The old adage goes something like this: “How do you eat an Elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.”
Well, I’d say the answer is the same to the question “How do you implement Orange?” One bite at a time, so to speak.
While we would definitely prefer leaders to be “all in” when it comes to the philosophy of Orange—the idea that the combining of the influences of the Church and the family to have a greater impact on the next generation—the steps to get you to this end in mind can be taken one at a time (or maybe two at time if you dare!). Don’t be afraid, or discouraged, if you have to move toward your ultimate ministry goal one step at a time. And, yes, it is still worth endeavoring to take the first step on the journey knowing you will have to take it a bit at a time.
A great first step in reaching your Orange goal is setting up a realistic timetable and benchmarks for your ministry’s transition to Orange. Come to the realization in your own thoughts that this may be a process that takes a year. Or two. Or three. And part of this process is determining what is the right first step for your ministry. This is going to take a very honest evaluation of where you are right now. And this may be one of the most daunting steps of all!
Wait. What? Isn’t “Orange” just implementing a curriculum?
Yes. We do create a curriculum. And, yes, that curriculum is designed to work within (and hopefully reinforce the strategy of) an Orange church. But implementing one, or all, of our curriculum doesn’t make a church “Orange.” It’s actually more than that. But the “more than that” makes implementation of the curriculum easier. When leadership, volunteers and parents are thinking Orange, then the curriculum seems like an obvious fit because of what it is designed to achieve: A consistent leader in the life of each child, and clear, consistent messaging to parents to help them reinforce what is being taught at church so they can leverage the 3,000 hours each year they have with their children (versus the 40 hours per year we get with them at church!).
So, “bite” one: where are you when it comes to your volunteers? Do you have consistent small group leaders who serve weekly with the same group of children, or do you have rotating volunteers? Could moving toward creating an atmosphere where children have a consistent leader, who knows them, knows where they are spiritually, knows their prayer requests, be your first step? For ideas on how to move in this direction, I’d encourage you to read, “Creating a Lead Small Culture.”
Another bite would be looking at how you communicate with parents to give them tools to reinforce at home what you are teaching at church. Are you doing anything at all in this arena? What are the steps you can take to begin helpful, intentional communication? Our curriculum is loaded with tools to help you do this! Parent CUE cards, GodTime cards (252 Basics), our Parent Cue app (free to all your parents!), social media plans designed for you, and Studio252.tv (also free for families!).
Next, what about the culture at your church in regard to partnering with families, investing in the next generation, creating passion in students to get involved in a personal ministry? Maybe you start with your own words—with what you say when you talk to church leadership, volunteers, parents, people in your community.
When it comes to implementing the curriculum, you can also take that in steps. Maybe step one could potentially include the idea of finding consistent leaders to implement the small group portion of the curriculum, using our video resources to handle the Bible lesson teaching for a season. Concentrate on making small groups excellent, then set a goal for a timeframe to find volunteers gifted for the large group portion.
While the curriculum provides awesome ideas on how to create an engaging environment each month, you can certainly choose to simply use the visuals provided with the curriculum to create your environment. Once you have your system in place for prepping and implementing the lessons, you could consider adding more to what you do in your environment each month.
As a final encouragement, Orange strategy can be implemented over time with each step taken as your ministry is ready. An extra, added bonus is the availability of your Orange Specialist who would love to have conversations with you along the way to help you determine the best first and next steps for your ministry. Never hesitate to reach out and have a conversation with your Orange Specialist—it’s what we do!