If you are a parent, you probably know the feeling “I’m not qualified for this!” In fact, I first had that thought as I was leaving the hospital with my firstborn. Sure, there have been seasons when I felt like, “Okay, maybe I’ve got this!” Brief, brief seasons. That was typically right about the time I’d get the call from the school, or a note sent home that a teacher wanted to meet with me, or someone would paint their brothers hair with my mascara, or someone pushed someone else off of the trampoline and broke his brother’s arm, or . . . okay, you get the point. I don’t have perfect kids. And neither do any of the parents in your ministry.
Thankfully all throughout the course of my children’s lives we have had family and friends around that love us and have always been there to speak into the lives of my kids. If I’m honest, most of those have come accidentally instead of intentionally. But, what if those relationships didn’t just happen accidentally? What if I pursued those relationships intentionally for my children? What if I found a church that believed this too? A church that would help me widen the circle of influence around my kids. A church that would provide someone else to help me fight for their hearts? A church that would place other adults around me to reinforce what I was saying at home? Wouldn’t you want to be a part of a church with a strategy like this?
At Orange, we believe that no one has the potential to influence a child like his or her parents. Think about it. For good or for bad, a parent is typically the primary influence in a child’s life. But, we also believe that a parent is not the only influence a child needs. You, as a church have the unique opportunity to give a family a rare and precious gift. You have the chance to put another adult in the life of someone’s son or daughter—
Another loving, caring adult who will say the same things a loving parent would say.
Another person who believes in that child.
Another person who will be there for him or her, maybe when they feel like no one else is.
At Orange we also believe that life-change happens through relationship. We believe God wired each person’s faith to be shaped by someone else who has faith. For kids to know God, they need to know someone who knows God. We need to be strategic in helping kids and families find others to partner with them in leading their kids to know God. Kids need groups. They need small groups, with consistent leaders. They need a place at church where they feel like they belong. They need to know there is someone that will notice if they are not there. They need to know someone cares.
What if we helped parents pursue strategic relationships in their child’s life, not when they need them, but before they need them? That way parents know that when a kid stops talking to them, there are other adults speaking into that child’s life. That brings a peace that you cannot understand until you find yourself in that parent’s shoes.
For me, personally, I am a single mom. I am raising a daughter and two sons. I know how to do girls. I grew up with sisters. I am a girl. Girls are my sweet spot. But, boys…I often find myself in a “help me” position. I need other people in my life. I need my kids to have others. I have a desperate desire for someone to partner with me in raising my kids – especially these boys. This parenting thing is not for the faint of heart!
More importantly, I want someone who simply loves my kids. I want my kids to have others who they know, care about them beyond a shadow of a doubt. If they don’t think you care, they will not listen. Partnering with me, as a parent means unconditional love for my family, no matter how messy we may be.
If I’m loving them and speaking into their life, and if you are loving them and speaking into their life saying the same things I’m saying, then imagine the impact we could make in the lives of Jadyn, Pierce and Blaze. It is that personal to me.
Two combined influences are greater, stronger, more powerful than anything either of us could do alone. Widen the circle of influence in the lives of the kids you serve. Partner with parents. You will never be sorry you did!