Why Youthmark…. What is Youthmark?
After my freshmen year of college in southern California, I came home for the summer and the current Youth Director at First EPC in Renton was looking for someone to man the ship when he and his regular volunteer staff were gone on multiple trips (camps, missions, etc.). I had experience with being a volunteer in both church and Young Life, but had never been “in charge” of a group until now (I was only two years old in the Faith).
Upon arrival back at The Master’s College for my sophomore year I knew I needed to find a church where I could volunteer on a youth staff. I even changed my major to Youth Ministry (later added a second major in Biblical Counseling). I visited a few small churches and a couple large ones. The one I liked the most was a small church, but the problem—they didn’t have a youth group. After visiting a couple times I met with the Pastor… he asked me, “why not start a youth group?” Well, 16 years later my career as a youth pastor is ending. I have too many memories to list. But, needless to say, these memories are laying the foundation and shaping the direction for Youthmark.
So, what is Youthmark?
In short, Youthmark is a company committed to excellence in Youth Ministry and Youth Ministry related fields (such as family based ministry, missions, etc.). I have publishing endeavors, have created a missions program and will continue to host events that help youth and family ministries. I will certainly post more in the days and weeks ahead.
I will also continue to come alongside other Youth Pastors. For many years I have been networking with other people in youth ministry. Specifically, I will host a couple different networks (Youth Pastors/Workers in any given area who get together for refuge, encouragement and partnering). My current network (Burien/West Seattle) is such a blessing to me; I look forward to continuing our relationship! I am a member of the National Network Of Youth Ministries (http://youthworkers.org). I have been asked to define the “area” for which I desire to be responsible for. So, not sure what will come of this, but I really enjoy being a part of networking, and it will only be beneficial for the work of Youthmark.
So, what is next? What does your schedule look like?
Over the next couple weeks I plan on taking a bit of a break. They say the only way for you to get a sabbatical in youth ministry is to change jobs! So, I will take about 10 days to decompress before I start really going at it. Over the next six months we will be releasing the first eight books (Follow Me; A Journey with Jesus)—this is a small group or individual study series. I will be reformatting the book, move: Mission Prep Workbook. I had about 250 youth and youth leaders test market it this spring. We (Elisabeth and I) will finish writing The 360ºParent (a book which goes along with the seminar). I will also spend a lot of time developing our Mission Program. I am VERY excited about this one!
I will maintain my “regular office hours” just like I did at my churches… which means, you’ll see me at the Coffee Shops! I don’t do well with offices and I want to separate home life and “work” as much as possible. Plus, I want to be out with other youth pastors and peddling my products!
You can certainly pray for these next 10 days. My prayer is that I really sense the “break” and my mind be refreshed and ready when I hit the full time gig!