One of the best decisions I have ever made in student ministry is to become good friends and colleagues with the children's ministry director. Here at Marin Covenant Church I am honored to lead a great team and that team is spearheaded by Stacie Mancini. As we wrap up Orange Week, I asked Stacie if she would reflect on how going Orange has changed our children's ministry, our church, and our team. Here are her thoughts:
Our Children’s Ministry jumped into Orange with both feet. And I am so glad we did. We had been writing our own curriculum and had found a rhythm that was working for us. And everything was going fine…I just felt like we were missing something. Orange’s appeal is evident when you first see their dynamic presentation. I wanted the clever, fun and engaging multi-media curriculum for our kids. But even more than that I wanted what Orange offered for our families. After implementing Orange I see how much we have truly gained.
Orange synchronizes the light of the church with the love of family. It has helped us articulate our vision, hopes and prayers for the families we shepherd. Parents are understanding that the spiritual growth of their children is something we get to work on together, and that assertion has catapulted our ministry into a whole new world of partnership with parents. By clearly stating we are working with the same strategy towards the same goal, we have been united in a way that feels more tangible. Parents seem more open to sharing what is happening with their kids, and because of that we feel more connected to them. We have been given a bigger window to speak into their lives.
With Orange we are able to provide awesome resources for parents. Parents now have incredible tools to truly engage their children. By watching each month’s virtue or perusing the weekly overview, parents can be on board with what their kids are learning. The questions they are given really work to start natural conversation. Another benefit of Orange is that we can easily encourage parents with excellent parenting podcasts, videos, articles and book suggestions. These resources have grown our children’s team and by simply suggesting resources to parents it has given us more credibility.
Orange is easy to teach. Even people who feel awkward around children can get past themselves to engage kids with Orange. Small group activities are designed to encourage relationships and build trust, allowing teachers to speak into children’s lives easier. It has been a subtle shift, but I see that teachers feel more connected to their kids by how they talk about them. And our wonderful kids are more transparent and engaged and with each other and their teachers.
There has also been a noticeable change in the young family core group in our church. They are reading Reggie Joiner’s book, “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity”. They seem to be embracing the idea of community not just for their sake, but also for their child’s as well. Volunteering and getting to know their peer’s children has value to them. Families want community, and are more open and invested than in the past. The vibe in this small community is evidence of the impact of Orange.
We are reaping the harvest!
A couple of years in we are now reaping the fruit of our vibrant children's ministry. The bubble of kids and parents who are deeply connected to our church are now the core foundation for our growing and thriving student ministry. The fresh curriculum and helps for both children's and student ministry has freed up our team to invest those hours in other areas of our ministry and in our context this means more care and contact with students and their parents.
They say change is never easy. But what I love is that change can bring enthusiasm and a fresh sense of purpose. In our case going Orange brought both of those and a lot more. And believe it or not…going Orange truly was easy!
If you are unfamiliar with Orange, I would encourage you to check it out. They are an amazing resource for youth workers and for families. I can not wait to get out to Atlanta for the annual convention. I hope you consider coming along. Sign up this week and save some money. No matter if you are an Orange Kool-Aid drinker like me or not, communicating with parents is a no-brainer and a must.