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When it comes to ministry, I wish I could say yes to everything. All of it. Every person. Every opportunity. All the things.

In the last few years, Kenny and I have said yes to a lot. Some days it felt like we were balancing one billion projects and people and yeses. And you know what? We don’t regret a single of one them. Each and every yes has been so fun and rewarding.

But dang, all of those yeses are starting to pile up.

YES, we’ll volunteer in middle school ministry!
YES, I’ll write some books!
YES, we’ll move across the country!
YES, I’ll launch a new curriculum!
YES, we’ll start a podcast!
YES, I’ll lead a team!
YES, we’ll travel and speak and teach and coach!
Yes yes yes!

Now don’t get me wrong. We wouldn’t change the last few years for anything. We knew what we were getting into with all of those yeses. This season has been crazy, and it’s exactly the kind of crazy we wanted. But . . .

The things we’ve said yes to are growing, which means they’re demanding more and more of our time. Between Stuff You Can Use, Orange, our church, our little side projects, and – oh yeah – our personal lives, we’re getting a little maxed out. So no matter how much we’d like to continue saying yes to everything possible, we really can’t. Not if we ever want to sleep again, that is.

So as we move forward into 2017, Kenny and I are making some hard decisions. We’re reprioritizing. We’re reevaluating. And we’re saying a really difficult NO so we can say a better YES to the things that matter most to us.

If you’ve been following along with our journey these last six years with youth ministry, and Stuff You Can Use, and Orange, you might be wondering what all of this means.

Yeah, me too. We don’t have all the details figured out yet, but we do have a few.

If there’s one thing Kenny and I know, it’s that we’re absolutely 100% saying yes to loving and serving the youth ministry community. That is, and always will be, a very easy YES for us. As of today, here’s how that’s going to look moving forward…

STUFF YOU CAN USE

Kenny and I launched Stuff You Can Use in 2011 with just a handful of resources and blog posts. Since then, it has grown and evolved quite a bit, but we’re still committed to the same thing – offering practical tools and ideas to help youth workers be more awesome. In the last six years, Stuff You Can Use has grown, and so has our little community of youth pastors and youth workers – and we are really committed to that community.

So continuing to serve and invest in the Stuff You Can Use family is definitely a YES – our biggest YES, actually. (And we’re working on some pretty fun plans for this year that we can’t wait to tell you about.)

ORANGE

Now here’s where the changes start to kick in.

For the last three years, Kenny and I have been invested full-time at Orange. I got to help write the book Creating a Lead Small Culture. We helped launch a big project called Weekly. We’ve been involved with The Orange Conference, The Orange Tour, and the Phase Project. And most significantly for me personally, I got to launch a brand new middle school curriculum, build a middle school team, and lead the middle school strategy for the organization. It is absolutely some of the most exciting work I’ve ever been a part of, and there is no group of humans on this planet that I could possibly love or believe in more than I love and believe in the Orange team.

(And this is where this whole saying no thing gets so difficult.)

Yesterday was our last day with Orange. Because, no matter how hard we try, we simply can’t say yes to everything. So the last few weeks have been packed with lots of hugs, and conversations, and last meals, and really sappy goodbye cards. (I’m telling you, friends – these are the best people.) And although we’re stepping away as team members, we’re already plotting the ways we can continue partnering and championing each other.

So here’s the deal.

WHAT’S CHANGING:

  • Kenny and I are going full-time with Stuff You Can Use (um, hi, scary).
  • At Orange, my amazing and talented friend Ashley Bohinc is taking the lead on all things middle school.
  • Our former “work friends” are all getting upgraded to “outside of work friends.”

WHAT’S STAYING THE SAME:

  • Kenny and I always have been, and always will be, fans and champions of Orange, the Orange team, and everything Orange stands for.
  • We’re going to keep learning, keep creating, and keep serving youth workers to the very best of our ability.
  • As always, Kenny is as cool as a cucumber and I am a little bit like, Hey, life is great but also very terrifying!

It’s exciting. And a little sad. And, yeah, a little scary.

But it’s okay. It’s really good, actually.

Because here’s what’s great. Kenny and I don’t actually have to say yes to everything that comes our way. It’s a big world, full of brilliant and talented people whose voices need to be heard. And it’s actually really fun to realize that any time I say no to an awesome opportunity, someone else will get to say yes.

So basically… I’m so excited about what’s next, both for us and for Stuff You Can Use. Kenny and I have known for a long time that we are at our very best, both personally and professionally, when we are working and dreaming and creating things together. We’ve said yes to a lot of things in the last few years, but this year we’re saying yes

to more focus.
to more creativity.
to a whole bunch of risks.
and to some dreams we’ve been wanting to chase for a long time.

As for what that means with Stuff You Can Use… well, we’ll tell you more about that really soon.