I’m headed out to Minneapolis next week to attend the Science in Youth Ministry Capstone Event (Register here if you want to attend, too. I hear Andy Root will be riding a dinosaur… please let that be true!) and I’d love to hang out.
Since a number of our authors are from the Philadelphia area, plus– Marko and Adam both really enjoy cheesesteaks, we thought we’d celebrate with a storewide sale.
Starting this Fall I’m helping our missions partner, Praying Pelican Missions, get started in Tijuana and northern Baja, basically within 2 hours of the San Diego border.
If you’ve wondered about joining the ranks of the 380 graduates and current participants of our Youth Ministry Coaching Program, 2017 would be a fantastic year to jump in. We have so many cohorts forming at this time, and there are opportunities all over the country.
Here’s an update on the status of currently-forming cohorts:
During the past couple of weeks the news cycle has been dominated by heated discussion about immigration and refugees. When things like this come up we at The Youth Cartel begin to ask youth workers if the teenagers in their ministries are talking about these things to them and if they feel equipped to have a meaningful, Jesus-focused discussion.
It’s you. Not us. We are breaking up.
Dear friends of the Cartel,
Happy New Year! We want to kick off this new year by telling you about a big change to our publishing line.
JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN AND SAVE MUCHO BUCKS & STUFF
We don’t know about you… but this election cycle hasn’t been fun enough! That’s why we’re having a sale this week. Just use coupon code: MARKO2016 to save 20% off your entire order in the Cartel online store.
- Advocate that t-shirts are legitimate work attire for church office hours.
- Tell your boss that leading a mission trip is not considered vacation time even if it was to the Bahamas.
- Help you justify 6 dozen water balloons, a canned ham, and 100 clothes pins as a business expense.
- Develop downloadable curriculum because sometimes lesson prep time gets eaten up with more important stuff.
- Remind you that the proper ratio when ordering is 1 large pizza for every 4 people.
- Create resources, coaching and training that will seriously mess with your head.
- Be your biggest fan.
- Tell you the truth.
Vote MARKO 2016!
Last year we had a our first Women in Youth Ministry Campference near Asheville, NC. We didn’t entirely know what to expect, but we believed it would be awesome. It was.
My name is Brad. I am a youth worker and I am an introvert.
People are often surprised when I confess to them I am an introvert, usually responding with some form of, “But, but, how can you be an introvert when all you do is hang out with people?” Or, “You aren’t an introvert! Look at how you love running around at youth group and do so much public speaking. You’re even good at it! You aren’t an introvert…”
Oh, but I am. And not simply in an “I like to relax with a good book” sort of way. My reality as an introvert is much more in the vein of “nearly-constant headaches after a day of sustained human interaction that even occasionally leaves me curled up on the bathroom floor vomiting.” (OK, that’s only happened twice, but it’s totally happened!)
I often find myself frustrated at my introversion, especially when my job is one that demands both recurring face to face interaction in addition to the hours spent with those lovable, energetic, noisy, brilliant, hilarious, energy sucking leeches that are apparently the reason I have a job in the first place!
In the worst moments, usually when I see pictures or hear stories of the stereotypical extroverted youth worker seemingly excelling at their job in ways foreign to me, I feel like a youth ministry unicorn. A creature so rare that it is simply known to be a myth. Except maybe unicorns are far too joyous and vibrant to be an apt metaphor for an introvert. In those moments I feel far more like a youth ministry Eeyore. Still mythical, but far more well… Eeyore-ish.
But the truth is that I’m far from the only introvert in youth ministry, and my personality rarely is anything like Eeyore’s. Some recent studies have even put the percentage of introverted adults in our population at around 40%. I’m sure the percentage of introverted youth workers out there is a bit lower than that, but I know you are out there!
Anne Lamott famously said, “The most powerful sermon in the world are the words ‘me too.’” I love my job. I am even pretty dang good at it! I am passionate about it dream of being the old guy in a wheelchair still playing dodge ball surrounded by high school kids. But sometimes it’s nice to have someone say, “me too.” So here’s to you, my fellow introverted youth workers:
- Have you ever let your emails or text messages sit unanswered for days because even a simple reply of “sure, see you then” felt impossibly hard? Me too.
- Were you aware of a student who really wanted to hang out and talk—but you just. did. that. yesterday and two days in a row seems impossible? Me too.
- Have you ever ditched brainstorming meetings and instead gathered information through guided journaling and reflection and had it turn out far better? Me too.
- Do you secretly look forward to Monday mornings where a chance to simply sit quietly in your office and catch up on administrative stuff is both necessary and expected? Me too.
- Have you ever hung out with a student and had it be incredibly life giving and sacred and wonderful, inspiring you to do it more often—then woken up the next day to find the simple thought of more human interaction made it hard to leave your house? Me too.
- Do you find that sometimes the you were able to actually listen to the Holy Spirit during a time of solitude and realize you just stumbled upon the most amazing ministry idea ever? Me too.
- Do you have endless energy and pure joy and appreciation for your time spent at youth group, and then need to unwind by yourself for hours sucking your thumb in the fetal position afterward? Me too.
- Ever text a kid to hang out hoping they’ll already be busy? But, hey, at least you tried!? Me too
- Have you ever spent the morning after youth group just laying around doing as little as possible because the idea of setting foot back in the church, or running into another human, before noon sounds like probably, definitely, the worst thing that could possibly happen to you? Me too.
- Have you ever let a voice message hang out in your office phone for days before you even listen to it, since you know it’s only either a sales pitch or an unhappy parent? Me too.
- Ever spent the hours leading up to youth group fantasizing about an excuse, or an illness, so you could just go home and watch Netflix instead? Me too.
- Do you know you are called to this job filled with human interaction and wouldn’t change a thing? Me too. Me too.
Feel free to add your own “me too” statements in the comment section!
Brad Hauge is a lifelong resident of the great Pacific Northwest and has survived this youth ministry thing for 13 years in spite of crippling introversion. He is currently the Director of High School Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Spokane, WA and is part of the team that brings the Youth Cartel’s VIVA! curriculum to life each month. You can follow his ministry and baseball thoughts on Twitter @bhauge