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reverse mentoring

my husband kelly - the techie genius of the family - and i have been talking a lot lately about technology and how it plays a central role in the development of children and students.  our dinner conversations have consisted mostly of this topic lately (and of course, over dinner we talk about how wonderful my cooking tastes!)  - as we are both increasingly interested in how technology and media is consistently shaping faith. i have a lot of thoughts that i hope to share in the upcoming weeks - but for now, i'll start with just one thought that has been on my mind lately.

the concept of reverse mentoring

the term is too new for wikipedia to yet define, but basically means that instead of a typical mentoring relationship that consists of the older generation passing on knowledge to the younger generation - the mentoring happens from the younger to older generation. because millennials have grown up in a media savy, tech centered culture - they are now the experts when it comes to social networks, digital learning, texting, and online communications. i've read a lot of articles that highlight how businesses are utilizing the reverse mentoring concept in order to advance their company's digital presence. but i think the future of reverse mentoring is far more than just kids teaching adults how to use their computers better.

because i believe technology is changing our culture far more than we ever expected. new rules, new roles and new patterns are developing each day. our ways of interacting with each other are being radically re-defined, as is the way we learn - how can it not change when we can basically learn anything we want by the click of a button. as my husband is famous for saying, "'i don't know' is an irrelevant phrase - the internet prevents us from not knowing information, all we have to do is look for it."

i'm excited for the ways in which our churches will grow into places that encourage and empower children to lead, model and teach adults in faith and love.

follow up resources: i recently found a book geared towards the church on this topic - looks interesting, my friend matt guevara taught a workshop called rewiring ministry for the digital learner, and a great article on how businesses are using reverse mentoring.


my friend lori said something to me last week that has been stuck in my head ever since.. she said,

"ministry follows integrity." i love the phrase and i can't stop thinking about it. i only want to become a person who is increasingly becoming a person of great integrity. i want honesty, and character, and good choices to be common descriptions of me.

and i want integrity to be a driving value for me in putting together teams. often when i've been looking to add a member to my team - i've looked for a match in 3 areas: competency, character and chemistry. since chatting with lori last week - i've wondered.. what if, when looking to hire a staff member or recruit a team member - we start by making a list of those who come to mind because of their high standard of integrity?

what is your perspective on integrity?



connecting with parents - ask the expert

i love 9 year old alec greven's new books, "how to talk to dads" and "how to talk to moms." he has so much wisdom!

alec says the main goal for his book is to get dads and kids closer together. alec's last chapter is called, "the power of the father" and believes it is the most important chapter - in it he says, "a dad's goal for you is to be proud, confident, happy and safe.. and your dad helps you become you, so don't underestimate the power of the father."

i love the idea of going straight to the experts - kids - in order to better understand how to connect and inspire parents.


session 3: mark matlock and david kinneman

Mark Matlock David Kinnaman

session 3 at shift was by far my favorite session today! i'm grateful for the perspective both speakers brought to this topic - and desire more conversations in which we look at the facts and agree together to offer fresh faith experiences to our children and students.

i love the work of the barna group - they are the leading company in terms of looking at different kinds of spiritually and various faith audiences.   kinneman was able to articulately communicate the research they are discovering.

in reference to the newsweek cover story, "the rise and fall of christian america." is this true? the barna group found that 50% of americans think we are living in a christian nation - 50% think christian america has passed. only 1 in 10 live with a biblical worldview while 75% believe the story of Jesus death and resurrection is true.

what the research does show is that the world is shifting.  the barna group's research shows that 2/3 of graduating students are leaving the church - not leaving their faith, an important distinction. matlock asked kinneman to set the record straight about the barna group's research to which kinneman replied, "our data has been abused." young people are leaving the organized church because christianity doesn't make sense to them - it doesn't help them with real life. students don't feel like the organized church is the vehicle for following christ.

matlock and kinneman together discussed the future of christianity which they see involving more students taking oversee trips to serve because the gospel is literally busting out of the current borders - and the next generation will be the ones to lead this new global movement.  the church has become like an older brother - we don't realize that we've missed the actual ways in which God is working thru the next generation. the next generation will lead us out of this current environment - the idea of reverse mentoring (younger generation help the older generation navigate change, the economy, etc.)

they also talked, for just a minute about this generation being a fatherless generation. their research shows that in 1960 5% were born fatherless, Today 40% born fatherless. the church will have to learn how to reach out to fatherless students.

follow up resources: i love the barna blog,  i'm excited about the work of donald miller and larry shallenberger to impact the fatherless generation thru the mentoring project, and of course - phil vischer, always a great resource as we seek to understand media and children.

session 2 shift: mark holmen and bubba thurman

Mark A. HolmenBubba Thurman

during this second session, mark cast vision for just how influential parents are in the spiritual formation of students. he cited a survey that measured the significant religious influences in a student's life - the survey showed that mom and dad are 2-3 x more influential than any church program.

mark outlined 2 approaches for a church interested in instilling faith at home: a silo-ed approach where the different ministries individually moved towards similar family values or the second approach - which mark believes in - an integrated strategy where the values of faith at home run thru all ministries. mark's message was similar to the one he gave at conspire children's conference, which i presume is helpful for church leaders who desire to be moving towards a similar goal.

i appreciated bubba's unique perspective on how this specifically applies to youth leaders. he defined paradigm blindness - meaning we often believe there is never going to be a better way to do youth ministry, bubba had to take a personal step back to understand what it means to influence parents. he described several hurdles we need to jump in order to move closer to parenting with parents: overcome pride (admit there is something wrong with the way we are doing ministry) and the hurdle of fear (that we have to completely change our ministry and are inadequate to do the job well)

i like bubba's perspective, especially because as a children's leader i often wonder what youth leaders think it means to influence parents. i'm anxious to have more conversations with youth leaders, small group leaders, worship leaders and sr. pastors about what it means to create a culture in which the church and home naturally connect.

follow up resources: D6 Conference looks interesting and Barna's book, "revolutionary parenting"  is always a great read. i'm a fan of kurt bruner who is leading a new movement at