Some Of My Biggest "Ah Ha" Moments

This June will mark my 20 year anniversary in junior high ministry. I'm sure that I will do a much more honest and thorough reflection of stuff I've learned, but today I was thinking about some of the bigger 'Ah Ha' moments I've had in ministry. Moments where the light bulb went off above my head and something changed as a result.

Some of my 'Ah Ha' moments, in no particular order:

- I'm not irreplaceable.

- I don't have to be cool.

- Everybody 'loves' junior high kids (we have to, we're Christians right?) but some people actually like them. Those are the people to build my team around.

- Functioning as a leader first and a Pastor second is a mistake.

- A lesson doesn't have to be long to be good, but if it's going to be long it has to be good!

- Parents need to be viewed as an ally not an enemy.

- To be effective, I have to surround myself with people who are smarter, more gifted and a lot different than I am.

- Pride ruins everything.

- I don't deserve anything I've been given.


Erin said...

Wow! You started youth ministry when I was 5!! Miss you guys!

Kate E said...

This list is so you. I really like working for a dude who is everything in this blog.

Jeff said...

After "Take On Me", were there really any other big A(h)-Ha moments?

No, movies starring Timothy Dalton don't count.

Arnold said...

Fantastic list, could you please elaborate more on the "Functioning as a leader first and a Pastor second is a mistake." point, please?

Kurt Johnston said...

First a disclaimer: All my graduate work is in the area of leadership, I served on John Maxwell's staff for 3 years and read just about every leadership book I can get my hands on. I'm a proponent of the need for gifted leaders in the church.

I feel like in recent years those of us in the church have become obsessed with the gift of leadership and use our leadership gift as an excuse for neglecting our role as pastors and shepherds.

IMHO, in our effort to grow our congregations, stay innovative and remain culturally relevant, the church has placed too much emphasis on leadership as the primary gift needed to build a body of believers that can reach its community.

My bet: The man or woman with strong leadership gifts and leadership experience gets hired for a ministry position in the local church before the person with strong pastoral gifts and pastoral experience.

Wow...a long response that answers questions nobody is asking!

Mike said...

Thanks for the post. It is cool to see that someone can stay in middle school (ministry) for 20 years.

Arnold said...

Great clarification, it makes sense now. I totally agree with you. Thanks.

Kevin said...


I thought your list was good too! I am a Student ministry "old guy" who has been around Jr. High and Sr. High for 25 years - 20 in one church and realized many of the things you listed are true.

I would add one:
- The "fruit" of being around students gets better with age! Our facebook is commented on by those in their 30's, 20's, and teens - a reflection of trying my best to honor God with my life.


Kurt Johnston said...

Wow...20 years in one church! I agree with the 'fruit' of long-term ministry being the best fruit. Few things bring more sense of satisfaction than seeing a former student now in their 30's who is living a christ-honoring life!

Ange said...

Great post Kurt, I may steal your idea if that's okay....

Kurt Johnston said...

Ange, steal away! I'm sure I'm not the first to make a list of my learnings. :)