Discipleship | Leadership | Small Groups | Speaking

Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

I’m writing this article from a suburban Cincinnati Starbucks. As I write, the summer is just kicking off. Church ministry mixed with some outside ministry responsibilities has shaped this summer into the busiest I’ve ever experienced. And to be honest, I’m not loving it! Simply put: I crammed way too much stuff into a season that should be a little slower, a little more relaxed, and whole lot more fun. And it should include WAY more family time than I have allowed. The reason is obvious: I neglected to follow my own advice/policy when planning ahead. It’s too late for me to adjust things for this summer, and it may be for you, too, but I’ll share them anyway hoping they will help us all as we plan for the fall!

- Just because it’s a good opportunity doesn’t mean it’s a good opportunity for you! I have a hard time saying “NO.” I don’t like to say no to my church; I don’t like to say no to other churches; I don’t like to say no to cool opportunities; I don’t like saying no to my friends. And I hate saying no to my family. So a practice of mine is to look at every good opportunity and ask myself, “Kurt, is this a good opportunity FOR YOU?” In other words, is it the right thing to do in light of other important things in my life? Because everything in life is a trade-off—when we say “yes” to something we’re saying “no” to something else.

- Always consult the family calendar! I’m still shocked at how often I forget to run potential dates for church events, “dude days” with my friends, etc., past Rachel to see what’s happening in our household on or near the same time. I know it’s a no-brainer, but failing to check the family calendar almost always results in a crammed schedule at best, and double-booking things at worst.

- Remember, how you feel now isn’t how you’ll feel then! When I plan my calendar, I often talk myself into things. I tell myself that I’ll be fine being out four nights in a row or hopping off an airplane and driving straight to summer camp! I’ve learned to try to put myself in my “future shoes” to really see how the easy decisions I’m making today, looking at an empty calendar, will effect my life when reality sets in. This practice has saved my future sanity on several occasions!

Great advice! Advice I should have put into practice more diligently when planning this summer. Here’s to a lazy fall.

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