Orange Strategy places a strong belief and emphasis on several different things that all point to making a greater impact on the next generation. We believe and emphasize that kids and students need the voices of consistent adults to provide a safe space for them to explore their faith and how it intersects with their lives. We believe and emphasize that what we do for kids and students is more important than what we do for adults. And overall, we believe that two combined influences make a greater impact than just two influences. But even with all of these beliefs and areas of emphasis, we know that implementing the Orange Strategy in any church takes time, patience, planning, prioritization and people. People are an invaluable commodity that make ministry happen. And while we know the importance of kids and students, we know their lives cannot be influenced without caring adults. That’s why whenever someone is wanting to implement the Orange Strategy in their church, if it’s not flowing from the top down, it’s important to lead up so that your senior leader can lead out.
In leading up with the Orange Strategy, think about how it fits within your current context and be flexible with its implementation. Be flexible to opportunities of implementation and be conscious with areas of opposition. While the Orange curriculum is a natural complement to the Orange Strategy (and my personal favorite place to start), that may or may not be the most receptive spot to implement change in your context.
Determine Where to Begin
After observing the needs of your church, determine the most open spot to implementing the Orange Strategy. The Orange Strategy includes several elements including curriculum, partnering with parents, and cultivating volunteers to lead small. Where is the greatest need? If parents are not engaged, maybe it’s connecting with parents. If your current kid or student ministry model is missing an element that provides for healthy relationships of depth, maybe you want to start with coaching volunteers on how to lead small. It’s easier for people to get behind a solution to something they see as broken. It’s more difficult for people to want to change a system that they view as working. What area of the ministry has the biggest gaps? Implement an element of the Orange Strategy to address that need. Keep track of the results and take them to your leadership team.
When undertaking a change, make sure to be realistic and honest about the results. If you’ve already implemented one area of the strategy, and rather it did really well or there are some kinks to work out, be honest about the progress. The chances are your leadership has already heard the good and the bad. We build trust with our leaders when we are honest about the progress. This trust and honesty provides the leeway to implement things in the future. If some kinks have appeared, acknowledge those and how you’re planning and implementing improvements. Get honest feedback and take the time to institute those ideas into the transitions.
Give it Time
Remember that all transitions take time and implementing the Orange Strategy is no exception. Paint a realistic picture of the time it will take and the steps that have to be made in order for the transition to happen successfully. Plan your steps with the outcome in mind. What do you want the ultimate result to be? Does that result, or vision, line up with the vision of the church you are serving? And then outline the steps to get there. With these steps, include a timeline that is aggressive enough for movement to be noticeable but slow enough to allow people to get onboard and stay in sync with what is going on. Ensure that your leadership is onboard and continually in sync with these steps and the direction you are going. Get their feedback along the way and every time you institute a new part of the Orange Strategy review what has happened and what is next along the journey.With these steps, include a timeline that is aggressive enough for movement to be noticeable but slow enough to allow people to get onboard and stay in sync with what is going on. Click To Tweet
The Church as a Whole
The Orange Strategy is not for kids and students in isolation of the larger church context. The Orange Strategy is an infusion of the work of kid and student ministries that are supported by every entity of a congregation that knows and exhibits the importance of influencing the faith of the next generation. Leading up is necessary so that the strategies are embraced by adults inside and outside of the ministries dedicated to the next generation. Include leaders in important conversations. Get their feedback on the progress. And ensure that the impact that is happening, the progress that is being made, is showing through your words and actions.
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