Tag Archives: The Way

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!

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.