A Year Long NextGen Strategy by Frank Bealer and E.J. Swanson #OC17


A Year Long NextGen Strategy for Parents – Frank Bealer

Navigate the unique tension.

Genuine heart for nextgen ministry. How do we connect parents and bring them into what we are doing? A strategy for those who oversee family ministry. Have mind shift so that you know that you can do more for parents. You are going to get overwhelmed because there is just so much strategy to get done. Most of what we talk about in these strategies should be taken on by volunteers. Run the information through that filter.

The Reality: Working with kids is fun, working with parents is hard.

Parents are over committed.

Parents don’t attend while kids do.

Unique family situations.

Blended, single, teenage parents, grandparents.

When the church changes how they see parents, it will change how parents see the church.

What if we fight for parents and fight to come along side them.

The question is not “what are we doing for parents” but rather, “what are we doing that is strategic.”

When we don’t hear feedback about how parents are using our resources we cut back. Why?

Prayer for the families. text date and time and we will call to pray. 12k in attendance and got 7 back. But parents felt engaged and connected. I can’t believe my church was willing to stop and pray for us. The good intentions were enough for the parents.

What are we doing that is strategic that we will keep doing no matter what?

Ways to partner with parents every year.

Celebrate major milestones together. You get invited to graduations, baby dedications, big moments in the life of the family. You invite those who feel like family. What if we want to make the things they celebrate bigger by doing it together. Recognize those times and celebrate together. Family dedication. Keep it small and personal so that you celebrate big. 15 families vs lost in the crowd.

Reactivate them around their felt need. The struggle or reality for them. Speak into this. Connect and engage where they are at. The role of a parent changes as kids grow up. 4th grader and preschoolers are different. How can we reactivate these parents as their kids are acting differently? All the new ideas you are trying, a lot of it, we don’t need to do new just consistent and better.

We get tired of doing the same old thing. Baby dedication, might feel stale to us but not to the families because families only do it once. Make it consistent and better.

Family dynamics and modes change, speak into that phase. Resource parents when they need it. Parents need to know that there is somewhere to go to help them raise their kids.

What if we could spark faith-based conversations at home when they are little. Why did God make the sky blue?” If the church sparks those conversations when they are little, then when they get big and messy, maybe they will continue to look for the church to help them spark those conversations. How are you helping spark these conversations?

Connect parents with each other!

I’m not in this alone, there are people at the church who are going through this same things, and have someone else that I can go to, we are in this together. We can spark community among parents and actually make the relationship happen.

Cue parents every week. The most important things kids do for their kids are the things they do consistently week after week!

3 Strategic Moves:

1// Cooperate with their yearly rhythm.

Started by an event. And a decision that has to be made. What if we said that we are going to show up.

The noise of the world is loud. Speaking to a family in their felt need is louder.

Sometimes we voice, here is what looks new in our ministry. Each new season, how do we help them start? Transitions happen every year. For families things are changing, how do we speak into that and be strategic. Get families together and get them talking together. Not for us the church but for you as families. A new year and new rhythm and you need some families in your corner.

Focus: Provide something encouraging to help them keep going. Encouraging. Social media to tell them they are winning. Not do more but you are doing great. Constant encouragement. Speaking into the lives of the exhausted families. New Year’s resolution. When you lose once you beat yourself over it, you still made progress. Help families feel like they are winning!

youleadministry.com VBS strategy and assessment for families.

What if you showed up in their world and fought for them. Not just when they show up at church but for things that matter to the families. Think how to make their family vacation great. Road trip help.

Millennial moms want to be perfect

Millennial dads what to be present. Give tips. Carve out this moment. Coach them.

2// Coach them weekly

936 weeks.

Cue parents every week with easy ways to connect with the heart of their child.

Two easy ways to help parents do this one thing.

Go Weekly.

Parent Cues.

It’s too easy to give up. It doesn’t matter if this is your first week or first week in a month, here is one way to connect with your kids.

3// Communicate in their daily routine.

At the right phase and right time. Driving along the road or before bed.

Parent Cue App: All New!

When a parent knows how much time they have left, they tend to do more with the time they have now. Parent Cue App: All New!

Point parents to one thing that is coming and help them prepare!


A Year Long Next Gen Strategy For Small Groups – E.J. Swanson

Doing more but connecting less and less.

Missing something.

As I got off the stage he was having a bigger impact than when he was on the stage.

Behavior analysis.

When you get into a small group everything begins to change.

Great small group leaders have a consistent dialogue, a back and forth, with the students. Not a monolog.

Small groups matter. Small groups have a huge impact on lives.


Some kids will never feel known by God until they are known by someone who knows God. And at Orange, We believe the best place for kids and teenagers to grow spiritually is in the context of relationships. So maybe kids need more leaders, not more lessons.

Structure: How you arrange or manage various parts so they can support something important.

We don’t have time to do things that are not important. Know what is important and create a structure around it. The quality of relationships is linked to the quality of your structure. What is your structure for Sunday morning?

What kind of structure do you have to support the kind of relationship that will help people (students and kids) grow? Habits/systems to support small group relationships.

Organize to be Organic

Relationships need structure, but structure isn’t the goal. The goal is relational connection.

Age changes the roles some. Age/Gender/Interests. Organize and get smaller and smaller to say, “Are you like the people in your group?”

When you are organized, every kid in the room gets a really good seat.

Know and feel “I belong and I’m in.”

When you get in the habit of thinking steps, not programs, kids are more likely to end up where you want them to be.

Think in steps not programs.

Sometimes you have to stop doing something that works if you want something more important to work better. When you get in the habit of thinking steps not programs, kids are more likely to end up where you want them to be. Baptism fear. Address it in steps. See and show them what it is so they are familiar with it so the fear dissipates. What are small groups set up to do? To meet and follow up after the message? A student knowing they can have a conversation about Jesus with an adult that isn’t mom or dad.

Random programs work independently.

Strategic programs work together

Random programs tend to establish competing systems.

Strategic programs establish complementary systems.

Random programs function as activities..

Strategic programs function as steps.

Enhance small groups if we set up the steps in the right way. Not an add-on but a step to something bigger.

Move to the rhythm.

When you make faith a part of the rhythms of life, it becomes more fluid, more natural, and more every day. No one influence kid more than their parent. Chief Discipler. In the summer students have more time than ever, so why shut down? Less stress from school, and later bed time.

100 straight days of activities. Text devotional. House hangouts. Out to eat nights. 4th of July. Small group leader per diem. Not more and more programs but fall in line with the rhythms of the family.

Small groups start in April.

“Very few people are fast enough to keep up with all their good intentions.”

Recruiting / Re-recruiting. Become a magnet and sign people up again.

Jump In – transforming tomorrow today. *Woodside kids/Maxwell

Football jerseys and have signing day. Epic. Screen print. Hat, papers, background, picture holding shirt and wearing hat!

May: Stragglers and Newbies

Get new people across the finish line.

The first ask is to get them to sign up for middle school. New moms can relate to the middle school parents and are closer to that age. Mom of middle schoolers are wishing they can hold the babies again.
June: Background checks and Vision

July: Small group placement for fall and small group leader goals.

Their move up Sunday is in July. Get the kids in their right spot.

Aug: Leader training 1 and communicating with parents.

Praying for you as you transition from x:00 bedtime to x:00.

Sept: Small groups launch / Open house with parents.

Oct: Recalibrate and add energy.

Deal with the anger or frustration of the leader. How can we serve the small group leaders? Lean back into the small group leader and fix their problems.

Nov: Add to your groups and add to your leaders.

The month when most small group leaders quit.

Another kid who starts to get it is exciting to the small group leader. The small group leader comes alive again instead of falling away.

Dec: Celebrate, rest, and create small group leader goals. Give a few weeks off and help them take a deep breath. In December, everyone is busy and needs more time. Give them the rest within the rhythm.

Jan: Relaunch and train based on leader needs.

Submit a google doc with needs, where they need help, and how their group is going. Meet with them. Elementary this is key.

Feb: Train, reward, and go off site.

Highlight the blessings. Take leaders to movie, bowling, dinner, or something in this season because the calendar is open. Credit card bill hits from Dec. Communicate love.

March: Celebrate, meet with leaders 1 on 1, finish strong.

April is coming and communicate the need. Find out if the leaders are returning or not. Ask them what can we do better. Invite a small group leader to bring someone along with them next.

The strategy and rhythm mixed with the culture around it begins to take the leaders (the lifeblood of your ministry) and intertwined them with the parents.

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