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Q&A With Jenn Johnson

Jan 28 2016

Did you always know that you wanted to be in ministry/build the church? If not, what did you want to do before hand? 

We have always loved the church but didn’t ever see ourselves in full time ministry. We were both involved in worship in youth, but Jenn went to college to be an aerobic instructor & a preschool teacher. God had other plans.

How did the moment of deciding to do ministry/build the church look like for you? 

We were hired in 2000 to be over Bethel Worship and that took us from just leading worship and writing to leading/ministry full time. Best decision ever.

What did the first few years of ministry look like for you? What were your biggest challenges?

We started very small with about 30 people when worship at Bethel had been passed to us. We were given an existing team and they were wonderful people, but there was a lot of transition in order to catch our vision and then build from there. We have built things slowly; building firm foundation and healthy people/families as our priorities.

If you could offer any advice to your younger/pioneering self now, what would it be?

No one can take what God has given you. Be patient. Love people. Forgive. You can’t make everyone happy. God will give you the grace and wisdom to navigate anything. Doing what ever you feel He has called you to do, seen or unseen by others, always is what’s best for your life. God rewards faithfulness. Follow His voice in every situation.

As we are all human and make mistakes, do you have any embarrassing moment in ministry that you wouldn’t mind sharing?

Oh goodness. This is a long list. I was dancing around the stage one time barefoot and stepped on a tac. I shouted very loudly in the middle of worship as blood ran down my foot. Heart wise, my patience and long suffering have been a big challenge for me. I also am continually working on rest.  I have/am working on praying through issues instead of talking about them. I find that if I take a couple minutes to pray over the issue, it becomes very clear what I need to say/do. Being a pioneer or trailblazer sounds awesome, but that comes with being misunderstood & leading people where they can’t see. As a leader, you can feel alone. I’m very thankful for other pioneers that we have been given so much from. Relationship with these other trailblazers around the world has been so life giving.

What was one of the most significant moment during ministry that you felt has shaped who you’ve become and what your ministry looks like today? 

Encountering God’s presence & learning the voice of the Lord has been and is my daily journey. I grew up in church and accepted Christ into my heart as a child. As a young girl, God’s power fell on me at a summer camp. I remember crying and giving my whole life to God. An encounter with God marks you and makes you hungry to know Him more and to represent Him to the world. I attended Bethel School of Ministry in 1999 and it changed my life. I discovered who God was on a greater level and who I was through him. I learned to hone the gifting’s that God had given me.

What has been your biggest challenge in ministry/building church?

There are so many wonderful ways to serve Him & people, but often I spread myself to thin. Learning to say “I’m sorry, I can’t” is difficult for me, but I’ve felt the Lord ask me to be more sensitive to that.

If you have been to a Hillsong Conference, what was the highlight of your first experience? 

Not only was worship amazing, but it felt like each message was tailored to our hearts. We came home so in love with excellence, serving, and the name of Jesus.

Is there anything that God is speaking to you about at this moment that you could share about building the house of God and/or the call of God on each individual’s lives? 

I love to think about superhero movies and how they have their own strengths but need each other to “save the world”. I think to carry out the call of God on the earth we need to fully walk in our gifts but also to know the gifts of others and how to work together. I also love fatherhood, and the value of having leaders in your life that are speaking into you and helping you grow. I am so thankful for that and my own life.