Tell your Story

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Did you know your church is always searching for more leaders? No matter how big the church you serve in is, there is always a need for more people to invest in the lives of the children there. As a small group leader, you play a huge role in this “recruiting” plan.

If your church leader could clone you, they would! You are the one your leaders are attempting to replicate, and you play the oh-so-important role of recruiter for your ministry. You know the people in your world, and you know who would make an awesome SGL. Part of fulfilling the responsibility of “Creating a Safe Place” is to make it a safe place for new kids and for the times when you can’t be there. So, tell your story!

Invite Someone You Love. Most of us serve because we were asked by somebody we trust, so pay it forward by doing the same for someone else. What we do always carries more meaning when we do it with someone we enjoy being with. Don’t keep it to yourself, invite others to share the experience!

Read the rest of my contribution at the Lead Small blog at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/tell-your-story/

Orange Conference 2014

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com

This week at the Orange Conference has been a special one. We heard things about… same-sex attraction and middle school ministry…depression and the church… why the church kills so many marriages, and everything in between. I’ve seen it all and argued both sides of nearly every point in my church ministry career, so I can appreciate an environment with tension in the air.

This conference, this week, we embraced the tension. Just some of what we heard from Reggie Joiner on the opening night summed it up:

You can KNOW God, but God is a MYSTERY

You can become a Christian in a MOMENT, but it will take FOREVER to understand what that means

You can trust that the BIBLE is true, but everything true about LIFE isn’t in the Bible

TRUST leads to stronger faith, but DOUBT also leads to stronger faith.

You should enjoy the CHURCH and you should enjoy living in God’s created WORLD.

Your BELIEFS matter, but PEOPLE matter more.

God has an IDEAL for your life, but God also uses BROKEN people.

That God is GOOD and that you should DO good.

If you’d like to take some of The Orange Conference 2014 home with you, then keep an eye out on http://theorangeconference.com/ for information on how you could purchase recordings from breakouts and main sessions from this awesome week together.

Orange 2014

Orange 2012

Beginning in 2008 and continuing into 2014…I’ll be at THE Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This year takes on an entirely new flavor, but I feel like maybe I say that every year.

Orange, is special to me. It’s “just a conference”, if Thanksgiving is “just a Thursday.” It’s the place I see a family of people that love families all across the world. It’s the beginning of new friendships. It’s a place that I go to spend time with those that love the same things that I love. If you are here in Atlanta, I’d love to see you and spend time over some coffee.

If you aren’t here in Atlanta, but are interested in hearing from the likes of Mark Batterson, Derwin Gray, Sue Miller, Perry Noble, Andy Stanley, Jon Acuff, and Reggie Joiner…then join us live online beginning on Wednesday and throughout the week. Don’t wait until Wednesday to check it out, you’ll need to RSVP for your online spot!

Books that Impact the Family Ministry Leader

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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 for Men

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/