“Why aren’t you all the same?”
We often get this question here at Orange. Why aren’t all of your curriculums talking about the same scripture or topic each week? That is a great question. Let me answer that question with a question.
If you have less than 20 times this year to connect with kids in your area of ministry, what are you going to teach them?
Will you take them chronologically through the entire Bible?
Will you cover your denomination’s 14 core doctrines?
Will you teach verse-by-verse through the book of Habakkuk?
Will you amplify whatever your lead pastor is speaking about on Sunday?
Even if you believe most of your kids will show up all 52 weeks this year, I believe you still won’t find the best option in the list above.
Whenever you add up the actual amount of time you have to influence the spiritual direction of a kid’s life, it could make your task seem daunting and even impossible.
In most “best case” scenarios, you will only get about 40 hours in a year to share with kids everything they need to know about God, Jesus, faith, forgiveness, grace, love, life and eternity.
For us, at Orange, we believe you should design your strategy this year in your ministry to make the most of the limited time you will have at every phase of a child’s life.
You don’t want them to miss that the foundation of their faith is a relationship—not information. That is why we have organized our content to reinforce their relationship with God. And we have done it with great intentionality—prioritizing content around how kids learn and what we feel will reinforce this principle in each phase of life. And for each phase that looks different.
Regardless of what curriculum you use, there are still three critical questions you should address if you want kids to remember what you teach.
- What is the one thing you want a kid to grow up and never forget?
- What other core insights do you want them to understand related to that one thing?
- What is the plan to recycle those insights so kids will remember them?
All of these questions mean you have to make a difficult choice when it comes to your message. You will have to choose what to say and what not to say at every phase. You have to develop the skill of prioritizing truth.
When you recycle what is most important, it simply means you decide what stories and principles are the most important to highlight at each phase, and then design a content calendar that effectively recycles that content.
To help us organize our content at Orange, we look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees when they asked Him which commandment was the greatest. Every once in a while, an idea comes along that is so big, it becomes a primary organizing factor. In one statement, Jesus settled thousands of years of theological debate about what really matters when it comes to life and faith. He told us that everything should come back to this concept of loving God.
That means we chose to organize what we teach based on what Jesus said matters most. We strive to make sure every story, every principle and every truth reinforces for everyone what it means to love God and love others.
Love is the one thing that matters most.
Love is the distinctive motive of God’s story throughout the Bible.
Love is the distinctive message of the gospel of Jesus.
Love is the distinctive mark of the church.
Back to the issue of limited time.
If you only have a toddler, or a sixth grader, or a teenager for a few times a year, what is the one thing you don’t want them to miss?
Think about it another way.
Every leader and parent hopes his or her kid will grow up . . .
And loving themselves in a healthy way.
What if you simply made sure the one thing you want every kid and teenager to walk away and know is the one thing that Jesus said was most important?
And what if you decided that what Jesus said is so important, you positioned everything else you say to reinforce that one thing?
Content adapted from, It’s Just a Phase So Don’t Miss It by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy.