The age-old Orange family ministry question is: “Where do I begin? With my team or with parents?”
Strategy is the name of the game . . . but it is hard to know where to start! Not only are you asking yourself where to begin, you are also staring at your computer screen looking at online materials and wondering how this will all work on Sunday mornings.
Oh friend, we’ve ALL been there! Take a deep breath, grab a pencil and paper, and let’s make a list!
The thing about starting a big project is that it’s easy to look at all the things that you need to do and want to just give up.
It’s easy to feel that way about dieting. It’s overwhelming when you think about how much you have to do to get to that goal weight. What’s less overwhelming is setting smaller attainable goals that lead in the same direction as the end goal weight. Baby steps move us in the right direction!
“I am going to lose one pound and then another pound and then another . . . ” or “I am going to cut all caffeine and only drink water. . . . ”
The same goes for leading teams toward new goals! We have a vision of what could be, and we have a strategy for how we will do it. The tricky part is just getting started!
Here are my seven helpful tips for getting started with the Orange Strategy at your church.
1. Plan Ahead
Take one to two months to prepare. I don’t suggest purchasing our materials on a Saturday and plan to have your leaders implementing it on Sunday. Most likely, this will be a change for your team.
Take some time and get familiar with your account, we offer a lot and it can be overwhelming. Allow yourself some time to get to know the materials and know how you will use them.
2. Dream Team
Even the smallest churches need to have a team! We suggest that you have a preschool coordinator and elementary coordinator. Their role will help you be ahead of the game so that you can lead from 30,000 feet! Your coordinators will know the lessons and materials needed week to week and communicate with volunteers. Some teams also have a team that prep supplies needed week to week.
We recommend finding those organizers in your church to come in and help print, cut, staple, and sort activities. This will be a big help to your team each week. Another person you will want on your team is someone who knows technology. If you are not tech savvy yourself, I recommend recruiting someone on your team that can help you out! (Hint: Sometimes the best tech people are teenagers.)
3. Save the Date
Set a start date and start talking about it. Let them know that Orange is coming. Build momentum! You want your team to be excited, and if you aren’t excited, they won’t be either.
4. Lead Small
You want to inspire and equip your Small Group Leaders (SGLs) to take ownership of their tribe. Whether it’s pre-kindergarters or fourth-grade boys, each child in your church will have a place to belong.
Help your Small Group Leaders understand what that will mean. Teach them about the Orange Strategy! Help them understand what it means to partner with parents and “widen the circle.” Repeat yourself and celebrate wins! Set your leaders up for success by communicating clearly.
When they can tell you what it means to think Orange and lead small, you’ve on the right track.
5. Steer the Ship
Once you start the curriculum, you’ll hit bumps in the road. Take notes, but don’t change it right away, give your teams time to adjust and then revisit it after four to six months.
Find local leaders at other churches in your area and have lunch with them. Ask each other questions, get wise advice, support and encourage each other. You’re not alone in this. If you don’t know who is in your area, talk to your Orange Specialist, we have all kinds of names we can connect you with!
7. Stay Afloat
Spend this year building leaders and getting your weekend services running smoothly. That’s your primary goal in year one.
Taking Orange to the Next Level
Year two is when you can start talking to parents about their responsibility. My philosophy is that you don’t bring the parents in until your teams understand what the strategy is. If not, it just seems to be confusing and unpredictable.
You can plan things like Parent Breakfasts and have the Small Group Leaders host a table and get to know the parents of the kids in their tribes.
You can tell them that you have a plan for their children, cradle to college and clearly point to the things you are already doing for each phase of their child’s development. Start showing up on social media and in their email inbox with Parent Cues and blog articles.
Year three could be the year that you start having an FX event twice a year . . . and then three times . . . and then four!
These are all things that you are going to want to do RIGHT NOW! Calm down, pace yourself and allow this strategy to unfold in the right order!