Tom (also known as "Coach Shef" or just "Shef") is the co-founder of Uthmin.net and the North Point Ministries Multi-Campus Director of Transit, their Middle School Ministry. Tom’s passion involves working with campus directors and their teams, as well as recruiting and developing the hundreds of volunteer small group leaders it takes to pull off Transit at the five churches of North Point Ministries. He also co-wrote Lead Small with Reggie Joiner, a resource for children and student small group leaders. Tom and his wife Julie live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey and Cooper. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.
And, if left to itself (notice the singular is being used here), it would overtake my face like Kudzu.
On top of that, I’m a pretty contemplative guy, so I constantly walk around looking like I’m playing chess, constantly in deep thought. Or at least pretending to be so I don’t have to meet new people. (Kidding. Just kidding.)
All that to say, I typically look a bit unapproachable if you don’t know me.
Recently I went through the RightPath Leadership 360. I recommend it. The basic idea is that people fill out a survey about you. Then you get to see all the gory details. I learned a bunch more besides the fact that I look like an troll, but here are some actual comments from the survey…
I really feel for Middle Schoolers. Their lives are totally crazy.
First of all, their brains are in the middle of the second most turbulent time of their lives, rivaled only by the year after birth.
Second, their bodies are changing, too! I don’t need to go into the details here. I think we all know what happens when we go through puberty. But if puberty wasn’t bad enough on its own, every kid goes through these changes differently and at different times… making the gym locker room one of the most agonizing places on the planet. It’s strange for the early developers. It’s strange for the late ones. And it’s strange for those in the middle of the whole thing.
I believe in creating a ministry culture of small groups and Small Group Leaders. I think it’s the answer. I believe small groups are the answer because I believe the Gospel is the answer. And I believe small groups are the best way to bury that gospel deep in the hearts of students.
But creating a groups culture is really hard. It requires you to find great leaders who can gain influence with kids, because the stuff they’ll need to dig and work through can only be done in the context of trust, influence, accountability, and community. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Do you want to build a ministry that values small groups? Then you should be terrified.
When I was going for my degree in education… do you know what I learned from my Methods class?
Make sure the custodian, the lunch ladies, and the principal’s assistant love you.
These people may not be very high on the Organizational Chart, but because of what they do, I learned pretty quickly that it’s important to know them. And, if you want to get things done, it’s even more important to be on good terms with them.
And, for the record, I think this was totally wrong and manipulative. But it has some important truth in it. Some truth we can’t ignore.