Strategy, Not Curriculum

A curriculum provides information, but a strategy teaches with the end in mind. There are key things a child needs to learn at each age from birth to graduation—age-specific core concepts, principles, and experiences to have a real, growing and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. By having an overall strategy, a master plan exists that keeps the end result for a child in mind.

A curriculum equips leaders, but a strategy develops them.

A strategy helps leaders focus on the right things—developing volunteers into leaders, connecting with the home, connecting with kids and students. This shift in focus allows you to concentrate your time and energy on growing those in your ministry and allows you to grow as a leader.

A curriculum facilitates a meeting, but a strategy prioritizes community.

The role of the small group is elevated when you have age-specific strategies. Every child and teen should have a trusted adult leader in his or her life who is communicating the same things their parents are communicating. We believe that small groups are the primary place where truth is being processed because it’s where kids and students have relationships. It’s the place where they feel safe to ask questions and internalize truth.

A curriculum replaces parents, but a strategy connects with them.

A strategy seeks to create an alignment between the church and the home. As much as we try to maximize the impact we have on this generation, the time a child or students spends at home plays a huge role in his or her spiritual development, not just in the hours spent there, but because of the fundamental relationship between a parent and a child. That’s why it’s important to be strategic in how we connect with parents and champion the parent-child relationship.

A curriculum provides information, but a strategy mobilizes students to experience what they are learning.

We believe in transitioning kids and students away from a lecture-based format to one where they can actually experience the core truths. From our perspective, this is a key component to their faith becoming part of their DNA. We believe kids and students should be active in ministry, getting a chance to be a part of the local church now, and not waiting until that “someday” when we think they will suddenly desire to be a part of it, without ever having experienced it for themselves. A key and integral part of spiritual growth is service.

This is an excerpt from Think Orange by Reggie Joiner. ©2009 Reggie Joiner. All rights reserved.

Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of Orange, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to influence those who influence the next generation. Orange provides resources and training for churches and organizations that create environments for parents, kids and teenagers. Prior to Orange, Joiner co-founded North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, with Andy Stanley. During his 11 years as the executive director of family ministry, he developed a new concept for relevant ministry for children, teenagers, and married adults. If you end up road tripping with him across the country on Orange Tour, be prepared to stop at every antique store along the way. He has found a way to wear orange for 3,453 days and counting.

Joiner has authored and co-authored books including, Think Orange, The Think Orange Handbook, Zombies, Football, and the Gospel, Seven Practices of Effective Ministry, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Lead Small, and Creating a Lead Small Culture.

Joiner and his wife Debbie live in Cumming, GA, and have four children: Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah. For more information about Reggie Joiner, visit or follow him on Twitter @ReggieJoiner.

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