Can kids and teens ever become the church if they only ever attend church? What if the way we do church is stunting the faith of a generation? How can we leverage service opportunities to impact lifelong faith?
These are huge—but important—questions and conversations that parents and church leaders need to start having at home and in our ministries. On today’s episode of the Think Orange Podcast, we’ll hear from Reggie Joiner on why experiencing service matters for the next generation. Then, we have a fantastic conversation with Kara Powell on how to practically implement a culture of service with your kids and teens.
Welcome to Episode 006 of the Think Orange Podcast.
Reggie on strategy and mission (3:15)
The way we do church can stunt the faith of a generation (6:53)
We need to measure our ministry in a different way (9:40)
What changes when we measure our ministry by service (10:25)
Kids are choosing a better story (14:00)
Why a generation is walking away from church (18:18)
Interview with Kara Powell (19:40)
How to get your senior pastor on board with measuring service (21:43)
Why isn’t service sticking? (26:00)
The before, during and after of mission trips and service (27:39)
The practical aspects of before, during and after (30:00)
Conversations and questions for leaders to guide conversations about service (35:16)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
Sticky Faith Service Guide: Moving Students from Mission Trips to Missional Living by Kara Powell and Brad Griffin
Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin
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.
Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.
Quotes from This Episode
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
1. Maybe the way we do church is stunting the faith of a generation
If you never give kids the opportunity to be the church when they’re with you, how will they ever be the church when they’re not with you? Without realizing it, we’ve created a version of church that invites them to just attend something, not experience being it.
When kids turn 18 and go to college, we can’t expect that everything we told them will automatically be something demonstrated simply because we said it. They have to understand it because they did it.
2. Maybe we need to measure differently.
Because kids need to do something to understand it, perhaps we need to stop measuring the success of our ministry by how many kids are showing up. Maybe it means that we should measure our success by how many kids are serving.
The most powerful thing you can do is give them opportunity to serve in a story that’s bigger than them. When we don’t give students an opportunity to serve, we sabotage their faith.
3. Let service inspire conversation.
When the kids of your ministry have the opportunity to serve, we need to leverage it for meaningful conversations. For both parents and leaders, before your student serves, ask:
- Why are we doing this?
- What do you know about the people we are serving?
- What do you think it will be like?
- What are you nervous or excited about?
And then after they’ve served, ask:
- What surprised you?
- What did you learn from those you served?
- How did this stretch you?
- What do you hope you remember?
Conversation Starters For Your Church
Are we providing enough opportunities for service to each kid? Even the ones who can’t go on mission trips?
Why isn’t service with young people sticking as we would hope?
What can we do to help service be more of a process and not an event?
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’ll be back next week with a new episode featuring Frank Bealer, Carey Nieuwhof and Doug Fields. They’ll be talking about a pain-point every leader can relate to: balance.
We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.