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When I’m talking with potential leaders, I’m usually investigating how much knowledge they have and how they learn. One great question is “What are you reading right now, and what books have impacted you the most?”

I love the responses to this question, and thought I’d answer it myself here. Here is my list of books that have impacted me the most as a family ministry leader. Please add your own impactful books in the comments, doing so might even get you a few books mailed your way...

Think Orange, Reggie Joiner || Honestly, it’s a bit much, because it’s the manifesto on all things family ministry. Lots of things to disagree with and agree with all in the same book. There is also the Orange Leader Handbook, which is much more digestible to go through with a team of leaders.

Lead Small, Reggie Joiner and Tom Schefunus || This is a fantastic book written for leaders that lead kids/students in small groups. I’m real excited about what could come from this little book, because it is stuffed to the brim with ideas for the small group leader. I’ve always got this book available to give away. I take to to lunch when I’m meeting with small group leaders, and have even highlighted sections in advance for people!

Dreaming of More for the Next Generation, Michelle Anthony || I recommend this book to anyone working with kids and students. It’s a great thesis on the “how” of leading kids/students. I love the thoughts on how to teach the Holy Spirit to kids.

Revolutionary ParentingGeorge Barna || A slightly controversial book on what research says about adult Christ-following kids. It’s great if you want to connect parents to what matters. I’ve given this away to parents for years.

Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley || I really believe that as you talk to churches, you are going to find more and more that have been through this book. At least in the interviews I’ve done in the past month, that has proven true.

Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley || Intentional Apprenticing is vital to how we do ministry here at Athens Church. This book is a great guide to take a young person through, or anyone that you see potential leadership

StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath || This little book is the easiest way to discover what makes you the leader you are, and when used on an entire team will give you a glimpse into how to lead those around you, as well as how to follow your own leader well. I’ve got a stack of these in my office at all times to give to leaders I’m talking to.

Sticky Faith, Kara Powell || A look at the attempt of churches and parents to develop deep, profound, sticky faith in their children. I’m not sure it has all the answers, but it’s impactful nonetheless.

Lead Small Guys

Do you know the hardest volunteer to find? It’s a man willing to work with boys in a small group. It’s the boys groups that are the loudest, craziest, and sometimes, just sometimes, the most destructive. I’m a parent of 4th and 6th grade sons, and I know as well as anyone how difficult it can be to get them to have sincere conversation around spiritual things. And yet, this is the very challenge our men small group leaders are faced with every week.

It’s always my goal to challenge us all to continue to fight the fight for relationship with our kids. Here are a few things I believe could help our men in their attempt to wrangle their small group:
  • Make Introductions. Boys respond well to strong introductions, and being by the door to greet parents and share a fist bump with their son is monumental. It shows parents they can trust you, as well as makes a strong statement of who is in charge of your room. This may mean that you and your co-leader take turns at the door, to make this first impression.

Read the rest of my contribution at the Lead Small blog at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/guys-that-lead-small/

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I’ve been attending the Orange Conference since 2008, in roles varying from from breakout speaker to nerdy blogger to an attender. I’ve attended by myself and slept on the hotel couches of my friends. I’ve attended with my entire staff team, and I even made a trip with my boss the year before that. The best of all was probably last year, when I got to hang out with my wife for the first time at the Orange Conference. If you search through this website, you’ll see a plethora of posts about my experiences.

Honestly, I’ve been so much that I’ve transitioned from attempting to drink from the fire hose of information thrown at me, to being more selective with where I get new insight. I’ve been to lunches with new friends, and drank coffee with old friends. I’ve listened to people lament their terrible situations and been encouraged by the amazing stories of others. I’ve heard messages that still echo in my head, and other messages that don’t so much. It has been 7 years of Orange Conference for this Family Ministry Director.

I’ve been there, done that.

This is where many people get stuck. What’s in it for me? Why come to a conference you’ve been to before? Is there something new this year? Are they finally going to have insert favorite communicator name speak this year? Do you want to know what the Orange Conference is for me? It’s a place.

It’s a place filled to the brim with people at all stages of my past experiences, and all stages of what I hope will be my future experiences (both to avoid and gain.)

It’s a place where people ask me questions. Not questions about my day-to-day job, but questions about their own day-to-day experiences.

It’s a place where I can be helpful to a few, and inspired by many more.

It’s a place where I go to center where I am. Connecting with old friends, meeting new friends, and listening to everyone in between.

It’s a place where I go. Would you like to go with me? I’ve got one free conference registration to giveaway. You’ve got to get to Atlanta, and you’ve got to find a place to sleep (not my house), but I can connect one person with a $400+ conference admission.

It’s your opportunity to create a place. A place for you that is unique. A place for you that is safe. A place for you where memories can be made and experiences can begin.

 

I’ve got one free conference registration to giveaway. You’ve got to get to Atlanta, and you’ve got to find a place to sleep (not my house), but I can connect one person with a $400+ conference admission.

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SomewhereBelong

My children have grown up in two different college towns, and it has never taken long for them to figure out which football team everyone is rooting for. My kids have experienced Saturday game days with tailgaters everywhere, flags flying on every corner, the sounds of the marching band in the distance, and the chants of so many different organizations all rooting on the same team. They ve learned which side we are on, by which jersey we wear to the games and which logos are on the hats. In the two college towns we ve lived in, it takes all of five minutes for my kids to join the tribe of whatever team calls our city home.

The excitement of college football breeds it s own lifelong tribe, but there are other tribes they quickly wanted to be a part of as well: the kids they eat lunch with, the girls who pass secret notes during school and the kids who round up a kickball game in the neighborhood each weekend. They want so much to be known and to belong to the tribes they see around them…

Read the rest of my contribution at the Lead Small blog at:  http://leadsmall.org/elementary/somewhere-to-belong/