The news is starting to buzz this Thursday morning. Yes, Tic is back. So I grabbed him and asked him a few questions that we’re all wondering.
I’m talking about Youth Specialties(YS). After some crazy transitions over the last few years (even months!), the new YS just made a very smart move… they brought back Tic Long.
YS is a household name to those of us in the youth ministry world. In the 70’s, youth workers couldn’t get enough of their “IDEA” books. My dad was a youth minister in the 60’s and 70’s, so I was introduced to YS’s stuff as a kid. My brother and I used to do YS skits for my parents for fun. Mike Yak and Wayne Rice– the founders- were heroes to most youth ministers because they had the guts to talk about the elephants in the room, and then provide us with some resources to help us along the way.
After navigating the youth ministry world for a few years, my friend Ray Johnston introduced me to Tic Long, one of the head guys at YS at the time (in the 90’s). Tic was the guy who gave me a shot at training at the National Youth Workers Convention. I’ve been teaching there since, and they have published many of my books.
In the last few years YS has had some major drawbacks. My buddy Mike A. of Mikey’s Funnies was let go. Mike Yak tragically died. Tic was let go. Zondervan took over. Financial upset. Marko was let go and now this company that many of us don’t know, “YouthWorks,” bought Zondervan out. Many of us have been sitting around and saying, “Is YS even YS anymore?” Their publishing house wasn’t rocked that hard… but their events???
So I was pretty excited when I heard Tic was back. If you’re like me… you’ve got questions. That’s why I contacted Tic and asked him myself. Listen in:
JONATHAN: Hey Tic… so good to hear that you’ll be back with YS. That’s going to be great news for so many. A few quick questions about this transition: First, what are you most excited about now that you’ve rejoined the YS team?
TIC: That I still get to serve youth workers at a place I love.
JONATHAN: Very cool. Now, many of us don’t know these “YouthWorks” guys that just took over YS. They seem like nice enough guys, and they have an impressive history of putting on good events. Do you have any personal experiences with these guys that you can share with us? Throw us a bone here!
TIC: I didn’t know them well but when I got to know them I got really excited. They were one of the main reasons I came back. They walk the talk. Like the fact they give away about a million dollars a year back into the communities they serve. I love their humble spirit. I love how they love youth workers.
JONATHAN: It was already a transition doing YS without Yak. What will it be like without Marko?
TIC: Nothing is as hard as losing Yac. YS has had some hard transitions not only when Mike died but going from this small little independent ministry to be part of the corporate world in which Zondervan lives in, when I left, when the 11 people left when I did, Marko’s leaving, then another sale….Yikes that’s just a lot to work through. It will be hard without Marko but I think it will be way easier for YS with me coming back instead of somebody completely new because I carry the YS DNA and know so many of the YS family of friends.
JONATHAN: What is the first thing on your “To Do” list?
TIC: Hug everybody at YS. I have not even been back at the office yet. I decided to come back after Christmas and the first week of Jan. have been at YouthWorks HQ. I get into the office Friday.
JONATHAN: Cool. Give Adam McLane a big kiss for me. Uh… did I just say that outloud? Moving on! What’s the scariest part of this new job?
TIC: Making sure I keep balance in my life. It is really easy for me to think about YS 24/7 and that is not healthy. I love what we do so much that in the past I was not good at setting boundaries. I hope to be better at it this time around. To hold it a little more loosely. To actually live like I am trusting God that YS is his and not just say that.
JONATHAN: That’s it! Thanks for taking some time with me! Welcome back bro.