Lean In is one of the most recent additions to the Kidmin Nation Library. This series of books, edited by Tina Houser, compiles practical wisdom from kidmin leaders across North America on various topics. Other books in the series are about equipping parents, creativity and engaging kids.

I was privileged to write a chapter for one of the earlier books in the series on creativity in kids’ ministry (you can see my review of that book here), and I was so excited to contribute again to the latest volume.

One of the perks of being a contributor to this library is I get sent free copies – and I LOVE giving them away! Stay tuned to the end of the post to find out how you can enter to win. In the meantime, let me share with you some of the things I loved about this book.

Lean In: Leveraging Your Influence for Ministry Impact is all about leadership. I love books and articles about leadership, and how I can improve mine. Rarely though, if ever, have I read a book specifically about leadership in the context of kids’ ministry. That is one of the things I love about this book. Principles about leadership – things like vision-casting, goal-setting, communication and healthy relationships – are discussed specifically in a children’s ministry context! For me, this is two of my favourite topics colliding. The approaches in this book to leadership are fresh, relevant and helpful to anyone involved in children’s ministry.

Each of the 20 chapters in this book is written by a different kidmin leader. I will be honest, I learned something from every single chapter in this book. I wish I could highlight every one of them in this review, but let me just share a few standouts:

Sharing the pages of this book with people I love and respect is so awesome! Two of my favourite kidmin ladies, Brittany Nelson & Corinne Noble have chapters in this book. Corinne’s chapter is entitled “Let it Go!: Release Control & Grow.” Let me tell you, her words resonated with me. I tend to be a bit of a control freak (anyone else!?), and Corinne’s words about reasons we cling to control and how to let go struck a cord for me. She writes:

“I would rather trust God and see what He can do with my life and ministry than keep control and lead out of my own strength.”

Talk about hitting where it hurts! Her words are so good and relevant. Brittany’s chapter called “A Pirate’s Life For Me” (I know, the title threw me for a bit of a loop too!) is about finding the “buried treasure” of leading families and kids well by setting goals. Her chapter is so practical. She provides tangible steps for how to set goals, and even a guide at the end to work through goal-setting in kids’ ministry. I love practical, so this chapter was great for me. I plan to work through the guide in the coming days, and then come back to it again in a few months to see how I’m doing!

Another chapter I really loved was “Knowing, Growing and Sowing Leaders” by Trish Weeks. Trish’s chapter talks about the difference between equipping and developing leaders, and the relationships we have with various groups of people in our ministry. Her call to equip leaders, but to move beyond to developing some, is so important. I can honestly say, I’ve never observed the difference between equipping and developing leaders before, but this chapter really made me think about which I was doing, how I was doing it, and challenged me to look for leaders in my own ministry I can equip and develop!

The final chapter that stood out for me (again, they were all so good!) was Carolyn Norkus’ chapter on “Looking For Timothy: Engaging Kids in Leadership.” I am in the process of working through this in my own ministry right now, so the message of this chapter was timely. After offering some very practical tips on how to engage kids in leadership, she writes:

“Every child is made in the image of God. If you saw the potential in kids that God sees in them, you would see kids with the ability to lead and serve in the Kingdom. God has a calling in their life, just as He has a calling on yours!”

That will PREACH! Her words were exactly what I needed as we embark on a season in our ministry of trying to find ways to plug kids in to lead and serve.

And in case you’re wondering, my chapter in this book is entitled: “When No One Else is Wearing Skinny Jeans: Leading a Generation Older than You.” I have been blessed to serve in a ministry position where many of the volunteers in our ministry and members of our church are older than me. While many may see that as a detriment, I have seen it as an incredible privilege and gift. I share some of the lessons I’ve learned about building a children’s ministry when you’re the rookie!

Overall, I highly recommend this book to any children’s ministry leaders, pastors and directors. It will challenge you, help you and strengthen your leadership.

So how can you win a copy?
Easy! Head on over to my Instagram!
Leave a comment on the post with the “Lean In” book cover (same as the top of this post) and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. The giveaway will be closing on Thursday, so get those comments ready!

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