Interview with NAYC Speakers: Kristin Keller
North American Youth Congress is not that far away. And NAYC 15 is chock full of anointed speakers and musicians who will be ministering in Oklahoma City in just a few short months. We’d like to you to get to know them before they preach to you and lead you in worship.
Our next interview comes from our Thursday morning Hyphen session speaker, our national Hyphen director, Dr. Kristin Keller.
InsideOut: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?
Kristin Keller: A hammock, a good book, and a Diet Coke. I might as well pretend I am on vacation if I am stranded!
IO: Please tell us your favorite joke.
KK: My favorite joke is told every time (and I mean every single time) I go to a Chinese restaurant with my dad. We get through the meal, and I know it is coming as he reaches for the fortune cookie on the table. He breaks it open, and with a look of panic on his face, he says, “Mine is handwritten, and it says ‘Help! Help! I’m being held hostage in a Chinese cookie factory!’” It gets me every time!!!
IO: What is the funniest moment you have had while preaching?
KK: My funniest platform moment happened when my stiletto heel went through the floor, and I got stuck. Of course, when my foot dropped four inches into the floor, it looked like the Holy Ghost hit me, so I simply let out a high-pitched “whoo” in my mic so no one would think anything happened except for a Holy Ghost fit!
IO: Why do you feel North American Youth Congress is so important for students to attend?
KK: North American Youth Congress is important for students and young adults to attend because it allows them to see others from their generation whom God has chosen to be a part of His army. It is a great environment for student ministries to become unified and set on fire for God. There is something powerful that happens when students and young adults hear the same inspiring messages and respond to the preached Word in unity.
When they see others responding to the Word of God the same way they do, it reminds them they are not the only ones who have daily struggles, who will go back home to unhealthy environments, who wrestle with sin, and who need to re-commit to a holy and separated lifestyle. It is such a powerful moment when they experience thousands their age worshiping God with every fiber of their being. It’s a three-day reminder that no matter what they have gone through or what they are currently facing, they can make an eternal difference by going home and impacting their world for Jesus Christ!
IO: How do you mentally prepare to preach to thousands at North American Youth Congress?
KK: The mind is an interesting thing. It is the battleground of choice for our enemy. In I Corinthians, the Bible talks about having the mind of Christ. This is vital because the enemy would love nothing more than to control our thoughts because our thoughts control our actions. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). The place we think and process the message God gives us to speak is from the exact area the enemy likes to mess with—our mind. This is why it is vital I bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). Staying in the Word and keeping my thoughts on Him helps me to mentally prepare to speak the message He gives me.
IO: What do you feel are your top two personal strengths and weaknesses and why?
KK: My top two strengths would have to be organization and multi-tasking. I am a very organized person and am also able to multi-task pretty well. Typically, I have quite a few irons in the fire at the same time. I am able to juggle several big projects at once, and while this can sometimes feel exhausting and overwhelming, it keeps me busy. My life is consistently moving at a fast and exciting pace. I am never bored!
My top two weaknesses would have to be time management and saying “No.” I am almost always late. I do not allow enough time for things to get done, which catches up with me when I need multiple things done at once (this is where being a good multi-tasker helps, ha!). I also struggle with saying “No.” Sometimes I feel like I cannot say “No,” and before I realize it, my spiritual disciplines become overtaken with doing ministry stuff. Yes, doing a work for God is important, but more than being a busybody for Him, I must have a relationship with Him. Cultivating a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ allows my Kingdom work to be more effective and productive. I never want to be so busy for the Kingdom that I don’t really know the King for whom I am working.
IO: When and where did you receive your calling, and how did you prepare to fulfill it?
KK: In 2007, God called me to lead worship. I believe the four years I attended Indiana Bible College studying the arts and music prepared me for this season in my life. The past few years I have had some of the most incredible opportunities to lead worship that were way beyond what I could have ever dreamed possible. This is why I am thankful God doesn’t leave it up to us because we can’t dream up what God can make reality.
Over the past two years I have experienced a transition in my ministry. This has been exciting and terrifying all at the same time. This shift in my life and my ministry has taken me to a deeper place of trust in God and His plans for my life. A few years ago I would have never called myself a speaker—as a girl, it is still a little weird when people refer to me as a preacher. Singing comes a lot easier; it feels more natural, comfortable. But in the uncomfortable, God is choosing to shape and mold my life and my ministry. During this season, it is vital that I rely on prayer and fasting, getting in the Word, and the advice of mentors God has placed in my life.
IO: What advice do you have for someone feeling a call to any aspect of ministry? What should their next steps be?
KK: If you feel called to ministry, it is important to connect with your pastor. Connecting with your pastor will allow him to plug you into ministries in the church that will enhance your growth in God, teach you the art of servanthood, and prepare you for the ministry God has called you to pursue. Stay faithful, stay connected, and stay consistent in keeping spiritual disciplines activated in your life. You might be surprised what the season of preparation holds for your life as you wait on God to open the door to the ministry to which He has called you!
IO: What are your long term goals for ministry and life in general, and what steps do you plan to reach those goals?
KK: I have never been shown what God has for me long-term; He chooses to lead me step by step, and I literally mean one step at a time. Since I am a person who likes to plan way in advance, I know He specifically chooses this process for me because it requires me to let go of the way I would like for it to happen and trust His way. I have recently finished my education, and this was a big goal to check off of my list. Upon completion of my degree, however, I realized I was no longer a “student,” and I faced somewhat of an identity crisis.
Being a “student” provided me with a “go-to” word when I didn’t have the answers about my future. If I were to design my future, I would love to be an author; I would love to be a professor; I would love to have a family; but more than that, I would love to know I am in the perfect will of God, so I let Him design. I have realized if I had followed the plans I had for my life, I would not be who I am or where I am today. He has an expected end for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and although I do not know His future plans for my life right now, I cannot wait to see them unfold!
IO: How can the students take the North American Youth Congress fire to their homes and home churches and keep it burning?
KK: Keeping the “Youth Congress fire” ablaze can happen through a lifestyle of active spiritual disciplines. The key to maintaining spiritual disciplines is not giving up when you begin to slip away from consistently maintaining them in your life. For example, your goal might be to read the Bible every day when you leave Youth Congress. Then you find you can do that for a couple weeks until you notice you get busy with school, homework, your friends, your job, and you miss a day or two or even a week or two. This is not a free pass to quit. Re-activate the discipline by starting back up right where you left off. We all have moments where the spiritual discipline flame begins to fade, but when we recognize the fire is not as hot as it used to be, it is our job to simply pour some gasoline on it and re-ignite the passion to maintain the personal commitments made at NAYC!
Kristin serves as the national Hyphen director for the General Youth Division. She also serves as worship leader and works for New Life Christian Center in Lancaster, Ohio as promotions director. Gary Keller is her father and pastor.
Kristin Keller is scheduled to speak Thursday, August 6, 2015 during the 10:15 a.m. Hyphen split session.