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A New Season

“The Good, Bad and Ugly” a realtime journey in the middle of transition.

by Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


Weeks: Sept 1-15

What was GOOD? Over the last two weeks, life has switched from summer mode back to something resembling a normal life. I still haven’t landed a job, but the twins have gone back to pre-school, we are settling into a new church (as regular people) and Twyla’s working harder than ever. I have enjoyed getting back into routine and having some time just to be still when the twins are in pre-school. It’s a nice breather as I look toward the future.

What was BAD? The girls have been asking a lot of questions about “Grandma Carol.” My mom died back in 2010 to suicide. Over the last 10 years, I’ve come to grips with the loss, but from time to time, it hits me harder than usual. Scar reminds me so much of her, and that’s a good thing, but often I wish mom was here to see the twins and make them amazing dresses.

What was UGLY? The first batch of buns that I’ve made in a long time turned was a bit dense and more “hockey puck” then I would have liked. Good thing Elly loves them 😛

How’s your HEART doing? Overall if I had to give it a rating out of 10, I would give it a 7.5. I have enjoyed these last few weeks, but I have been stressed about the lack of job prospects. I’m choosing to trust God’s got a plan, but that hasn’t always meant it’s been easy. I know something is coming, but it’s just a matter of time and TRUST.

What’s making me happy this week? Last week I made buns with my girls for the first time, and it was epic. I love passing on what I used to do with my mom to the girls. Whenever we do stuff like this, I feel like a part of mom’s legacy is being passed on and maybe one day the girls will do the same.

Jesse Email Tag
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

Thirty Minutes Faster 

I have a rule that helps guide my life and ministry. At first, it will seem simple, but I promise you the implications for your life and ministry will be powerful.

by Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership and the things I have learned over the years, partly because I’m working on a new ebook on leadership but also because I have lots of reflection time these days.

If you have been following along over the last few months then you know I’m currently in transition. For me, that means I don’t now work for a church, and I spend most of my days being a Manny (according to my wife) as the new school year started. It’s my responsibly to get my twins up, feed, make lunches, get dressed and be off to pre-school three days a week. That seems like a simple task, but they are a lot of work. For this, to work, everyone needs to be up and out of bed no later than 7:30 am. That’s easy enough, but it also means that I have to be up and ready to go. Ya my wife is here, and we could tag team this thing, but she works from home and tries to get some time in before breakfast.

So really for this whole thing to work I need to be up, showered, dressed and ready to go well before the twins. But it’s not just physically being prepared I need to be mentally prepared as well. So the plan right now is to try and be up by 6:30ish each morning. So that I’m downstairs and ready by no later than 7:00 am.

I tell you this because this is a leadership principle that has governed my life and ministry for as long as I can remember.

Leadership Principle: As the leader, you need to be 30min ahead of everyone else.

This fundamental principle has been the driving force behind much of how I have operated in ministry. My goal is to always at the minimum be ready to go 30min ahead of myself at any given time. To be clear, that means physically, mental, emotional and spiritual ahead. Here are some examples of how that works in the real world of ministry.

  • Physically: If I have youth group on Wednesday night and have leaders meeting at 6:00 pm, then I want to have everything I need for youth group READY 30min before that meeting. That allows me to be not only ready for the meeting but gives my mind a chance to be clear so I can provide clear directions to my leaders.
  • Mentally: Typically, youth nights are formed into chunks of time that are about 30min long, mentally, you need too always to be about 30min faster than you physically are. So if your running games from 7:30-8:00 pm and then switching to worship. The band will need to know 15min before the switch so they can set-up when you want to start worship at 8:15 pm.
  • Emotionally: Life and youth ministry get busy, especially on youth nights. However, when your 30min faster than your first scheduled task, it gives you 30min to REST. To pause and breath, take a moment to eat, grab a drink or be still. This rest has been a life-giving moment for me over the years, especially on big event nights.
  • Spiritually: I genuinely believe that when you operate 30min ahead, you are learning to trust that Jesus is in control. Your youth night or retreat day is long, and there are all kinds of things coming you can’t control But what you can control is about 30min of time. After that, you are trusting Jesus to show up in big and powerful ways.

Being 30min early is not always easy. Even today in my home, 30min was maybe 15min, but I entered my day rested and ready for what was to come. In ministry, if you can be 30min ahead of yourself and teach your leaders how to be 30min ahead as well, it will change everything. Because you will walk into activity/program/event physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually ready for whatever God brings.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: The easiest way to start is to set a small and simple goal this week. All I want you to do is pick one activity or moment in your schedule and be 30min early. Then with that extra time rest, take a break, pray, breath, or read your bible. Don’t just go on your phone, though, rest and pause. If you keep this up over time, it will become natural.

Jesse Email Tag
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

Hire Us

Have you ever wanted some extra help? had a specific ministry question? or needed a resource but just didn’t know how to create it? Why not consider hiring Fresh Ministry Consulting, we would love to help.

by Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


There is a lot of amazing free content here at Fresh Ministry Consulting but sometimes pastors, leaders and churches have questions that go beyond what has been produced. Here are four ways Fresh Ministry can come alongside you and your ministry and provide you with the tools you need to reach this generation for Jesus.

  • Option #1 – Ask a question: If you have a specific ministry question that is not addressed by the blogs or guides I would love to answer those questions.
  • Option #2 – Heart Coaching: This option is for anyone who wants some one-on-one coaching around understanding and processing the question, “How’s your heart?”. There are three options to choose from and each session will end with a question about your heart and an opportunity to pray together.
  • Option #3 – Speaking Opportunities: Sometimes it’s just good to get into a room together. There are several speaking topics you can choose from or something specific can be created to fit your needs and context.
  • Option #4 – Content Creation: If you would like specific content created for your ministry or would like a contract ghostwriter I would love to talk with you.

For a more detailed description of these options, the costs and how to get more information check out our new HIRE US page and fill out the online contact form. 

Jesse Email Tag
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

19 Days — Good, Bad and Ugly

“The Good, Bad and Ugly” a realtime journey in the middle of transition.

Weeks: Aug 11-Aug 30 (Sorry…kinda)

What was GOOD this week? It was amazing to get away as a family and see my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin. It was a fantastic time and the weather was decent. It could have been hotter but we still had the chance to go boating, visit new places, eat tacos, drink yummy coffee and spend time with people we love. It was a crazy week before we got there but the time away was just what we all needed.

What was BAD this week? It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions and opportunities over the last few weeks. I still don’t have a job but the hope is not lost. The bad comes from riding this emotional rollercoaster. For two weeks now, I haven’t been 100% sure how to feel. If you know me you know I have lots of feelings and a strong need to process them.

What was UGLY this week? The wavy lake weather and Twyla learning to drop the rope while wakesurfing better than me… no one should be surprised 😛

How’s your HEART doing? Overall if I had to give it a rating out of 10 I would give it an 8. It’s hasn’t been an 8 every day these last nineteen days but as I have reflected back, I see that more often than not 8 was my number. The future still unwritten but inside all of the drama God has been giving me slivers of hope for the future. I’m more excited today then I have been in the process and that’s worth celebrating.

What’s making me happy this week? I have moved on from Star Wars to the Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings trilogies. I’m just about to watch the third Hobbit film and I’m enjoying every minute. I didn’t love them when they first came out but coming back to it has been an adventure. I’ve opted not to watch the extended editions as I just don’t think I can sit still or hog the TV that long anymore.

Jesse Email Tag
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

Are you ready?

A new season of Student Ministries is about to start in both Canada and the USA and the question is are you ready?

by Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


A new season of Student Ministries is about to start in both Canada and the USA and the question is are you ready?

  • Not are you ready to meet new students?
  • Not are you ready for the fall retreat?
  • Not are you ready for that first relationship drama you will have to deal with?

No, my question is are you ready with a plan for the year?

I have discovered that very few Student Ministries, Pastors, Leaders or even Churches plan farther than a few months at a time. Maybe you have from now to December planned out, but the odds are extremely low you know what you want to do into 2020 and beyond.

As I have talked about this with ministry friends, taught this in university and lived it out over 20 years I’ve come to realize that most people want to actually plan in advance but simply don’t know how to do it. It was actually one of the first questions I tackled when I started Fresh Ministry and is the topic of the second book I published.

So back to my question, are you ready? if so blessing on you… if not consider checking out one or both of these resources. You also always welcome to contact me with your questions.

Jesse Email Tag
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.

The Sting of Rejection

Over the last few weeks, I have had to deal with the inevitable reality that you do not get every job you apply for.

By Jesse Criss edited by Sophia Savalli

Over the last few weeks, I have had to deal with the inevitable reality that you do not get every job you apply for. Rejection can sting and sometimes even hurt a lot. You pour yourself into the interview process, you lay down dreaming of the potential jobs may have and maybe you even had an eye on a place you could live… only to have the whole thing come crashing down.

It hurts, but it’s what happens after the rejection that I want to talk about. Despite mine and your best efforts, we will get rejected from jobs. Why that rejection comes is kinda irrelevant, because you can’t control that part. You may blow your interview as I did several years ago.

I was going through a rough transition after being rejected (I’ll talk about that in a minute) and basically in my interview, I broke down and fell apart. I was emotionally and spiritually unhealthy and it all came out on the phone. So, when they said “thanks but no thanks”, it was clear I had a part to play in the rejection.

However, for the most part, there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of the decision. This has been the reality of my life for the last few weeks. I can’t change how decisions are made but I have full control over how I react.

Several years ago, I spent almost 4 months in talks with a church to come work for them. We traveled across the country to apply (on-site interview) and the weekend went really well. We met a ton of people, looked at houses and left with what we thought was a deal in hand. However, as soon as we landed I knew we were in trouble. I had a message that asked me to call first thing in the morning. The sum of that conversation was “I thought you were great, but some Elders thought you were just okay, so we are going to pass”. This sting hurt. Actually, it was like getting hit in the chest with a ton of bricks. The problem came over the next few weeks.

I would spiral into a self-defeating circle of self-doubt, frustration, anger and it all came together when one afternoon as I was sitting in my boxers on my couch crying, angry and then it happened. I screamed a scream from deep within my soul. It was so loud I hurt myself and to this day if I raise my voice my dog shakes in fear. That scream would come to define a season of my life where I allowed the sing of rejection to control me and my world.

Fast forward to the first few weeks of August and again the sting of rejection came. However this time there was no scream or self-defeating circle. It did hurt, I did have questions and I was sad. But I know it will be okay because this time my lead card is trusting that God will be my provider. This time my heart is in the right place and I know God will come through because he always does.

Maybe that’s not you, maybe you’re not in that same place. Maybe you have been stung so many times you just want to give up. If that’s you then I want you to try something for me.

TRY THIS: This week I want you to write down every single moment you can think of in your life where God has shown up. Start the process by praying that God would reveal moments to you, but then take a few days. Keep the list on your phone or make it accessible somehow but let it rattle around in your brain for a few days. When the list is done leave it for a day or two. After a few days come back to it and read it slowly, pray your way through it. Ask God to show you where He provided for you along the way.

Some of you reading this right now might be like where I used to be. Back during the big scream time in my life I was stuck in a dark hole and didn’t believe that God could or would provide. I was sure He didn’t care. Over the years I learned to look back at the journey of my life and see all these moments where God showed up. Then in the worst moment fo my life, when I felt like all hope was lost… it all clicked together.

“God was my provider”

`The sting of rejection is inevitable. Sometimes it will be job-related, sometimes it will be social and sometimes it will be family and friends. Regardless of the situation, rejection will come but imagine if we walked into those moments known that God was our provider. Imagine that our first thought was that, no matter what, God was in control and would see us through. The hard part is that it’s a choice we/I have to make every single day. We cannot control being rejected but can control how we respond.

Jesse Email Tag
If you would like to know more about this topic or learn how to implement this in your youth program feel free to contact me.