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


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.

A Step Of Faith

Over the last three months I’ve been in transition, and that’s all about to change.

by Jesse Criss Edited with Grammarly Try it Free

The last three months of my life has been in transition, and for the last 19 years, I have done one single thing. Today both of these things changed. I’ve officially accepted a role at Apple in Coquitlam BC as a Technical Expert, this is definitely different from what I’ve been doing for the last 19 years, but it’s an exciting change.

If you know me, then the most important question you probably have is “why are you leaving the ministry? because I thought you would be in it for life”. That’s a great question, and something I’ve been wrestling with, but the answer is simple.

I started vocational (paid) ministry 19 years ago this October. I felt a call to ministry when I was in High School and at 18 knew I didn’t want to flip burgers while in university. All I wanted to do was work for a church, and it took me a while to find one willing to put their faith in a young, passionate and energetic teenager. But a small church called Woodcliff United, give me an opportunity. God used them to open a door, and an incredible journey began all those years ago.

Today feels very similar. God again as opened a series of doors and opportunities that I wasn’t expecting. Over the years, I have wondered if I would ever work anywhere outside of ministry. But I never would I have thought I would work for a company like Apple or that they would even want to hire me, but God has had other plans. For 19 years, I have been teaching students to walk through the doors God is opening in their lives, and so today is my turn to follow my advice.

To be clear, I am NOT DONE with ministry, youth culture or having an active role in the local church. Instead, I’m embracing the fact that for the first time in 19 years I’m going to be a volunteer who loves and serves the local church. Also, Fresh Ministry isn’t going away anytime soon. I’ve got a long list of books and blogs I want to write and as we speak 228 Publishing is finishing work on my fifth book.  I’m actually hoping this new job might give me a bit more time to write.

Overall these are exciting days in the Criss house. It still involves a step of faith, and I would ask that from time to time when you pick-up your iPhone you remember to pray for my family and me.

Thank you for your love and support in 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.

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.

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.

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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.

Catching Up — Good, Bad and Ugly

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

Week: July 28-Aug 10

What was GOOD this week? Last weekend was the “wedding weekend of power”. Two former students got married on the same day in two locations. I officiated the first wedding in the morning and attended the second. It’s so fun to see students I’ve known for almost 8 years growing up and start a whole new chapter. It was a day of memories, friends and good food.

What was BAD this week? It’s been a hard few weeks on the job front. I had my name into two places and they both chose to take a pass. I know God is working but rejection has a sting especially when you’re excited about the opportunities. This will be a bog post in the future but right now I kinda just want this week to be over.

What was UGLY this week? See above 😛

How’s your HEART doing? Overall if I had to give it a rating out of 10 I would give it a 5. Some of this has to do with the rejections and some of this has to do with not currently being in Cuba on a missions trip with my most recent group. It’s been a tough week for things of the heart.

What’s making me happy this week? Amazing friends coming over for food to talk about life, love, and faith. They have made an extremely difficult few weeks a better. Their love and support have gone a long way to ease a hurting heart.

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.

How is your heart doing?

“How’s your heart?” is the very first question I was when I recently lost my job. But my answer is rooted in a journey that was years in the making.

By Jesse Criss edited by Sophia Savalli

For the last four years, my good friend and mentor Randy Carter has, on a fairly regular basis, asked me the following question every time we talk.

“How’s your heart?”

This is the very first question he asked me when I recently lost my job and started this season of transition. He is also not the only one to have asked me that question in the last 30 days and every time I have been asked, I always respond with around the same answer: 

“Though I don’t like the situation or agree with it, my heart has been at peace”

This response has caught many people off guard because the reality is that the world expects me to be angry, frustrated and frankly pissed off. The world thinks that I should have every right to be negative and kick up a fuss on my way out the door. But that’s not how I have felt and it’s not where my heart is right now. Are there bad days? Of course, there are but they haven’t changed how my heart has felt. 

My heart didn’t just arrive at a place of peace all at once, God’s been teaching me something for over a year now but it’s only been in the last 30 days that I have put it all together. The peace I feel is rooted in three journeys I have been on over the last few years.

  1. The Twins – I was a person (and sometimes still am) who likes to be in control. I am not a control freak but when you are in Youth Ministry this long you need to learn how to control the chaos or it will overwhelm you. The challenge is that when things are outside of your control it can drive you mad. My twins were born at 26 weeks and everything about those early days was 100% outside of my control. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help them, all I could do was surrender my control to God. Only He could be their provider. When the girls were finally brought home and relatively free from medical drama, I realized God had solved my control problem by giving me two amazing daughters who were a constant reminder that God is our provider.
  1. Family First – Over the last few years, God has been realigning my priorities to the new realities of my world. I’ve been a husband for sixteen years now and my wife and I have a pretty solid rhythm and understanding. Then these two little people entered our world and everything changed. It wasn’t enough to be home more, I had to be “present”. Not just a passive member of my house but actually present in my world. This meant I had to say no to things, good things, Godly ministry things because my first calling is not ministry its family. 
  1. I’m a Christian – A year ago I asked myself “Am I just a professional Christian?”. I’ve been in paid ministry since I was eighteen years old and only became a Christian at fourteen. This has been all I have ever known and over this last year as I wrestled with work, life and ministry I ended up asking myself the question: “If I wasn’t a Pastor would I still be a Christian?”. The immediate answer was YES… but it took several months to work out in my heart. Would just attending church and serving to be enough for me? What’s my calling? What’s my ministry? What defines? The answer was point #2 – Family First.

The peace in my heart has come about slowly through this journey. It has come about by asking some tough questions about life, love, and faith. I know who I am, what I believe, what my calling is and where my priorities are. For me, all of this means I have a healthy heart and it’s a heart that trusts God to not only see us through this transition but to lead us to a place that will love and support the journey I have been on. This is my story, but what about you? How is your heart doing? 

Consider following these steps to help you begin to answer the question: “How is your heart doing?”.

  1. Find/create some space to be still.
  2. Pray about the question.
  3. Write down all your priorities. The things that make you tick and get up in the morning.
  4. Number them based on what you/others think are the most important ones. Start with #1 as the MOST IMPORTANT and then go until everything has a number.
  5. Pause and pray about the question.
  6. Now circle five priorities that you think should be the most important things in your world.
  7. Pause and pray about the question.
  8. Now check off what you think God would say are the five most important things in your world. 
  9. Now sit on the discovery for a few days. Pray about it when it comes to mind and consider asking someone you trust to pray with you. After a few days take some time to ask and answer the question… How is my heart doing?
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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.