Just Believe

 —  April 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

article.2013.04.02This is the time of year many youth workers get disillusioned with their ministry. Another job opportunity piques interest or the thought of working a simple 9-5 becomes a little intoxicating to think about. The fun of the fall kickoff is in the rear view mirror; the big events have died down while students hunker down for the last couple months of the school year. The grass looks greener everywhere else, and you start to get down on yourself or look for a way out.

Feel familiar? If it does, read on and find some hope to fight the Spring-time itch:

Believe in your calling.
You are called to do ministry you are made for this! You stand shoulder to shoulder in the long line of incredible men and women God has used to further his kingdom. Satan is an expert at kicking us while we’re down, and he will also try to kick us during the down times of the ministry season.

I (Kurt) have found that the early spring is often the time of the year that I find myself a little frustrated in ministry; and it’s in these times Satan likes to kick me. Reminding myself of my calling and thanking God for allowing me to play a role in his kingdom is the best way to kick back.

Believe in your church.
You are called to your church maybe not for the rest of your life, but don’t let anyone else know that. Serve like you will be there for the rest of your life. When something happens to make you question that calling (maybe an unsupportive leader or discouraged pastor) make sure you get it all out on the table so it doesn’t fester inside and eventually cause damage. Maybe take some time today to reflect on the early days of hope and joy when you first started working with these students and believe again.

Believe in your people.
You have the right people in your church to build a great team of youth workers. Believe in them enough to value their time, encourage them well and train them for the challenges of working with students. Pray for your leadership team before you delete this email, and send them an encouraging note letting them know you did!

Believe in students.
Students are young and immature sometimes they say things quickly that sting or hurt you with their na’ve words, unaware of the verbal damage they have caused. There may need to be a confrontation or a challenge to maturity, but chances are they need a leader who will love them and be long-suffering in his/her guidance over the long haul. Believe God has given you the right students to change your community for him.

I (Josh) started a fantastic spring tradition in our ministry a few years ago: For five weeks in a row our students are in charge of every aspect of our church services. Seeing them rise to the occasion always renews my belief in the teenagers God has called me to serve.

Not sure what you’re facing this Spring or maybe we just needed to say some things to ourselves today. Just believe.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

My One Word for 2013

 —  January 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

I reviewed the new Jon Gordon book The One Word That Will Change Your Life last week and told you I would be writing more about the one word I chose to define 2013 in another post. Here’s the word, and here’s the why:


Belief in the people who serve with me
I’m so thankful for the people I serve alongside. They are the most passionate and faithful people I know. Doesn’t matter if I’ve served with them for years or they started on the team this week. I’m reminded of that when I see them in Starbucks with their crying student, celebrating at their basketball game and cheering them on as they come up out of the water during baptism.

Belief in our church’s ministry and mission
From time to time every youth workers gets an unsettling and unshakable gut feeling- I’m not sure I believe in my church anymore. This year I want to believe more than any ever before. I want to cheer on our pastor and the leadership and what we are all about. I’m “all in” for my church.

Belief in my calling as a youth pastor and equipper
I don’t need to say ‘yes’ to every ask, it is OK to have a callingfilter and I don’t need to be ashamed of having a laser-focus in my life and calling. I’m going to choose to believe that God can use a 38-year old youth worker for another year and that my mission can focus on students and youth workers.

Belief in my role as a husband and father
I know it is important and it is one of the pillars I live my life on – but I’m not going to cheat them this year. I’m going to believe that every moment is important (because it is) and when I’m not there I’ll miss out on an important shaping moment. I’m going to love my wife and kids unashamedly, no matter what guilt will be put on me by unhealthy expectations or leadership.

What’s your One Word for 2013?


Tonight we had 20 youth workers form Sweden visiting our high school services. We had a little time of questions and answers after the service was over and they asked me to kind of sum things up in a sentence or two. Here’s a version of what I told them, thought I would share it here, too!

Youth workers need to believe …

  • Believe that God is going to use them to do something great.
  • Believe that the Holy Spirit will guide when they feel incapable.
  • Believe that He is speaking whether youth group went awesome or not.
  • Believe in that “one student” who everyone else gave up on.
  • Believe in students as the church of today.
  • Believe in that so much you’ll give them some of the reins to the church now.
  • Believe in what God has called them to do as youth workers.
  • Believe that God prepared them for that big obstacle they are facing now.
  • Believe that the Gospel changes lives.
  • Believe that God can do the impossible.
  • Believe that He wants to use you in His kingdom for His glory.