by Amy Fenton
I love talking to leaders across the country who get it. They have heard the vision of Orange and they are ready to jump on board and start leading their church to “Think Orange.” Often they have been to Orange Conference, Orange Tour or Live to Serve and they come back pumped and ready to spew out all their Orange goodness all over their unsuspecting volunteers. I can only imagine the conversation, as volunteers try to catch their vision while they are trying to relive the “moments” from conference. I picture it going something like my conversation with my daughter when she returned from Student Camp last summer. I listened intently and in my mind I was thinking, “I guess you had to be there.”
So how can you cast vision for “Orange” to a volunteer?
1. Simply. Orange is a strategy and you can paint a picture of that strategy for your volunteers. I would explain it this way:
There are two key influences in the life of a child. The home and the church. Individually each of these is working hard to ensure that every kid has a better future. We want to see these two influences combined for a greater impact.
If we use red to symbolize the heart of the home and yellow to symbolize the church and Jesus as the light of the world—yellow and red combined make Orange.
2. Share lots of examples. People often have no problem selling the idea of Orange to their volunteers. Who doesn’t want to partner with parents and see kids’ lives changed forever? However, helping volunteers see how that can practically happen is another story. We don’t want this to be a strategy in theory only in your church. We want to see it put into practice. So, help your volunteers start small. Encourage your volunteers to meet the parents of the kids they serve. Challenge them to get parents’ emails. Ask them to contact the parents to see how they can pray for their kids for the month. See who would be willing to give out their cell number to a parent, with the phrase, “I’m here to help and support you if you need anything at all.” Explain that kids need consistent loving adults in their lives. See who will step up to meet the challenge.
Being “Orange” has almost endless possibilities! Brainstorm with your volunteer team to dream what this looks like for your church.
3. Celebrate the stories. Once you begin the journey to become Orange, you will start to hear and see the stories of life change that happen in the lives of kids and families. Share these stories weekly. Stories of the wins are what fuel the fire in the life of a volunteer. It also sets the vision for what future volunteer/parent interactions should look and feel like.
4. Remember vision leaks. Cast vision often and in small bits. Keep reminding the team what path you have chosen and keep them pointed toward the goal. You may feel like you have shared the same message 1,000 times and yet I promise someone will hear it for the first time next week. Someone else will remember that they loved this plan of being Orange but then life got in the way and they got busy and your priorities are not their priorities. Keep casting vision for why this should be their priority too. They will “get it” eventually.
I love when I get to visit churches that have been Orange for a long time. It has become a way of life. It is an expectation. It is a part of the church DNA. Every volunteer, parent and staff knows what that means. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when a leader is committed to start small and leak vision over and over and over.
Keep it up! You’re doing a great job.