Most youth workers I know have gotten into student ministry because they love Jesus and they love kids. Their heart and passion is often overflowing. And this initial fire brings excitement, growth, and even some fruit. If there is one thing youth workers are known for it is starting strong. And on the flip side, the other thing youth workers are known for is flaming out!
Building a sustainable youth ministry takes a team.
Your initial love and passion can honestly only get you so far. After about 6 months you have used up all your greatest talks, greatest games, greatest gimmicks, and you can see the fruit of your greatest work is starting to have diminishing returns. Building a student ministry that lasts takes more than passion. It takes an intentional plan to build a student ministry that will survive the waves and winds of this crazy job.
Like all buildings, the strongest and most stable are the ones who have the strongest infrastructure. These buildings are not simple shelters, but they are highly engineered structures that require a team of experts to work together to draw plans and actually build. And like a complex building, a sustainable student ministry needs much more than your passion and our expertise.
We get for a building project there must be engineers, architects, construction workers, contractors, interior designers, electricians, plumbers, and on and on. But do you really get that your student ministry needs a team as well.
Orange as a vital partner in sustainable student ministry.
For me, Orange has been an incredible partner in developing a complex and sustainable student ministry. If you think of all that needs to be done to build an infrastructure, build a program, communicate to students and parents, and intentionally walk with students through life and faith, Orange provides expert counsel and support for all of it.
- Orange provides a strategy! It is rather simple, but profound. Orange wants to combine the critical influences of the light of the church (yellow) and the love of the family (red). The Orange strategy shows a generation who God is more effectively than either could alone. Be the church, partner with the family, sounds good to me!
- Orange is a curriculum. What I love about the Orange curriculum is that it is so much more than a talk sheet. It is an intentional scope and cycle that engages students spiritually, engages with their families, and actually has an action item that is designed to restore the world. It is big and bold, comprehensive, theologically deep, and culturally relevant. The curriculum is called XP3 and they will even give you free sample if you want to try it out.
- Orange is an interior decorator. I have no style. If it were up to me, I would still splatter paint my youth room, sit on bean bag chairs, and listen to DC Talk. Orange adds to their amazing communication and curriculum style that is slick and relevant. They provided power point slides, videos, and music that work with students and helps old guys like me keep it fresh.
- Orange gives you the templates. Writing talks, emailing parents, coming up with creative tweets, finding games and activities that work with bringing everything together all takes time. And many youth workers spend half their time doing these things. Orange provides templates for all of it! How cool if you could copy and paste, add a few specific details of your own, then send a well crafted email to all your parents. With minimal effort you have now partnered with parents in ways that builds their confidence in you, and opens up all sorts of communication lines with them.
- Orange is a consultant. Lets be honest, this all sounds good on paper, but implementing it can be difficult. What is so great about Orange is they provide support. Jeremy Zach and his team will walk with you through the implementation of this strategy and curriculum. But what is even more amazing is Jeremy and his peeps genuinely care about your soul and the souls of your kids. You will find a friend, partner, and pastor in their support staff.
With Orange as your strategy, curriculum decorator, template provider and consultant, you are now free to do what you are called to do!
You got into this gig because you love Jesus and love students. When you do it all on your own, most youth workers have little time to actually do the thing that brings them the most joy. Consider handing over half your hours to a partner that will provide the infrastructure and design to a theologically deep and culturally relevant student ministry. Then invest those hours in actually connecting with and caring for students.
Programs are not the end all, be all. But they do provide the structure, the context for ministry to happen. With a strong program you are now free to be relational and pastoral. Consider partnering with Orange. Consider joining me and some of my favorite people in ATL this spring. And let us all work together to combine the influences of the light of the church with the love of the family so that students may come to know Jesus and sustain that love into adulthood.
See you in the dirty south April 30-May 2