the last speaking engagement

i am a broken person. in many ways. ask anyone who knows me.

for years, my broken friend and boss, mike yaconelli, challenged me that i liked travel and speaking too much, for some good, and some not-so-good, reasons. i resisted his challenge. but he could see this because he had the same sickness.

i think at some deep subconscious level (i think, i’m not sure, or it wouldn’t be subconscious, right?) that when i’m sitting on a plane, or telling you all about my busy travel schedule, or whatever, i must feel important. i think it must make me feel good about myself. i think it informs my identity, in ways that aren’t healthy.

and my travel has been simply out of control in the past year, and especially the past few months.

so, back in september or october, jeannie suggested i consider taking a sabbatical from speaking engagements. i thought it was a really stupid idea. “i need them,” i told her. “ys needs me to be ‘out there with youth workers and kids,” i told myself. “we need the extra money,” i told both of us. thin, lame, flimsy excuses. lies, really. in early november i knew she was right, and pushed the button. but, of course, i had a full calendar of stuff. so, the 1 year speaking sabbatical, we agreed, would begin may 1.

and, may 1 is almost here.

so, this morning, i’m flying to indianapolis, and driving to anderson, indiana, to speak at a “junior high believe” event, one last time. it’s my last non-ys speaking gig for a full year (well, that’s not 100% accurate — i have two events in the next 12 months jeannie and i chose not to cancel, for family reasons). i’ll still have loads of travel for ys: trips to grand rapids, conventions, CORE, spanish events in guatemala and argentina. but this feels like a milestone weekend for me — i good one, a healthy one.

16 thoughts on “the last speaking engagement”

  1. Ever since your post on Nov 8 where you announced this, I’ve been thinking and praying about the crazy amount of commitments I make in my own life and how God might be calling me to step back and focus on Him.

    I admire you for making the commitment, and am sure that God will fill your spare time with new and exciting things.


    (Great updated photo by the way)

  2. Yay for Jeannie for pushing you in this way, and yay for you for following through! I have been praying for you as you “announced” this transition and may this year open your eyes in amazing ways!

  3. I don’t why I(we) think that being busy is a sign of being successful. Tears are droping down my cheek as I type this because it’s hurts to realize yet another area that I need growth in.. What hurts even more is the fact that I “Know” that being busy is not good and still continue to allow a busy agenda in my life.. The journey to non buysness is a difficult one, but a needed one.. The truth is that that’s why I love mike so much.. I remember him saying so many times at the YS Conventions, “Let me get fired, who cares!” You know what, that wisdom and the best “Theology” I know…

  4. My first thought was “He’s not bailing on Core workshops is he?” Yes, my first thought was selfish. I’m a bad person, I’m working on it.

    After chastising myself I saw two things: That you’ll still be doing YS related stuff, and that this is exactly what I did late last year. I stepped away from something that I really loved because it was increasing my busy-ness to the point that more central things were suffering. I still miss that other gig, and I’m still working on the busy-ness/wholeness thing but I’m finding good things beginning to grow.

    My prayers are with you as you take this step. It’s been a hard time (at times) for me.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Hamburg NY!

  5. ” …when i’m sitting on a plane, or telling you all about my busy travel schedule, or whatever, i must feel important. i think it must make me feel good about myself. i think it informs my identity, in ways that aren’t healthy.” Like others above, I struggle with this. My primary reason is because I don’t want to be viewed as lazy. This is especially a trap for me because not only do I have a dad who’s a blue collar, work hard kind of guy, but I youth pastor at a church which is predominantly blue collar, the type of people who don’t get paid much, so work long hours, then come volunteer, too. Instead of helping them, as their pastor, see that it’s often not healthy to work so much (though sometimes needed to pay real bills, not wants), I fall into the same trap. Of course, one difference being that I don’t get paid hourly, so it doesn’t help my bottom line, even if I did want to do it to make more money.

  6. Beautifully written. Inspiring. What a tough decision. A good one nonetheless. Again, the things God is challenging you with and working inside you of; He has used to challenge us as well. Thank you for not keeping it to yourself.

  7. Remember this feeling/conviction when it’s time to reboot the potential speaking. Only you guys can decide what’s balanced for your family during this stage of life. Attaboy!

  8. Hey Marko… I was at the Believe weekend this weekend in Anderson and I just want to say “Thanks” for being here this weekend. I really appreciated your messages and your heart. In fact, on Saturday morning, when you were talking about the feeding of the 5000, there was a short time where you sounded exactly like Mike Yacconelli. Thanks again man!

  9. I was a youth sponsor at the believe event in Anderson this weekend. It was my first experience at a CIY event, and I got to share it with my husband (another youth sponsor), my 12 year old son and my 14 year old stepson (as well as 40+ some other kids and sponsors. We live in Illinois. Anyway, I really enjoyed your speaking and you were a huge favorite among the youth. One comment I was told was that they really liked how you took stories they had heard a 100 times and presented them differently to them. You really made believe a memorable experience for them, as well as me. Thank you and enjoy your sabbatical (but not too much!)

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