zondervan buys youth specialties

BIG NEWS! wow – i’ve been wanting to blog about this for months! it’s been killing me not to talk about something that’s so major in my life, and in the lives of so many people i love: zondervan has purchased youth specialties.

i wrote a long explanation of the whole thing, and that’s on our website – see here. zondervan also has a more fancy and formal press release, here.

but let me give a little back-story: youth specialties and zondervan have been partners for more than 30 years, almost since the beginning of YS. they’ve always proved their belief in our mission. and we’ve developed a significant amount of trust and friendship over the years. we like them; they like us.

i mean, let’s be honest: any 30-year relationship has its share of bumps and disagreements and inadvertent insults (like the time i asked zondervan, “do these jeans make my butt look fat?”). but the cool thing is that we’ve made it through those times and grown stronger for them.

i can say this with absolute and complete candor: there is no other publishing house in the world i would rather work for and with. our missions are compatible and i respect their strengths and abilities. but even more than that – as the guy who’s responsible for the future of YS – i’m confident about zondervan allowing youth specialties to keep being youth specialties. we’re not moving to grand rapids; we’re not eliminating our staff or handing over responsibilities to them; we’re not changing (or being asked to change) our values or mission, culture, vibe, staff, tone, resources, events, or occasional irreverence and childishness. i think this little video tic and i shot hints at that. what we’re doing is getting a whole lot more resources behind us to allow ys to expand and keep pushing the envelope on products, events and services.

for me, personally, it means a few more trips to grand rapids, a bit more accountability (which, frankly, i could use), and some great opportunities to learn and grow (my new boss, the president and ceo of zondervan – doug lockhart – is an amazing guy, and i’m pretty pumped about the fruit that will be showing up in my life because of my regular interactions with him).

so that’s the big news. ah – it feels great to have that out in the open. now i can get back to blogging about every annoying detail of my life!

67 thoughts on “zondervan buys youth specialties”

  1. Moving away from youth ministry? Have you been paying attention to YS at all? They’ve refocused ON youth ministry as their primary purpose! They eliminated the National Pastor’s Conference, the Emergent line, etc., all great and successful things – to keep that very focus! I don’t see what the big deal is about Zondervan; if you look at YS products, they’ve all been published, etc., by Zondervan anyway. Zondervan knows YS and that YS works, why would they mess with it? Obviously they’ve believed in it enough over the years to keep printing their materials and being involved with them.

  2. now come on, bono was just in grand rapids yesterday. that’s got to mean something!???????

    Comment by Chadwick Walenga 05.05.06 @ 11:55 pm

    well, where was he on his way to? hmmm?

  3. Three problems, really…

    1. karla’s personal financial stability
    2. the stability of YS – we’ve always lived convention to convention.
    3. opportunity to take risks and try new things (and ways our financial instability has hindered us from doing in the past)

  4. wow, a for-profit business bought another for-profit business? 2 businesses whose profits depend on the budgets of non-profits?

    wow great news man. wow my world is upside down, wow wow wow.

    i hope the people who have continually gone to the mat for you guys feel justified by their free copies of “purpose-driven profits” and their lovely new financially crippling youthworkers-to-the-upper-middle-class conference escapades.

    im excited for your new opportunities to sell jesus to the portion of america with disposable incomes.

    ys lived convention to convention? your average youthworker lives paycheck to paycheck. your average american is financially worse off than your average youthworker.

    so congrats on your sale to another for-profit business.

    i sure hope the poor people can afford the jesus that you sell.

  5. dead youth pastor, you have got to be the most encouraging and uplifting person i’ve ever run across. your blog writings and now this comment have really just been such a positive shot in the arm to the Kingdom. Oh, wait, I had you confused for that inanimate object in the corner of my office. lighten up, man.

  6. YES…i agree with you deadyouthpastor regarding the harpercollins profit center of the gospel. Publishers have turned their eyes to the ‘christian’ book industry for years and have increasingly veered into it. I’m curious how this will affect Doug Fields who singlehandedly has carried YS with product for 3 years??

    Unfortunately, since Yak’s death YS has been on the slope of death not because Marko is inept as a manager but more to the point of Yak’s heart is what kept YS turning. You can easily replace a manager or editor but you cannot replace heart.

    Marko: best wishes to you as you work for corporate america. I spent the last year selling insurance and well it was empty, void and lifeless. I hope this will not be your experience!

    OH how i miss the days of being able to walk up to people like Amy Grant and other guest speakers /performers and chat with them about their heart for the kingdom.

    Via Con Dios’

  7. YS and Zondervan are in my prayers! I’m sure that YS did not go into this without prayer and listening for God’s clear direction. It saddens me that people get so worked up and upset about something such as this. It’s a great time for all of us who care about youth to band together and give praise! Instead of grumbling about what horrible things might become of our beloved YS, let’s have a positive attitude, TRUSTING that our awesome God has a perfect plan!
    “Lord we trust in your awesome mercy and love. Please guide YS, Zondervan, and the great crew that manage them. And connect us all in the body of Christ to serve You, to serve Youth, and to serve each other! Amen!”

  8. Hey! Wow…that’s huge…as others…I am shocked, but I know it will be great for YS! Have to say, love the video! Miss you guys…and can’t want to see ya’ll at DCLA

  9. My prayer is that you will continue to be the prophetic voice you have always been. e.g. reminding youth workers at beginning of NYWC that they may need to go work on their marriages! If you ever lose such “irreverence”, a much needed voice would be lost, and the gospel being lived out in our world would suffer.

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