Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Over the last several months I’ve been trying to sort out some stuff in my life. Deep stuff. Soul stuff. Casual Stuff. To do list kinda stuff. Just lots and lots of stuff.

In the process, I have sought out some “professional/neutral” help from some leadership coaches around me. In a couple of capacities I began sharing lists of things I wanted to do in life. Some were weekly things; others were far off dreams. Lots of stuff was somewhere in between… and I mean LOTS of stuff. So much stuff that it was overwhelming to me and was very overwhelming to anyone I gave a peek of it to.

The grand consensus has been that before I go much farther in my process, I really should take the time to make sure I know exactly WHO I WANT TO BE before deciding WHAT I WANT TO DO.

So, call it what you will, but I began to formally list out a set of life/core values that I wanted to be very intentional about embodying. For what it’s worth, here’s what I have concluded so far.

I have 5 main values that I listed below in priority. They flush themselves out in several qualitative ways (listed as bullet and in some Scriptural tags).

PLEASE GOD, NOT PEOPLE (Gal 1:10, Col 3:23-24, Jer. 9:23-24)
  • Guard my heart from the things that will destroy it. (Prov. 4:23)
  • Remain broken so God won’t have to break me. (Psa 51:17)
  • Live for God, regardless of the choices of others. (Gen 6:9, Job 1:8)
  • Be a Passionate follower of Jesus. (Rom 12:11)
  • Maintain sustainable and healthy life rhythms- food, exercise, rest, work, play, etc.
  • Maximize the ministry of the moment.
  • Invest intentional time in my marriage and kids. Be with them and for them.
  • The best gift I can give my marriage is a God-honoring healthy me.
  • The best gift I can give my kids is a God-honoring healthy marriage.
  • The best gift I can give my ministry and community is a God-honoring healthy family.
  • There are only 2 ways to learn things: the hard way and from those who learned it the hard way. Choose the later.
  • Humility is the defining ingredient of Godly leadership, so seek it. (Phi 2:3-8)
  • Spend time in environments that will stretch and grow me.
  • Admit and own my failures.
  • Ask good questions
  • Seek out mentors
  • Say yes and no on purpose, seeking counsel and thinking Big Picture.
  • Do what I love. Build a team that includes those who love to do what drains me.
  • Decide which is more true: (A) If I don’t, others won’t. OR (B) Because I do, others don’t.
  • Personal discipline cannot be delegated to, purchased from, or found in others. It is my job and must be Holy Spirit driven
  • If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing. (1Jo 2:6, 2 Tim 4:5-8, 1Co 9:23-27)
  • Empower others.
  • Invite a generation to understand, own, and live out a life-changing faith in Jesus.
  • Teach students how to think, not what to think.
  • Provide opportunities for students to fail safely.
  • Develop my teaching gifts to level of mastery.
  • Train and mentor others- especially in youth ministry. (via my writing, one-on-one convos, and teaching/training opportunities)
  • Be a leader and vision caster.
Now my next step is to take the things “I want to do” and prayerfully place them in some kinda priority order or even dump them based on whether they move me closer to or farther from these values.


  1. This is great, man! I especially appreciate the reminder at the beginning that we can so often mistake a place of surrender for a place of action, if we’re not careful.

    Big fan. Love your show.

  2. Love it Brian I recently had to revisit my priorities, and make some changes. I am so grateful that I did…so are my kids and my wife 🙂 I think God is pleased too!! Could I repost and link to your blog? I think this could help other youth pastors too. Let me know. Thanks Brian

  3. chris,

    sure. link away. The blog is public so link to it whenever and however you wish.

    hope it helps others in the same process.


  4. April King says:

    So much really good stuff here, Brian. I’m making a copy of these
    values so I can look them over and give some concentrated thought to them. Thanks for sharing these with us.

  5. thanks April. I’d love to hear your thoughts after you have some time to stew on it.

  6. thanks man! so vulnerable. love it.

  7. Dude! I feel like I’m in the exact same place!!!! I’m so glad I was able to get to read this today…..definitely am going to spend some time sifting through all this for my own journey! Would love to catch up again sometime in the future! See ya soon!


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