For Leaders Who Care About Kids At Every Life Stage
Author: Kristen Ivy
Kristen earned her Bachelors of Education from Baylor University in 2004 and a Master of Divinity from Mercer University in 2009. Before beginning her career at Orange in 2006, she worked as a high school Biology and English teacher, where she learned firsthand the importance of influencing the next generation. Kristen and her husband Matt are currently parenting through the phases with a Kindergartener (Sawyer), a preschooler (Hensley), and her own “Zero to One” baby (Raleigh).
You know you’re talking to a phase expert when they answer the “Why is this the most important phase?” question with a smile and a simple “because it is.”
Tom Shefchunas has not only the gift of simplification and sarcasm, he is actually one of the smartest leaders we know when it comes to understanding the world of middle school. Shef has passion unlike any other for creating a safe place where every middle schooler knows they belong. His life mission to do for a few what he wishes he could do for everyone may be one reason he is able to lead a ministry that reaches over 3,000 middle schoolers every week.
Jim Wideman has personally invested in training over a hundred thousand children’s and student ministry leaders, and we’re pretty sure he remembers most of their names, and phone numbers, and the ages of their children. After 37 years of full time ministry experience, Jim shares with the Phase Project stories, best practices, and insights all through a very distinct, Jim Wideman, filter.
As the visionary CEO and President of MOPS International, Sherry Surratt is one of the most influential champions for kids in the preschool phase. Every week mops reaches mothers who are the primary influence in their child’s life. Sherry’s wisdom about parenting and about preschoolers comes not only from an academic background in child development, but also her time as a teacher and administrator in the public school system, years of ministry experience, raising two children of her own, and now enjoying two grandchildren. If you influence preschoolers, Sherry is someone we think you should know.
The first thing I thought when I read the list was how much I wanted to share it with anyone I know who has a preschooler. Because let’s be honest, this is exactly what it’s like to live with a three-year-old.
The next thing I thought was (and I’m not sure why), “I wonder what this list sounds like for the parent of a middle schooler?” Since three-year-olds and eleven-year-olds have a few similarities, I texted a few of my friends who spend a lot of time around middle schoolers, Elle Campbell and Dan Scott, and we pulled together this follow up list.
35 Reasons My Middle Schooler Might Be Freaking Out
Jim Burns is the person every parent and ministry leader should have on speed dial for emergency parenting questions. Unfortunately, he said “no” to that idea. Instead Jim dedicates his time and expertise toward creating resources for parents than can be found in 25 languages. He also hosts a radio broadcast that is heard on over 800 stations and via podcast at homeword.com.
When I had a few minutes to talk with Jim, I knew the question I wanted to ask most: “How can parents and leaders help kids grow up to have sexual integrity?” Jim’s answer is not only practical, and insightful. He covers the whole topic in under three minutes. Okay . . . there’s more to be said. But for now, this is a pretty good start.