In this episode, Jesse Ernst, an experienced youth minister, and entrepreneur shares how he and his wife started a small business while they both worked full-time. We discuss how to pursue new ideas in ministry, time management, seeing God’s movement in all situations, and why you need a local support network in ministry.
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Ashley : 0:01
Welcome to the making center ministry podcast presented to you by the youth ministry Institute, a podcast designed to help you lead well in your ministry transform lives and impact generations. Here’s your host Brian Lawson.
Brian Lawson : 0:13
Welcome to episode eight of the making sense of ministry podcast. This is the podcast designed to help you lead well in your ministry, transform lives and impact generations. Today’s guest is Jesse Ernst. Jesse is a personal friend of mine and part of our local network of youth pastors. And until recently, he was the youth pastor at Liberty Baptist Church. Jesse now speaks at youth retreats and events and has recently become a financial coach. In addition to all of that Jessie and his wife recently started their own business while both working full time jobs. I know it seems crazy, but they did it. I know many of us in ministry have to seek out part time work in addition to our employment at a church. Others of us are working full time while volunteering in our churches, and still others are dreaming of new ideas. is the God may be stirring in our hearts if you fall into any of those categories. This episode is for you. We discuss their story of starting a new business while ministry and how they tackle the challenges of COVID. Jesse then share some of his insights from time management. And finally, why he feels it is critical to be connected to a local network of youth, children or family ministers. We’ll be sure to put Jesse’s contact information in the show notes in case you’re interested in booking Jesse to speak at your next youth event. Before we get to the interview, you may have noticed something though, Jesse has spent his time serving in a Baptist Church. Honestly, his theology is different than my own. But to me, that doesn’t matter. And at the youth ministry Institute, it doesn’t matter. At YMI, we are not afraid of theology. We work to support you no matter what theological stream you come from. And did you know that we recently released a theology one on one course at YMI Online? No, we are not going to tell you which the Is correct what the ology one one will do is give you tools necessary to develop your own theological framework. You’ll begin to understand key concepts and ideas necessary so that at the core of your ministry will be a well developed theology. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then head over to Online.Yminstitute.com. One final thing before we get into our interview, I am looking for your questions, whatever they might be, we’ll be doing a question episode in the near future where myself and several of our YMI experts will tackle the questions you have. So whether question is about a situation you’re currently facing, or an idea you have, or you just need some encouragement. We love to share some insights with you. You can send those questions over to firstname.lastname@example.org or by asking them in our Facebook group called Making Sense of ministry. Okay, it’s time for my interview with Jesse. Hey, Jessie, welcome to the podcast. I really appreciate You’ve given us some of your time. Yeah, it’s good to be here. So not too long ago, you and your wife I think is a year ago or so. started a small business called Claire’s Creperie. And now I want to just let everyone know that you were working full time as a youth pastor, and you had an international student right in your house, and then you also had your wife. She was working full time. Is that right? As a nurse?
Jesse : 3:29
Yeah. Full time. Yes.
Brian Lawson : 3:31
And, and she has she been in the COVID units. Recently. Has she been?
Jesse : 3:35
Yeah, so our local hospital she’s a cardiovascular ICU nurse and so their units a lockdown unit where you’re only allowed back they allow you back. And so when COVID was, you know, going full force, they needed a place that they could lock down so her unit became the COVID unit. So she was she was there in the thick of it. They were using a machine. They don’t A handful of nurses are certified to use and know how to use it. So they were picking up extra shifts and doing everything they could to save lives. And, and, you know, so she saw, she saw some of the worst, absolute worst cases because they wouldn’t put them on that machine and let us they were the absolute worst. And unfortunately, she saw a lot of patients pass, but then there’s been other patients that have just just been so grateful that that they went to the most extreme measures to save their life. And there’s a gentleman who was here visiting and I think he lives somewhere north of here, I’m not sure what state but since pictures of how good he’s done with his grandkids, to the nurses there, and just thanking them almost on a weekly basis, you know, so, yeah, it’s been It was definitely stressful especially especially during the the worst of the worst. Where’s the COVID stuff going on? But she’s, she’s a champ, you know?
Brian Lawson : 5:07
I think I probably speak for all of us when we when we asked you to tell her Thank you. Yeah, for that work. But you but so in the midst of both of you working full time and having, you know, hold responsible as a home, you decide to start a small business, which seems a little crazy when you think about two full time workers starting another business. Right. So I’m just curious, can you guys tell us a little bit about how you decide to do that kind of what was the driving factor? And to some people they might be saying, What are you thinking?
Jesse : 5:43
Yeah, well, we say that sometimes too. But my wife’s family, her mom is absolutely in love with France, and everything French, and I get to say that I do have a wonderful mother in law. I know not everybody gets along with their mother in law. We pick it each other but but I definitely am blessed with wonderful and very supportive. But when they were growing up every Mother’s Day and her birthday, they’d make crepes in bed. Well, they wouldn’t make them in bed, but they make crepes and bring them to her for breakfast in bed, that’s better said. And so we used to do friend vacations or have people over and Claire would make crepes. And everybody’s like, these are so good because it’s a French recipe that she uses. Like, you should open a shop and we we’ve thrown the idea around of doing that when we retire. You know, you’re kind of your encore career, you don’t really need the money, but breaks even it’s something to do to get you out of the house. And so it was just an idea that we talked thrown around but now it’s like yeah, when when we’re in our late 50s 60s maybe we’ll do that. And then in Mount downtown Dora these gentlemen who own quite a bit of real estate down there, bought a couple buildings and, and we’re going to open a marketplace. So instead of having one restaurant in one building, there’s There’s 12 shops in the building that we’re in, and the building behind it has 20 more shops. So just in two buildings, you’ve got some food, some artists and different things and bakeries, just, you know, a mixture of everything. Close, like, I’m just gonna send them an email, just see what they say, like, Okay, sure. We’re driving somewhere, I think we’re driving up to visit my parents or something. And I was like, sure, you know, nothing’s gonna come to this. We don’t know what we’re doing. And she’s like, well, just some, you know, crepes and whatever they had had. They said, yeah, we have 12 spots as before, they bought the second building. And they said, We have 12 spots, and we’ve had 80 applications or whatever. I was like, there’s no way they’re gonna pick us and they called and they’re like, Hey, we really love the idea of crepes. What’s your business plan, like? business plan? So she wrote something out it was like a one page we didn’t have a business plan.
Brian Lawson : 7:56
Google it fast.
Jesse : 7:58
Yeah, I think she googled how write a business plan and kind of follow that I’m not entirely sure she’s the, she’s the more eloquent one. So she put something together real quick. And we started looking at our finances because we had some money and savings that we wanted to invest. We’ve been thinking about some real estate options. And so we didn’t have to take out any loans, no debt, anything. We’re like, well, worst case scenario, we do the six month lease, and you know, lose X number of dollars and we lose it and we learn a lesson and, you know, it’s just, I’m 31 she just turned 30 a couple months ago. So it’s not like, you know, we’re taking our life savings at 60 and hoping everything works out and if not, then we’ll never be able to retire. So we figured it was a calculated risk and we went for it, you know, we’re able to sign a short short term lease are our spaces 90 square feet, so not huge, but it keeps the rent down and the overhead low So we’re like, well, we can, we can give it a go. And a really close friend of ours, moved down. She’s, you know, young in her mid 20s trying to figure out life and she’s someday wants to open her own coffee shop. We’re like, well, you can learn with us. We don’t know what we’re doing. But you can maybe you’ll learn what not to do open in your first business. So we just went for it. And we felt like God was opening opening doors. And every, every time we were like, has this the right thing to do, the next door would open. And we prayed a lot about it. And, you know, our goal wasn’t to set out to build a business and make a ton of money, but really to be in the community. And that’s, that’s one of the main reasons we wanted to do it. And one of the one of the really cool things is several of the other shop owners are Hispanic. We’ve got quite a few from Venezuela, a gentleman from Ecuador. And so I get to use my Spanish and talk to them and they’re like, why is this big white guy speaking Spanish. So it allowed me The opportunity to share my story to share you know, I lived in Mexico, why’d you live in Mexico, we, you know, we’re, we’re planting churches and telling people about, about the gospel, you know, and it’s just been cool because it’s opened up a lot of opportunities in the community and with our customers, but also with the other shop owners. And we’ve built some some good relationships there and, and the other day, one of my, one of my friends there, he was like, so what do you guys believe? And I was like, Well, let me tell you, no. And it’s like, God was like, boom, here’s why you’re here. This is your purpose. It’s not to make crepes even though the crepes are amazing. Not no credit of mine, but it’s all credit to Claire. But it’s allowed me opportunities to to just for the next 45 minutes, I was able to just share the gospel with with him. In Spanish. I have a Spanish Bible app on my phone. So I was able to go verse by verse and be like, here’s, here’s the gospel, you know, Jesus loves you, He died for you. We’re all sinners, and there’s a consequence of sin. And, and if we don’t accept Him, then we we accept that consequence, but he took it, you know, so I was able to share the gospel and it’s like, wow, that’s, that’s incredible. And so, notice no decision for salvation has been made, but you know, the seed is planted, and God says, sometimes you get to plant the seed and some other people might get come back and water it and somebody else might get to reap the harvest. But our job our mission in life is to just share the good news. And so that’s been one of the one of the greatest things after the week after Easter, one of the one of the other guys was asking me how Easter when asked them how they celebrated and then we started talking about Easter and the resurrection. You know, so, it is, it is a fun to run a business. There’s a lot of challenges, but It’s it’s not even all about the business. It’s, it’s about what what God’s God’s doing, you know, God’s doing something, and I’m just along for the ride.
Brian Lawson : 12:10
Well, and that’s what I’ve, I feel like I’ve heard from your life as a whole. And the time I’ve known you is that you’re constantly seeing opportunities for Jesus in moments and in situations. And it’s interesting to hear that, in a lot of ways your experience in Mexico has come full circle, you know, and with your language abilities that that you have, because of that, that’s such a great thing. So something that everyone faces, regardless of whether it’s in the church or outside the church, but I know that a lot of people within the church face, maybe because they serve part time at their church, whether it be youth, children or family, or maybe they serve full time, but they have to also get a side hustle to help make the funds meet. Or some of us work full time in churches, but the church requires so much out of us or we give so much that we barely have time. to breathe. So I wonder in the midst of all that you guys have done you must have found some ways to manage your time. Well both of you right individually and as a couple. So I’m just curious how have you guys been able to manage your time in the midst of your full time jobs and starting a business and everything else that you’ve had going on?
Jesse : 13:20
Yeah, so um, Google Calendar, I took this took this course and it was a 12 week course and the the as crazy as it sounds, the thing that’s been most beneficial to my everyday life was how much they emphasize put this in your calendar put this in your calendar, and I’ve got you know, when bills are due and when has you know, I don’t just have our home bills but now bills for the shop and when when my quarterly taxes are due and, and paper calendar, you don’t walk around with a paper calendar.
Brian Lawson : 13:57
You don’t? You don’t carry a desk calendar?
Jesse : 13:58
Nope. And using the Google Calendar has been a lifesaver that’s helped manage, whether it’s youth ministry or church staff stuff that’s not for, you know, the whole church to know whether somebody’s in the hospital or whether it’s Craig shop stuff where there’s our personal stuff, it’s, you know, let’s talk about when when we’re taking vacation and, and stepping back from things and, and a lot of vacations that we take is, you know, with time management and with and with, you know, everything going on, we take a lot of vacations to places where cell phones don’t work. Is there a reason for that? Or is that just how it’s happened? Um, there’s, well, some of it’s both, but it is nice to unplug, not even checking email. cruises are great, no, because they’re all inclusive and you’re in the middle of the ocean and the phone doesn’t work. And so we put it in a safe in the room and don’t worry about it. Last two summers we went and because we had international students, we wanted to see their countries and where they grew up and experience their cultures. So summer of 2018, we went to Macedonia and Croatia. absolutely phenomenal. And it was cool staying in their homes, staying in their hometowns, seeing seeing that through their lens. But also being it’s interesting because we needed to disconnect from from normal life. We probably don’t have a normal life, but
Brian Lawson : 15:35
everyday life, right from
Jesse : 15:37
Yeah, from everyday life. And then last summer, we went to China and in Japan. So some of that is making sure that you take time for yourself helps with the the time management. And that’s I think that’s a huge thing that especially people in ministry, if I can, if I could stress that is stress that I would stress taking time. for yourself and for your family. And, you know, because you’ve been in ministry for a long time, I’ve been in ministry with my family, and then in ministry as a kid. And my parents did a lot of things, right. But they didn’t take time for themselves. And they ended there’s been many times where they’ve run themselves so ragged, and now as an adult, looking, trying to also look out for your parents, you know, you’re like, Hey, you only got to take some time away, not time to go. Do this for this person in this for this person, but time for yourself. And for me and Claire, that’s travel, you know, whether it’s travel with friends, whether it’s travel by ourselves, whether it’s traveled other countries or even within the country. And when we travel, we don’t really relax because we want to go and see everything and explore. But even that’s relaxing to us, like our feet are tired, but our souls are being rejuvenated. So if you’re in ministry, I know We’re not none of us are in ministry for the paychecks because we could make. I took a 46% payout from being a sales manager to go into a youth pastor. And people were like, what are you doing? My managers like, what are you doing? And they’re like, you’ll never make any money in that. I’m like, it’s, it’s about eternity. It’s not about money, but make sure that you budget enough money to get away from your hometown. staycations are great, but when you’re in ministry, and you live in a small town, you’ll run into people and people have needs and they know that you meet needs and that that’s part of our heart and that’s a wonderful thing. But you have to have time for family and time time away as well. Otherwise, you’ll you’ll just burn yourself out. And I’ve seen that time and time again. And and I know that that’s not what I want for me or for my family. So we’ve we’ve made it a point to take, you know, vacation time every single day. year. It’s not always two weeks at once, but sometimes it’s one, it’s got to be at least one full week, way away from, from where you’re doing ministry and for your, for your own sake for your family’s sake. But yeah, especially youth pastors. I know that youth pastors are the are the, a lot of times the catch all. Thankfully at our church that I just was at our associate pastor, he caught a lot of stuff and did a lot of like, you couldn’t put on it three pages of three sheets of paper, all the stuff that he does in a year, you know, from taking care of inspections, to vehicles, to you know, all kinds of different things. He caught a lot of stuff that a lot of youth pastors end up having to do. And I think that’s why a lot of people burn out, or they jump around from church to church to church because they get burnt out and they don’t take that time. And that’s that’s a huge to me. As far as time management. There’s you know, go use your calendar on your phone. But schedule time for yourself and and for your family.
Brian Lawson : 19:05
Yeah. And that seems almost counterproductive, right? You mean for me to manage my time? Well, I have to take time off. Yeah. And that sounds backwards. But But you’re right. Because if you don’t refuel your soul, as you said, then your soul run dry and and ministry is really deeply connected to your soul being connected to Christ. And if it’s running dry, and if it’s if, if you have nothing left to give, then then you will quickly you’ll quickly burn out in ministry. Yeah. And you know, I think I think every person in ministry no matter what their role is, should be using every single one of their vacation days every year. You know, I hope the church church gives you at least two weeks or close to, but you should use all of it. For sure. And if you don’t have two weeks, I would say You need to ask for it. Or you need to make a request to get some more vacation time because it is absolutely necessary.
Jesse : 20:06
Yeah. And for the listeners, I mean, if you’re if you don’t have those two weeks, and your pastor is not taking two weeks, you need to encourage your pastor to take time off too. Because pastor, it’s not just a youth pastor thing, it’s a it’s a people in ministry thing is to we were like, well, we got to serve. And there’s this opportunity. And, you know, I would say most opportunities are good opportunities, but we have to evaluate this opportunity. And if we take every single opportunity that comes our way in a single year or for the next three years, then after that we’re going to be burnout and we’re going to leave and And what about the opportunities that come in the years to come? And so if you don’t have those two weeks vacation, or whatever, whatever they do, like Brian said, asked for it, but also ask your pastor, hey, you know, what do you do to disconnect? What do you do to take time away with your family? And, and you need that and they need that. And the church needs to needs to see that that family is a priority.
Brian Lawson : 21:13
Now, why am I we tend to call that lead up, right lead up to your senior pastor, if they’re not, if they’re not taking time then then look out for them and try to encourage them in that. So you started this business a year ago and then within the first year COVID hits which, which is so it’s been such a challenging season for so for everyone on different levels. But I noticed so you guys had to shut down just like everybody for a little bit, right. Are you doing to go orders the whole time? Not the whole time.
Jesse : 21:47
So yeah, so we started the LLC and all the paperwork last April, end of last April, and then our open date got pushed and pushed and push quite a few times. So we actually opened in October but we’ve been Been working on the business for over a year. And then we open a bit which is busy season here. And so it was October was great even though we’re on the open half of October, November December were great. January was pretty good but a lot of people are on New Year’s resolutions. They think crepes and they think sweet instead of, but we have food, savory crepes as well. And then November I mean February hit and people are getting a little iffy. And then spring break, you know, we have the longest spring break in history, right? So we were we shut down completely for two weeks. And then the next week we opened up on Saturdays only for pickup and to go orders. And you know, our local, our local people who were faithful customers and you know, following our Facebook and Instagram pages and everything they they knew and we were open and they wanted to come support and support local and There’s, there’s thankfully in our area, there’s a good push to support the local businesses. So So yeah, so we opened up for I think it was three or four weeks. I think it was almost an entire month that we were just open on Saturdays. And then during that time, we had to make some adjustments. Right. Everybody did, and and shift make a major shift is his church went to online. Our staff meetings were online. We were working online. I know you and I and a bunch of our local youth pastors in this area. We had zoom meetings talking about All right, what are you guys doing, what’s working, what’s not working. And so everything shifted online. Claire was supposed to go to Kansas City for a business conference. And they ended up doing the whole business conference via zoom. So we hooked it up to our TV in our living room and and she had her business conference. Enter living room and and they were talking about how you have to make a shift you have to make a change in your business and so she said, you know what if I offer credit classes online and so we did got a zoom subscription, started putting putting the message out there and figured out how to take online payments and stuff which we’d never done that. And we used a little bit different recipe can’t give away the farm, right? And one of one of my close friends was like, hey, these don’t taste like they do at the shop or like what’s it is a different recipe. You gotta gotta save some, you know, some secrets to keep you coming back. But that was a big shift. And we had we had some decent local support, but the cool thing was like our family and friends that were in other states who were like we want to come get crepes, but you know, they live in Georgia or Virginia or Texas or all over the place. And we said hey, you know, do a credit Party, a virtual dinner party and so we we kind of pushed virtual dinner parties get together a family and friends that are, you know, we can distance together we had virtual date nights and included like a Spotify playlist with some Date Night Music that they could listen to after cooking together. So we had we had fun with it one of the one of our great classes, we call it crystal clear. And they’re just zoom events are one hour, taught how to make a crepe at home and then how to make a filling and one of them my mom put together with a bunch of my cousins and my aunts and uncles. So it was like a family reunion for me. But, and, you know, we were like, Hey, we hate to charge family. But at the same time, this is all this money is going to pair employees so we didn’t have to lay anybody off. And that was our goal was, you know, through these last three months, our goal was to break even. Yeah, I mean, if you did
Brian Lawson : 25:59
this Well, right,
Jesse : 26:01
yeah, meet our expenses and pair employees and take care of them and their families. Because even in the weeks that we were shut down, we, we decided that and I got this from, from the book entree leadership, Dave Ramsey wrote, If you haven’t read that book, it’s it’s not just for entrepreneurs even though you know, Claire and I have started a business, so we consider ourselves entrepreneurs. But it’s a great leadership book, and he explains, you know, some of the things that he’s done and what’s worked and, and one of the things that that he stressed in there was, he wants to treat his employees as he would want to be treated as an employee. And that’s, you know, that’s a biblical principle do it do to others as you would have them do to you not do to others as they’ve done to you, right, which we often say, well, they did this, I’m going to do this and, and that’s not the attitude but the attitude is do to others as you would have them do to you and, and I was so I thought through that concept, come time to do payroll. And we’ve been shut down for two weeks. And I said, let’s give everybody a half a paycheck. Nobody worked. But, you know, like I said, we have no debt in our in our business and we built up, you know, an emergency fund. And I just felt like that was the right thing to do. And I don’t say that to toot my own horn, but I say that too, to say, you know, there, there were struggles and there were different things, different challenges that we faced, but I’ve, you know, I’ve seen God bless us in in I guess we would call them strange ways. After one class, somebody reached out to me and said, hey, how can I send a tip? And I was like, I can send you a link and they’re like, well, I want to give $100 tip it’s a 1499 credit class and they sent us $100 tip. And that helped us meet payroll that week. And somebody else wanted to do a a class for their their daughter for Her birthday party and that’s exactly what we needed for that week for payroll and, and then the hospital reached out and we were able to help with they wanted to feed feed the front lines program, the local hospital, actually the hospital clerks at so they wanted but they wanted to feed their their nurses and doctors on the front lines, but they wanted to support local businesses in the process. And we were one of the ones that they reached out to so we made 96 crepes one day and delivered them to the hospital. And, you know, it’s just different different things like that, that we weren’t expecting that. We know that God God takes care of us and and sometimes in ways that we don’t expect. So there’s been challenges over the last three months but it’s been amazing to see how God uses different people and just continues on forward. And one of those conversations, you know, the Easter conversation that I had where I got to open up and talk about the resurrection with, with one of the gentlemen who works there at the at the marketplace. It was because it was COVID weekend and that we didn’t have a lot of customers and for 30 minutes, not a single customer came through the door, but for 30 minutes, we get to talk about the resurrection. We talk about the real meaning of Easter, and it’s, you know, God uses those moments to remind you, it’s you know, it’s not about money, I can take care of money. But are you going to take care of these opportunities? And so I’ve been I’ve been trying to be hyper aware of of that and of my purpose. And I know our purpose isn’t isn’t for money. It’s for the kingdom. And God’s been able to use this. The crepe shop as as both of those things take care of needs, but also need Other people’s needs and share Christ with them.
Brian Lawson : 30:03
I love I love that phrase to be to be hyper aware of God’s movement, right to be hyper aware of what God is doing in and around me and through me and in God’s kingdom. And I think that would be so important for ministry leaders to always be looking for individually and personally in your life, but but also in the ministry as a whole. Right? How do you be hyper aware? In this situation, whether it’s things are going great or things are difficult, right, what you’re describing is a very difficult and challenging season. And yet your awareness, you were able to see God’s movement in it. And I think oftentimes, we need to help people do that. I mean, in some, I feel like a lot of times when in my ministries that I’ve served, part of my role was simply to help others see God’s movement in their life, because they just they, they were so blinded by the challenges and the things that faced that it was hard to see God in those moments.
Jesse : 31:00
You know, we can I like the phrase, you can make excuses or you can make a plan. And that’s part of part of what we do with our businesses, you know, we can make excuses, oh, this is hard. This is difficult. This is challenging. We can say, all right, well, how are we going to plan to overcome and, and beat that obstacle? And then look back and be like, not look at what I did. But look at how God brought us through this. You know, and I think, at the end of 2020, we’re going to look back and, you know, people are making jokes about, you know, back to the future, don’t set it to 2020. But somebody was saying, I don’t know if it was a podcast where I heard it, but it was talking about how we’re, we should look back at 2020 and say, I’m stronger because of it. Not looking at all the negativity, and you know, but it takes some awareness. It takes some, some drive some some perspective. I think that’s the The word I’m looking for is perspective of God, doesn’t chap promise that things are going to be simple for us or that they’re going to be easy, but he promises to take care of us. You know? So, yeah, it’s just having having that perspective. And, and I know that there’s a lot of times where I don’t have the right perspective, but and I regret those times, but it’s the times that I get to look back at where I had those conversations where I was like, I know that God opened this door, it’s not because I’m super special, or I’m this or that or the other. Because God opened the door and helped me realize, hey, there’s an open door, and I’m handing it to you. It’s about you know, Pat a ribbon and put a bow on it. Take this opportunity, it’s a gift. So it’s like I said, not because I’m super special. But I’m, I’ve been, I’ve been trying to be intentional about being aware of what God is doing.
Brian Lawson : 32:58
So you have started You know, you started Claire’s crepes, which was great, which was new. And then you have started a couple things yourself. And you were forced in this season to come up with these digital events and other ways because you wanted to take care of your employees, what kind of wisdom or thoughts you’d want to share with somebody who’s looking at starting something new, right? Whether it’s new for ministry, or they’re looking to start something new, that they’re passionate about. Or it’s just starting ministry in person again, in a different way, which feels new. What kind of wisdom or insights would you would you give to them?
Jesse : 33:36
Yes, I think one of the biggest things is if God lays something on your heart, do it. I know that sounds like I’m oversimplifying, but God gives us all passions and desires. You know, I’ve mentioned that Claire and I have a passion for travel and we have passion for missions. And through the transition of transitioning out of out of My position as a full time youth pastor, we’re transitioning into youth evangelism and and the opportunities that God will bring there. And back in 2015, I had the opportunity to go to Argentina for 10 or 12 days and speak at a camp and absolutely loved it. And that’s really one of my passions is you know, and we got to travel we got to see a new country and meet new people and, and, and experience a new culture and, and all of that, but God gives us passions for a purpose, not just so that we can do it. I wish I could do this. I’m really passionate about it. Well, if you’re passionate about it, you haven’t played it on your heart. Go give it a try. And if you if you mess up, and it’s not the great success that you envision and you to use a human word, if you fail, fail up. Okay? And what I mean by that is just because you fail doesn’t mean that God didn’t allow it to happen. Just because you fail, in our view doesn’t mean that it wasn’t. It wasn’t right for that season. It just means that, you know, maybe it was just for a season. And I think God gives us gives us passions and desires. And when we follow those passions and desires with him in mind, in obedience to Him, He will bless it. I think of, you know, right now people keep asking us, Hey, what are you doing? And I’m like, well, youth evangelism, but nobody’s meeting. So right now. I know that God put this on my heart and I know that it was it was him, not me. And then two months after I turned in my notices at the church COVID it everything shut down and cancel, like, oh, we’re not meeting or we’re not sure what we’re meeting and like, okay, God, I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m just gonna trust and I felt like Felt like Abraham in Genesis, who was 75 years old when God says, All right, come on, let’s go. He says, Come on, let’s go. And Abraham’s like, wareness I don’t worry about it. Let’s go. Right? And he says, Just Just follow me and I will show you. And any tells Abraham, I’m going with you. And that’s one of the things that I think that we have to to remember and, and really latch on to is we’re going with God. We’re not going on our own. He doesn’t say, hey, I want you to go do this, that seemingly impossible task, good luck. You know, he says, I’m going with you. When Moses was was facing Pharaoh and and he’s like, man, I can’t speak I can’t do this. I can’t. He says, I’ll be with you every step of the way. He told the same thing to Joshua. He was with Joseph when when his brothers betrayed him and it was sold into slavery and he could have sat there and wallet in his in his not knowing what the future holds. But he’s like, God God put me here for a reason. And he had a great attitude about it. And so I think when when we have a passion, we have a desire, even if we don’t know all the answers, that’s okay. God knows the answers. So we just have to step out in faith and follow and do it do what we can and put in the work. But, you know, if we pray for rain, but we don’t take an umbrella, then we didn’t believe it was actually true. So, you know, pray for rain, but walk around with an umbrella.
Brian Lawson : 37:29
This show is really kind of geared towards people in children, youth and family ministries, particularly ones who might feel overwhelmed. underprepared sometimes, which to be honest, I think, as all of us, no matter how long we’ve been in ministry, right. So I just would like to give you a chance, what kind of encouragement challenge or insights Would you like to leave our listeners with?
Jesse : 37:54
I would say one of the biggest encouragement is just keep going. You know, we we talked earlier about taking time for yourself. And that that is that is super and hyper important. And that’s one of the, that’s one of the things that I definitely say is super important is taking that time taking some time away from ministry and from the job. And I hate to say the job, but there are parts of ministry, when you work in a church, when you’re cleaning carpets. And when you’re setting up chairs, that stuff feels like a job. It doesn’t. You know, the ministry, the stuff that we’re passionate about is being with the people. But there’s, there’s a job that’s attached to it, then you have to take time away from that. But there were times two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, where I wanted to throw my hands up and quit, you know, and it would be like a week or two or three weeks or sometimes a full month where you just send a little bit of a funk and you’re like, Huh, I don’t know, maybe maybe I’ve missed the call or maybe I answered the wrong call picked up the wrong number. God was calling somebody else for this. And so I would just They keep going. Because every time I was I was on the verge of wanting to quit phone ringing and it in a teenager would call and have a great conversation, you know, and be like, I’m struggling with this and, and, and I’d be like, Oh, yeah, that’s my purpose. Oh, yeah, forget about that stuff. I was just discouraged. I was just whatever. Sometimes it is just putting your head down and keep it going. Sometimes it means Hey, I need to take a sabbatical. I need to take a break before I break. So those are those are two of the things is this keep on keepin on knowing that discouragement will come. But one of the best things that I would say especially youth ministers, and Brian gets credit for this is you need a network of other youth pastors of other children’s pastors or whatever position you’re in. You need a network of other people in your local area. We meet once a month, Brian and I and a bunch of other guys in our local area. meet once a month, and we don’t. We don’t sit down and talk about doctrine because we have Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists and non de noms and Lutherans and. And guess what? We would probably disagree on some things. And that’s okay. But that’s not what we’re there to talk about. We’re there to encourage and and lift it lift each other up. And in the last, I don’t know, I guess I’ve been going for about two and a half years. Brian, that sounds about right. Yeah. sounds right. In the last two and a half years. That group of guys has been, like rock solid for me. Sometimes it’s those Thursday morning meetings, and sometimes it’s in between meetings, like two weeks later, somebody pick up the phone and call and it’d be right at the right time. Or that should be text over be like, hey, God had you on my heart. I’ve been praying for you. And it’s and it’s having that network and why is that important? Well, because those people who understand what you’re Going through those are the people who understand that that type of ministry that style of ministry regardless of denomination or blah, blah blah. Brian’s been where I’ve been. Daniel has been where I’ve been. Alex’s has been where we’ve been we’ve been where Alex has been, you know and so we know Alex is struggling or anybody is struggling we can be like, Hey, man, I went through that two years ago. This is what what helps me you know, maybe I can encourage but that network and that that support which has been huge. And so if you’re, if you don’t have that, that support and that network you need it. If you’re new into ministry, find it find people who’ve been been there done that we’ve got guys in our group who’ve been in ministry for a few months. We’ve got guys in our in our group who’ve been in many industry for a few decades. And it’s it’s having those people to talk to and it. There’s always somebody above and below, not that we’re ranked, but somebody who has more experience than someone who has less experience. And you can go to the people with more experience and ask them questions in that that’s uplifting and encouraging. And then when you get to impart what little bit of you know, I haven’t been in youth ministry as long as Brian has. But the ministries I’ve been in have been different, you know. So when somebody came to me, and it’s like, Hey, can we have lunch? Like, absolutely. And I got to share what I knew, you know, and I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. But there were there were things that I had done and experience that this person needed to hear about, and guide us that, you know, so don’t put ministry in a box. Sometimes we put ministry in a box and we lock it into the four walls of the church and we lock it To the members that go to our church, and that’s not what we’re called to, we’re called to the nation’s, you know, and if I get to encourage somebody who’s ministering at another church, that’s, that’s amazing, you know? And it’s, and when I get to call somebody who’s has some experience, and I’m like, Hey, I’m struggling with this, and I know that you were a couple years ago or you’ve been through this situation, what did you do in that network? And those guys are just, just amazing. I would say it’s it made, it made the last two and a half years so much easier. Just having that, that support system.
Brian Lawson : 43:41
One of the things that has always inspired me about Jesse is that he sees the opportunity in almost every situation in ministry. This is a skill we need to develop. We need to learn to see the opportunity. And we need to learn to see God’s movement in every situation, so that we can help others also see that Please share this episode with your friends on social media. Leave us a rating and review. And friends. I hope this episode encouraged you. If you are dreaming about something new, maybe this episode inspired you to dig deeper into that dream. But more than anything, I hope in some small way, we helped you make sense of this thing we call ministry.
Ashley : 44:20
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