Parenthood is a constantly changing landscape. The second you think you have your kid figured out, something changes—they grow up a little more. And when things get hard, the go-to phrase is, “It’s just a phase.” But what if the phases kids and students experience in the first 18 years of life are the church’s greatest opportunities to shape the heart of the next generation?
In this episode, we hear from Reggie Joiner with three reasons why we sometimes as parents and leaders, can “miss it.” Then Kristen Ivy shares why every phase matters and gives practical advice for helping kids and students answer they’re asking in every phase.
Welcome to Episode 16 of the Think Orange Podcast.
Dave talks about his trip to Israel (1:21)
Dave and Ashley introduce the idea of Phases (3:15)
Dave makes a really bad Star Trek joke (4:12)
Introducing the Phase Guides (4:36)
Reggie Joiner tells a story from when his youngest daughter was in sixth grade (7:32)
Reggie talks about the concept of “Don’t Miss It” (13:23)
The first reason we miss it: We don’t see what we don’t see (14:11)
Reggie gives real-life examples of kids in different Phases (15:30)
We need a common language as leaders to help us understand why each Phase is unique (23:23)
The second reason we miss it: We don’t remember what we don’t remember (23:45)
Every kid is made in the image of God (24:49)
How Jesus reminded the disciples that children are made in the image of God (27:40)
The incredible potential God has created in every kid (29:29)
How people like Bill Nye and J.K. Rowling can teach us how to foster a love for the things of God because, whether they recognize it or not, they’re made in the image of God (33:38)
The third reason we miss it: We don’t anticipate what we don’t anticipate (36:56)
As leaders, we’re responsible to help parents and mentors see what’s coming next in kids’ lives (38:03)
Dave transitions from Reggie’s talk to an interview with Kristen Ivy (40:54)
Every phase in a kid’s life is a time frame that you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future Kristen unpacks the idea behind Phases (41:30)
How to navigate phases that aren’t as enjoyable as others (43:47)
Practical advice for parents who are currently in a phase that feels difficult (46:08)
13 questions that are asked throughout the phases of a kids’ life (49:08)
Counselors, educators, and other professionals involved in influencing the Phase Project (58:02)
Thinking in phases changes the way we do ministry (1:00:03)
Explanation of life mapping (Phase timelines) and the importance of aligning your message and strategy throughout the first 18 years (1:01:50)
The phases we see as the easiest are the ones we should pay attention to the most (1:08:28)
How the Parent Cue app can help parents lean into parenting their child in the phase they’re in (1:09:31)
Introducing the Phase Guides, 18 new books to help parents navigate each year of a kid’s life (1:11:30)
Dave and Ashley’s final thoughts (1:17:02)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
Phase Timelines (enter your email to have free timeline resources sent to you)
Blog: Orange Leaders – a blog with strategies, tips and ideas from leaders influencing the faith and character of the next generation
Reggie is founder and CEO of Orange (The reThink Group). He has co-written three parenting books, Don’t Miss It, Playing for Keeps and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity as well as other leadership books including A New Kind of Leader and Think Orange. Reggie lives in Georgia with his wife, Debbie, and has four grown children, Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah.
Kristen Ivy is the Executive Director of Messaging at The reThink Group, commonly referred to as Orange. She and her husband Matt are currently parenting their Kindergartener, Sawyer, preschooler, Hensley, and newborn, Raleigh, through the phases. At Orange, Kristen has played an integral role in the development of the elementary, middle school, and high school curriculums and has shared her experiences at speaking events across the country. Kristen is a co-author of Playing for Keeps, Creating a Lead Small Culture, It’s Just A Phase, andZero to One.
Quotes from This Episode
Every kid at every phase in your ministry is made in the image of God. Click To TweetNo one should feel more welcomed in your church than a screaming baby, a bratty kid, or a hormonal or defiant teenager. Click To TweetResponsible ministry has to begin with a concept of phases. Click To TweetThe phases we view as the easiest are the ones we need to pay attention to the most. Click To Tweet
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
1. Every kid at every phase is made in the image of God.
Every member of your church matters equally to Jesus. There isn’t an age in which one “graduates” or achieves the right to being an image bearer of God. But chances are, there are some kids in your ministry who don’t exactly reflect what you think God is like. Maybe they’re wild. Maybe they’re stubborn. Maybe they cry week after week after week. But when you keep in mind that each kid is walking through a specific phase of life, on a path to better understanding who God created them to be, it can change your level of patience, your perspective, and how you engage with every kid.
2. You don’t have to remember exactly what it’s like to be a kid in order to show empathy.
Have you ever said something like, “When I was a kid . . . ” or “I remember exactly what that feels like.” Well, chances are that things were different when you were a kid. Times have probably changed. And even if things seem close to the same as when you were a kid, you’re a different person with a different personality and ways of looking at the world. So next time you’re having a conversation with a kid or student who’s walking through a tough time, slow down and take a minute to see the world through their eyes, not yours.
3. Each phase is filled with its own unique opportunities.
Sometimes parenthood feels like a game of sheer survival. If you can just make it through the first year when your baby doesn’t sleep for more than a couple hours at a time. If you can just get through middle school without too many screaming matches. If you can just impart everything you know about motor vehicle safety to your tenth grader before he heads out on his own. But as much as every phase has its challenges, it also has some great opportunities for key conversations and moments that you’ll never see again. Every year, you only have 52 weeks of your kid being that age, and then you’ll never know them at that age again. So make the most of the time you have in every phase.
Conversation Starters For Your Church
Jesus taught his disciples that when they welcomed a child in their midst, it was like welcoming God Himself. How would remembering that all kids are made in the image of God change how we do ministry this week?
Is there an area of programming or volunteer training we need to change in order to better show empathy to kids and students? If so, what is it?
When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.
Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.
Join Us Next Week
Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.
We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.