Every kid needs to be known by someone and to belong somewhere. Most leaders agree. That’s one reason for a shift in the way many churches are discipling their children and teenagers. Think of it this way: connecting kids to a consistent leader who believes in God and believes in them is something the church can do that nothing else in culture does.

When Relationships Matter explores three values and nine practices that will help you rethink and improve your small group strategy, including…

  • How to improve your small group structure
  • How to empower your small group leaders
  • How to create engaging and impactful experiences for children and teens

Best practices, training tips, and real-life stories from ministry leaders across the country—this book has what you need to create an effective small group culture in your church.

If you’re looking for practicable ideas that will help you train and equip small group leaders, as well as create a culture in which small groups win, this book is for you.

When Relationships Matter is the companion volume to Lead Small: Five Big Ideas Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know, written especially for volunteers.

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“It’s one thing to see the potential in the small groups; it’s another to create a church culture in which small groups can thrive. When Relationships Matter is a must read for every senior leader and leadership team.”

Carey Nieuwhof, author of Didn’t See It Coming, founding pastor of Connexus Church Community Church

“This is a timely work that provides a much needed blueprint for churches everywhere who believe kids and teenagers should be a priority in their ministry.”

Mark BattersonNew York Times best-selling author and lead pastor, National Community Church


Lauren Terrell


Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of Orange, an organization designed to redefine ministry approaches for churches and family environments. For nearly 40 years, he’s mentored teachers and leaders who influence the next generation. Reggie and his wife, Debbie, have raised four kids into adulthood.

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Lauren Terrell


Kristen Ivy is the president of Orange and a co-founder of The Phase Project. Kristen blends a background in child development with a master of divinity and over 15 years of leading children and students. She and her husband, Matt, have three children in the elementary and middle school phases.

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Lauren Terrell


Tom Shefchunas, or Shef as most people call him, has worked with students for over 20 years. He has been a teacher, a coach, a high school principal, and, until recently, the multi-campus director of middle school for North Point Ministries and the executive director of student strategy at Orange. Shef is currently the executive director of Youth Specialties. He and his wife, Julie, live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three kids.

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