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Leverage Influence

Yesterday I started laying out how I have worked the 5 Elements of Orange into my ministry strategy.   Catchup on my earlier posts: #1 Integrated Strategy and #2 Refine the Message and #3 Reactivate the Family and #4 Elevate the Community.   Please bear in mind, that I am the Children’s Ministry Pastor, and bear no overall job responsibility for the other Next Generation ministries at my church.   Currently I am responsible for birth through the 5th grade, and am trying my best to implement Orange from the bottom up.

# 5 Leverage Influence

When you combine two influences you mobilize generations

To leverage influence is to create consistent opportunities for students to experience personal ministry (last time I promise, it’s in the book!)   This is the chapter that youth pastors nationwide should read.   And then when they’re done, they should read it again and again and again.   If Reggie gets on a soapbox, it’s in this chapter.

This is something dear to my heart, but I sincerely believe that it is through service that people experience true spiritual growth.   It has been a frustration of mine for most of my adult ministry life when there is an overemphasis on classroom discipleship at the expense of service.   Why would I feel this way?   Because my own life was changed when given the chance to serve.   It began to change when a youth pastor gave me opportunities to lead small groups of High School students at a Disciple-Now weekend.   I then experienced a breakthrough when asked by a friend in college to share my journey of dealing with the death of a close friend with his college ministry group.   Then while being discipled by some more mature believers in college, we would regularly visit dorm floors to begin new relationships and look for those seeking answers to life’s problems.   Again and again, God revealed himself to me through service.

Of course there was tons of Bible study, book reading, and prayer; but looking back it was the experiencing part of serving that helped me grow.   Doing is always better than learning all by itself.

To leverage influence as a pastor, I am working to find areas for young people to lead.   I will reach out more to the 14 year old than anyone else, because I see the impact their service could have beyond my areas of ministry.

As leaders and parents, our primary calling is not to keep our children in the church, but to lead them to be the church.   The family and church were designed ultimately not to protect children, but to set them free to demonstrate God’s love to a broken world.

If you’re not making plans to attend the Orange Conference in Atlanta this Spring, then start making them now.   I’ll be there, and many more important people as well.   Come see if an Orange way of thinking can help you integrate strategy with your entire Next Generation ministries at your church!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Kendra Golden · January 22, 2010

    It was so great to get to meet you after knowing you online for a year. :)
    .-= Kendra Golden ´s last blog ..Leverage Influence =-.