You spoke, LISM is changing (1 of 2)

Good listeningThank you all so much for taking a couple minutes to complete the LISM reader survey three weeks ago! The data you provided is so valuable in helping me make some decisions about where I focus my time and how I move forward with LISM this year.

What is somewhat the same

  • 61.9% of you are full-time youth workers. Another 17% of you are paid part-time, which means that 78.9% of you are still vocational youth workers.
  • With 86.9% of you serving in the USA, this is still primarily an American youth ministry site.
  • 72.8% of you still prefer to consume content via text. Video preference went up a bit since last year, but audio consumption went down. In fact, only 4.1% of you prefer to consume content via audio.
  • The topics and issues you’d like to see addressed are still pretty evenly split among across the board, so we’ll try to hit as many of them as possible this year.

The changes

Your feedback was extremely helpful in helping me determine where to better invest my attention as I continue to develop LISM in 2011.

There are new youth workers reading LISM now
Last year 62% of you had been serving in youth ministry for 6 years or more. Over the course of 2010 that apparently changed a bit and now only 51% of you have been doing youth ministry for that long. I wish I had more data about this. Did my content become more rudimentary last year? Is there a surge of newer youth workers in the youth ministry world? Did a lot of the veteran guys retire or lose interest in LISM? Hmm…

Email subscribers getting a better system
The survey showed that most of the user engagement on LISM comes from people who subscribe via email. Good for you, email people! Sometime in the near future I’ll be upgrading the email subscription service to something that will hopefully serve you even better. Thanks for letting me know that a solid email service is worth investing into!

Sharing other people’s youth ministry content
The “Links ‘n Vids” series was rated surprisingly high. Since I know doing them by video is not what you all prefer, I’ll be more intentional about doing more “Links ‘n Vids” as normal blog posts this upcoming year, pointing you guys to whatever stood out to me recently in the youth ministry blogosphere.

The end of LIVE YM Talk?
Freebie Friday and the general blog posts clearly came out on top as what you guys feel has the most potential to bless you and your ministry, so I’ll focus on that this year. However, in this same category, LIVE YM Talk came in a solid last place. Couple that with the fact that only 4% of you prefer to download audio recordings of content, I’m wondering if LIVE YM Talk has run its course.

QUESTION: Is LIVE YM Talk still valuable enough to continue? Should it be just once a month? Should it be shortened? Should we eliminate LIVE YM Talk altogether and invest into something else instead?

Posted on February 2, 2011

  • Tim, I commend you for all of your effort in keeping your site relevant. Not many people can do what you do. My preferences, since you asked, are:

    End LIVEYM – I never listened to or watched one. They are probably great and fun, but I just never had the time to do it.

    Veterans – I'm one of those guys who has stuck with you from the beginning (we both started blogging at the same time and used to have the same theme). For me, practical content – games, how-tos, will be less relevant than content that focuses on "why."

    Networking – One of my favorite things you do is highlight someone I have never heard of. I love link content.

    Hoping you are blessed in resourcing youth workers.

    • Yeah, I think I agree with you. I'm not sure I'm willing to kill LIVE YM Talk completely yet because I think there's a lot of value there, but it's probably being expressed in the wrong medium. Doing it at a scheduled time is too restrictive and the length makes it unappealing. I have some ideas for a LIVE YM Talk 2.0 that I may try to flesh out. I'll blog about it if it's something that can become a reality and hear your guys feedback at that point.

  • Yeah, I'm in mostly the same boat as @sleestac. I'm almost never in a position at 2pm (eastern) on Mondays to stop what I'm doing and watch or participate in an hour-long conversation. I'm intrigued by it maybe becoming a monthly thing. I might not be able to give an hour each week, but I can probably carve out an hour each month as long as the content is worth it.

    • I'm not convinced that just changing the scheduled time, length and frequency is the solution. To me that feels like making little adjustments to a church program that really just needs to die but no one has the guts to pull the plug on for lack of a better substitute.

  • pastorE

    I tried to get on LIVEYM a few weeks and wasn't able to. In youth worker world, if it doesn't work then abandon. So that's what happened to me. I agree with sleestac on the content. I like some beef and taters out of my Bible

  • Tim, thanks for looking to serve rather than just be a talking head.

    One thought on the YM Talk. Would love to participate, but I'm in the same boat as Paul (@sleestac) and Joseph. I've also only listened to a couple, mostly because they're an hour long. Plus, when you think about it, "YM Talk" happens on your site all the time via the comments…especially when you touch on a hot button issue.

    Looking forward to another year of LISM!

    • I think LIVE YM Talk should probably be laid to rest, but as I mentioned in an earlier comment, I think there's a lot of value in actual REAL conversations. I'll try to find a different venue for that to take place that hopefully works better for everyone.

  • Personally, I love the podcast and listen to it regularly. I'm one of the bi-vocational guys and usually can't participate in the conversation but love the podcast and wish there were more like it. I've always found it informative and encouraging. I would hate to see it go.

    • Hmm… good feedback. Maybe there's a way we can change it to work for more people but still offer value to everyone. We'll see…

      • Tim, just curious, don't you have subscription data through iTunes or elsewhere that gives an indication of how many people are listening to the podcast? I'd be curious what the trends are in those numbers. Also, I can't remember how the survey was worded but I did not consider the podcast as "consuming audio." I would have thought that to have been more in the context of an audio blog post or something of that manner. I could be wrong, but I wonder if a more pointed question about the podcast would have been more enlightening?

        • Yeah, I know how many people subscribe in iTunes and how many downloads each podcast or video gets. The problem is that doesn't tell me how many people actually listen or watch the file, though. Someone could subscribe in iTunes and auto-download the content but then do nothing with it, ya know?

          Hmm… I can see how that question could be potentially confusing. Doh!

    • Hannah Shewchuk

      Same here. I'm busy during the scheduled time, but I listen to the podcasts when I have time, and I don't think you should give up on it entirely.

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  • As a guy who typically is late to the party, I like the Live YM talk. I have only begun to listen to it over the past month and have enjoyed it. I find it encouraging and helpful. But, I get why you would tweek or euthanize it all together.

    • Thanks! Not sure what will happen with it yet. We'll see…

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