I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, in a great family and wonderful youth ministry. By the time I was a senior in high school, I knew I was headed into youth ministry. After college and grad school at Wheaton College, I worked for a bit at Scripture Press Publications, as a Junior High Curriculum Editor. At the same time, I was a part-time Junior High Pastor. Using that combination, God birthed a life-long love of young teens in me. Middle schoolers are still some of my favorite people on earth.

I worked as a junior high pastor in a few churches, and started writing curriculum and other books for multiple publishers. Along the way, I started speaking on middle school ministry at Youth Specialties’ National Youth Workers Convention, and developed a deep love for YS. So I was thrilled when, in 1998, I was able to move to San Diego to join the YS team — first as the VP of Ministry Resources, and later on, as President. I loved my 11 years at YS. But most good things have a season, and my YS season ended in 2009 when our parent company (Zondervan) sold YS to YouthWorks. It was time for me to move out from under the security of a pay check and grow some more.

I launched The Youth Cartel, and was later joined by Adam Mclane. We work to encourage and challenge adults who minister to youth through holistic professional coaching, strategic consulting, transformational events, and inventive resource development that advance youth ministry in new ways.

To our core, we are passionate about Instigating a Revolution in Youth Ministry.

We’re doing this in four areas:

1. Coaching & Consulting

2. Speaking & Gathering

3. Innovative Resource Development

4. Marketing Services

Check out The Youth Cartel website for more info on all of these.

I’m still living out my middle school ministry calling, and volunteer with young teens at Journey Community Church in La Mesa, California. I lead a small group of middle school guys each week.

I married Jeannie 28 years ago, and have two awesome kids: Liesl is in college, and Max is in high school.

I started blogging quite a few years ago now, and find that it’s a great outlet for me to riff, rant, wrestle and share. It’s somewhat of a spiritual discipline for me at times, and at other times just plain fun.

Feel free to contact me at: [email protected]

twitter: @markosbeard

instagram: @whyismarko