Breakthrough: Sharee Johnson (Houston 2010)

Posted by: DVULI | July 27, 2021

DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative

By Kimberlee Mitchell, Staff

Sharee Johnson (Houston 2010) was the typical good girl, a "PK" (preacher's kid). She grew up in the church "doing" ministry from as early as she could remember. Her workhorse "I get it done" mentality kept her busy running her youth ministry with little time left for much else, let alone herself. Looking back, she recalls how decades of doing ministry had fostered a serious messianic complex. Loneliness crept in. Self-care was neglected. Sharee desperately needed a better work-life balance.

"After NC1, I made it my mission to adopt the core values as my values so that I could better serve those I had been called to serve," she said. When the time came to draft her Breakthrough Plan, Sharee was determined to remedy the self-neglect she faced.

"Personal health is so important to be fit to do His work," she remarks. "So I made radical changes by losing weight, including an exercise plan and eating better. I also created healthy boundaries for rest and relaxation." As a result, Sharee experienced dramatic weight loss not only physically but also mentally and spiritually.

"I now see that I must continually die to myself to fulfill His will in my life," she reflects. Getting out of the way "allowed youth the opportunity to be successful in leading their ministry and developing them to be all they could be." This shift released Sharee to switch focus from youth ministry programming to planning meaningful community service work.

Sharee embraced and leveraged the community of support of her cohort. "I have been deeply impacted by the strength of DVULI's network," she muses. "I've met some amazing brothers and sisters in Christ who have been pillars of strength and examples to me over the years. The majority of the long-lasting relationships formed during my cohort year in DVULI were with my cohort in Houston."

Further, Sharee has made lasting friendships with some "amazing individuals" from other 2010 cohorts in New York and San Antonio. "It is so amazing to know that I am not alone," she said. "Through our network, we have been able to join forces to see many youth leaders grow. We have been able to share opportunities and even offer opportunities to one another."

Eager to pass on DVULI's leadership tools to other youth workers, Sharee and her Houston-based DVULI colleagues formalized a plan to train and equip leaders with purpose and release them to demonstrate the kingdom of God. "As a way to network, grow, and strengthen others, we created the Overflow Conference, a local youth leaders' conference designed to provide encouragement, share resources, and offer training to other youth leaders in the city of Houston," describes Sharee of their collaboration.

When asked what she would say to leaders who are considering applying to the DVULI program, she said, "Seeing the results is simply mind-blowing. I didn't see results overnight, but I am definitely amazed at how God seamlessly weaves together all things for my good and His purpose. I would say do it. This program made me a better person, and as a result, the ministry has become better. Do it for you. Do it for your family. Do it for the longevity of your ministry!"