger churches, looking for a way to fast-track the growth and health of a younger team member?

— rookie youth workers, looking for a way to learn how to ‘lead up’ and gain some perspective and maturity that help you succeed?

— veteran youth workers, tired of ‘information dump’ seminars and events, and looking for a relationally-focused, fully customized program that helps you grow even if you’ve been around the block a dozen times?

here’s the dealio: i’ve never seen anything quite like the YMCP for creating growth in all areas of a youth worker’s life (youth ministry thinking, youth ministry practice, career goals, staff relationships, personal relationships, spiritual health, emotional strength and growth). i’ve had 19 youth workers go through the program so far, and would have expected that a few wouldn’t have connected with the approach. after all, if any program like this has a 75% “success rate”, that would be truly rare. but i’m tellin’ ya: every single participant has told me it was one of the most — if not the most — significant thing they have ever participated in for personal and professional growth. i’m a fan of grad school, but every participant who has also gone to grad school or seminary tells me they have learned more and grown more in YMCP than they did in their academic program.

luke macdonald, youth pastor at harvest bible chapel in the chicago area said, “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.”

nikki lowery of first baptist church in stockton (CA) said, “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.”

and brian berry of journey community church in la mesa (CA) said, “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.”

so here’s why i’m writing about YMCP again.

i’m trying to fill 9 cohorts this year. 7 of them are open to anyone, and 2 are “off the radar,” funded by denominational groups who are populating them with their own peeps. of the 7 open groups, i’ll be leading two (in san diego and nashville), and i have amazing, carefully selected and trained coaches leading the other 5 (see here for coaches and locations). we need a minimum of 8 partipants (max 10) in each cohort to launch. and at this point, i have between 4 and 7 in each cohort. so none of them are launching yet. the ones that are closest to the tipping point are the two i’ll lead myself, in san diego and nashville. others are close to filling also; and unless you live in the pacific northwest, there’s a pretty good chance one of the cohorts is within driving distance.

i’d hate to cancel these when we’re so close to filling them; and because i’ve seen the impact of the program. i long to see youth workers grow in depth of thinking and character and spirituality and emotional intelligence. i long to see youth workers grow so they can stay a long time at their churches, or know that they need to move on. i long to see youth workers engage in the kind of safe and supportive sharing that is so rare to our worlds. heck: these 19 graduates are now 19 of my close friends (i’m not kidding or exaggerating), and i long to develop some more meaningful friendship with youth workers, like that.

here’s a sample 2-day schedule (all our meetings — 6 of them over the course of a year — are 2 days):

i’d love to get these cohorts off and running in september or october, which means scheduling meetings long before then. if you have any interest, please let me know ([email protected]).

i now return you to your normal, non-promotional blogging…

5 thoughts on “youth ministry coaching program – calling all ‘growers’”

  1. So Marko, how would a seasoned youth worker who feels a strong pull to mentor younger youth workers get involved in this as a coach?

  2. hi chris — well, first let me say that the “seasoned youth workers” who have done YMCP (i’ve had 5 or so that had 15 – 20 years of experience) have loved the experience and have been some of the biggest fans. two of them, btw, will be leading their own cohorts in this next round or the future, as it became clear in the process that they had the goods.

    without someone going through the program, or without me knowing them fairly well previously, it’s really tough for me to know who has the skills, personality, insight, etc, to lead one of these.

    of course, there are lots of people starting a variety of coaching programs these days, for youth workers (though none are as immersive as YMCP). you could always hang a shingle and make yourself available.

  3. The YMCP has been the best single decision I’ve made this year to develop myself — spiritually, professionally, and emotionally. And I’m not even a youth worker!

  4. Came over from Jeff Goin’s site! I’m not currently a youth worker~~unless being a mom counts :-) I want to start a ministry for children with a background of abuse. Would this fall under who you might normally consider for this program?


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