A New Adventure Awaits

The following is a quick update on where I’ve been the last 12 months and what’s coming next; let the Adventure begin.

Just over a year ago, I started a journey that would change my life in more ways than I ever thought possible. In June of 2019, I was let go from my pastoral ministry job and left trying to figure out what would be next. I chased some church jobs and enjoyed a summer of chasing the Twins and having a bit of sabbath rest.

It was a fantastic summer in many ways, but time was running out, and I needed a job fast. That’s when God decided to do something unexpected. I had applied to Apple on a bit of a whim, not convinced that I would get an interview, let alone a job. Still, sure enough, on October 4th, 2019, I started a new role at Apple as a Technical Expert, and for the last year, I’ve been “repairing” relationships and devices at the Genius Bar.

A full year and a bit later, I find myself again about to start a new journey as the Village Kids Director at Village Church in Surrey, BC. I’m beyond excited for this role, and because today is Thanksgiving and I find myself reflecting on the year I have just had and how thankful I am for it.

Twelve months ago, I was not sure “thankfulness” was a word I would have used to describe my situation. I was optimistic and willing to trust how God was leading, but I was also frustrated by the situation. Apple turned out to be a fantastic adventure, but one I never thought I would have to go on. I always assumed I would just find a new church role and move on.

See, the funny thing about hindsight is that I can look back on the last year and laugh now a little. I can see God’s hand in all kinds of things. From something as simple as learning to take apart iPhones to the relationships and conversations had with team members and customers. I will never forget how many conversations I had explained that I used to be a Pastor and how I became a Technical Expert, and yes, I had no clue what I was doing, yet the lessons learned from the past year have changed me forever.

Apple has a credo, a guiding principle for all its Retail stores. It’s profound and full of powerful statements that we strived for every single day. One of the lines of the credo reads, “We find courage. To try and to fail, to learn and to grow, to figure out what’s next, to imagine the unimaginable, to do it all over again tomorrow.”

God used this year to show me the courage already inside of me to go beyond what I thought was possible. In doing so, I’ve come to realize that in Him, there are no limits, boundaries or obstacles that can stop me. The best part of it all is that He will do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

As I begin a new adventure with Village Church, I’m excited, nervous, and sometimes wonder if I’m ready. However, in those moments, I feel the Holy Spirit pull on my heart and saying, “Hey Jesse, don’t forget you have the courage. To try and to fail, to learn and to grow, to figure out what’s next, to imagine the unimaginable, to do it all over again tomorrow.”

Life is full of adventures, and I’m not 100% sure where this one will take me yet. But what I do know is that I’m thankful for this last year because, without it, I wouldn’t be ready for what comes next. I believe God’s timing is everything, so I can’t wait to see what He has planned.

Freebie Jan 2020

Hopefully, this FREE resource will help and inspire you to look inward as you enter 2020.

Years and years ago when I was in university as part of a Soul Care class we did a week-long retreat to a local camp. That week we did a spiritual exercise called a “Soul Dot”. Essentially we just drew a big circle on a piece of paper and were asked to pray and write/draw how we were doing on the inside. That was it, there were no real extra directions. The whole goal was to pause and take a moment to self reflect on how we were doing spiritually.

The exercise was impactful and has become part of my personal and ministry routine for the last 20 years. I regularly invited students and leaders to take time at Youth Group every few months and run through a similar exercise. I also encouraged them to keep a copy and compare them along the way. To use it as a physical reminder of what God’s been doing in their life.

So as 2020 kicks off I wanted to share this resource with you all and encourage you to give it a try every few months this year. I’ve refined it a bit over the years to help people be a bit more focused but feel free to adapt the concept to fit your needs.

If you have any questions reach out and enjoy this free resource.

FREE RESOUCE: Emotional Map Exercise

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.

 

A Year In Review

As 2019 comes to a close I just wanted to thank all of you that regularly read and track with what goes on here at Fresh Ministry Consulting.

By Jesse Criss

As 2019 comes to a close I just wanted to thank all of you that regularly read and track with what goes on here at Fresh Ministry Consulting. 2019 was a crazy year in a lot of ways, not just with Fresh Ministry but also personally as I transitioned careers in the summer. However, in the middle of everything going on I was also able to meet and exceed many of my hopes and dreams for 2019.

This year through Fresh Ministry Consulting and your support I was able to…

All of the above was only possible because of an amazing group of people who for the last several years have either been directly involved in Fresh Ministry Consulting or have been champions from the sidelines. So a special thank you goes out to the following amazing people.

  • CJ
  • Sophia
  • Sydney
  • Michelle
  • Brody
  • Ben
  • Kaylan
  • Jonathan 
  • Chris

An extra special thanks to 6 individuals who without there support none of this or what’s to come would have been possible.

As 2019 comes to a close there is much to celebrate but there is also much more to come.

  • The Journey Devotional Series is well underway. The gospels are done and plans are in the works to get the rest of the New Testament done by Spring 2020. You can find them all at your local Amazon store. 
  • The partnership between Fresh Ministry and LeaderTreks continues to grow and I’m excited about a few new projects starting up in 2020.
  • The “Creative Spark Challenge” will continue for the month of January.
  • I’m working on a plan to create a few new devotional style books and I’m hoping to finish my Top 10 Leadership Principles book that I started in the summer. 
  • There are a few more exciting projects that I can’t talk about yet but I’m hoping it will all come together in 2020.

In June of 2019, I was frustrated and life seemed uncertain. I wasn’t sure what the next step would be and many of you rallied around me and my family in prayer and support. Six months later I’m still not sure the future is any clearer but I know one thing is true… there is joy in my heart, family in my life and a saviour who refuses to let go of me. Regardless of what happens in 2020 my hope and prayer are that this time next year I can say that those three things remain true.

Love and Blessings

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.

 

 

Why We Work

Recently I started a new career outside of paid ministry and the question I get asked the most is, why did I choose to leave youth ministry? 

Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


Recently I started a new career outside of paid ministry and the question I get asked the most is, why did I choose to leave youth ministry?

Now I didn’t choose to leave the role I was in (that’s a long story) but I did choose to follow where God was leading me next. I applied for a few ministry jobs but those doors kept closing. However, along the way God was working on opening a door, I was not expecting.

I now find myself working for one of the largest and most influential companies in the world and I look forward to going to work every day. I love what I’m doing and look forward to work every single day. It’s not because the company is so amazing, but because I truly believe God has placed me there for a reason.

I’m not 100% sure what God’s up to but a few weeks ago at church, my friend/pastor Jonathan gave an excellent sermon about why we work. At one point Pastor Jonathan said…

 “Whatever God has called you to do is meant to bring Glory to God”

I’m not sure why God doesn’t have me in paid vocational ministry anymore, but I do know that today I’m going to get up, go to work and in all things give glory to God… and then do it all again tomorrow

You can check out Pastor Jonathan’s full sermon and if you want to, listen to you to the other whole Blueprint series. These is some of the best teachings on Genesis 1-3 that I have ever heard.

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.

Sabbath = Brilliance

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about rest and what’s going on in our brains. What if boredom + sabbath = brilliance?

Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


The title of this blog may not be biblical, but practically, it makes a lot of sense. Sabbath is a day of rest where we are called to focus on who God is and what he has done for us. But there is more going on in our heart, mind and soul then you may realize. 

Over the last year, I have been fascinated with a book called “Bored and Brilliant” by Manoush Zomorodi. The book centers on research Manoush did for a series of podcasts on her show “Note To Self.” There are no Christian references, and the word sabbath doesn’t exist. However, I believe it’s the best book I have ever read on why sabbath matters and how to deal with everything that’s distracting us from having REAL rest.

Using guests and research, Manoush explains the physical things that happen to our bodies, specifically our brains. She makes the case that when we are unplugged from the world/noise around us, we become bored. In that boredom, our bodies have time to refocus, recalibrate and the result is brilliance. 

When I hear her talk about it on the podcast or when I read her book, I realized she was primarily talking about sabbath and the power of practicing sabbath. Every time she uses the word “boredom,” my brain popped in the word “sabbath,” and it’s like it all comes alive in a new way. I found it all reinforced the fact that a designer created us and that God knew what he was doing when He told us to REST. 

Manoush misses or doesn’t connect the dots to what’s going on spiritually, but the reality she is making a case for taking a sabbath rest, and it’s powerful.

So I encourage you to check it out. Start with Manoush’s TEDtalk podcast, then if you want to dive deeper, listen to the original podcast challenge. Finally, if you become convinced, grab the book

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.

Transition Review

“The Good, Bad and Ugly” the realtime journey of a transition has come to an end.

by Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free


Weeks: FINAL POST

In just a few short days, my transition season will be over, and I’ll be starting my new role at Apple. As one season ends a whole new chapter is about to begin. Over the last three months, I have been blogging the Good, Bad and Ugly each week(ish). For this last post, I want to look back and answer the questions in light of the whole transition.

However, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been reading these posts, praying for us and have encouraged me along the way. Your all epic and I love and appreciate it more then you can know.

What was GOOD about the transition? I/We decided early on to make this transition season like a sabbatical. Sabbath is a biblical principle around rest, specifically resting in Jesus. Ken Shigematsu, in his book “God in my everything” adds that sabbath should be a break from your regular routine. To do things you wouldn’t normally do every day and meet God in those moments. Since June, I have spent my time chasing those kinds of moments and trying my best to rest my heart, mind, body and soul. It’s been one of the best sabbath breaks of my life and a blessing.

What was BAD about the transition? The mental battle you go through as you leave a job, apply for a job, get rejected from a potential career and repeat the process can be exhausting. I did rest for sure, but there were days that everything seemed to be extremely hard. I was grumpy, angry, hurt and unsure about the future. It ‘wasn’t the norm, but they were extremely hard days.

What was UGLY about the transition? The first 20-30 days were rough. It felt like I was going through an emotional detox. All while everyone in my home was learning how to live with each other 24/7. I don’t know when it switched, BUT I know around the beginning of July everything just fell into place.

How’s my HEART at the end? Overall if I had to give it a rating out of 10, I would give it a 9. My heart has stayed intact for much of this adventure. God gave me peace early on, and that hasn’t shifted at all. There were hard days, tricky conversations and moments where I wasn’t sure what would happen next, but I knew God was in control. I think this answer has so much to do with looking at this time as a sabbatical verse being angry and bitter at the situation.

What made me the HAPPIEST? Time with my family. For a time, we thought our next adventure would be away from the coast and where we currently live. So we broke out the list of all the things we wanted to do and because we had time we got a lot of it done. This season will go down in history as a one-of-a-kind summer. The girls are the right age, and we had lots of time, and Twyla had freedom with her work. It all came together to give our family and adventure. Family is everything for Twyla, and I and this summer just reinforced that reality.

FINAL THOUGHT: As I have said in my last post, I’m switching careers, but Fresh Ministry isn’t going anywhere. As a new chapter is about to begin, I find myself healthy, happy and whole ready for whatever God would have for me. These are exciting days and thank you for being part of the journey.

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.