Youth Specialties Thought Partners

On November 18, 2011, in Boards, Youth Ministry, by admin

It’s an honor to have been invited to serve alongside Youth Specialties as a “Thought Partner” for the next two years. Here’s what that means, from YS President Mark Matlock’s announcement:

One of the challenges leading a youth ministry community is staying on top of all that is happening in the field. We know that in order to keep up YS must partner with strategic thought leaders in youth ministry. I’m well aware that we are “better together.”

Inviting Doug Fields and Kara Powell to join the leadership team was the first of many steps to expand the voices speaking into the YS community. The next project was developing a team that we affectionately will call the “YS Thought Partners”. The idea is simple–I’ve asked a few long time youth ministry leaders, who are familiar with YS, to voluntarily partner with us and help speak into the direction of YS.

I’m pleased to announce our first round of participants:

  1. Jeremy Del Rio – Founder and Executive Director of 20/20 Vision for Schools.
  2. Ginny Olson –Director of Youth Ministry for the Northwest Conference of the Covenant Church and an adjunct professor at Bethel University in Minnesota.
  3. Walt Mueller – Founder and President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding
  4. Allen Jackson – Founder and Director of Youth Ministry Institute, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  5. Mike King CEO, Youth Front, Kansas City

These five individuals will serve a two year term as a YS Thought Partner. Each year we will ask an additional 3-5 others to join the team. The group doesn’t vote or have any fiduciary responsibilities, so any bad decisions will still be mine to own, but they will have tremendous influence as they share their youth ministry wisdom so we can better serve the growing community of youth workers throughout the world.

Doug Fields, Kara Powell, Marv Penner (ED for YS Canadian), Lucas Leys (ED of Especialidades Juveniles), [and] Terry Linhart (Director ofYouth Specialties Academic Network), will join the team as non-rotating members. To have this team available to me as a leader is humbling to say the least.


Thanks, Mark! It’s humbling to serve alongside you and such an extraordinary team. I’m excited for the future. Better together, indeed!

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