Talking Youth Ministry with Kurt Johnston and Maina Mwaura

Jacob Eckeberger
June 4th, 2015

Last week, Maina Mwaura hosted longtime youth worker Kurt Johnston to talk about things that work in his youth ministry at Saddleback. There were a lot of great ideas but I wanted to focus on a handful of my favorites:

Longevity in ministry comes from learning to share the load.

Kurt mentioned that he’s not perfect with things like time-management, so it’s crucial for him to share those kinds of responsibilities with others on his team. By doing that, it helps him embrace the way he’s wired and to maintain a healthy balance.

A well-defined purpose and strategy are essential.

Better ministry happens when you have a well-defined purpose and strategy in place and that you operate within each week. These two things help you define a “win” in your ministry so that you can stay focused on creating them for your students.

Stick around long enough to see the fruit.

Kurt mentioned that he would tell any new youth worker to work toward longevity in 1 church because the fruit of youth ministry takes a long time to ripen. That means you should take your time finding the right church to work in. Don’t take the first offer that comes if it’s not a great fit. Also, Kurt reminds us that you can’t let the difficult parts of ministry take you by surprise. He described youth ministry as “life threatening” and reminded us that it doesn’t fit neatly into a 9am-5pm job. It’s important to know those things going in.

Do less stupid things for a longer period of time.

A question came in about building trust with parents. Kurt mentioned without hesitation that longevity is key to building trust because it gives you the time needed to create a positive track record with the parents of students in your ministry. Parents don’t give away their trust very easily. You earn a parent’s trust simply by sticking around and doing positive things with their students. There’s no short cut to it.

Enjoy the full interview here:

ysblog spacer


A little about Maina and Kurt:

kurt johnston headshotKurt leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church which includes 9 local and 4 international campuses. Follow him on twitter at @kurtjohnston.




maina_squareMaina Mwaura loves to guide student leaders. He is the husband of Tiffiney and has a two year old daughter name Zyan. Maina, lives in the Atlanta area and is the mobilization pastor at West Ridge Church. Check out more info at MAINASPEAKS.COM

Jacob Eckeberger

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.