Why I'm Excited About My New Role With YS
Youth Specialties (YS) has been part of my life since 1986. As a high school junior, I went to a YS Grow For It event (some of us old-timers will remember those) and met a woman who was actually paid to do youth ministry (the visual aid I needed that added fuel to the fire of my sense that God was calling me to ministry). As a college student, I volunteered to do registration so I could go to the National Youth Workers Convention for free.
I remember the first time I wrote anything for YouthWorker Journal, which was then part of YS. It was a 200 word review of a video and I spent days on it. I remember the first seminar I did at the Convention; Mike Yaconelli stuck his head in the back of the room, which made me so nervous.
The things I have learned and the ways I have been encouraged and stretched by YS are too much content to contain in one blog, or even several blogs. So suffice it to say, I am deeply grateful to YS for their impact on youth leaders, including me.
That’s part of why I was so delighted and humbled when Mark Matlock and I started talking about the possibility of me taking a role as an Advisor to YS. As I spent time with him and Doug Fields, I got even more excited about the vision that is growing in YS—a vision that is as committed to caring for youth leaders as ever, and is also interested in integrating more research into the field of youth ministry. I’m also a cheerleader for a renewed commitment in YS to develop younger leaders and bring fresh blood and fresh ideas into the conversation. I see so many ways that FYI can learn from YS, and vice versa.
So in addition to my speaking roles with NYWC and YSPalooza, I’ll be giving strategic input to big picture issues and questions for YS. These are the sorts of questions we are wrestling with at FYI on a constant basis, and I’m glad to be able to learn from the way YS is responding to these same sorts of questions. I’m as committed to my full-time role as FYI Executive Director as ever, but given that one of FYI’s primary values is partnership, I am thrilled with the way FYI and YS are now in closer partnership.
We at FYI look forward to seeing you at San Diego’s National Youth Workers Convention. Come by our seminars, or check out the Fuller/FYI booth in the exhibit hall. We’d love to meet you face to face!