on the firing of a friend
Once upon a time, a company named Youth Specialties was born. The world of youth ministry was never so blessed by a group of crazy, wide-eyed believers who thought that you could enter the life of a teenager in the name of Jesus and help turn their hearts toward Him. They believed this could be accomplished through many avenues... be it through props and object lessons or contemplative prayer and creative worship outlets.
A whole generation of pastors emerged out of this movement... people who caught that vision and realized it was the same one God was birthing in their hearts.
It wasn't too long ago that Youth Specialties and the entire world of youth ministry had a tragic lost when one of its co-founders, a guy named Mike Yaconelli, died in an unexpected, tragic way. The staff of this flagship organization felt the loss, and then rallied together to honor God.
Times become tough, though, and soon YS entered into a relationship with Zondervan. For those of you who may not know, this is another flagship ministry in the Christian world - specifically in the products, resources, and occasional events they put forth on a regular basis. The new umbrella of this parent organization meant (and perhaps, still means) some of the old will have to adjust to the new.
As a reflection, more recently, another key leader - Tic Long - stepped out of his role at YS. Tic was a former YS President who in recent years had assumed duties that took him into the heart of the YS events. When this happened, other positions were also eliminated. This also was a hit, and the staff rallied together to honor God.
And then this week, the President of YS - affectionately known as "Marko" - was let go by the parent organization Zondervan. And again, the staff is rallying together to honor God.
While much can be said on the negative side (and already has been), I just want to convey my absolute respect and prayers for everyone involved who is attempting to turn this into a God thing... in every hurt and hit.
Sometimes Christian businesses convey "Christ." Other times they convey "business."
In my opinion (and experience), it should always be the former.
That doesn't mean you don't act as a business, but it means that even when you do you need to convey Christ.
I know after all that build up I have presented, I should conclude with an opinion about what has happened. Pardon me for sidestepping that, but I am simply not in the position to do so. In fact, hardly anyone is... because we simply don't know all the details.
So to take my own advice - and perhaps to give some - that's it... that's all I have to say about that. I have reached out as God has led me to my friend Marko, but I am often struck by the temptation to become a peanut gallery beyond God's leading.
So... may God be honored in what has happened, is happening, and will happen.
And may that include those of us on the sidelines.