Reggie Joiner on Awakening the Wonder as a Leader

I’m live blogging from Catalyst Conference. Catalyst is a next-generation conference that  embolden leaders from all over the world. The theme of Catalyst for 2015 is “Awaken the Wonder.” Wonder invites potential. Wonder provides vision. Wonder inspires. Wonder leads us to God.  Reggie Joiner of the Orange Conference opened up the Pre-Lab session.

How do we live a life full of wonder? It’s important to understand life and it’s various phases. Looking at the phases of the growth of a kid reminds us what it means to live a life full of wonder as a leader.

The fact is, it’s just a phase – so don’t miss it.

Phase: a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.

Three reasons why we miss this important phase:

1. We don’t see what we don’t see.

Phase 1: Birth

  • Every phase there is a crisis. The questions asked in this phase is: Am I Safe? 
  • Your job as a leader in this phase is to EMBRACE. Meet their physical and psychological needs. What you’re doing is introducing them what it means to be like Jesus, the Father.

Phase 2: 2nd Grader

  • For the first time, they get graded what they do. They get compared to others. The question asked in this phase: Do I Have What It Takes? 
  • Your job as a leader in this phase is to ENGAGE. Engage things about their stories of their lives. As a leader you should ask your kid, “How was your day?”

Phase 3: 6th Grader

  • They get big. Physical growth. Puberty. The question asked in this phase is:  Who Do I Like? This drive for acceptance is huge in this period.
  • Your job as a leader in this phase is AFFIRM. At this phase, a lot kids have doubts and anxiety. A lot of things they know are going through in life are uncertain and abstract.

Phase 4: 10th Grader

  • The crisis of 10th grade is a crisis of freedom. You are pushing the boundaries. The question asked in this phase is: Why Should I Believe? 
  • Your job as a leader in this phase is MOBILIZE. Your job as a leader is when to let go and when to hold on. Set them up so they can experience failure under your care. Help them create opportunities to excel.
  • If you don’t give something significant, they will feel insignificant.

2. We don’t remember what we don’t remember.

Every kid is made in the image of God. Every kid has a divine capacity to reason, to improve, and to lead. Every kid has a divine capacity to believe, trust, imagine even to love like none others. Some parents, leaders, and churches miss this. This is so easy to miss, even disciples miss this. Jesus said, “I want you to treat kids like you would treat me.” Treat every student who breathes like they are made in the image of God. Don’t expect kids to follow Jesus until you treat them like they are made in the image of God.

3. We don’t anticipate what we don’t anticipate.

We need to help kids to lead strategically.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have full life, and have it to the full.”

There are two strategies here. One is from the enemy. The enemy tries to steal potential, kill identity, and destroy the image of God.

This is the world we live in. The truth is 4 out of 10 kids live without fathers. 80% of 10 year old girls worry about not being thin enough. 2 of 10 girls are sexually abused. 1 in 10 will be sexually active by 8th grade. 1 in 10 girls will be cutting their body parts by age 12. By the 12 grade, 60% of the kids are sexually active.

There is no more important time than now as leaders to invest in lives of kids and choose to speak life in them – that they are made in the image of God and can live life to the fullest.

Here are four strategies that will help you as a leader:

  1. Recruit your best leaders to champion the next generation.
  2. Lead smarter through the transitions.
  3. Re-engage every parent at every phase.
  4. Teach like child development matters.
  5. Fight your battles together.