Apparently there is a hugely popular show that called “Orange is the New Black.” I know almost nothing about it. And, I don’t intend to talk about it here. But, I do want to talk about Orange. Many in children’s ministry have at least heard of this movement that is called Orange. However, many have not. Still others have heard of it, but may not understand what it is all about.
It’s not about a curriculum. If you talk to some children’s ministry people they will refer to Orange as a curriculum. True there is a company called reThink(LINK) that produces curriculum for preschool, children and youth. They also happen to be the company from which the book that started the Orange movement came from. One of the founders of reThink is Reggie Joiner. He is also the author of a book called “Think Orange”. (LINK) BUT, the concept of Orange and the movement that it has become are not directly connected to the curriculum.
It ain’t nothing new. The basic principle that the foundation of the Orange movement is a partnership between the church and the family aimed at having a greater impact in the lives of children and youth. This is not a new concept. When I was a child my Sunday School teachers worked with my parents with a common goal of impacting my life. However, this was not a formal part of the strategy of the church. At that point it was just something that some teachers did. It came down to a matter of teachers that had a natural leaning in that direction did it and those that did not, probably didn’t.
So, what’s the big deal. The big deal is this. When the church and the family work together they can have a greater impact than either one working alone to influence children. This is a pretty big deal to me. After all, it’s why I do what I do. It’s why I get up in the morning. It’s the thing that draws me out of the house and into the community or into the office.
Ok, but what’s Orange got to do with it? Well, Orange is simply a clever way to illustrate this relationship between church and family. The Bible states that we (the Church) are the LIGHT of the world. So, yellow represents the church (yellow = light). Red is used to represent the home/family as this is the center of love in a child’s life. When you add yellow and red, you get something completely different. The same is true when you combine the influence of family and the influence of the church. You get something that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. The potential impact in a child’s life when these two come together is far greater than the two could get on their own or even if they were both working to impact the child, but not partnering.
Forget about the curriculum. Over the past couple years I have become very familiar with the folks at reThink (Orange). I have used their curriculum and probably will again. BUT, more important than their curriculum these are people that really want to help you reach kids. There are some curriculum companies that are in it for the business. Sure they are run by Christians and their goal may even be to expand the kingdom, but at the end of the day the dollar matters more. Don’t believe me try this. Call that curriculum company, explain to them that your church LOVES their materials, but can’t afford to pay for them this year. Tell them that you really believe that you will be able to next year, but simply can’t this year. See what they do next. Now, I have not actually done this with any other curriculum company, but I did with Orange and their response was a bit overwhelming in it’s generosity. I say all that to say this.
Forget about the curriculum.
You don’t have to use their curriculum to be ORANGE. You don’t have to do go to their conference to be ORANGE. You don’t have to buy anything, know anybody or anything else. In fact if you’re a church leader and have a desire to partner with parents then you are already ORANGE. If you are a parent and have a desire to partner with the church to have a greater impact on your kids, then you are already ORANGE.
You see, ORANGE is not about what many people think it is about. It is simply about church and family working together to have a greater impact in the lives of preschoolers, children and youth than either can have on their own. So, let me ask you:
Are you ORANGE?Matt Norman
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