Episode 052: Jeff Henderson on Helping Dads Invest in Their Sons

Champion Tribes

In this episode, I talk with Jeff Henderson of Gwinnett Church. Jeff and I talk about Champion Tribes–something new he’s launching to help busy dads connect with their sons in unique and life-changing ways. If you lead in ministry, it’s an awesome way to partner with parents and help families in your community  win. And, if you’re a parent, it’s a phenomenal resource that helps you journey with other parents and students who are walking through the same critical phase.

Jeff Henderson

Connect with Jeff on Twitter and Instagram

Champion Tribes

Gwinnett Church

Notes From This Episode

Champion Tribes: Breakdown

  • Launches June 1
  • Download content digitally with the app
  • 12 sessions, completed over the course of 6-12 months
  • Gathering of 5-8 dads and their sons (ideally between the ages of 11 and 14)
  • Small group format with a game, movie clip, discussion questions, and teaching
  • Includes gifts that dads give their sons along the journey
  • Ends with a final blessing

Action Items

  1. Check out Champion Tribes and consider piloting it with a group of dads at your church
  2. Talk about how your team can make this tool an integral part of your strategy to help families win

Subscribe | Share | Rate | Comment

To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: One Year Q&A

Next week, we celebrate one year of the podcast with a special Q&A episode where we’ll be answering questions you all have asked and submitted throughout the year. Starting this Monday, May 15th, we’ll also be giving a bunch of stuff away–several gift cards and resources that will help you as leaders. If you follow the blog, subscribe to the email list, or connect on social media, there will be opportunities every day for you to win one of our giveaways. Then, we’ll kick off another year of the podcast with two of our very first guests, Kenny and Elle Campbell. We’ll talk about what they’ve been up to over the past year, and all the new things they are doing to empower and help youth leaders.

Episode 051: Ministry in a Small Church With Jared Massey

Small Church

In this episode, I interview Jared Massey. Jared and I talk about what children’s ministry in a small church looks like. Jared shares his definition of a small church, why he is passionate about leaders who serve in a small church context, and unique strengths and challenges they face. Whether you serve in children’s or student ministry, the principles apply across the board.

Jared Massey

Connect with Jared on Facebook and Twitter


Warsaw Assembly of God

One Year Anniversary

The One Year Anniversary of the podcast is Tuesday, May 16th. You won’t want to miss this episode! Like NickBlevins.com on Facebook and check your email for giveaways and more info as it approaches. I’ll also be doing a special Q&A episode, where I answer questions that all of you have sent in throughout the year. If you’d like to submit a question, email me at nick@nickblevins.com, send it on Twitter @nickblevins, or click the “Ask a Question” button on the right side of this page to leave a message. I’d love to hear from you!

Links Mentioned in This Episode


RuralCompassion.org – An organization that helps small churches in rural areas make an impact in their communities

Leadership and Church Size Dynamics – Dr. Timothy Keller shares how size effects the culture, style, strengths, weaknesses, and roles within a church

The Grasshopper Myth (book) – Karl Vaters argues against the myth that small churches are less than what God desires them to be

Strengths of Small Churches

  1. Opportunity to know and care for all individuals
  2. Environment that feels like home
  3. Fewer facilities and resources to manage
  4. Lack of red tape creates an ability to be mobile and respond quickly to needs

Barriers Small Churches Face

  1. The need to be all things to all people
  2. Spending too much time in areas that are not your strengths
  3. Finite resources

Recruiting in a Small Church

  1. Have conversations with people and ask lots of questions
  2. Don’t make assumptions, and don’t allow what you know to disqualify someone
  3. The best conversations happen outside of church

Action Items

  1. Check out some of the resources mentioned above to see where your church falls in terms of size, strengths, and other dynamics
  2. Evaluate the different ministries and initiatives in your church to determine what you can eliminate

Subscribe | Share | Rate | Comment

To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: Jeff Henderson

In the next episode, I talk with Jeff Henderson. Jeff and I talk about something new he’s launching to help dads invest in their sons in a unique way. It’s an awesome way to partner with parents and help families win. You won’t want to miss it.

BIG Announcement Coming on Monday!

This coming Monday there will be a big announcement on the blog! It’s a project I’ve been working on for some time and it’s now ready to launch. My goal is the same as always, to help leaders maximize their church’s potential. I seek to do that in multiple ways, including this blog, sharing resources like the 30 Apps, or in helping churches through speaking, consulting or at the executive leadership level with the proven Church StratOp process.

The New Addition

I love all of those things, but I’m really excited about this new addition for many reasons.

  1. It will provide something new and fresh that none of other things provide.
  2. It’s free, whereas a number of the options above require a financial investment many churches and leaders can’t make.
  3. It will provide a better opportunity to hear from you and give you what you need most.
  4. It’s going to help me and my church. (one selfish one is okay, right?)
  5. It’s new, and I happen to like new. (okay, make that two)

Subscribers Already Know

Everyone who subscribes to the blog already knows what’s coming, but they’re keeping it under wraps. If you want to be in on early announcements of resources and new things to come, you can subscribe using the 30 Apps form to the right or at the bottom of this post. That will just subscribe you to updates from time to time.

If you want to get new posts by email each week, and you might after the announcement, that’s separate and you can subscribe to that here.

Can You Help?

When it is announced on Monday, can you help spread the word? The more people that get involved the better it will be, so I appreciate you being willing to share it with your networks.

Mission | Vision | Strategy | Values – The Strategy Factor


Have you ever been confused by the terms mission, vision, strategy, and values?

Join the club.

In the first post in this series, I introduced this topic and wrote about Mission.
In the second post, I wrote about Vision and the role it plays.

In this post, we’ll talk about Strategy. While vision probably gets confused them most, I actually see church mission statements that look more like strategy statements. More on that later.


Reggie Joiner has a great definition of strategy, saying:

“Strategy is a plan of action with an end in mind.” – Reggie Joiner

Reggie makes another statement about the importance of strategy that I completely agree with:

“It’s the effectiveness of your strategy, not the scope of your mission, that ultimately determines your success.” – Reggie Joiner

What question does strategy answer?

Strategy answers the question – How will we get there?

Mission defines our purpose, as in why we exist. Vision describes where we are headed. Strategy describes how we’ll get there. The book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry has helpful advice on the importance of thinking steps, not programs. Unlike the picture of thumbtacks above, a good strategy has a clear path with a clear next step. It’s not just a random scattering of programs, events, classes, etc.

In the road trip analogy, strategy is the route plan

Our mission tells us why we’re on the journey in the first place. Our vision points to a destination on the map. Strategy plots the route from where we are to where we want to be. For people in our churches, it’s a defined path with clear next steps for how they can connect with Jesus and follow him.

What should a strategy statement look like?

Strategy statements can be a little longer than mission and vision. Those are basically a short sentence while a strategy can be defined with multiple phrases. Ideally, a good strategy could be drawn on a napkin to the point where someone new would understand it. They don’t have to know every aspect, just the overarching plan.

The strategy at our church is the 3 C’s – Celebrate, Connect, Contribute. We want to help people celebrate regularly with God in worship, connect in small groups, and contribute in ministry in the church and outside our walls. There are smaller steps along the way to help guide people, but that’s the core strategy.

Why do mission and strategy sometimes get confused?

I see church mission statements that look more like strategy statements. For example, a common one would be:

Love God. Love People. Serve the World.

In the first post, I said that I think church mission statements should just be a re-wording of the Great Commission. Here you have the Great Commandment along with a call to serve. It’s good, but for me personally I don’t like that it doesn’t reference making disciples in any way. It references growing them to love and serve more, but it’s not clear the mission is about making new disciples.

It also looks like a strategy. A church could have a mission of “make disciples” and the strategy could be to lead people to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World. You could design a path at your church around those 3 things.

How does this relate to Family Ministry?

What is true for our church is true for any specific ministry. Without a clear strategy, we’re just doing random things and hoping they have an impact. We’re also not leveraging momentum or synergy by connecting things together. In our case, the strategy in family ministry is the same strategy we have for the entire church, but with one addition.

In addition to helping kids and students celebrate, connect and contribute, we also partner with parents. Parents are the biggest influence on their kid’s lives and we want to help them use that influence well.

Action Step

Determine whether or not your church has a defined strategy for how you’ll accomplish your mission. If it doesn’t exist or isn’t clear, start having conversations about how to create one. If one does exist, look closely at your family ministry and see if it translates.

Take the time to define your family ministry strategy and place everything you do where it fits in the strategy.

If something doesn’t fit, get rid of it.

If multiple things serve the same purpose, pick the best one.

If there are gaps, create something helpful.

What we do is far too important to allow a muddy strategy to get in the way.

What questions do you have about strategy?

What Should a Family Pastor Do?


It’s Orange Week! Scroll to the bottom to read more about that and the connection with this post.

The role of Family Pastor / NextGen Pastor is somewhat new in the church. I’m referring to a staff person who is responsible for leading a staff team of people that oversee children and student ministries, from birth through high school (or college). Because the role is somewhat new and is rapidly becoming more popular, there is a question that is often raised about the position.

What Should a Family Pastor Do?

This question is asked by some people who are interested in the role, but more often it’s asked by those who serve in it. They’re trying to figure out exactly what it is they should be doing and how they can best use their time and talent. Here is my take on what a Family Pastor should do in order to best serve their church.

Lead & Unify The Team

Ultimately a Family Pastor is tasked with leading the family ministry staff team. The goal is to not have silos and instead of one team that’s unified. In talking with another NextGen Pastor recently he mentioned how his team felt really unified. Specifically he said he could probably ask his Student Pastor to fill in and lead Preschool for a year and he’d say yes. Not because he’d like it, but because the team is what’s most important.

What does this look like?

Meetings. As Reggie Joiner says, “you can’t be on the same page if you’re not in the same room”. A Family Pastor should be in a meetings. A lot. Not meetings that are a waste of time. Meetings that unify the team where you celebrate, learn, and grow together.

Coach & Develop Team Members

This is true of all leaders, but Family Pastors should make their team members better. It’s our job to coach and develop the family ministry staff team so they can reach their potential.

What does this look like?

This, too, involves meetings. Here we’re meeting with individual team members to encourage, evaluate and challenge them get better. Outside of meetings we’re giving them opportunities to step up and lead in big ways. We’re holding them accountable to goals they set regularly. A Family Pastor is doing their job well if everyone on their team gets better and gets the credit.

Lead Up

The Family Pastor should be the biggest champion of family ministry to the rest of the staff team, including their boss and/or the leadership team of the church. Ideally a Family Pastor sits on the executive leadership of a church, but granted, I’m biased.

What does this look like?

This looks like hard conversations with whoever leads us. Sometimes we’re bringing up something that was overlooked as it relates to family ministry and it’s not an easy conversation to have. Sometimes we’re fighting for something because of the family ministry impact and there will be conflict, hopefully healthy conflict. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that our first team should be the one we serve on, not the one we lead.

Champion the Key Principles

The book Think Orange outlines a framework for creating and leading a great family ministry. Orange has tweaked the language some since the book was written, landing on the following 5 phrases:

  • Align Leaders
  • Refine the Message
  • Engage Parents
  • Elevate Community
  • Influence Service

I believe the Family Pastor should be the biggest champion of those 5 principles and they should work to ensure their ministry does them well.

What does this look like?

As Family Pastors we should cast vision for the importance of each of those principles. Small groups for kids and students should be central. We must regularly evaluate how we’re partnering with parents and seek to do better. One way a Family Pastor does this is by monitoring the transitions and milestones because they are important times where parents can re-engage. In a given month a Family Pastor is probably working specifically in making sure one or more of those principles is being strengthened.

Orange Week!

Orange has been a tremendous help in serving Family Pastors and me in particular. I’ve learned how to do each point in this post better because of their influence. Orange is an organization and it’s a strategy, and that organization provides curriculum based on that strategy. Our church has used Orange since we started almost 10 years ago. The Orange Conference is one of my favorite experiences each year as thousands of family ministry leaders gather to learn, connect and grow together.

Register by February For Orange Credit