I was cruising through social media the other day and ran across a free digital download of A New Kind of Leader by Reggie Joiner. Jackpot! I’ve long been a fan of his Orange strategies for investing in students. I’ve read other books and resources by Joiner and always picked up a few nuggets that have helped me to grow as an intentional servant leader. As I was growing up, I was so blessed to have been invested in by some outstanding leaders in student ministry. The Lord has called me to spend my life for the sake of the gospel by investing in students. What an incredible privilege and honor it is to be involved in the lives of the students I am blessed to serve!
This book is a quick read full of both theory and practice as it relates to investing in a student for the long haul. If I desire for my students to grow up to be godly husbands, wives, dads, moms, leaders, business people, and whatever else…it starts with the way that I point my kids to Jesus.
I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…
- It’s sobering to think about the difference one person can make in someone else’s future.
- This book is built on the assumption that: Somewhere along your path, an adult opened the door for you.
- If this book came with a warning label, it would say, “Opening your door to kids will change you more than it changes them.”
- There are kids everywhere that need a new kind of leader.
- Sue Gerhardt, a researcher on emotional health in children, says a child’s brain “is built up through actual experiences. What you put in is more or less what you get out.”
- Making deposits in someone’s life while they are young will earn more interest.
- When you wait until they’re adults, the gains are slower.
- We could restate the original principle this way: What you do now for a kid is more important than what you do for them later as an adult.
- Think about how Jesus challenged His culture to shift the way they thought about children.
- What do you want kids to grow up and believe? What exactly is your responsibility as a volunteer? What are you hoping to convince parents to do? What will be the best way to measure success?
- In other words . . .
What is your strategy?
- Is what we do with children and teenagers characterized by random activities or by strategic steps that lead Kids somewhere.
- Speaking the same language has a way of keeping everyone focused on what matters most. And speaking the same language makes it easier for everyone to lead kids in the same direction.
- Leaders who play as a team will . . .
ARTICULATE THE COMMON LANGUAGE by using terms in your church culture and age-specific curriculums that will stick in the minds of kids.
STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT MATTERS MOST by remembering that your priority is helping every kid become someone who loves God, others, and life.
MOVE KIDS TOWARD POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS by using every weekly program and event to lead a kid toward a consistent small group experience.
CHAMPION WHATEVER NEEDS TO CHANGE by becoming an advocate with other leaders for the needs of children and teenagers.
FOLLOW THE LEADER by supporting and encouraging whoever drives the strategy.
- Never underestimate how much the right place can affect and enrich relationships. Think of some of the best friendships you know. There is probably a memorable gathering place that stands as an iconic symbol of the relationship.
Saved by the Bell had a diner. Friends had a coffee shop. Buffy had a dance club. Cheers had a bar.
- Kids feel like they belong when they know it’s for them.
- do for a few kids what you wish you could do for every kid.
- Too often, churches are so focused on the picture of what they want families to become that they fail to build a bridge to where families actually are.
- The truth is, if parents don’t think your church matters, you will have a hard time influencing their family.
- We won’t change the way families outside the church see us until we change the way we see them.
- there is nothing in culture that can compare to what you can do for a family if you show up consistently to care about a kid’s faith and future.
- Every parent needs . . .
to have an ally, so they don’t feel alone.
to know what to do today, so they have a plan. to see how they are winning, so they have hope.
- Truth always matters, but when it comes to people of all sizes and ages, truth matters more when it actually matters to them.
- When Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, talks about teaching, he explains that “we don’t begin with theology, but we begin with what we have in common—fears, joys, challenges, and a need for love—and that draws people in . . .”
- What you say will matter more to kids when they know they matter to you.
- You can’t speak the truth in love if you don’t love who you are speaking to.
- Sometimes kids will understand a little more about God when they do something God made them to do.
- Brain research actually gives some interesting insight into teenagers. Researcher Ronald E. Dahl put it this way: “Adolescence is a developmental period when an appetite for adventure, a predilection for risk, and a desire for novelty and thrills seem to reach naturally high levels.”
- In other words, teenagers are experience magnets.
- THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 936 WEEKS FROM THE TIME A BABY IS BORN UNTIL THEY GROW UP AND MOVE OUT.Sometimes when I speak to parents, I challenge them to get a jar and fill it with 936 marbles. Then I ask them to reduce the number of marbles in the jar to the actual number of weeks their child has left at home before graduation. Their next assignment is to keep removing one marble each week.
There’s nothing special about a jar of marbles. But something happens when a parent begins to quantify the amount of time they have left with a kid. The jar is a constant visual reminder of something that’s absolutely essential if you want to influence a kid or teenager: TIME.
936 weeks may seem like a lot, but it goes by fast.
Just think about the number of weeks a leader actually has to influence a kid’s faith.
A first grader has 624 weeks.
A sixth grader has 364 weeks.
A ninth grader has 209 weeks.
A senior has 52 weeks . . . and counting.
- “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)