From Orange/Family Ministry

10 Things Your Kids Will Learn from Your Marriage

I’m on vacation with my family, and today’s post is a guest post from Doug Fields.

Doug is one of the leaders who has set the pace for student ministry leaders over the last number of years, and he’s weathered the tensions that inevitably arise between leaders and ministry only to come out strong in both areas. Doug recently coauthored the book Married People with Ted Lowe.

By Doug Fields

When I speak on marriage, I’m always asked if I intentionally taught my kids about marriage.

The answer is yes… and, no.

Yes, there are times when we’ve talked specifically about marriage (either ours or ones that our kids have observed). But, for the most part, Cathy and I have been wise enough to know that our kids are constantly watching and learning from us without us having to do a lot of talking.

Our actions (both good and bad) are always teaching them about marriage.

I would be thrilled if my kids had a similar type of marriage that Cathy and I share… it’s definitely not perfect, but we’re both very proud of what we’ve developed over 27+ years.

 

10 Actions My Kids Have Caught Over the Years

Here are 10 actions that I know my kids have observed from us over the years:

 

1. Affection

Cathy & I are very affectionate and I like having my kids see me holding their mom’s hand, hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc… as often as I can.

 

2. Saying “I’m sorry”

 I want to be quick to use this phrase and I want my kids to hear me say it (and I have to say it a lot more than Cathy).

 

3. Affirmation

This is my primary love language so it’s easy for me to dish out encouraging words.

My kids get a lot of verbal affirmation, but they also hear me directing it toward my wife (which is really easy).

 

4. Attraction

I think Cathy is hot… and, I make it known around our family. I’ll regularly say, “Isn’t your mom beautiful?”

 

5. Time

Our kids know that we like to spend time together. When they see us steal time away to sit in the backyard and talk, or go in the hot tub, or go on a date night, or sneak away for the weekend…that’s a good message I want them to see.

 

6. Laughter

We laugh a lot in our house and my wife’s cute sense of humor cracks me up. I like having my kids see that my wife makes me laugh.

 

7. Respect

Opening the door for Cathy, saying “thank you” and “please” and showing her simple signs of respect.

 

8. Faith conversations

We’re not always praying in front of our kids, but they hear and see our faith conversations and know that we’re always talking about Jesus and what it means to be a follower.

 

9. The value of friends

Our house is well worn from the traffic of friends in/out of our house.

We love having people over and the Fields’ house is a regular hangout for some incredible friends.

 

10. Servanthood

I know my kids have had a better example in Cathy than with me because she’s the ultimate servant. Always asking, “How can I help? What do you need to make life better?” Serving one another is seen in the daily, little things and there’s many opportunities to serve.

 

Kids are always watching their parent’s marriage and yet too many marriages underestimate the power of modeling!

Children are taking daily recordings of what a marriage looks like and those recordings are definitely influencing and shaping their view of marriage.
Question: Do you have intentional actions that you’re modeling to your kids? Do you have some actions that are different from the ones I’ve listed?

If you do…leave a comment!

Special Offer This Week

My friends over at Orange Books are offering some great deals this week.

You can get any of the deals, any day this week, but, as a leader who’s passionate about people’s marriages, I wanted to highlight today’s featured deal:

 

9780989021333.ePUB

Buy one copy of the book Married People, and get all of this:

• “Why Marriage Ministry Is Doable for Every Church” (Orange Conference 2014 breakout by Ted Lowe, audio file)

• “Married and in Ministry” (Orange Conference 2014 breakout by Ted Lowe and Doug Fields, audio file)

• an annual subscription to MarriedPeople E-ZINE

Plus, when you tweet or share any of the deals on Facebook, you’ll be entered to win a prize.

Just go to to orangebooks.com, click on the Married People book and place your order.

So…what are some things your kids are picking up…for better or for worse? Leave a comment.

How To Stop Your Church From Growing Old (Orange Conference 2014 Talk Notes)

So how do you stop your church from growing old…you know, to the point where you’re all 60 years old and wondering what happened to all the young families?

It’s a question every church leader either struggles with, or ought to struggle with.

This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

So here’s the outline for my talk on how to stop your church from growing old.

Synopsis

It’s so easy for churches to lose touch with what families are going through. In this session, we’ll look at practical ways to make sure your church keeps speaking “family” through the generations, both in terms of content and in how you structure yourself to stay relevant.

1. How did we get here?

a. Irrelevance is always subtle but inevitable.

b. The bacon cheeseburger syndrome: everyone wants your church to grow…just not change.

c. The Google syndrome: the greatest enemy of your future success is your current success.

2. How do we get out of here?

a. Match your model to your mission. In most churches, the model doesn’t not match the mission.

b. Recruit next generation leaders to help you do it. The most effective strategies to reach the next generation will likely not come from the current generation.

c. Adopt a strategy to intentionally reach families.

3. Where do we go from here?

1. Design a main worship services that engages teenagers.

2. Decide you are not going to try to please everyone.

3. Develop an intentional strategy to impact families.

i.  Resource your family ministry team.

ii.  Synchronize your team around a master plan designed to reach families.

iii.  Refine your message.

iv.  Elevate community.

v.  Partner with parents.

Want to go deeper? These related posts may be helpful:

11 Traits of Churches That Will Impact the Future

9 Signs your Church Is Ready to Reach Unchurched People

7 reasons Churches that Want to Reach Unchurched People Don’t 

Further Information:

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas

Creating a Lead Small Culture by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy and Elle Campbell

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

Leading Change Without Losing It by Carey Nieuwhof

Want to stay completely on top of things? Sign up for my email list (near the upper right under my photo).

You’ll get a free ebook on reaching unchurched people, plus every post via email in a weekly digest and bonuses I send to my subscribers from time to time that no one else gets. 

Got questions or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

Starting a Church For Unchurched Families (Orange Conference 2014 Talk Notes)

Want to reach young families, but not sure how to approach post-modern, post-Christian families who live in your neighbourhood? This post is for you.

This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

Here’s my talk outline on Starting a Church for Unchurched Families.

 

Synopsis

You’ve probably figured out by now that the beliefs and value systems of an “unchurched person” are different than they were ten years ago.OC 14 YES

You also might have noticed that families in your community aren’t what they used to be. So, with all the change, how do you create a ministry to effectively reach the families in your community?

In this breakout, we’ll look at 12 characteristics of today’s unchurched families and discuss what these characteristics mean for your ministry.

 

Family in a Post-Modern, Post-Christian Culture

 1. In the world of family, ­­­everything’s changing.

2. It’s almost impossible to reach people you don’t like or understand.

3. Unchurched people listen most to the people they like the most.

4. Most churches for unchurched people begin with churched people. The problem is that most stay that way.

5. Place churched people who love, accept and know unchurched people in your key positions.

 

12 Characteristics of Today’s Unchurched Families

 

 1. They don’t come back when they have kids.

a. 50% of parents said that having children did not affect their connection to a church.  (Even many churched parents said that children did not change their level of churchgoing.)

b. 5% of unchurched parents said that having children helped them become active in a church for the first time.

 

2.They feel less guilty than you think.

a. Unchurched people feel no more guilty about missing church on a Sunday than you feel about missing synagogue on a Saturday.

b. Guilt is a short-term motivator.

 

3. When they attend, they attend less often.

a. Small Groups can provide the motivation for people to come more regularly.

b. No one should be able to out-community the local church.

c. Disconnected families generally don’t stick.

d. They will become your best inviters if they like your ministry.

 

4. Most are spiritual

a. Most unchurched people believe in some kind of God.

b. Respecting their past journey better enables them to start a new journey.

 

5. They’re intelligent, just not biblically literate.

a. Be inclusive without being condescending

 

6. They want you to be Christian. Be authentically Christian.

a. Don’t alter the content of your services for unchurched people, alter the approach and experience.

 

7. They expect transparency.

a.  admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weakness.

 

8.They struggle with every social issue you were hoping to avoid.

a. You can’t hold non-Christian people accountable for Christian values

b. Have conversations.

c. Allow ministry to precede theology.

 

9. Their kids matter to them… maybe even more than they should.

a. Safe is even more important than ‘right’ to families.

b. What you spend on families communicates value to unchurched families.

c. The quality of your team determines the quality of their experience with you.

 

10. They are looking for partners.

a. They’re looking for partners; they’ve just never thought the church could help.

b. Strategy is almost more important than content when it comes to partnering with parents.

 

11. They need help with the homeside of the Orange strategy

a. They are not sure what “Christian” means.

b. They do not have a precedent for what a Christian home looks like. So you need to make that clear.

 

12. They do not follow a predictable spiritual growth curve.

a. Design a flexible on ramp.

b. Think steps, not programs.

c. Maturity takes time.

d. Relationships matter most.

 

If you want to go deeper, here are some related posts that can help you and your team:

15 Characteristics of Today’s Unchurched Person

Why We Need a Different Kind of Maturity in the Church

How to Responds as People Attend Church Less Often

Want to stay completely on top of things?

Sign up for my email list (near the upper right under my photo). You’ll get a free ebook on reaching unchurched people, plus every post via email in a weekly digest and bonuses I send to my subscribers from time to time that no one else gets. 

Got questions or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

5 Traits of Future Churches (Orange Conference 2014 Talk Notes)

Ever wonder what the future church will look like?

This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

So here’s the outline for my talk on 5 Traits of Future Churches.

Synopsis

OC 14 altWill your ministry have the same kind of momentum tomorrow that you have today?

Will your church be effective at reaching your community five years from now?

In this breakout we will discuss what you can do to get your church ready for tomorrow, today.

Introduction

1. Everything’s changing.

2. “Change is not an option. How you respond to it is.” —Reggie Joiner

3. “To reach people no one else is reaching, we need to do things no one else is doing.”—Craig Groeschel

4. Future-oriented leaders position their church today to make an impact tomorrow.

Five Traits of Churches That Will Impact the Future

 

1. Future churches commit to the message but are flexible with the method.

Three keys to keep your method current:
 

a. Clearly distinguish between mission, vision and strategy.

b. Evaluate regularly.

c. Be absolutely honest.

Will you display flexibility with the method (even the ones you introduced)?

 

2. Future churches give people a place to belong before they believe.

Reaching unchurched people effectively begins with ministry, not theology.

Belong – Because you can belong even before you believe.

Believe – Because those who belong often start to believe.

Become – Because everyone who believes can become someone new.

 Will you give people space to belong before they believe?

 

 3. Future churches value online relationships as real relationships.

 1. How will you respond if the majority of the population decides to never set foot in a building on Sunday morning for a shared experiences?

2. Three Keys to Embracing Online Connections:

a.Actually connect with social media

b. SEO optimize local, helpful content.

c. Use multiple channels.

 Will you value online relationships as real relationships?

 

4. Future churches embrace quicker, lighter, smaller footprints.

 Quicker = Speed. The speed of future growth will be impacted by the speed of decision making.

Lighter = Fewer resources. Lower cost venues mean higher growth. Portable will become a permanent part of the future.

Smaller = Size.  A greater number of smaller venues can ultimately accommodate more people.

 How are you preparing for quicker, lighter, smaller footprints?

 

5. Future churches encourage experimentation.

1.  The greatest threat to your future success is your current success.

2. Consolidation always happens before a major shift in history.

3. There is no pattern yet for future church.

4. Three ways to experiment:

a. Devote 10% of your time and budget to things you’re not sure will work out.

b. Reward the effort but evaluate the result.

c. Don’t allow what’s good to block what has the potential to be great.

 Are you prepared to risk failure to ensure your future success?

If you want to go deeper, here are some related posts that can help you and your team:

11 Traits of Churches That Will Impact the Future

Why Portable Church Should Be A Permanent Part of the Future

Revivals Are Dead: 5 Things That Will Never Be the Same Again

Want to stay on top of things? Sign up for my email list (near the upper right under my photo). You’ll get a free ebook on reaching unchurched people, plus every post via email in a weekly digest and bonuses I send to my subscribers from time to time that no one else gets. 

Got questions or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment!

The 5 Temptations of a Church Leader, Husband & Dad

Almost all of us lead in at least two areas of our lives: at work and at home.

Personally, I’ve been a husband to Toni for 24 years, a dad for 22 years (raising two pretty amazing sons (ages 22 and 18)), and a church leader for 19 years (this week!).

All of them have been incredibly rewarding. And each of them has had its challenges. And each area has had its temptations.

But if you’re a church leader, you probably also realize there are unique challenges to leading at church and leading at home. And some unique temptations.

 

holding hands

 

Orange—The Colour of Leaders and Families

No organization has helped me navigate the complexity of family better than Orange. They call it Orange because red+yellow is a far more vibrant colour than just red or yellow, just like family+church is a far more powerful combination than just church or family.

Reggie Joiner, who leads Orange, is not only one of my best friends, but also someone who understands the leadership issues in church and the leadership/relational issues at home better than anyone I know. He has helped me navigate so many of the tensions I talk about in this post.

This week also happens to be Orange Conference week, when over 5000 leaders from across North America and around the world will gather in Atlanta to talk church and family. If you’ve never been, you have no idea what an incredible time of fun, challenge, strategy and personal growth you might be missing.

To Orange conference week started, I thought I’d offer a personal post on 5 temptations I’ve experienced being a church leader, husband and dad.

5 Temptations of a Church Leader, Dad and Husband

I could probably list a lot more than five temptations, but these are the five I either find myself talking to church leaders about most, or think I should talk to church leaders about more. And they’re the five I’ve felt or experienced.

Church leadership is emotional. It’s personal. It combines what you believe with who you are and what you do, and throws your family and community into the mix, which is why it can seem so complicated at times. (I wrote more about the emotional side of ministry here.)

So what do you do about it? Just keep your thinking and your heart clear. Keep praying. Keep getting wise counsel around you. Stay humble. Stay transparent. Stay as obedient as possible in every moment.

Here are 5 temptations I’ve experienced being a church leader, dad and a husband:

Read more

5 Reasons Every Senior Leader Should Get Passionate About Families

I’m a senior pastor.

And like most senior pastors I delegate much of the ministry that goes on to staff and volunteers so I can focus on leadership, communication and raising up teams and resources around our mission.

It’s tempting to delegate the cause of family and kids to our family ministry team and leave it at that.

And that’s the mistake most senior leaders make. Again and again.

Every time you do that, you risk jeopardizing your mission and your future.

Here’s why.

 

Over the years, I’ve become convinced that the better we engage families, the strong our mission becomes. Lose families (in all of their forms), and you lose the future.

So here are 5 reasons why every senior leaders should be passionate about families:

Read more

Revivals Are Dead: 5 Things That Will Never Be the Same Again

You might think “things will never be the same again” is a conversation reserved for people over 70.

But my guess is you’re struggling with that in ministry leadership right now.

Even if you don’t realize it. And you’re probably struggling with it more than you think.

Wise leaders pay attention to those instincts and jump on any insights right away, because the key to the future lies within them.

Even if you’re a young leader, the change you’re seeing around you is radical. And it will require a radical response from you.

 things that will never be the same again

Ch-ch-changes All Around You

Think about what’s changed in the last 20 years. Back in the early 90s:

Less than .5% of the world’s population was on the internet.

Wifi and broadband didn’t exist.

We watched movies at home on a VHS and went to a store to rent them.

95 % of music sold was on CD.

If you wanted to go somewhere, you used a paper map to plot your route.

Google’s founders were in college.

There was no such thing as text messaging.

Remember the world most of us were born into? It doesn’t exist anymore.

So no one should be surprised that the church is changing, rapidly.

How you respond to it will determine your ability to effectively lead the mission of the church into the next 20 years.

 

5 Things That Will Never Be the Same Again

Here are five things that will never be the same again in the church:

Read more

How To Write Things the People You Lead Actually Want to Read

Chances are this week you’re going to write something you hope people will read.

An email to your volunteers

A blog post for your organization

Social media updates

A note to parents

Teasers outlining your next message series or big initiative

A request for money/volunteers

And chances are you’ll be frustrated because you don’t get nearly the response you’d hope for.

You can change that. Quite easily actually. Starting today.

writing things people actually want to read

 

Three Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes When Writing

Most people who write on behalf of organizations (and churches) make three mistakes.

 They mostly communicate information about what, where, and when something is taking place.

 They write from the viewpoint of the organization.

 What they write only helps them, not the reader.

 

And Then They Delete You

Write like that on a regular basis, and most people will begin to delete whatever you send them the moment they see who it’s from.

Sure, your mom might read it and tell you that you did a good job, but if you actually knew how few people read your stuff, it would be…depressing.

As someone who writes a lot, the last thing I want to do is spend time writing something nobody reads.

 

Make These Three Changes

The good news is, if you can successfully change just three things, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better—and far more effective—writer.

Keep reading…

5 Reasons You Don't Have More Volunteers

So many church leaders struggle to recruit volunteers and get them fully engaged in the mission.

It just seems like every church leader I know is always looking for more volunteers.

Get More Volunteers Event

I’ve never met a church that said, “You know…when it comes to volunteers, we’re good.  We’ve got plenty.  In fact, there’s a waiting list for the nursery.”

Churches everywhere need to mobilize more volunteers to get ministry done.  But before you start signing people up and filling slots, it might be helpful to take a look at why people are NOT volunteering.

Here are five reasons people might not be volunteering at your church.

 1. You’re not asking correctly.  It takes more than blurbs in the bulletin and pleas from the pulpit to move people into volunteer positions in your church.  If you want people to serve, you’ve got to learn how to ask correctly.

2. It’s hard to sign up.  Signing up has to be simple and immediate.  Hidden tables in the lobby don’t work.  Remembering to email so-and-so isn’t a good strategy.

3. It’s not clear.  If you want people to do a job, they need to clearly understand the expectations and requirements.  Pull back the veil and show people what’s it like before you ask them to get involved.

4. You’re not saying thanks.  People don’t want to toil away in a thankless role.  Just because someone’s reward is in heaven doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear “thank you” on earth.

5. It’s too hard.  The super-committed will do whatever it takes, but if you want to mobilize a bunch of people, you need to make it easier.  Take care of their kids, provide food, and make sure they have everything they need to succeed.  A little planning on the front end goes a long way.

So what can you do about it?

A number of my friends are hosting a free online event. You’ll learn how Perry Noble, Reggie Joiner, Tony Morgan, Derwin Gray, Chris Hodges and Wayne Cordeiro recruit, mobilize and motivate volunteers.

To learn how to build a larger volunteer base, sign up for the FREE ‘Get More Volunteers’ Event.  It’s free. Bring your team.

In the meantime, what are you learning about volunteers?

_________

Please note this article contains affiliate links.  I only recommend resources and organizations I trust and have personal experiences with. The Rocket Company is one of them. They have totally helped me sharpen my leadership. 

Announcing the Orange Tour 2013…and a Discount for You

Carey Nieuwhof Speaking

One of the things I most love about blogging interacting with you.

On that note, this fall I’m going to be in several US cities along with leaders like Reggie Joiner, Bob Goff, Mark Batterson, Jeff Henderson and Doug Fieldson the 2013 Orange Tour.

The Orange Tour is a gathering of top leaders united around the cause influencing the next generation through the local church. I’ll be giving several talks, including a talk outlining 5 of the most important characteristic of churches that will make an impact in the future.

If you’ve never been to Tour, I promise you it’s a lot of fun as well as a lot of leadership development. And because it’s nearby, it’s easy to bring your team.

I’ve got a special discount available exclusively for readers of my blog.

From now until September 16th, use the code OT13CAREYSBLOG when you register for the Orange Tour and get a special $49 flat rate – that’s a $30 saving off the $79 regular rate.

You can register here.

In all, the Tour will be coming to 12 cities (see the list here). The speakers change on different stops (here’s the speaker itinerary), but I’m confirmed for the following stops:

Tampa Bay, FL September 13th
Los Angeles, CA September 20th
Washington DC October 11th
Detroit, MI  October 15th
Indianapolis, IN October 18th
Dallas TX November 5th
Houston TX, November 8th

Have a great week. Hope we can meet on the Tour!

Remember this coupon is only valid until September 16th, and unfortunately, previously purchased tickets cannot be refunded.