Can You Influence Someone You Don’t Know?

Kids know more about you than you know about them.

People are wired to pay closer attention to someone who has power over their world. Think about it. You probably know more about the President than he knows about you. As kids and teenagers grow up, they depend on the adults in their world to get food, to have transportation, and to pay for something on occasion.

It just makes sense for them to . . .

Pay attention to what you like—so they can sweet-talk you later.

Listen to what you dislike—so they don’t accidentally make you mad.

Stalk your social media—so they can catch you off-guard.

Here’s a relational principle for you: You can’t influence someone you don’t know.

That’s why marketing executives typically spend 15 percent of their budgets to simply clarify and research their target audience.

Kids and teenagers get this intuitively.

They want to have influence with you (in order to get what they want) so it’s in their nature to study you. As an adult, you don’t need kids the way they need you. So you have to be far more intentional about knowing them if you want to have influence.

But if you want to shape their future, they need to know they matter to you. Continue reading “Can You Influence Someone You Don’t Know?”

3 Ways to Help High Schoolers Relate to God

One of the incredible things about a relationship with God is the way He has something unique to show us at every phase. Just like the same dad would respond differently to his three-year-old than his 13-year-old, our heavenly Father seems to respond in different ways at different times so we can better understand how completely He loves us. High school is a time to test the limits. They are ready for new experiences and desire greater independence from authority.

Related: Why Kids Need More Than Just Their Parents

Teenagers who think like philosophers look for principles that will give their story meaning. They relate to a God who guides their decisions, promotes love and forgiveness, empowers their freedom, enables them to live more fully, moves them toward a greater purpose and identity, and connects them to a bigger story.

Here are three ideas to help high schoolers mature in their relationship with God:

1. Give an application.

Don’t let the term philosopher confuse you. High schoolers want more than theory. They want to know what is helpful for life right now. The best way to help a high schooler remember what you say is to say something they can do this week. Then maybe post what you said to their social media channel mid-week just as a reminder. Continue reading “3 Ways to Help High Schoolers Relate to God”

3 Things to Know Before the First Day of Kindergarten

The first few days and weeks of school are a big deal for kindergarteners and their parents. It may feel like nothing has changed since preschool (because the last year flew by in the blink of an eye), but 5 and 6-year-olds are actually entering into a completely new phase.

This is the phase when unfiltered words make you laugh, homework makes you cry, and life becomes a stage where your kid shouts “look at me!”

Here are three important things to know before a student’s first day of kindergarten.

1. This phase is full of personality and memorable statements.

By this age, a child can talk in sentences . . . and long run-on sentences, paragraphs, and wandering monologues. Sometimes it may seem as if the only goal for conversation is to Just-Keep-Talking. You will be amazed and entertained by all the profound and uncensored things they say. “I’m half Irish and half human.” “How did you get the wrinkles out of your hair?” “When I grow up, I’m going to have bracelets on my teeth.” “You’re talking so much I can’t hear you.” Continue reading “3 Things to Know Before the First Day of Kindergarten”

How to Read Kids’ Minds at Every Phase

“Read their mind” is just another way of saying every leader needs to understand what’s changing mentally and physically.

Kids and teenagers don’t think like adults. So it’s the role of a leader to keep presenting, keep translating and keep creating experiences until someone has learned what they need to know.

When you know how they think—they will hear what you say and know what to do.

Preschoolers think like an artist.

Artists experience the world through activities that stimulate the five senses. Preschoolers blend reality with imagination and learn through participation.

A baby’s brain has more neurons than at any other time in life, and those neurons are forming two million synapses every second. In this phase, they are mildly aware of everything in their environment, and they take it all in at an unfathomable pace. Preschoolers learn experientially, through their senses, from someone who responds to them. In their world, there is no real distinction between what is real and what is imaginary. Like artists, they learn best when they can make it with their hands. This is why movement, music, and art are critical for learning in this phase.

Related: Important Mental and Physical Changes That Happen at Every Phase Continue reading “How to Read Kids’ Minds at Every Phase”

Why Your Ministry Needs a Champion

If you’re reading this article, more than likely it’s because you influence children or teenagers.

New to Phase? Read: The One Thing Every Kids Needs Most

That puts you in a unique tribe of leaders who spend every week teaching, programming, and leading the next generation.

It also means it’s up to you.

You are in a position to change how adults in your church see kids and teenagers, how nonbelieving parents see your church, how Christian families see their neighbors, and how lead pastors see children and youth ministry.

You have a list of influencers to influence. And surely you have realized by now that all of the people on that list are adults—not kids. Continue reading “Why Your Ministry Needs a Champion”