Elevate Community: Connect everyone to a caring leader and a consistent group of peers.
Everyone needs to be believed in by someone, and everyone needs to belong somewhere. True community provides both. The most powerful thing you can do for parents is to provide kids in your ministry with another adult who will say the same things in their kids’ lives that they’re trying to say as a parent. When church leaders Think Orange, they’re providing parents with that kind of community for their children.
When you elevate community, you . . .
- Recognize the need for multiple voices. The reality is that a time comes in all children’s lives when they seem to care more about what another adult says than what their parents say. The importance of establishing the right coaches in a child’s life is critical.
- Cooperate with how God grows people spiritually. Many churches act as if truth is the most important part of discipleship. But children learn in the context of relationships, when their lives intersect with the lives of others. Children have a better chance of understanding and interpreting life-changing truths when multiple influences in their lives are all saying the same thing.
- Help kids or students navigate through critical life situations. When you buy into the idea of community, you tap into the power of relationships. Having caring adults who will listen and help kids and students navigate life’s traumatic events will be critical to their spiritual growth. You’re offering families a built-in support system for when life hurts.
- Recruit and nurture a different breed of spiritual leaders. When volunteers connect relationally with the same kids every week, week after week, their commitment level increases. Volunteer numbers increase because they begin to find fulfillment and purpose in mentoring and discipling kids and teenagers. We have the opportunity to invite leaders to play a role in God’s story and change lives by committing to something that is bigger than themselves.
- Do something that nothing in culture can match. This is an important principle because it’s true for every church, regardless of size. Churches can never compete with the sophisticated and costly environments such as Disneyland or a major rock concert. But culture can never outdo churches with respect to creating community. No matter what the culture tries to imitate, it can’t be a consistent, personal presence in the lives of parents and children.
- Provide reinforcement to the parent. One of the greatest gifts the church can give children is community. A place where they can show up and feel safe, where they can have meaningful dialogue with another trusted adult, and where they can ask difficult questions. The most powerful thing you can do for parents is to provide kids in your ministry with another adult who will say the same things in their kids’ lives that they’re trying to say as a parent. Parents need to know that they don’t have to do their job alone. This is the essence of Orange: two combined influences having a greater impact than just two influences.
To read more about how to integrate strategy in your ministry, check out Think Orange by Reggie Joiner.