It's Just a Phase - Book Review #thinkorange

It's Just a Phase: So Don't Miss It is one of the most helpful ministry books I have read in a long time.  It is written like a textbook in its content, but presented as a picture books with plenty of graphics and colors to keep someone like me interested.  And the combination of information and engaging format makes for an incredible resource for anyone in ministry.

The overarching theme of the book is about phases of life, and they way the define a phase is as follows:  PHASE:  A timeframe in a kid's life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future!

For those of us in student ministry it is easy to get stuck in a programmatic rut.  

We have some great topics for teaching and fun activities to build community and express faith and we think we are good to go!  But what I found to be so helpful about this book is that every chapter, every phase stirred up in me some new ministry ideas to try on with my students.  

Even though I have been working with students for a long time, I find that I simply put students in a giant category of students.  But this book pushes back on that premise and breaks up the phase of student ministry life into 6 distinct phases with very particular issues, needs, and questions that need to be answered.  

I love how this book clearly spells these out to me and launches me to find practical ways to implement each phase's distinctives back into my ministry context. 

This book is broken down into 4 sections:

  1. Phase profiles:  Here the authors lay out profiles for kids in every season of development starting at birth and ending at post high school.  These are clear and helpful profiles that should be internalized by every youth worker.
  2. Every Phase has Significant Relationships to influence: In this section they discuss how to leverage relationships that capitalize on each phase's unique gifts and needs as well as how to leverage your relationships with those who have influence in the lives of kids at every age.  
  3. Ever Phase has Present Realities You Need to Understand:  I loved this section!  Every chapter unpacks a significant part of their development.  But more than unpacking each phase, the authors drill into you that this is the world they understand, their reality, and how to walk with them so they can move towards Jesus.  
  4. Every Phase has Distinctive Opportunities You Need to Leverage:  This is the section where my creative juices started to flow.  How incredible it would be if I could actually create ministry experiences that leveraged each and every phase?   It is so easy to see each phase as a challenge and frustration as they no longer fit into an older paradigm.  But how much more joy and hope is there when we can see each phase as full of opportunities?

Grab a notebook and get to work!

This book is great.  But it is only as great as the work you do with it.  Just reading for information will not serve you well.  Rather take your time, read each short chapter and then wrestle with how to implement that into your ministry.  You and your ministry will benefit greatly from this book!

Thank you Reggie and Kristen for all your hard work on this book and I can't wait for the Orange Conference in April to see this material presented!  Hope to see you fools there!

The best part of working with kids and students is that they are always changing.  This book is part of both a philosophy and curriculum called ORANGE.  And this spring there is the ORANGE CONFERENCE where church leaders get inspired and equipped to do this sort of ministry even better.  Please consider joining us!