Tag Archives: the way bible

update on The Youth Cartel

ok, there’s just so much going on in our wee company, it’s hard for me to discipline myself to not post about my excitement over this or that every day.

so, as further prevention from “all cartel posts, all the time,” allow me to update you and remind you on a few things that are just the bomb:


The Youth Cartel is doing three events this year, and two of ’em are brand new:

  • the middle school ministry campference is in its second year. we have a great line-up (including tic long!); but the line-up isn’t really the reason to come. the reason to come is that, if you’re in JH or middle school ministry, this is the one place where you can really spend three days with your tribe. i’ve never been a part of an event where every single person who attends could offer a raving endorsement. the MSMC is in seymour, indiana, october 26 – 28.
  • the summit is the youth cartel’s new flagship event. i’ve been dreaming about this for two years or more, and with adam joining me, we’ve been able to turn the dream into a reality. but, seriously, it’s already surpassed my expectations, and it’s still 6 months away. the presenter line-up blows my mind. this is the event i would attend even if i had nothing to do with creating it. join us in atlanta, november 9 and 10 (btw: the first 100 who register get MAJOR bonus swag).
  • finally, adam has been dreaming of a grassroots, organic youth ministry event where anyone can speak. talk about leveling the playing field and acknowledging that we’re all in this together! that’s what Open is all about. our first Open is Open Seattle, on october 6. the second location is a doosy! (stay tuned)


with 6 cohorts of 10 youth workers each either completed or in progress, i continue to find the youth ministry coaching program to be my most deeply satisfying days, other than time with my family. we’ve opened 5 cohorts for later this year (or whenever they fill), and are deep into conversations with 3 denominational groups about cohorts specific to their tribe. oh, and we’ve just begun conversations about a possible new zealand cohort! ha!

here’s another quote, from current participant sam halverson:

The YMCP is the single most helpful resource I’ve found in over 30 years of professional youth ministry. While conventions, workshops, and seminars are influential and necessary, the Youth Ministry Coaching Program is a much more personal and personable resource for anyone wishing to understand and struggle with the ins and outs of professional ministry. The spiritual direction, values assessments, readings, discussions, personal sharing, and presence-minded shepherding led by Mark Oestreicher encompass all parts of life – not just youth ministry.


we’ve had a blast this year partnering with organizations and ministries as diverse as biblica, dougfields.com, urban youth worker’s institute, tyndale publishers, and about a dozen others.


already in 2012, i’ve been stoked about the release of The Way bible and A Beautiful Mess. I have 6 more books coming out with simply youth ministry over the next year (3 of which i’ve finished), and i’m working on two versions of an ebook that The Youth Cartel will publish.

adam published his first book, with jon huckins, through The Youth Cartel’s own brand: good news in the neighborhood.

i’ve been stoked about working with a few great authors to help them find publishers for their books, finalizing deals for lars rood, jeff goins, and len kageler.

and The Youth Cartel is throwing in hard on publishing through our own brand, with 7 projects signed. you’ll see these start to come out over the remaining months of this year.

oh, and i still love writing regular columns for Youthworker Journal and Youthwork (the UK magazine for youth workers), as well as occasional contributions to Immerse Journal and Group Magazine. Adam and i both write for Slant33.com.


our weekly Cartel Culture and YouTube You Can Use emails have been a great hit. in just 8 short months we have more than 1200 people receiving them.

we launched a free job bank on our website. and our facebook page, blog, and twitter feeds are all gaining traction.


i still love speaking to teenagers and youth workers, and find my schedule regularly full with amazing opportunities (like, i’m leaving for london this morning, to speak at the Youthwork Summit).

yup, we’re busy little beavers, and we’re having the time of our lives. thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of us. we long to serve you well (and push you a little bit). We have three or four more sweet ideas in the hopper, if we can find the bandwidth to get them going!

a video overview of the elements in The Way bible

well, hey, i might have developed and general edited this new bible for young adults, but i hadn’t seen this video (i just found it on an australian youth ministry blog that linked to my blog!). cool video — and it gives a great overview of the various elements, as well as the online community we hope will grow at theway.is.

i really had 22 year-olds in mind when i was working on this baby, though we always said it was for 17 – 30 year-olds. but the more i sit with it, the more i’m convinced that it really is a perfect bible for high schoolers also. we all know (well, i use ‘we’ to mean ‘youth workers’) that most ‘youth bibles’ are way too juvenile for today’s high schoolers. not this one, to be sure.

remember, you can download a ‘gospel of john sampler’ here (you can also order ’em, if you’d like). but i really just wanted to share that cool video.

Blue Like Jazz The Movie and The Way Bible Giveaway

any reader of this blog knows how completely stoked i am about The Way bible, a bible i spent 2 years developing for tyndale publishers. it’s an NLT bible with hundreds of stories and elements that curate the message of scripture and the kingdom of god. developed with 17 – 30 year olds in mind (but, heck, i think it’s a pretty killer bible for high schoolers, and i’d like it as a 48 year-old), the intent is to create space for questions, doubt and hope.

and, since, you know, i have a hook up with the publisher, i get to give some of ’em away.

but i also have friends connected to Blue Like Jazz (The Movie), which has its theatrical release at the end of this week. of course, many of you have read the book, and some of you have seen a screening of the movie (as i have). and i think you’ll see why it makes sense that i would think this movie (which is great, btw) and this bible would connect with the same kind of people (regardless of age). the cool thing is, i get to give away movie tickets also.

seriously, this is probably the best giveaway i’ve ever gotten to host on my wee humble blog. i’m going to award 20 winners with a prize package including 2 movie tickets (which can be used at any theater, any showing of Blue Like Jazz, good until april 30) and a copy of The Way. the movie tix will be a download code, and the copy of The Way will be shipped to your eager little hands. (so, each prize is worth something around fifty bucks!)

i’d love, love, love it if you would show your support by doing a couple things:

heck, i’d love it even more if you would spread the word. tweet this. send people here to this blog post. use the little social media sharing options at the bottom of this post. send people to the BLJ website or The Way website (which, for what it’s worth, is more of an extension of the bible than a marketing site).

i’ve gone ’round and ’round on how to decide who gets the 20 prizes. i thought about giving ’em to the first 20 peeps who bought something from The Youth Cartel store. but i decided that wasn’t ethical (and probably not even legal!). i thought about just saying the first 20 comments win, but decided that was way too boring, and would be over too quickly.

so i’ve settle on this: tell me why you want them (the tix and the bible). keep your answer to 1 – 3 sentences (no need for massive paragraphs and emotional pleading). i’ll pick the first 10 winners at the end of 24 hours (roughly, that is — i’m on vacation this week, so i’ll pick ’em tuesday morning at some point). and i’ll pick the remaining 10 winners a little later — probably on thursday morning.

this is one of four similar contests launching today. i corralled my friend, and The Way contributor, scot mcknight, into doing one on his blog. so, hey, if you don’t win here, maybe you can win at one of the others!

ok… here we go! why do you want the Blue Like Jazz movie tickets and copy of The Way?

oh, and how about a couple trailers:


choosing winners has been MUCH more difficult than i imagined it would be! i grabbed about 40 that caught my attention and copied them into a word doc; then kinda went with a combo of random choosing and my gut from there! sorry to all those who aren’t in the first 10. i’ll be choosing another 10 on thursday.

but, the first 10 are…

Eric McFarland
Vik Schaaf
Stuart Delony
Todd Graham
Rachel Kurtz May
Jordan Wiseman
Jenny Call
Marv Nelson

and, the 2nd (remaining) 10 are…

Kevin Ibanez
Bobby Mooney
Ian Robertson
Chris Saulnier
Danny Eiler
Dawn Wisner-Johnson
ryan guard
Tim Gleason
Mark (from Topeka First)
Brian Barnett

that’s it folks — thanks for playin’! go see the movie even if you didn’t win, and pick up a copy of The Way also.

The Way Bible releases in a couple weeks!

i got a text from the bible acquisitions guy at tyndale yesterday, telling me they’d received one softcover and one hardcover copy of The Way bible from the printer. it was cause for a handful of WOOTS and reminders of both how amazing this thing is and how much anticipation we have about it.

i worked on The Way–a very different kind of bible, intentionally developed for 17 – 30 year olds–for more than 18 months. it mas the most massive publishing project i’ve ever undertaken: developing the concepts, scheduling out the whole project, writing major chunks, finding and coaching well over a hundred writers and a dozen photographers, general editing hundreds of elements, and selecting more than 200 museum quality photos.

here’s some of the descriptive copy from the in-development (but freakin’ awesome, full interactive and participatory) website:

We’ve all got questions. We’ve all doubted. But too often, those doubts are viewed as threats. Hard questions are met with cold stares.

Is this how Jesus meant it to be? The Way answers with an emphatic “no”.

The Way is a starting place. It’s a Bible that creates a space for questions, doubts, conversations, and hope. And a community that says it’s OK to ask, to doubt, and to talk.

Joined with raw Black & White photography and video, the features of The Way give voice to the in-betweens. The gray space. And the Hard Places. They open the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life for all to see – the good and the bad. The questions that we just don’t get. They’re not about giving neat answers. Just the opposite. They show that life is messy. That sometimes it doesn’t make sense. And that it’s OK to feel that way.

it will be in stock and ready to go in two or three weeks.

The Youth Cartel has been pre-selling copies, and that sale will continue for another few days (through tuesday, march 13). we’ll still sell it after that, of course; but the pricing might be different. i know a few youth workers and churches have been ordering them as graduation gifts for seniors, which is just perfect. so many ‘youth bibles’ have a juvenile feel to them; but this thing has none of that. it’s gorgeous, visually, and amazingly honest. the biblical text is NLT, and the extra bits (hundreds!) are full of vulnerability, thought provokation, story, and life connection points to the biblical text.

i expect and hope that people who work with high schoolers or college students will find this bible to be their top recommendation. check out the free download sample (the gospel of john) here.

a few cool things on The Youth Cartel store

first, i love the new, clean look of The Youth Cartel site. adam felt our initial site (only 6 months old!) needed a facelift.

there are a few cool new things in the store worth a mention:

one’s a cool freebie: a “gospel of john” sampler of The Way bible. you can see the amazing design of this bible, and read some sample selections. it would be very difficult for me to be more pleased with this puppy. hope you’ll check it out, and consider getting copies for the high schoolers and young adults in your life (we really had young 20somethings in mind when we were creating the content, but that means that most high schoolers will dig it, because it is not juvenile or patronizing). for this free sampler, click here, and scroll down. you’ll see the download link.

then, a couple other things. when we were raising funds for the extended adolescence symposium, we offered mp3s of the day and an abridged ebook of that content, to people who supported the event at various levels. we’d only asked the presenters or permission to use their content for that purpose, so we’ve been telling others, as they inquire, that we can’t get them those resources.

but one of the youth workers who really wanted the mp3 and ebook contacted one of our presenters. to make a long story short: all the presenters were extremely gracious and have given us permission to make this stuff available.

you can download the mp3 of the entire day for twenty five bucks.

you can download the nice-looking ebook, expertly abridged (all written content from the event – just not all of it) by paul martin, for ten bucks.

or you can download both the mp3 and the ebook for thirty.

rock it — that’s some good stuff!

pre-order copies of The Way bible

so, i was working on a project i couldn’t say much about for more than a year. occasionally on facebook i would mention that i’m working on a bible, and people would jokingly ask if i was re-writing it. nope, instead i was just playing a role in creating what i think is the most amazing young adult (16 – 30 year old) bible available today.

when i was in middle school, i carried a copy of The Way. it was the groovy bible, baby, with awesome hippie lettering on the cover. really, it was the very first youth bible, and broke a million barriers. heck, i was watching vera farmiga’s amazing movie, higher ground, the other day, and the 70s version of The Way was used in a scene.

a month after i left YS, back in the late fall of 2009, tyndale publishers contacted me, asking if i’d help them think about a new bible for young adults, reviving the old The Way brand. they brought me in for a day of consulting, where we talked about the needs of today’s teenagers and young adults, and dreamed about what a helpful bible could be like. in early 2010, at tyndale’s request, i created a proposal for what the project could be like, including a bunch of elements. they loved it; and in september of that year, we signed an agreement for me to be the general editor.

it was an absolutely massive project. from early january of 2011 through late august, i had a deadline every three weeks. i recruited a primary writing team of 3 others (and myself), and an additional 150 or so contributors. i worked to concept all the pieces, and got them into good enough shape for the remaining editorial process at tyndale. i also recruited and worked with a team of talented photographers to select hundreds of gallery quality black and white photos to compliment and illustrate the 400+ extra-biblical elements. the result (with massive contribution from the editorial and design teams at tyndale) is a bible, in the new living translation, that i am completely proud of, and would love to see in the hands of any high school or college student. it really is that good.

the more than 400 additional elements are very carefully designed to help connect the reader with The Way of Jesus.
Elements include:

    – Book intros that connect biblical content with the life of young adults today.
    This is my Story segments written by young adults seeking to connect their stories with The Way of Jesus.
    What I Wish I’d Known segments written by seasoned Jesus-followers, reflecting back on their own young adult years.
    Lament segments — honest cries to God expressing a particular question or dissatisfaction with the way things are.
    Living in The Way segments providing short links between the biblical text and real life today.
    – Hundreds of gallery quality black & white photographs complementing and illustrating various segments.
    – Interactive QR codes that lead the reader to additional online content and opportunities for engagement.

Contributors include: myself, Tash McGill, Crystal Kirgiss, Holly Rankin Zaher, Seth Barnes, Mike Hogan (of the David Crowder Band), Chris Hill, Gary Haugen (IJM), Matt Maher, Rich Stearns (World Vision), Ginny Olson, Austin Gutwein, Alex Harris, Phyllis Tickle, Charlie Peacock, Dan Kimball, Frederica Matthewes-Green, Scot McKnight, Jeanne Mayo, and dozens more.

The Way will release about april 1. but when i got back from my silent retreat in the desert the other day, i had an email in my inbox from adam mclane, my partner in The Youth Cartel, sent to our email list. the email was offering a pre-sale special:

A Special Pre-Sale Offer

We’re selling 3 different editions of The Way in our online store.
Soft-cover (Retail: $24.99) Our price, $20.99
Hard-cover (Retail: $29.99) Our price, $25.99
Leatherlike (Retail: $44.99) Our price, $38.99
Pre-order any combination that totals 10 copies or more of The Way and Marko will send along a personal note. (If you’re interested in 40 copies or more, please contact me, adam, for an even bigger discount.)

One of the fun things about our online store is that any order over $65 automagically gives you free shipping. In this case, that’s just a couple of copies. Cool, right?

Three Reasons to Pre-Order The Way From Us
1. Your order supports the ministry of The Youth Cartel.
2. I love to commit my buddy Marko to writing lots and lots of personal notes. It’s good for his soul.
3. My kids, 8 & 10 years old, pack every order from our store. Not only are they really good at it, you just might get something special in your box. You won’t get that level of awesome from Amazon.
To take advantage of this pre-sale deal, click here.

we hope to have a sample pdf on our site soon, so you can see how freakin’ amazing this thing looks. there’s really nothing like it on the market right now — visually or content-wise.