Along with everyone else in youth ministry world, I’m thrilled that Tic is back with Youth Specialties.
Tic shared his own thoughts and many others (Tony Jones, Mike King, Marko, Wayne Rice, Walt Mueller, & Karla Yaconelli) have too, so I just wanted to share my experience with Tic and why I’m so thrilled that he’s back.
I’ve had interactions with Tic over the years and he’s always been “fully there” whenever we’ve connected.? What I love most about Tic is he’s 100% authentic.? Whether you see him on a goofy video, he’s on stage for the National Youth Worker Convention, you grab him in the hallway or if you talk with him on the phone, he’s the same guy.? He really is passionate about youth ministry but more passionate about youth workers.
I recently congratulated Tic but I also thanked him for something that I was sure he wasn’t aware of.
A couple of months ago I was thinking about the long path that brought me to my role with the National Network of Youth Ministries.? I believe the turning point was when I spoke at the 2002 National Youth Worker Convention. My seminar was an expanded version of Reality Bites and Some Churches Have Fangs.? That experience resulted in a new network of friendships that helped prepare me for my dream youth ministry position.
Over the years, that network of friendships expanded into a broad base of friendships around the country which helped ease the transition from local church ministry to having a broader platform for ministry. The joy of reflecting on the path that brought me here is not the friendships I have but seeing how God was at work in preparing me for my present role.
It isn’t just the good things that prepare us but the pain and hurt as well.? So though Tic’s decision to let someone like me fill the last open seminar in Pittsburgh was the preparational pivot point for me, it wasn’t the only experience that God used to bring me to my current role.
I tell people that I believe part of what qualifies me for this role (especially the aspect of encouraging and nurturing of youth workers)? is the ministry pain I’ve been through over the years but also my own dark night of the soul.? I’m learning to be a wounded healer.? Youth workers don’t need experts to give them advice, they need? someone who can empathize with the struggles. renew their love for the local church,? help them to not forget their own souls? and remind them serving students so they become stronger disciples is an amazing honor.
It’s a continual process of learning and I’m sure there are more learning curves around the corner but I’m grateful for the blessing Tic gave me and for how God used that to help me begin the next stage of my life.