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Catching up with Brock Morgan

Brock Morgan is a long-time friend of Marko and I. He’s a Cartel OG and our first presenter at The Summit to make a return visit this Fall. Brock has published two books with us (Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World & The Amazing Next) which are both top sellers.

Recently, I caught up with Brock to hear how is summer has been going. Here’s our interview.

TYC: What’s summer look like in your ministry?

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A Summer-y Interview with Jonathan McKee

This week I had the chance to catch up with one of the busiest guys out there, Jonathan McKee. Jonathan is the author of a bunch of books, including The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers.
Adam: Jonathan, tell me what summer looks like for your ministry.

Jonathan: Spring and Fall are crazy full with travel, teaching parent workshops and speaking at events  but that always calms down during the Summer. So Summer provides a time to work on some writing projects. I’m working on a new parenting book.

Adam: Whats the title?

Jonathan: Working title is, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid. Summer gives me a chance to work on those projects and catch up on some much needed administrative crud.

Adam: Crud, huh?

Jonathan: I could think of other choice words… but I think crud will suffice.

Adam: I’m sure you mean “stuff” right? So, when you’re not writing or doing administrative crud, what are you up to that isn’t work?

Jonathan: Kayaking and hanging out with my family.

Adam: Sweet, I spend a lot of time kayaking, too. What’s kayaking look like where you live?

Jonathan: Smooth water, long and fast. I have a race in July where I run 6 miles, bike 12 and kayak 6. I’m dropping weight and training hard so I can beat my time.

Adam: I’ve seen some of your Instagram posts. You actually work out at the same lake you wrote about in your The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers, right?

Jonathan: Yeah, there’s this fun little island in the middle of the lake. Every time I passed it I couldn’t help but think, What a perfect spot to escape during a zombie apocalypse. So it made it into my book.

Adam: When I work out I don’t think about zombie apocalypse, my only thoughts are “How much longer do I have to workout?” and “What’s for dinner?” Switching gears– Summer is a time for vacations. What is your dream vacation?

Jonathan: I’m taking it with my wife Lori this coming February for my 25th wedding anniversary. Two weeks in Hawaii, being pampered in a nice resort. I’m counting the days!

Adam: 25 years, that’s awesome. Lori is a saint! OK, what’s your favorite summer youth ministry story?

Jonathan: Oh, wow! So many. This is random, but it’s hot here in Sacramento right now, so that reminds me of the time I had a van load of kids on the way home from church— I used to cart unchurched kids to church each week with my family. So we’re literally driving back from church in a 15-passenger van on a desolate road 3 miles from my house… and I ran out of gas. My wife and kids are with me, the kids are in car seats and the second the van died the AC turned off and we’re all baking in the van.

To make matters worse, my wife had asked me that morning, “Are you sure we don’t need gas?”

I told her, “It’s fine.”

I kicked off my dress shoes and ran home three miles barefoot and brought my other car with a gas can.

Let’s just say Lori wasn’t happy with me that day.

Adam: Ah, the real reason you’re going to Hawaii is to make up for previous sins. Got it!

Jonathan: She never said, “I told you so.” But she did make me change a 101 degree diaper when we got home. Whew!

Adam: What’s your least favorite part of summer youth ministry?

Jonathan: Besides that diaper? That’s a tough one. I like so many aspects of summer youth ministry. But one year my boss assigned me a campus two weeks before school started and said, “You’re in charge of this campus.” I had two weeks to recruit volunteers, raise a budget… and find some kids!” It was a wild ride. Fun experience to look back on.

Adam: Good times. Thanks for taking time to talk with us today.

Jonathan: Thank you. It’s been fun partnering with you on The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers. Truly one of the most adventurous projects I’ve worked on.

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An Interview with Jake Kircher

In youth ministry, the school year is pretty much the same for everyone. We have Sunday responsibilities, office hours, midweek programs, contact ministry, and stuff like that. But I’ve found that summer is highly unique.

Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Jake Kircher to ask him a few questions about his summer, both from a ministry perspective as well as what he’s doing with his family.

If you don’t know Jake, he’s virtually a Cartel staffer. He leads Open Boston, authored Teaching Teenagers in a Post-Christian World, is the writer for our popular THINK curriculum, and starting this Fall will lead our first YMCP cohort focused on youth ministry in post-Christian contexts. Besides the stuff he does with us he’s also a pastor at Grace Community Church in Connecticut, a husband and dad. Pretty much the only thing I don’t like about Jake is his love of the Red Sox. That just doesn’t make sense to me. At all.

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An Interview with Mark Oestreicher

We’re kicking off our summer series, Every Summer Has a Story, with an interview of my co-conspirator in The Youth Cartel, Mark Oestreicher. Even though we live about 2 miles apart we each travel enough that we actually don’t see one another regularly. Marko travels about twice as much as I do… he travels so much that Rick Steves asks Marko for travel tips. I caught up with Marko to hear a bit about his summer as well as his thoughts on summer in youth ministry.

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