For the last couple of years my primary source of income has been speaking engagements. I’ve traveled and spoke for 25+ years, but when I was working at the church full-time, these engagements were limited because I didn’t want to be away from my church. Now, speaking and being on the road is essentially my livelihood.

Today I was going thru my 2012 speaking calendar and I paused to reflect on how grateful I am for the opportunity to do what I do. I loved working in the church for 30 years and now I love being a church volunteer and contributing in several different places (YS, HomeWord/APU, speaking, etc). In a year and a half, my youngest child will be in college and Cathy has promised that she’ll travel with me more often–and I can’t wait for that to happen.

Last night a friend said, “What are you top 3 speaking engagements that you’re looking forward to this year. He didn’t allow me to get away with “I’m excited about them all.” He pushed me to be specific. Honestly, I don’t say “yes” to a speaking engagement that I’m not excited about doing or feel like I can make a contribution, so I answered him with the following three. I share them with you because my blogging mentor (Josh Griffin) said, “Blog about the questions your friends ask you.” So, here’s how I answered:

1. YS Palooza: I was invited to speak at the inaugural kick-off year last year, but I couldn’t make it. I’m very excited to be at all six in Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Kansas City, and Orlando. This event is a Fri/Sat youth worker training. High energy, high impact, affordable, YS-style. On a couple of these events I’ve either going early or staying late to speak at other places and I love being able to do that. If you’re a youth worker in those areas, join me.

2. Refreshing Your Marriage Conference. More and more I’m coming to believe that if I want to help teenagers, I need to help their parents and their marriages. I’m all in! My heart is moving more toward marriage/family and I can’t wait to do this with my dear friend Jim Burns. If you’re in Southern California please come us on February 17-18 at APU.

3. Youth Pastor Summit in Orlando. I haven’t been able to speak at this event for the last 5 years because of my schedule, but I’m so excited to be back. It’s an amazing conference—partly because it’s FREE and partly because it’s at Hard Rock Universal. If you’re near that area on March 5-6…get a spot while they still have them.

Bonus: Student Leadership Conference. How can I not list this one? It’s my event. I think about it daily…. Don’t you? Just kidding. It’s for high school students and it’s an amazing event where we challenge teenagers to develop their leadership skills and become leaders within their own church. It’s not “fly like an eagle” motivation, it’s a challenge to be a biblical leader. Consider joining us year as we’ve partnered with Youth Specialties and my friends Mark Matlock and Kara Powell and a host of other friends will be there to pour into your students. Sign up soon for best deals.

Like I wrote earlier…I’m thrilled to be with all of the events/people who have booked me (I wouldn’t have said “yes” if I wasn’t excited to be with you or your people/group). I can’t wait!

Honestly, I can’t believe I get to do this for a living! What joy!

Question: Are you planning on being at any of these events? If so, let me know here.


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