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An Organizing Idea that Changes Everything

Reggie Joiner
Reggie Joiner Thursday April 8, 2021
<? echo $type; ?> An Organizing Idea that Changes Everything

All ideas are not created equal.

Some ideas have the potential to be, what we call, “organizing ideas.”

An organizing idea is so big, if you make it a primary message and make sure that everybody understands it, it can change everything in your organization.

It can become the answer to the reason behind everything you do.

If you get this idea right, it’ll reorganize . . .

  •       How you grow as a LEADER and increase your potential to learn
  •       How your VOLUNTEERS view the kids in your ministry
  •       How your CHURCH sees parents in the community
  •       How KIDS and TEENAGERS treat each other
  •       How your COMMUNITY sees your church

When I reveal this idea, you’re going to think, “I already know that,” “This is theology 101,” “Let’s move on.”

You may want to skim over it, but please don’t. Because I think you should actually spend some time discussing the implications of this idea with other leaders. 

So, here it is. 

The one belief that has the potential to reorganize everything you say or do.


Act like everyone is made in the image of God.

There it is. 

Everything next is connected to this.

If you get this right, you will see everyone inside and outside your ministry through a unique filter.

It means everyone has a divine capacity to . . . 

to reason, to improve, and to lead.

to care, to relate, to trust.

to believe, to imagine … even to love.

I know this is something you already know. I just want to remind you because I want you to think about this in a new way.

This idea will change how kids and teens grow up in your ministry.

It will affect 

how they make decisions, 

how they view sex, 

how they use technology,.

how they relate to their parents, 

how they see the church, 

how they care about people,. 

and how they trust God.

When you treat every kid like they are made in the image of God, 

you appeal to their potential to respond to and to relate to God.

You stir up every kid’s ability to innovate and create.

You stir up every kid’s potential to reflect God’s character.

You stir up every kid’s capacity to love and be loved.

You stir up every kid’s desire to believe in something bigger than themselves.

This idea will change the answers to why you do what you do. 

Why should you prioritize families outside your church? 

Because every parent—even those who don’t come to your church—are made in the image of God.

Why should you spend money to fight poverty and sex trafficking around the world? Because every person—even those who don’t live in our country—are made in the image of God. 

Why should you partner with public schools? 

Because every teacher and every student—even those who aren’t homeschooled or attending Christian schools—are made in the image of God.

Why should you care about justice issues or racial tension? 

Because every person, of every color and race—from every culture—is made in the image of God

Why should you help kids grow emotionally, relationally, morally? 

Because every kid or teenager—even those who don’t believe what you believe—are made in the image of God.

This idea can change the context of the Gospel and Scripture.

Humans created in the image of God is not the only thing—but it’s the starting place for everything

It is the Genesis of our faith and text—literally. 

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image.”

And yes,  then there was sin.

And yes, the image of God in humans was affected. 

But then God did the unthinkable.

HE became a HUMAN.

Not to prove his divinity, but to prove He loves his creation.

He showed us what it was like to be human the way God intended.

Jesus MODELED the image of God.

He treated everyone like they mattered to God.

He recognized the image of God in them because He was God.

Jesus taught in a way that APPEALED to the image of God in every person.

He said things like…

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” 

“Do good works.”

“Love your enemies.”

He challenged everyone to treat people like they mattered to God.

He demonstrated with His death that the image of God in every person is worth redeeming.

Jesus rose again and is TRANSFORMING us into the image of God. 

He proved when He came back to life that He was God.

So now the same God who . . .

made us in His image,

died for us,

and is living again

wants everyone to trust and follow Him.

Why? So He can start re-creating and transforming us back into the image of God to love Him the way He originally designed us to love Him.

When you act like everyone is made in the image of God it will reorganize everything you do.

This idea will change the way you build trust with a generation.

This idea is how you rebuild trust with a generation.

If you show me the respect,

If you show me that I have worth,

If you act like you believe I am made in the Image of God,

It creates a baseline for trust. 

When you act like everyone is made in the image of God it changes everything.

Reggie Joiner is founder and CEO of Orange, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to influence those who influence the next generation. Orange provides resources and training for churches and organizations that create environments for parents, kids, and teenagers. Before starting Orange in 2006, Reggie was one of the founders of North Point Community Church with Andy Stanley. During his 11 years there, Reggie helped guide the church’s growth through an emphasis on innovative approaches to ministry for families. Reggie has authored and co-authored several books including Think Orange, A New Kind of Leader, Seven Practices of Effective Ministry, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Lead Small, When Relationships Matter, It’s Just a Phase So Don’t Miss It, and his newest publication It’s Personal. Reggie and his wife, Debbie, live in North Georgia and have four adult children and four grandchildren.