“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,'” (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV).
We believe in this verse so much that we have connected every curriculum and resource to these key relationships. Three words remind us how important these relationships are: Wonder | Discovery | Passion
These three issues are the priorities of our strategy and help determine a win for those who teach or lead children.
What if children grew up amazed with the wonder of their heavenly Father and how much He loves them? What if they understood God is big enough to handle whatever they will face in life?
What if children were provoked to pursue a lifestyle of discover, where their identity is determined by a personal relationship with Christ and they are guided by His Spirit?
What if kids developed a sense of passion that mobilized them to do what Jesus did on earth? What if they understood they are designed to personally participate in God’s story to show His redemptive plan to every generation?
Each of the three relationships Jesus highlighted in Matthew 22 has a different level of relevance to the stages of a child’s development. Picture the concepts of wonder, discovery and passion as three separate dials.
Wonder is the most natural dial to turn during the formative years. We spin our content around truths that teach young children about God as a loving Father and Creator. During the elementary years, we add the discover dial and spin our content to help them see how His truths should be the compass for their decision making. We also begin tuning in the passion dial, encouraging older elementary-age kids to serve and challenging them to make others a priority.
When kids move into the teenage years, we turn up the passion dial. It is critical for teenagers to personalize what they learn, but they need consistent opportunities to do ministry so they can understand how to be the church. Middle and high school students feel significant when we give them something significant to do.
Content is arranged and focuses around these concepts:
Preschool—birth through age four
- God made me (wonder)
- God love me (wonder)
- Jesus wants to be my friend forever (wonder)
Elementary—kindergarten through fifth grade
- I can trust God no matter what (wonder)
- I need to make the wise choice (discovery)
- I should treat other the way I want to be treated (passion)
Students—sixth grade through twelfth grade
- I am created to pursue an authentic relationship with God (wonder)
- I belong to Jesus Christ and define who I am by what He says (discovery)
- I exist every day to demonstrate God’s love to a broken world (passion)
Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of Orange, a non-profit 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. Prior to Orange, Joiner co-founded North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, with Andy Stanley. During his 11 years as the executive director of family ministry, he developed a new concept for relevant ministry for children, teenagers, and married adults. If you end up road tripping with him across the country on Orange Tour, be prepared to stop at every antique store along the way. He has found a way to wear orange for 3,453 days and counting.
Joiner has authored and co-authored books including, Think Orange, The Think Orange Handbook, Zombies, Football, and the Gospel, Seven Practices of Effective Ministry, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Lead Small, and Creating a Lead Small Culture.
Joiner and his wife Debbie live in Cumming, GA, and have four children: Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah. For more information about Reggie Joiner, visit ReggieJoiner.com or follow him on Twitter @ReggieJoiner.