by Dan Scott
There’s a theory in advertising called effective frequency. The idea is fairly simple. A person needs exposure to a product, service, or idea multiple times before they will make a decision to purchase the product or service or subscribe to the idea. While there is no magic number for how many encounters a person needs to have, advertising leaders would say it’s somewhere in the three to seven range, with some suggesting up to 12 times. We live in an information-rich world with messages coming at us from every direction. It only makes sense that people might miss what we’re trying to say.
Yet, in the church, many assume that a one-off sermon or email blast will suddenly get everyone on board with a new strategy, or a bulletin announcement will inspire parents to volunteer in your ministry.
Casting vision for the Orange Strategy takes a strategy of its own. You need a plan for how you will spread your message throughout your families.
Here are four ideas for casting vision to parents:
1. Leverage the influencers. When you’re starting a new initiative, getting people on board isn’t as crucial as getting the right people on board. In your ministry, chances are that you have families you would consider your biggest fans and partners in ministry. Maybe they volunteer, maybe they are just always speaking well of your ministry to others, maybe they just know a whole lot of people. Find them, get them on board, and recruit them to champion the strategy to other families in your church.
Invite them to a dinner or a special meeting where you unpack the Orange Strategy and paint a picture of what the church could be like if it turned Orange. We have several video resources available on our curriculum download sites that could help. As your ministry grows, keep using this group of influencers to offer suggestions and provide feedback. Tell them what’s happening and let them network with the families.
2. Leverage weekend services. With the people needed to pull off the Orange Strategy—leadership, parents and kids, volunteers—Orange is a church-wide initiative. Rather than creating a separate event on an evening or Saturday morning, use a time when parents and potential leaders are already at church. Often, senior pastors don’t want to use that time slot to talk about family ministries because not everyone in the audience is a parent. Yet, as the church, every adult plays a role in raising up the next generation to love God and love others. Just because someone doesn’t have children themselves doesn’t mean they can care for a small group of kids or greet parents as they come into your environment. And even if they don’t serve, it’s good for people who attend your church to not only know what happens throughout the church but why it happens. A sermon series or “Orange Sunday” is a great place to start.
Hopefully, your church will keep growing. You’ll need to revisit messages about Orange every year. These not only cast vision for why you’re an Orange church but also give you a chance to recruit volunteers for your environments.
3. Leverage your church-wide communications. Bulletins, newsletters, email, social media, announcements—however you regularly communicate to your church, use that to spread the vision behind the Orange Strategy.
Rather than creating wordy announcement slides, consider telling stories. Use video, Facebook posts, and newsletters to allow volunteers to talk about how serving kids has shaped their own life. Let parents talk about how they’ve been impacted by having a church family partner with them in faith. Show videos of your kids and students having a great time in their environments, and let a few of them say what they love about your church. Stories will be more memorable than bullet points in a newsletter.
Social media is a great way to keep vision before your families on an on-going basis. Use the social media plans from Orange to help you keep the strategy in front of your parents.
4. Leverage your environments. Many churches who have transitioned to the Orange Strategy have used spaces throughout their church building to create installations that cast vision as families walk past them each weekend. We live in a visual culture. Display key phrases from the Orange Strategy that help families understand what you’re trying to do in the life of a child. Use marbles or some sort of visual representation of the time we have with our kids.
There are lots of ways to cast vision, and you’ll need to decide what’s best based on your church’s DNA. Regardless of what you decide, cast vision clearly and often. The more people are exposed to the vision you have for family ministries, the more they will come alongside you and partner to reach the next generation.
Dan currently serves as the 252 Basics Groups Director at The reThink Group. He spends most of his time leading the creative team for 252 Basics. Prior to coming on board at reThink, Dan served as the elementary children’s director at Ada Bible Church. He loves all things kidmin and was recently named one of 20 leaders to watch by “Children’s Ministry Magazine.” Dan and his wife, Jenna, live in Cumming, Georgia, and have four amazing kids: Liam, Ellison, Addison, and Taye.