Friday, August 20, 2010

Think Orange

When Meredith and I entered this journey last September, we knew God had big things in store.

We knew that he had called us away from a wonderful ministry and wonderful students and parents, and was calling us to something even greater. We knew it would be difficult - although, we never knew it would be quite this difficult - but there was no place we would rather be than in the will of the Lord.

While we had no idea what the future looked like for us, we wanted to be very purposeful during the transition. We wanted to make the most of this opportunity to strengthen our family, our personal relationship with Jesus, and our ministry, as well.

When it came to maturing in our mindset of ministry, we began to turn to look at every opportunity as a chance to grow and learn.

We had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing with a "mega" church this past Winter. When we were first contacted by this church, Meredith and I were a little skeptical that it would have the same goals and mission that we were so desperately seeking. It is Meredith and I's desire to find a place that is interested in working as a team to minister to the entire family. We no longer want to do ministry as numerous small entities, all working on their own. We wanted to find a place that was interested in restoring the priority of the family and that was focusing all their energy on that purpose.

As we were leaving the interview time, one of the pastors handed me a book and told me that it was the book their staff was currently going through. He asked that I look it over and see if it was something I could see myself agreeing with. I took it, put it under my arm, and honestly, didn't think much about it. I shook hands with these men, and left pretty encouraged.

Needless to say, that church hired another godly man that is doing amazing things there, and they are daily in our prayers. I believe God gave me that opportunity, however, for one very important reason.

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

It wasn't until I was on the way home from that interview, that I looked over in the passenger seat and saw this brightly colored hardback. I mostly blame my parents, who raised me to be a faithful Oklahoma State fan, for my uncontrollable nature to look at things that are colored Orange (GO Pokes!). I saw the tag line - "Imagine the impact when church and family collide."

Over the next few weeks, Meredith and I poured over the pages of this incredible book. We were so heart struck and convicted by the amazing testimonies of these churches who had one purpose - minister to the family. This is exactly what we had been looking for. Someone had written onto the pages of a book our hearts and our desires in ministry. We were so encouraged.

Here is what the publisher says:

Founder of the Orange Conference, Reggie Joiner looks at what would happen if the church and families combined their efforts to create a revolutionary strategy to affect the lives of children.

Families and churches are each working hard to build faith in kids, but imagine the potential results when the two environments synchronize, maximizing their individual efforts. What can the church do to empower the family? How can the family emphasize the work of the church? They can Think Orange. Former family ministry director Reggie Joiner looks at what would happen if churches and families decided they could no longer do business as usual, but instead combined their efforts and began to work off the same page for the sake of the kids. Think Orange shows church leaders how to make radical changes so they can:

• Engage parents in an integrated strategy
• Synchronize the home and church around a clear message
• Provoke parents and kids to fight for their relationships with each other
• Recruit mentors to become partners with the family
• Mobilize the next generation to be the church

With a transparent, authentic approach that gives every family and church hope for being more effective in their common mission, Think Orange rethinks the approach to children’s, youth, and family ministry.

This book has become our guide as we have begun praying for our future place of ministry. It is my prayer that we have the opportunity to not only minister to kids, but to their families as well. We are, even now, praying for those families, that the Lord would begin preparing and softening their hearts for a revival.

I would encourage any and all church leaders to read this book and to be encouraged. So many American churches have lost it's focus. Putting value on numbers, buildings, and programs - we have lost sight of the people involved and the true commission we have been called to.

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