Sherpa Legend — Mark Oestreicher

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Some people might be considered “the face” of youth ministry. Mark Oestreicher is “the beard” of youth ministry.

Marko, as he is known, has been a thought leader in youth ministry for nearly three decades. From his early days as an advocate for the value and legitimacy of junior high ministry, to his authorship of influential books, to his stint as president of Youth Specialties, to his founding of the Youth Cartel, Marko has been a leading voice for youth ministry innovation, cultural interpretation and practical training. Somewhere along the way, Marko gained a reputation as the visionary Yoda of youth ministry, developing the next generation of cutting edge leaders while challenging the church to constantly re-think its methods and purposes. He has led over 50 intensive training cohorts for youth pastors around the country. Recently, he was part of Download Youth Ministry’s National Day of Volunteer Youth Ministry Training, and our volunteers are still talking about his session on the teenage brain.

Strip away the beard and all the accomplishments, though, and Marko is still a junior high youth pastor at heart. He loves kids, and wants them to love Jesus.

We loved our conversation, and could almost smell the smoke of his cigar as we chatted. We are sure you will be blessed by the wit and wisdom of this legend, Mark Oestreicher.

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