Since September 2010 I have been meeting with 10 other youth ministry professionals and Mark Oestreicher (Marko) as a member of Marko’s Youth Ministry Coaching Program cohort in Nashville. I’ve had a number of people ask me why I decided to pay a decent chunk of money and travel from northwestern Illinois to Nashville every other month when I could go to a national youth ministry conference for half the cost and 1/3 of the time commitment.
When I was in 8th grade, I was the star sprinter on our track team. Over 15 meets I lost three times. I did four events per meet and lost three events total. In other words, I went 57-3 in 8th grade. When I was a freshman I went in knowing I was not going to be the fastest on the team. But I expected to give the sophomores a run for their money. What I wasn’t expecting was to immediately have my coach stick me with the fastest juniors and seniors on the team.
It was a love-hate season for me. Those guys I practiced with were great. They didn’t haze me, they wer helpful and treated me like one of them, and I loved it. On the other hand, I got my butt handed to me every time we ran. I never once won in practice. We would run 200’s and 400’s and I was usually 3rd or 4th out of four of us. I wasn’t used to losing and I hated it, even in practice.
That practice time paid off, though. I became the only freshman to ever win the 100 in the varsity conference championships. Over the next four years my coach always made sure I was pushed by teammates older and younger. Basically, I became really good.
The YMCP is very much the same thing for me. Read More →