You Can’t Do It Alone.
You don’t live in a vacuum.
When I first heard of “Orange” ministry, I thought this was going to be the hardest part… Children’s and Student ministries working together in collaboration?! Are you kidding?
Now, years later, I’m beginning to see that having a strategy in place isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential. But, I’ll confess, we’re not there yet. Having an integrated strategy hinges on the simple concept of having a strategic plan that successfully takes a child from the cradle to college in a way that leads them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus along that path. It takes a true partnership between church staff. It takes a clear plan and measurements for success. It takes a rethinking of all that we thought we knew about children and youth ministries. Most of all, it takes a leap of faith.
Months ago, our church realized that we were going to have to restructure in order to survive the economic downturn. I sat down with our Student Ministry director to come up with a game plan for how our departments might restructure. We had talked about partnerships and collaboration in the past but had never truly put our money where our mouths were. In trying to integrate our two departments, we decided to share an administrative assistant and intentionally overlap the staffing of our departments. Doing this has forced us to know what the other department is up to. If our assistant is swamped because too many events are going on, then parents who have students in both areas are probably feeling the same way! This is the first step in the direction of integration for us – we know we’ll have to do more in the future to become truly orange.
I’d be hard pressed to give us high marks in the area of strategy, based on the simple fact that our Student Ministry department is in the middle of an overhaul. They have great plans for the future. It’s just that, they’re launching this weekend – it’ll take some weeks of fine tuning to figure out where they fit in the big picture of integration. Our hope is that, by having our Student Ministry staff join us in Atlanta for The Orange Conference this year, we’ll be able to develop the strategy side of things for a Fall Twenty10 launch. It’s hard to let go of “my plans” for our church’s kids and share the creative process with a peer on our own staff. What if they don’t like my ideas? What if I can’t do all of the things I want to do? What if I lose my 5th graders to a combined pre-teen program?! The possibilities for losing control are endless.
In the end, I have to trust that a strategic plan for our church’s kids will be better than anything I could come up with on my own.
If you know me, you know that I had a hard time writing that sentence. We’ll see, over the next year, how much I mean it.
Want to see what others are saying about integrated strategy? Head on over to ChildrensMinistryOnline.com to see what others in the kidmin community are saying during Orange Week!