Whether we realize it or not, every one of our ministries are shaped by the unique ways God has crafted us. This is a really good thing. Before we go on, it would be helpful to call out and articulate the following:
- What do you love most about Jesus?
- What do you do that causes the most intimacy with God?
- What issues are you most passionate about?
- What has God uniquely made you to do in the Kingdom of God?
These are important questions. They help direct and point us in our faith and in the ways we express that faith in the big, bad world. But if we are not careful, and don't differentiate from our students, we will end up cramming our unique passions, faith formation, and colors onto our kids.
I think we have a real gift as children's and youth workers to see ourselves as coaches who get to give our students a wide variety of experiences and perspectives so they can discover the unique gifts and passions that God has given them; for them to discover their unique color.
Just like all of us have unique colors that bring diversity and beauty to the kingdom of God, each of our ministries have a unique color as well. While I think each color is incredible, and there is a huge need for a wide variety of experiences and perspectives, there is one color that I am sold out to as I seek to lead a ministry that will help students know and love Jesus and discover their unique place in the body of Christ.
Orange is combination of two other colors. Red + Yellow = Orange. In a ministry philosophy and strategy, Red represents the love and care of the family and yellow represents the light of the gospel or the church, and when those two colors are combined you get orange,
For those of us who are passionate about the next generation, we must be sold out to finding the best environments and strategies that will help our kids know and love Jesus for the duration. And when you look at study after study, reflect on all the kids who have wondered in and out of your student ministry, there are two things in common in the testimonies of MOST of our kids.
1) They were part of family systems where they experienced love and affection. Where their parents had an authentic and growing faith, and where parents had regular and real conversations with their kids about any and all things, including faith.
2) They were deeply rooted in a church where they were seen, known, and valued. They had a place and were loved by a wide variety of adults, and they were presented with a faith that mattered in the real world while they also had space to wrestle and push back.
These two factors are the two things that we can control, and have the best chance of helping kids discover the unique and passionate person that God made them to be!
If you want to sharpen your skills, deepen your theology, create better environments, develop deeper partnership with parents, then Orange is exactly what you are looking for. They have amazing books and resources, great curriculum, and a conference that will inspire you to continue to leverage all that you are for this next generation.
I hope that you consider joining me at the Orange Conference this spring in Atlanta! Registration is now open. And if you can't make it, they have been generous enough to allow you to live stream. I am thankful for the continued gift that Orange has been for my church, my student ministry, and for me as a parent! #thinkorange