The Jonathan Effect
America may be called the "land of opportunity," but countless kids and teens are struggling like young Davids in the urban wilderness, attempting to fight the giant of poverty under insurmountable odds. What could make a difference? The presence of a "Jonathan" in their lives to offer them the life-giving support they need to survive and thrive.
The church is the best source of these Jonathans, as they partner with local schools and provide struggling youth with the relational connections that can help them overcome their circumstances. It's a strategy that works, as author Mike Tenbusch demonstrates through his own inspiring story.
A Detroit native and longtime advocate for youth education, he brings you into the classrooms of the toughest schools in America so you can see firsthand the hardships of surviving as a child in these settings. And he introduces you to many real-life Jonathans who are making a tangible difference.
The need is tremendous. If you have ever wondered how you, your company, or your church can be a part of the solution to the challenge of extreme poverty, this book will inspire you to take action. By coming alongside our nation's most vulnerable young people, you will help unleash the Jonathan Effect that will turn the tide in the battle against poverty.
"The Jonathan Effect is not only a blueprint for social action, it is a reflection of an author who does more than write: he lives his philosophies and employs his own call to action. With this book, Mike Tenbusch dismantles a current crisis with an age-old approach—begin with caring, trust your beliefs, get out to where the problem is, and never give up on children. I've seen it work, as I've seen Mike work. The world is a better place as a result."
"This is a moving, inspiring, and important book. Mike Tenbusch has a powerful message for anyone who despairs about the students struggling in our nation's worst schools: these students aren't doomed. But the best solution starts outside the school. With you, in fact. Read on and answer the call!"
"I'm very particular about how people write about Detroit, my hometown. As a fellow native Detroiter, Mike's book was a breath of fresh air. I was moved to tears as he described the violence in his community, as it rang all too familiar. But his message of hope about the role that churches have in helping to transform schools and communities will inspire all who read it. Beyond inspiration, The Jonathan Effect will help communities identify practical steps to becoming a part of the immediate and long-term solutions. This is a must-read for anyone who cares deeply about urban communities, poverty, schools, and our nation's children."
"Mike Tenbusch lays out a beautiful and simple expression of the gospel at work in Detroit—churches mobilizing people to love and serve children by investing in schools. This church-school partnership piece is key to loving and serving our cities in Jesus' name, and this book and these stories will inspire more churches to get involved, believing God will change lives as a result."
"The world has watched Detroit's rebirth into a thriving, vibrant city. Yet we risk losing it all if we leave our city's schools and children behind. Mike Tenbusch offers real solutions. As vice president of United Way, he has worked with teachers, administrators, and students to help reimagine and rebuild the city's education system. He showed me how businesses can help through a sustained commitment to partnership, personal connection, and putting students first. As a result, GM's partnership with Detroit-area schools to increase graduation rates achieved incredible results and rewards beyond measure. Mike's compelling, engaging book offers inspiration and instruction for companies and organizations to do the same, and I encourage them to do so."
"Mike Tenbusch expertly translates his enthusiasm and passion for youth into a practical book with direct application for educators, child advocates, policy makers, and the evangelical church. While set in Detroit, this story is universal. Tenbusch offers a line of sight to a faction of youth who feel forgotten and invisible in a world where your zip code defines your destiny. This book recounts how collective leadership can be transformational in unleashing the collective genius of urban youth. It shares how the caring capital of a community can be deployed and leveraged at the individual level, institutional level, and systems level to untangle the snare of underperforming schools, concentrated poverty, and unsafe neighborhoods."
"Mike Tenbusch encourages churches to partner with public schools, where most poor schoolchildren receive their educations. He highlights successful church/school partnerships, points readers to additional resources, provides tools to navigate the pitfalls that keep such partnerships from working. He also encourages individual Christians to form long-term friendships with economically challenged teens."
1. Alone in the Wilderness
2. The Jonathan Commitment
3. The Church Awakening
4. Starting Steps for Building Church-School Partnerships
5. How You Can Change a Life
6. The Plan in Action
7. What to Watch Out For
8. Pushing Through