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Hello my youth working friend,

A weird thing happened to me a year ago, right in the middle of a youth ministry talk at a conference: I got sick of hearing myself point out what’s wrong with youth ministry. That extremely disorienting moment became the inception (assuming the Holy Spirit had something to do with it) for the ideas that framed my little book, A Beautiful Mess; ideas like:

·      Youth ministry is totally biblical.

·      Great youth workers are still connecting with teenagers, like they always have.

·      Great youth workers are staying put longer.

·      Great youth workers have a healthy long view.

·      Great youth workers understand the power of small.

So when Rick Lawrence (Group Magazine’s editor, and the guy I consider to be one of the wisest people in youth ministry) contacted me and asked if I would consider helping to lead ReGroup—an intimate event limited to 100 youth workers—on those themes, I jumped at the chance. But I also wrote back to Rick with this (really…this is copied-and-pasted from my email to him):

If I’m spending time with 100 youth workers over a few days (as opposed to a one-off seminar, or a larger group), I’d love to have a bit of dialogue, and do some stuff that’s a bit more “coaching” in nature (not just speaking). One thing I’d really like to do, if you’re open to it, Rick, is to teach them a theory of transformation (called Theory U, developed by Otto Scharmer of MIT’s Presencing Institute), and help them apply it to both their churches and their lives. I’d lead them in identifying the voices in their own lives that prevent personal growth and transformation. And, I’d love to lead them in an exercise of identifying their top 5 priorities, helping them move toward more impact, vibrancy, and satisfaction. And, I’d even enjoy teaching them a model of organizational change (Adizes), and helping them to think through the life-stage of their churches and youth ministries, and how they might think about bringing or championing change.

Rick said yes. So that’s what we’re going to do together. I’ll present some stuff, and Kurt (my foil) will respond and clarify and push back, and all of us—guided by Rick—will have a few days of robust interaction, insightful self-reflection, encouraging friendship-building, and unbridled fun.

If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, I hope to see you at ReGroup in Loveland, on August 13 – 15. Click here to register!

Mark Oestreicher

Partner | The Youth Cartel

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