Kids are, if nothing else, a growing and changing group. As they move from babies to toddler, from preschoolers to elementary schoolers, and from middle schoolers to high schoolers, their needs and interests move right along with them. It can get a little complicated.
And so, church leaders become specialists in the age groups they serve. You may know everything there is to know about today’s thirteen-year-old. And that’s awesome. But if you’re not building a bridge between yourself and the people who work with students before and after you, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.
Today’s episode dives right into that opportunity–with advice on how you can create a program designed to take kids from birth to graduation seamlessly and with purpose. You’ll hear from Autumn Ward, author of the First Look devotional series and a writer for the preschool First Look curriculum, and Cindy Fiala, a consultant working to help churches do exactly what we’re talking about here.
Welcome to Episode 66 of the Think Orange Podcast.
Dave and Ashley introduce today’s guests. (5:02)
Autumn Ward on helping families start strong. (10:10)
How to teach children to pray. (13:19)
How to make God talk part of everyday life. (17:25)
Everything starts in the home. (19:45)
The power of repeating basic truths. (22:12)
Kids need to hear their parents laugh. (25:40)
Sarah Bragg and Holly Crawshaw introduce Cindy Fiala. (26:35)
Cindy Fiala on building a comprehensive program from birth to high school. (30:22)
Best first step to implementing a strategy. (37:17)
What to do when church leaders struggle to align. (39:25)
How service bridges that gap between ministries. (43:56)
How churches can better partner with parents. (46:12)
Dave and Ashley’s final thoughts. (51:56)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
Autumn Ward is a speaker and an author, in addition to writing for First Look preschool curriculum from Orange. She uses her degree in education and over a decade of preschool ministry experience to help create moments that introduce children to the God who made them and loves them.
Autumn and her husband live with their three children near Atlanta, Georgia.
For the past 14 years, Cindy has served as a pastor to kids and families at local churches in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Cindy has a dream to see churches reach more families, create cultures that are champions for 1000 Generations, and leaders who are constantly preparing for the church of the future. Learn more about Cindy at cindyfiala.com
Quotes from This Episode
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
Work toward a common goal.
If you truly hope to see your kindergarteners enjoy church as much when they’re adults as they do right now, you gotta think beyond the coming Sunday. After all, what they need today won’t be what they need tomorrow, next month or next year. At the same time, every kid–from one to 99–needs Jesus.
What we’re trying to say here is that while every phase of a child’s life is unique, the big picture stays the same–start to finish.
So get your staff together to determine the overarching goal for your next generation ministries. Talk big and talk little–looking for ways to support this goal and one another across every age group represented.
Set parents up for success.
The parents in your church may lack confidence when it comes to leading their kids in a relationship with Jesus. That’s too bad, really, as parents spend way more time with their children than the church ever will.
You can equip parents with the knowledge they need and build their confidence along the way. Encourage them to pray with and for their children, and to look for ways to build conversations about God into the everyday parts of life.
Conversation Starters For Your Church
Take a look at the five Orange Essentials and ask, “How are we doing in each of these areas?”
What could we do to provide more encouragement and discipleship to our parents?
How can we better serve one another as leaders in next gen ministries?
When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.
Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.
Join Us Next Week
Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.
We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.