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Staying Fresh

 —  May 6, 2014 — 2 Comments


As my role has slowly shifted and responsibilities added, I’ve seen a marked difference in how I spend a majority of my time. In the past I mostly created, brainstormed, prepared to teach, taught, thought up goofy games, led people etc. Now I mostly evaluate, manage systems, project the future, solve problems, etc. I still lead people, but in a different capacity. Of the two roles, I’m more suited and wired for the first….and have learned (am learning) the ropes concerning the second.

When you spend your time doing what comes naturally, staying fresh is much easier. The day-to-day stuff is exciting, you feel confident and get “wins” easily. But what do you do when you feel overwhelmed and to some degree under-gifted for what you are asked to do…when something doesn’t quite feel in your “wheel house”? Here’s what’s worked for me:

- Lean Into Jesus Like Never Before. To be honest, I’ve spent a lot of my youth ministry career relying mostly on my own giftedness. Sure, I spent lots of time talking to the Father, relying on him? Not so much. Nowadays, I have no choice.

- Focus On The Positives. It’s been said that your attitude will determine your altitude, and I’ve found that to be true. Because so much of ministry is draining and there can be lots of disheartening aspects of our roles, it’s always a good idea to step away from the trees to take a look at the beauty of the forest from time to time.

- Hold Onto A Few Things. As my role has shifted, I’ve had to let go of lots of stuff that I was good at and brought me joy and fulfillment. But I haven’t let go of it all! I’ve purposely held onto a few things that I probably shouldn’t have, but that I find extremely fun, fulfilling, and beneficial to my “Freshness Factor”.

- Spend Time With Energizers. Imagine you have a built-in energy gauge that you can look at to quickly assess your current state at any moment. Everything you do, and everybody you spend time with is either a charge or a drain on your system. In order to stay fresh, you need to be sure you are spending time with people who charge you up, a.k.a. the energizers in your life! I have two or three people who do this for me better than anybody else (I’m not even sure they realize it.), and I make sure I spend time with them on a fairly regular basis.

Got something to add to the list that’s worked for you?

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.

2 responses to Staying Fresh

  1. Calvin Bryant May 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    “Everything you do, and everybody you spend time with is either a charge or a drain on your system.”

    Love this line. It’s so true, even outside of ministry. Thanks for the practical steps to stay fresh! Look forward to meeting you one of these days at conference!

  2. Thanks for this post! I’m heading into my 15th year of youth ministry, and realigning, adapting, and reinventing myself has become increasingly important. I appreciate these insights and reminders for staying fresh.

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