Orange Week: Dreaming in Orange
Simple ways that we’re becoming a more Orange church (and you can too!)
I remember walking away from The Orange Conference for the first time and wondering where to go from there. Seriously. You can’t help but feel like you have a spoon to build a mountain with when walking away from a conference that gives you a passion for a strategy that nobody else on your team has ever heard of. Yet, we’ve been able to make some pretty significant moves toward partnering with families over the last 3 years. How, you might ask? Well… I dream in Orange.
(In other words, I’m always thinking about Orange and how we can embrace the strategy more as a team and as a church family – it’s become a part of everything I do)
I need to lay a couple things on the table. First, the subtitle to this post is a little misleading. Every church’s “next steps” into Orange will look different and it’s hard to describe a one-size-fits-all approach to stepping into a strategy that hinges on family partnership and unified team dynamics. Second, our church hasn’t “arrived” at being Orange – in fact, I have weekly moments when I’ve had an interaction with someone else on staff and I want to retreat back into a silo mentality. It’s never the right answer, but it’s so darn tempting sometimes!
All that to say, I’m going to suggest three simple things that we do on a regular basis that you and your team can try as well (you can start doing them as early as tomorrow!) that help us Think Orange.
We work with an end in mind
One of the things that Reggie and the rest of the Orange team talks about ALL the time is the importance of having an end in mind – of knowing where you’re going. So, before I began conversations about “partnering” and started using Orange vocab, I chose one of the 5 Orange Principles and started there. It’s hard to argue against having an end in mind when it comes to developing program content and strategy, so, for me, it seemed like a great place to start.
I began talking about having an “end in mind” at home to see if that language works when you’re talking to someone who doesn’t think about ministry 24/7 (crazy to consider – our spouses don’t necessarily think about ministry as much as we do!)… and, I was a little surprised, but it totally makes sense to those outside of Orange circles. I began talking with other parents about parenting with an end in mind and found that it was an easy place to start.
From there, I began working Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner podcasts and videos into training sessions and parenting gatherings – and I chose clips where they talked specifically about having an end in mind. Once that principle became a part of our regular conversations – as a staff, as parents, and as families – I began introducing more orange concepts. It was a great place to start, and I’d encourage you to consider choosing one of the 5 Essentials (I’d argue that Imagine the End is the easiest) and go from there.
We talk about being a team
It’s not uncommon to hear me end a conversation on staff by restating the reality that we’re one team. Whether I’m talking to our Student Pastor, our bookkeeper, our Small Groups Pastor or our volunteer front-desk receptionist – I am often heard up and down the hallway of our office building talking about the team we are all a part of. In fact, at most coffee meetings I have with other pastors and directors in the area, I try to slip in the phrase “one team” into as many conversations as I can.
I talk about our one team reality A LOT for a couple reasons. First, it helps us live into that reality. It’s easy to overlook rules and philosophies that are never discussed. Do you know what kind of pesticides your church uses in the event of a bug infestation? Most of us don’t – because we NEVER talk about those sorts of things. It’s easy to ignore the ins and outs of church life if you aren’t talking about them – so, I make it a point to talk about being on the same team. All. The. Time. Secondly, it’s a great reality check and helps me when it comes to accountability. When we were setting our schedule for mid-week programs this Fall, I had to remind myself over and over that our schedules needed to align with our church’s other ministries – I don’t want to start talking about being a team and have people begin to roll the eyes because I made a decision or program choice that doesn’t reflect that vision.
By talking about a unified team, a staff can begin to live into the reality of those words. Orange isn’t something that’s easy to do alone – if you can get the rest of the players to catch the vision of being One Team, it’ll be easier to get them to catch the vision for partnering church and family together onto One Team.
I wear a stupid amount of Orange
There are days when I wish it could have been a different color. Green maybe? I know Green, as a color, has already been hijacked by another movement. I totally get it. But… Orange is just so… Orange.
Now, with that said, I love that something as simple as a piece of clothing I’m wearing on a Sunday or Wednesday can communicate an entire philosophy or, at the very least, begin a discussion about our ministry strategy with a parent or a volunteer.
An easy way to get people in your church, staff or parents, to begin asking questions about Orange is to begin wearing it. For the first year of overhauling our strategy, I bought a pair of orange shoes and wore them to every ministry event I was in attendance at. After a while, people began asking about them (because, seriously, Orange doesn’t match everything and stands out a bit) and I’d have a chance to talk about partnership and the direction we were heading as a ministry and as a church (one team!). A few weeks ago, I didn’t wear orange on a Sunday and I had parents AND kids call me out – Orange has become such a part of what I talk about that families care about and notice the color of my clothes. Wearing orange is probably the least expensive and most effective thing I’ve done to get people at our church and our community talking about Orange.
If you’re thinking about shifting things at your church to partner with families, maybe it’s worth a try? Start wearing something Orange.
For others who’ve moved Orange in the last few years, what were your first steps?
For those looking at making that shift, what questions do you have?
What did I miss?