we wrapped up another year-long cohort of the youth ministry coaching program this week, in san antonio, texas. this was a unique cohort of 10 youth workers, in that the west texas diocese of the episcopal church organized it and paid 3/4 of each participant’s fee. so, unlike most of the YMCP cohorts, the 10 youth workers mostly knew each other before we even started.
but we had an amazing year together — 6 meetings of 2 days each, plus phone calls in-between, and lots of interaction on our closed facebook group. the meetings were full of youth ministry conversations, personal development, leadership training, life sharing, and great accountability to personal and professional growth.
here are a few unedited words from some of the participants:
I have been deeply impacted by Marko this year. His wisdom, experience, love for youth ministry, and for our Lord are so evident in all he has done for us and how he treats all of us. I am so thankful to have had this year under his guidance – especially because we share a similar background – I feel like this was so clearly God’s hand. I really needed someone who could understand they why behind so many of the things I have been struggling with and working through. I’m thankful Marko was so willing to walk with me through this, and so patient with the back and forth of trying to figure things out. I will be looking back at this year with gratitude for many, many years to come. I have a renewed hope for my ministry and my life because Marko cared and was willing to use the gifts God has so clearly given him.
YMCP impacted me in so many ways this year – motivation, inspiration, and a desrire to seek more for me, my vocation and the ministry God has called me to. Marko pushed me to think more, read more, and be more discerning in my life, and he helped me rekindle an enjoyment and desire for learning. One of the core values I hold most dear is the pursuing of deep, persistent, and authentic relationship. What Marko created and presented in YMCP is very congruent for me and this value that I hold so dear. He enabled us to not only gather as individuals to be fed, lifted up and encouraged, but he brought about transformational change at the core of each of us.
YMCP allowed me to explore, wrangle and discover personal and professional attributes to my vocation in ministry. I thank Marko for challenging me to see myself and youth ministry different and in a more holistic context. I am forever grateful for his gentle but honest leadership.
Participation in the yearlong coaching program has strengthened my ministry to the youth of my parish primarily by the outstanding guidance of the program’s coach, Mark Oestreicher. He’s an exceptional coach, leader and facilitator. He speaks truth in his experiences as a youth worker and a faithful follower of Christ. He brings excellent resources in the form of study materials, self-evaluation, and discovery.
i love these youth workers. they went from being “participants” to being my peers and friends (which seems to happen with each cohort).
we just started a cohort in calgary, and another in nashville. that brings our total numbers of graduates to 63, and our current number of active participants to 25. we hope to start a cohort in san diego at some point this year, and are in a few conversations with denominational groups about closed cohorts like the one in san antonio (one or two cohorts for youth workers in the evangelical presbyterian church; a cohort for UMC youth workers in the dallas area; a cohort for salvation army divisional youth secretaries in the western territory). we also started beta testing two online groups — the 2nd meeting of each of those is next week — and we’ll probably start a couple more of those throughout the year.
if you’re interested in a full YMCP experience, or an online group, leave a comment, or email marko (firstname.lastname@example.org), or watch for news!
click here for more info, and to download a program overview.