Just a Phase: Influence

Chapter two of Reggier Joiner and Kristen Ivy’s book, Just a Phase, is all about influence.

Before getting to their content, here’s an observation: We often underestimate the influence we have. Our tendency is to assume that our actions and words are common and ordinary. To assume that because we are not on YouTube with a million hits or our book hasn’t been published, that somehow our voice doesn’t have a ripple effect.

But ask every kid in America how he or she feels about dad, and you’ll see otherwise.
Or ask a teenager whose parents are going through a divorce about their small group leader, and you’ll see otherwise.
Or ask pastors about the leaders in their church, and you’ll see otherwise.

Everyone has influence. Joiner and Ivy write, “You are in a position to change how…

adults in your church see kids and teenagers.
nonbelieving parents see your church.
Christian families see their neighbors.
lead pastors see children and youth ministry.
volunteers see what they do every week.

If we are to disciple children and teens through the phases of their lives, those of us with influence must take it upon ourselves to speak up for kids. In our church, which averages about 250 people on a Sunday, there are 96 people this year serving with children or teens in some capacity. That’s nuts. We are blessed with people who already champion the next generation. And yet, there are still people who need to know why the things we do are important.

The book quotes Rita Pierson: “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

I think of adults when I was growing up–my mom, my youth pastor, a Sunday School teacher, the men and women youth sponsors, teachers in high school–who were champions. They had a direct impact on the way I saw myself and saw God.

What Joiner and Ivy are saying is slightly different, though. They are saying that our influence (no matter what our role) extends to other adults. Because not every adult understands why we spend the money, do the trips, value the fun, or get loud and messy. And yet, they may have influence over the money, the calendar, and the environment. So…in order to champion a kid/teen, it takes influencing people like trustees, board members, and parents so that they can see the value of what is happening with the next generation. There is so much more to ministry than Sunday gatherings; influence is a Monday-Saturday thing.

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Posted on September 16, 2015, in family ministry, ministry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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