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/

Calm Moments // Starr Cliff

I am grateful for my husband for many (many) reasons, but even more so as the kids grow and our calendar fills. Our lives are loud and full, but Jonathan is really good about championing simple routines in our lives that help bring some calm.

 

DINNER: We eat dinner together,  around the table, nearly every night. So many studies show this is a significant factor in strong, healthy families. Grateful that from the time Ryan was a wee little one in an infant bouncer,  Jonathan made it a priority to sit him in that bouncer at the table with us. Dinner time around the table feels like a mini-Sabbath each day.

 

FAMILY READING TIME: I’m just gonna be honest. This is not something I could ever make happen; and sometimes when Jonathan calls us all in to read together I am internally grumbling about all the other things I could be doing. But about 5 minutes into him reading Prince Caspian out loud as all five of us cram onto our bed to listen,  I’m grateful and humbled. It’s such a sweet time.

 

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KIDS’ BEDTIME: There are secret handshakes,  the setting of the alarms,  the prayers,  the discussing of the day, the hugs and kisses… But never just a “Goodnight and see ya in the morning” as the kids take themselves upstairs and put themselves to bed. They are walked upstairs and put to bed by their Dad and Mom. There are days when this feels hard,  and I really don’t wanna haul myself off the couch (someone please tell me I’m not the only one that lazy…),  but Jonathan values the time and knows how quickly it’s passing,  and so following his example I get to be a part of that sweet routine each night.

 

Here’s hoping that the rest of you Mamas in your tired 30’s* are finding times of rest and calm as well!

 

*I heard this season that we’re living in called “the tired 30’s” in a sermon by Shauna Niequist and was like YEP. My friend Tara recommended I listen to that amazing message, and I’m so glad I did.  You can find it by clicking here and scrolling down to February 16th “Stronger in Marriage”.