#kidmin

BOOK REVIEW – PARENTING BEYOND YOUR CAPACITY BY REGGIE JOINER AND CAREY NIEUWHOF

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity

by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Oftentimes, parenting can be a struggle full of love. Rather than being another “how-to be a better parent” book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity focuses on how parents can fortify their parenting capacity by engaging their family in God’s story to the world. Parenting Beyond Your Capacity also has a wealth of helpful insights for those who are hoping to be parents one day, those who are preparing to soon be parents, for grand-parents, those who work with parents, have friends that are parents, or for those that are influencers in children’s lives.

The core of the book is divided into five key family values.

1) Widen the circle

2) Imagine the end

3) Fight for the heart

4) Create a rhythm

5) Make it personal

Biblically based from Deuteronomy 6, the values and verses work hand-in-hand. Moses discusses in Deuteronomy 6 that God intended for family and faith-community alike that it takes a village mentality to raise spiritually-healthy children. Through this partnership of family and community mentors, God’s bigger story begins to unfold:

“Your children one day will seek affirmation and approval from adults other than you. Either you can become intentional about enlisting other trusted adults to influence your kids, or you can depend only on your limited capacity. You can leave them alone to discover random influences who will shape their character and faith, or you can help them protectively pursue strategic relationships for their lives.”


If our kids engage Christ with genuine and excited hearts, there is an even better chance that the family relationship can be used to witness to other friends and family – to a world that yearns to be restored. Honorable mention: There is no guilt trip regarding your parenting skills. The authors’ hope is to share the concept that the goal of parenting is not to impress others with your amazing parenting skills, but it is to instill within your children the love and nature of God.

Someone & Somewhere

Kids need TWO important NOUNS so they can anchor their lives to something solid.

They need a PERSON.

They need a PLACE.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture

This year, we have made a big push toward making sure all our leaders are oriented toward the same goal for all the children and youth that come into our church. We want them to be "Motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday." This gives our leaders a sense of an end-goal and shows us where we want our kids to end up. How our leaders help our kids get to this end-goal will be determined by who that individual leader, as well as how they demonstrate that Jesus is working through them to influence the world around them. By giving our kids someone who is passionate about living for Christ, they become a witness to how Christ is at work in the lives of caring adults who serve within the church. 

In everyone’s story of faith, there are people who have shown up and become catalysts for their spiritual growth.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture

The interesting part that I have been thinking about is that our students have many other "someones" in their lives, and I have the awesome opportunity to speak to parents about the influence these other adults have in the lives of their children. I am a huge believer in mentors and how key people in your life can change the outcome of who you become. I see a direct link between my mentors and the decisions I make everyday. This fall, I can't wait to talk about the role of mentors for kids with the parents of our church, and I hope that I can help them leverage the influencers around their children so that these kids get motivated to live out their faith everyday. 

Once leaders embrace their role as a "someone" in a child's life we, need to emphasize the importance of a "somewhere." Contextually, a "somewhere" needs a few key elements to work well in children's ministry. It needs to be consistent with who the leaders are and where the teaching take place. Structure needs to be put in place so that relationships can thrive especially within children's ministry. Creating A Lead Small Culture puts it this way:

Belief influences behavior and behavior influences belief. They are the most important characteristics to understand when you are trying to shape a culture in your church.

Belief: The quality of relationships is linked to the quality of structure.

Behavior: Improve the structure.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture.

Your "somewhere" needs to be as equally important as the "someones" because until your behavior states that your "somewhere" is important it won't build the relationships needed (the ones that grow faith in the lives of the kids).

This year, we have strived to improve the structure of our Sunday mornings. We have functioned on Sundays for a few years with a large group/small group model for a few years, but there always seems to be a tension between what group has what function. The tension exists between who teaches the Bible story and who develops the application of that story, so our kids are equipped to live out their faith and the Bible lesson of that day. It is not a messy tension, but when the tension is not addressed, one of those key elements can be missed (and that applies to every ministry). Our "somewhere" needed to be given a clear directive so that our end-goal for our kids could be achieved. Each ministry needs to adapt their "somewhere" so that it is best suited to the needs of the students.

For us, our large group time is for teaching of biblical content, growth of spiritual disciplines, and time of group worship. Our small groups are set up for the growth of relationships that are stemmed from a consistent community of kids and leaders, the review of the Bible through memory verses, and how to apply the lessons in everyday ways. I am looking forward to a new ministry year because with every start, comes new questions and challenges as a leader.

Here are two questions that I hope you can wrestle through:

  1. How are you equipping parents to leverage the "someones" and their influence in their kids' lives? 
  2. How does your "somewhere" orient your ministry towards the end-goal you have for your kids?

 

 

*These are my thoughts from reading pages 1-37 of Creating A Lead Small Culture by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy & Elle Campbell

Creating a Lead Small Culture: Make Your Church a Place Where Kids Belong
$19.99
By Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell

Book Study: Starting Over

I am reposting this because I am working through this book again over the next few weeks and I am looking forward to having some fresh eyes as I look at the study again. I hope to gain some new perspectives as we are heading into a new ministry year this September. 

I am really excited to start this new year off by joining many other kidmin and youth min. leaders (last time I checked it was over 900), as we read through Creating A Lead Small Culture together through an online book club. I have already read through this book once fully and the second time was a brief synopsis for another leader in a smaller church looking to implement Orange philosophy and the 252 Basics curriculum into their program. The book is full of great tips on how to connect your leaders with the kids they serve on a deeper level and how they can partner with parents so that together they can create more opportunities for spiritual development and deeper understandings on how God is at work in their lives everyday.

Every kid needs to be known by someone and to belong somewhere.

Most leaders agree. That’s one reason for a shift in the way many churches are discipling their kids and teenagers. Think of it this way: connecting kids and teens to a consistent leader who believes in God and believes in them is something the church can do that nothing else in culture does.

Here is how my next eight weeks are looking.

*I will be starting again on Aug. 12 and going until Sept. 13. 

*I will be starting again on Aug. 12 and going until Sept. 13. 

As I started Session One today I have already had a couple questions jump out at me and cause me to strongly reflect how Life Groups (We use Life Groups instead of Small Groups in the hopes that these groups will continue to grow together and do life together), function in our kidmin department.

The very first question is a tough one for many leaders because they simply want kids and parents to attend everything possible that happens within the church walls.

If kids only show up at church one time a week and experience one environment or participate in one activity, where would you tell them to go?

Wowzers, yep they said what every leader dreads to ask, or even think about. The thought that a family or a child might only pick one of the many great things that your ministry does. I have been wrestling with this question for months now:

How do we plan our ministries better to help families leverage their time together so that they spend more time as a family?

Think about it:

Kids ministry is one day, or night,
Youth Ministry is on one or two other nights.
Men’s ministry happens,
Women’s Ministry is another,
and church is on Sundays,

oh yeah don’t forget about after school activities and extra curricular activities.

Add all those days up and well you have one very exhausted and overwhelmed family.

Your greatest asset to building faith in the next generation is not your Bible study, worship band, facilities, or budget. The most valuable resources you have to help people see God are the people in your church who know God.
— Creating A Lead Small Culture

How do you react to that statement? With relief? Hesitation? Excitement? Explain Why?

What are your biggest obstacles when trying to connect every kid with a consistent adult leader?

What are some of your ideas so far for overcoming those obstacles?

Those are the main questions that I am going to be wrestling with this week. I want nothing more for my kids in our kidmin than for them to experience God through the caring adults that are in their lives. That is how they will understand who God is, how we works in their lives, and how He loves them unconditionally. By learning about God in a relational context I hope that our kids learn about a relational God that wants to have a consistent two-way relationship with them.

Creating a Lead Small Culture: Make Your Church a Place Where Kids Belong
$19.99
By Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Elle Campbell

Thoughts on Ministry Progression

The following are my speaking notes from a one-day conference we hold at The Peoples Church called Reaching High. This past year we broke up the main session and split it into three and covered the life of a child that would go through a ministry from birth to college. The goal was to equip and encourage the Life Group leaders by teaching them that what they do matters in the life of our kids and families. We tracked the child from children’s ministry and into a jr. High ministry and finally into youth ministry. We as presenters focused on three main questions:

  1. Children’s Ministry – What do I believe?
  2. Jr. High Ministry – Who do I believe I am?
  3. Youth Ministry –    Why do I believe what I believe? and How do I show it?

Each child asks these questions in their respected ministries, but the interesting thing about kids in ministry is that each child is at a different place in their spiritual understanding. You could have a new believer in youth ministry that is asking the basic question “What do I believe to be true?” We placed that question as the defining question in children’s ministry because we would like our grade 6 students that leave our ministry to know what the Bible says is true and to understand God’s plan of restoration. However any new believer will start by asking the same question, “What do I believe?” We decided that if we looked at the progression of ministries as a straight line it would mean that without knowing it we saw spiritual growth as having an end point. A line eventually has to end.

Children’s ministry has a child for about 11-12 years followed by two years of jr. high and another 4-5 years of high school and then they are done. When we look at ministry as a linear progression it speaks to the reality that the leaders in each of these areas is finished mentoring that child when the child passes into the next ministry. This leadership is what causes students to fall through the cracks.

We proposed a different type of ministry model. A more circular look at a child’s life from beginning to end. This is where I will let me notes take over. Enjoy!

Let’s start with how many church’s view birth to college ministries. One linear line and you are lucky if the children’s pastor and the youth pastor even agree with 80% of what they do. What is even more dangerous is that if we view spiritual progression as one straight line from birth to college we are doing our students a huge injustice.

 So let’s talk about how we want to move forward.

 I don’t think that all of the circles are ever entirely separated. They all lead in and out of each other. However, our focus changes. For example when a child is heading out of children’s ministry and heading into Jr. High the question shifts to what does the gospel teach us about Jesus to what does the gospel tell me about my role in God’s plan.

 The key question for Jr. High will be that of identity.

 How do I identify my life within God’s ultimate plan of restoration. We need to give these kids the opportunity to experience a God that is huge while they feel super small.

 Part of the Jr. High dilemma is that these students need to be told what God sees in them. What God sees in them becomes visible when we take the time to use affirming words that showcase God given talent within them.

 As students begin to navigate out of the What do I believe phase we need to capture their attention through a compelling story of a God that is present in their lives. If a student enters Jr. High looking at who they are without knowing who God is our world is way to loud for them to make clear and correct decisions.

 In Jr. High social media has produced a mentality that they have to create moments in their lives to generate likes on their social media sites. There is a pressure to perform and out do peers in those moments. (We will talk more about that in my session)

 When we have done our job in Jr. High and showed the students how to experience a God that is alive in their life through engaging stories we can start to move them towards the next question – How do I use these gifts to live out the gospel message in my life outside these walls. I am not saying that students don’t ask this question earlier, I am  simply saying that as they round out their Jr. High years they will enter into this. Faith becomes their responsibility.

The end goal of this model was that the child would work their way through our ministries asking the questions that are relevant to their exact needs. Our goal as leaders would be to allow these students the opportunity to ask these questions and we would help guide them to the sweet spot where all our ministries intersect. That would be the home. Our goal is that the students begin to act out their faith at home, in their school and into their adult years.

 

 

#THINKORANGE: OUR #KIDMIN IS CHANGING COLOURS THIS FALL.

+Originally posted on August 25, 2014

This September our #kidmin program is turning Orange and using the 252 Basics curriculum. I have found myself overly excited about this transition since going to the Orange Conference back in May. I am excited for a few reasons:

 

 

  1. The amount of content that will be available to our parents and families throughout the week. This will include Parent Cue, 252 Live, and more. It also means that more families will be talking about Jesus throughout the week. A win on all levels.
  2. The added responsibility and content for our tech team. Our tech team is full of students that have wanted more ownership over the content on Sunday mornings. Even though the content is still prepared ahead of time they will have the opportunity to pull it up at home experiment with it and make the visuals their own.
  3. The added role of a host on Sunday mornings. This will allow some of our volunteers the opportunity to use their dramatic skill sets to help the storyteller bring the Bible to life every Sunday.

 

 

The one thing I have not enjoyed about implementing Orange has been the constant need to justify our choice to other #kidmin leaders from other churches I come into contact with. Whether it is their preconceived feelings about what Orange brings, or their desire to have full control of the content that they bring to their kids many leaders have asked me the same question in one way or another,

 

“Are you worried about the lack of Bible content in their lessons?”

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I have heard this in the last three months. In a way I find it heartbreaking and I always feel as though one of our team’s core responsibilities in being questions. That responsibility is presenting the Gospel to our kids and allowing families the opportunities to live out the Gospel in their homes each week. When I get asked that question about Orange I feel as though I am being asked whether or not our team is capable to bring the Gospel message to our kids.

 

 

Orange is creative in ways that I could never be, or would take me hours to produce and summon from within myself. Those hours of creativity that this curriculum saves me allows me to add Bible when I need to, (I personally think that Orange provides just as much Bible content as many of the other curriculums out there do) for my volunteers, or for family specific content. I have also gone through Bible college for Biblical Studies and as a leader in a church realize that part of my job is to add in Bible wherever I need to.

 

So when I hear that question asked to me what I really hear in my head is,

 

 

“Are you prepared to do your job and teach those children in your care how to live out the Gospel message of Jesus?”

 

The answer is of course. I also realize for me the question goes way farther than what curriculum do I use and I probably take it way to personally, but I am always surprised when I get it.

 

 

I am excited for September and what 252 Basics will add into our ministry. I truly believe at this point that the benefits of this curriculum choice will be felt in the lives of the children in our ministry for years to come. As a children’s pastor you cannot ask for anything better than impacting the lives of the kids and families in your community.