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I think this is the first ORANGE essential because ultimately it may just be the most difficult to pull off in a ministry context. If I’m asked question about children’s ministry, it’s this one:

How do you and parents get on the same page?

This is every children and student ministry’s struggle. We certainly try, but I’m not sure we always do. In fact, we have a survey out right now hoping to give us some insight into how this is happening (or not happening) and why. We do, however, have a strategy to help parents and leaders start heading down the track and stay on that track until a child graduates from high school. In Think Orange, Reggie defines strategy as a plan of action with an end in mind.

We have work hard over the past several years developing a birth – 18 years strategy with a end in mind.

We call these the 4E’s:

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We asked the question: “What if it all fit together?” And decided, “We think it can.”
Each stage in this strategy is lived out through Life Change, Community, and Service which each support other Orange essentials we’ll discuss later in the week. But first, the E’s:

EMBRACE [NURSERY & PRESCHOOL] | EMBRACED BY GOD’S LOVE
One of the most basic yet foundational truths we all need to learn in life is that the God who made us also loves us deeply. In nursery and preschool, it is our hope that your child discovers they are embraced by God’s love.

EXPECT [ELEMENTARY] | EXPECTING GOD CAN BE TRUSTED
With the starting point that God made and loves them, in elementary, your child takes the next step by learning what it means to TRUST God. Discovering God’s character (who He is), your child begins to expect that God’s way is best and that He can be trusted.

EXPERIENCE [JUNIOR HIGH] | EXPERIENCING CONNECTION WITH GOD AND OTHERS
Moving forward in God’s love and character, your junior high student take the next step in experiencing a living, breathing relationship with God and authentic connection with the people in their daily lives.

EXPRESS [HIGH SCHOOL] | EXPRESSING FAITH AND RELATIONSHIP THROUGHOUT GOD’S WORLD
Your senior high student takes their experience and begins to express their faith uniquely in their everyday life.

As a family ministries staff, we seek to maximize the impact of our content for each of these goals. As the director of elementary, I live in the “Expect World” making sure that our programming and relationships work towards the idea of helping a child understand that they can EXPECT GOD TO BE TRUSTED. This would also be how I train my volunteers; in essence, EXPECT is their one-word job description. I meet regularly with the family ministry team to ensure that we are succeeding at transitioning kids from one E to the next.

In our situation using Orange curriculum with My First Look and 252 Basics has been a part of this strategy in children’s ministry. Because ReThink writes with an end in mind, the material is already organized into building blocks. 252 Basics naturally flows out of the foundations that the children will receive during their time learning with My First Look. That doesn’t mean Orange cannot be implemented without using ReThink material. However, if time and staffing resources aren’t available to develop and write your own strategy and curriculum to back it up, the material from ReThink is the place to start.

You may be asking, “How does this integration happen from a staffing structure?” My next post for Orange Week will address that.

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