Youth Specialties Portfolio

Read this interview from 2000 with Mike at Free Youth Ministry.

The Core

The Core was the relaunch of a decades-old, and very successful, one-day seminar that happened in 100 cities every Spring.

The website included all event information, as well as online registration and a tool to search for the nearest seminars by zip code.

View: '02 homepage :: '03 homepage



YS entered into a partnership with Emergent, a group made up of many leaders of emerging churches ministering in the postmodern context.

There were two primary areas that YS supported Emergent's efforts: Events and products. The Internet played a key part of launching both venues.


In 2003 YS produced the first Emergent Convention. We adapted our knowledge and experience about conventions (and convention websites) to, what many considered a very successful first year. The site included all event info and online registration.

View: homepage :: interior page


We deployed an online store to feature and sell emergentYS product.

View: current site


Especialidades Juveniles

This is the official website for the Spanish division of YS. We worked with YS's director of Spanish ministries, Dr. Lucas Leys, to develop a site that resourced burgeoning youth ministries in Latin countries.

View: homepage :: interior page

Generación Líderes™

This is the Spanish version of The Core. Dr. Leys conducted these popular one-day seminars all over the Spanish-speaking world.

View: homepage


Michael Yaconelli Memorial

This is the one site I wished didn't have to be built.

When Youth Specialties' co-founder and CEO, Mike Yaconelli, was killed in car accident October 2003, we responded immediately. After decades of writing and speaking, Mike had fans all over the world. The site sought to keep them informed, provide links to articles and other memorials, and provided a forum to share thoughts, memories, and sentiments.

View: current site


National Pastors Convention

This was the event for non-youth ministry church leaders, in partnership with Zondervan Publishing House and Leadership journal.

The website included all event info and online registration.

View: '03 home :: '03 interior page


National Youth Workers Convention

This is YS's premier annual event, since 1971. It draws 12,000 youth workers from around the world to conventions in three cities every fall.

The 2003 website was a fundamental shift in how we displayed a massive amount of information (over 300 pages!). In focus groups and user tests, we found a significant amount of frustration by customers trying to wade through it all.

So, we created three situational entrances: "Enter" was for those just wanting basic information to decide if they should attend; "I want to register" provided a navigation specific to the registration process; "I'm already registered" provided a restructured navigation with the more relevant sections highlighted.

View: homepage :: "Enter" interior page :: "Already registered" interior page



This was an annual spiritual retreat for youth workers, offered in 2-4 cities around the U.S.

The website had to communicate the contemplative nature of the event, while providing information and registration.

View: '03 homepage


Youth Specialties

This was the first significant website for youth workers, launched in the Spring of 1995. It quickly grew to a ginormous storehouse (thousands of pages) of valuable resources and tools for church youth ministry - the most popular site in the market.

Our team launched a comprehensive redesign (of design and architecture) in August of 2002:

Interior page: After user tests and interviews, we restructured and consolidated our content into a primary navigation at the top of the page.

Store: We launched a store using Intershop/epages, which included relevant information for each product (description, author info, back cover text, feedback from readers, and samples) and a tool to search for stores with YS product by zip code.

Forum: We launched an online message board format that became instantly popular with youth workers all over the world. In the course of the first year, it acquired over 2,000 members and 100,000 posts.

Job Bank: This section was the most popular on the YS site - a huge repository of youth ministry job postings and resumes. We launched a complete redesign of the tool, with a more powerful search function. The new application allowed users to set up accounts, include photos with posts, save searches, bookmark posts, and more. Also included was the ability to charge for posts.


Youthworker Journal

This bimonthly youth ministry publication is a partnership with YS and Salem Publications. In 2004 we redesigned the YS site's articles section with the Youthworker brand.

View: current site