Traffic cones. I'm one; and, if you're a leader in your church, you're one.
Reggie Joiner give us this wonderfully orange picture in "Think Orange" about how each ministry is really a traffic cone for their congregation. From the cradle to the grave we either strategically or inadvertently created a path of cones to what we would consider to be spiritual maturity. We can all agree that people (especially parents) need to know where they're going, right?
I’ve been at churches where it was inadvertent. Each ministry was kind of scrambling to see who could get what dates on the calendar, what rooms to use, and the most promotional time. Everyone was looking out for themselves (or at least their own area).
I can’t say I’ve ever been a part of a church that was strategic. Now, before you think that I’m being judgmental towards any of my former churches– I’m not. Guess which part wasn’t strategic in all those churches. Me.
I was a lone cone. I was doing things my own way. I had mentalities like this…
“Let me get that date on the calendar before anyone else takes it.”
“We all know (statistically) that youth ministry is the most important ministry.”
“I hope the children’s ministry doesn’t screw things up for us.”
“Well, I hope that these kids will survive ‘big church’ after being in such an awesome youth ministry.”
I would scramble to get my way on my island in my ministry.
The Orange Philosophy is breaking me of that.
That’s one of the main reasons that I’m looking forward to the Orange Conference (and even, later on today, “Meet Me at Chick-Fil-A (cough…Teazer).” It breaks me out of my lone cone mentality.
I remember when I went to the Grow Up conference years ago. I remember thumbing through the program and instantly keying in on the “student ministry voices” and kind of rolling my eyes at how many children’s ministry people there were. I was young and cocky, and I didn’t think I had anything to learn from any other segment of the church. Chances are, over the course of my ministry lifetime (about 15 years), I’ve missed out on tremendous lessons from the great children’s ministry workers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
But that’s just not the way I was taught to do ministry. Youth ministry always seemed to me to be “big church only cooler.” And children’s ministry was so, well, “child”-ish.
Reggie has challenged my thinking. The idea that there is a strategy from birth to college (and quite honestly, one that work well for adults too) based on impressing principles into our kids in a unified, strategic fashion (wonder, discovery, passion) is what makes Orange unique.
I’m not interested in being a lone cone anymore.
I’m not interested in snatching random curriculums de jour in order to find the magic bullet for youth ministry. I am working with the preschool coordinator (Jocelyn), the children’s ministry coordinator (Jeanette), and the middle school coordinator (Scott) at my church to line up our cones in a way that makes sense and maximizes all of our efforts.
That’s why I’m stoked about The Orange Conference. What about you?