Title: A New Kind of Leader
Author: Reggie Joiner
Can Family Ministry revitalize your church?
Reggie Joiner believes the answer is yes.
He begins this book with two provocative claims:
1. What your church does for kids is more important than anything else your church does (p. 23).
2. What you do for kids will keep your church from dying (p. 24).
The book aims to help church leaders and volunteers reimagine family ministry, along with their role within it. The new vision that Joiner proposes is to become a new kind of leader.
What does a new kind of leader believe?
7 things in particular:
1. Kids matter more than adults.
To illustrate this point, Joiner compares Family Ministry to financial investing. He says, “Making deposits in someone’s life when they’re young will earn more interest” (p. 21). This is why the late Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-fil-A) said it’s better to build boys than mend men.
2. Strategy matters more than you think.
Your mission matters. Good intentions matter. But, according to Joiner, “It’s your strategy, not your mission, that determines your success” (p. 35). You must have a plan to accomplish your goals. It’s great to craft inspirational statements, but it’s your strategy that will help you bring those statements to life.
3. Your church [building] matters.
The environment you create for children and students must be age-appropriate and appealing to them. Joiner says, “How you arrange, decorate, and organize your space will determine how kids connect – or disengage – with your church” (p. 52). This is one of the five P’s that I coach youth pastors to improve in order to see growth in their ministries. It can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls and updating a few light fixtures. Your ministry space should be designed with your target audience in mind.
4. Every family matters, regardless.
The modern family is not what it was 20 years ago. Family Ministry in the twenty-first century must find ways to support families “regardless of their church attendance, denomination, nationality, political beliefs, marital status, gender, body piercings, education, [etc.]” (p. 62). This is classic Orange strategy in which the heart of the family (red) combines with the light of the church (yellow) to accomplish more than either could on their own.
5. Truth matters when love matters.
If you wat children and students to listen to you, it is important that they trust you. It will also help if you know a bit about what is happening in their world. Joiner insists, “What you say will matter more to kids when they know they matter to you” (p. 80). If you and your leaders don’t spend any time with students outside of your church, don’t be surprised when they decide not to spend any time at your church.
6. Doing good matters.
Belief is expressed from the inside out, but it is often formed from the outside in. Therefore, “What a kid does can actually affect what a kid believes” (p. 94). That’s why allowing students to serve is such an important part of helping them develop a faith of their own. Joiner counsels, “If you want to engage teenagers, give them somewhere to serve” (p. 99).
7. This week matters.
Every week matters in ministry. You never know who will be there or what they will be going through. Being present and prepared week after week, month after month, year after year says to a student: You matter to me and you matter to God. “If you want to influence a kid’s future, you have to resist the temptation to take shortcuts” (p. 108).
These shifts are not hard to make, but they will yield incredible dividends. I believe that Joiner’s insights and recommendations will help church leaders and family ministry volunteers renew their efforts and fine-tune their strategies for making a difference with the next generation. It’s a short book, and it’s worth the 90 minutes it will take you to read.
Click Here to purchase this book on Amazon and read it for yourself.
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