Nobody has more power to influence a child than a parent. But that doesn’t mean a parent is the only influence in their child’s life. At Orange, we believe the church is uniquely positioned to engage kids in relationships that, over time, can foster feelings of being known and belonging.

On Episode 36 of the Think Orange Podcast, our guests Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy discuss what it looks like for parents and church leaders to widen the circle for kids and students. We talk about the power of experiencing forgiveness and grace at a young age, and why it’s important for every child and student to be known by five key adults.

Welcome to Episode 36 of the Think Orange Podcast.

Where To Listen:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  |  SoundCloud

Topic Timeline

Dave invites our producer, Kevin, into the “bunker” (00:45)

Dave introduces today’s focus: belonging and tribes (1:56)

Reggie talks about the drive we all have to belong (8:30)

Not belonging can be devastating (9:00)

Definition of a tribe (9:15)

The value of tribes over time (9:50)

We believe the church and the family are the two most important tribes that exist (10:30)

The Pharisees missed the point of tribes by making it hard to be included (11:07)

Kids and teenagers desperately need people who know them and are willing to extend forgiveness when necessary (13:26)

Why it’s crucial to introduce kids and teenagers to the grace of God when they’re young (14:41)

Kids need to feel known before they feel welcome, forgiven, and like they belong (17:21)

The importance of creating belonging in the context of small group and family circles (18:00)

Dave interviews Kristen Ivy (19:34)

Results from research on the importance of significant relationships (20:20)

The pressure parents feel to influence the tribes their child belongs to—especially in the age of social media (23:35)

The role vulnerability plays in establishing authentic relationships (24:45)

How parents and church leaders can help their kids feel like they belong (27:15)

The unique advantages both churches and schools have in helping kids and students experience belonging (30:15)

Invite five adults to invest in every kid and student (32:20)

Of these five adults, every church leader’s goal should be that one of these adults be their volunteer [small group leader] (36:09)

Explanation of the books Lead Small Culture and Playing for Keeps (37:46)

As they widen the circle for their kids, parents need to invite community into their own lives as well (39:53)

Dave and Kevin’s final thoughts (43:37)

Cultivating an openness to other adults being influential in the life of your child (43:50)

Being intentional in your own relationships (47:02)

Kevin closes the episode with spontaneous, Ashley-style singing (49:41)

People, Places & Helpful Resources

Featured Guests

Greg Bradford


Reggie is founder and CEO of Orange (The reThink Group). He has co-written three parenting books, Don’t Miss ItPlaying 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.

Duffy Robbins


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 KeepsCreating a Lead Small Culture, It’s Just A Phaseand Zero to One.

Quotes from This Episode

Ideas to Influence the Next Generation

You are a matchmaker.

Kristen Ivy said, “What if your objective was to give every kid that walks in your church another adult they could name and say, ‘This person knows me.’” The most common and obvious way to do this is to connect every kid and student with a consistent small group leader. Once you’ve mastered this, look around your church and consider what other avenues—like volunteer opportunities and service projects—could be used to connect kids and students with caring, trusted adults.

But you can’t orchestrate every relationship.

As the greatest influence in their child’s life, parents have a window into their kid’s world that you just can’t have from only seeing them on Sunday morning. You can encourage parents to look for key relationships by watching which adults their son or daughter gravitates to, listening for stories of coaches or teachers who went the extra mile, and asking themselves what specific input their kid or student might need in the current phase they’re in.

Keep in mind the five people may change over time.

Yes, tribes happen over time. But that doesn’t mean every single adult a child connects with when their younger will follow them all the way up to high school graduation. When kids are in preschool and elementary school, many of their connections are about proximity. As they enter their teenage years, their five adults might include a coach they look up to, someone they volunteer with on Sunday, or a professional who can mentor them for a future career.

Conversation Starters For Your Church

How do we organize weekly programming and events to elevate the importance of small group and family circles?

Is our church known as a place of forgiveness and grace?

Do we offer parents opportunities to widen their own circles, in order to look for the types of adults their kids may need? For instance, adult small groups, service opportunities, etc.

Your Hosts

Dave Adamson, The Think Orange Podcast Host


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

Ashley Bohinc, The Think Orange Podcast Host


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.