VOICE OF THE YOUTH MINISTRY NATION POWERED BY Powered by simpleyouthministry.com


 —  August 9, 2013 — 4 Comments


I don’t like to admit it but there are a lot of ministry “things” at which I’m not very good….Correction; there are a lot of ministry things at which I just flat out STINK! And sadly, just because I stink at certain aspects of ministry doesn’t mean they somehow go away. Wouldn’t it be cool if God said, “Hey you, since you are horrible at X, I’ll just keep X away from you and the ministry you lead.” I don’t know about you, but if He did that for me there would be more stuff taken away from my ministry than left in it!

Because I stink at lots of ministry stuff, I’ve had to develop a three-pronged approach over the years:

1) Be okay being below average at some things.  I’ve simply had to “settle” on the reality that there are some things I’m never gonna be good at, and lower the expectations I put on myself to perform at a top level in those areas.

2) Selectively learn some new skills.  And while I’m learning to be okay with just being okay at some things, I’ve also picked a few key areas at which I stink that I think are worth learning to be good at. I can’t learn to be good at all the stuff at which I stink, but in my case I was SO BAD in a few key areas that I simply had to learn the skills necessary.

3) Surround myself with smarter, more talented people. I’m completely okay not being the smartest or most talented person in the room in most cases…especially when the topic or task involves an area at which I stink and I’m not willing to learn to get better at it. Giving these areas of ministry away to others frees me up and allows people to use their gifts to make our ministry better; a win-win!

Guess what? You stink, too!  In fact, you stink really bad at some stuff that is vital to the success of your youth ministry. And for some of you, it’s hard to admit.  So I’ll get the ball rolling in the hopes that some of you may be willing to share your “stink” in the comments section. Who knows, somebody who’s really good at it may be able to help you out.

MINISTRY STUFF AT WHICH KURT JOHNSTON STINKS (Note: This is just a partial list; actual list is much longer)

– Remembering names.

– Reading and sticking to a budget.

– Keeping track of registration forms or checks handed to me by a parent.

– Not using sarcasm to make a passive-aggresive point.  But if I may brag for just a moment…. I’m REALLY good at using sarcasm to make a passive-aggresive point.

– “Turning the corner spiritually” with students in one-on-one conversations.

– Returning emails, texts and phone calls in a timely manner.

Let’s get the comments going….share a tip for me….share something you stink at….share a tip for somebody else!


Kurt Johnston

Kurt Johnston


Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

4 responses to YOU STINK!

  1. Kurt this is great! I know I stink at remembering names as well. I always have that “one student” who comes up to me and says, “So what’s my name?” After the awkwardness fades I respond with some joke and walk away quickly.

    Another thing I stink at is executing tasks. I can dream up ideas, cast vision, get people to follow but have learned over the years I better have some detail/ executing geniuses surrounding me or nothing will get done!

    Here’s to stinking!


  2. Kurt Johnston

    I’m with you on execution…not my strongest gift! Speaking of names, just this past week we had over 400 junior highers at our camp and Katie Edwards, our JH Pastor, had virtually EVERY name memorized. She even told students that if she didn’t know their name by the end of the week she would by them a shake at the malt shop. Crazy talented. I’m sure she stinks at stuff, too, I’m just not sure what…and I’ve been working with her for 17 years. Some people……

  3. I’ve done a youth group of grades 7-12’s for the past 5 years, and this September we are going to switch to a separate junior and senior youth group, adding 2 extra grades for the junior youth.

    I am very nervous and excited to lead the grade 5-8’s each week! God give me strength (and patience)!

  4. I stink at coming up or leading games, especially on the fly
    I also stink at turning the corner to spiritual matters
    I am a bad procrastinator, particularly when I have to write messages

Leave a Reply


Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>