tNG Kidz

Meet Orange…

tngkidztransnoshadow       orange logo

theNorthGate’s Family Ministries team’s goal is to PARTNER with families. That is why Orange is so perfect for our church. As described below we believe that the church should not be the sole educator of Christ to our children but rather a partner with the families to teach the love of Jesus to our little ones.

As children we were in constant wonder—the dazzle of life provoking us toward discovery. And as we turned over rocks and stared at the stars, we found something surprising. We found a light glimmering in our hearts. The light of passion.

Orange is a path, a strategy with the intent to return to that glimmering, that passion, and to rouse it in the next generation. You can find the Orange Strategy in the color: combining the strength of two—red and yellow—for the brilliance of another, Orange.

So, an Orange thinker asks, “What if church leaders and parents synchronized their efforts to fuel wonder, discovery and passion in the next generation?” By combining the critical influences of the light of the church (yellow) and the love of the family (red) the Orange Strategy shows a generation who God is more effectively than either could alone.

From preschool to college, Orange draws on the elements of wonder, discovery and passion, infusing them into children, students and young adults. Why? To see God for who he is, to help young people see themselves the way God sees them, so that they can love others the way God does.

Sometimes church leaders think that by doing more and having more the results will be more. Bells and whistles are nice for trains, but young eyes have x-ray vision. They see through them. So we keep the framework light.

The Orange Strategy enlists Five Essentials to unite the church and family in a common ministry effort. These elements are the precursors to ministry success for the church and the family. Think of the Orange Strategy like a big fire poker. If you stoke up a fire, it burns brighter and longer. We stoke the fires of children and students with wonder, discovery and passion. And we use the following to do it:

Essential One – Integrate Strategy

Integrate Strategy – Align church leaders and parents to lead with the same end in mind

Too often church leaders head down a pre-conceived path for ministry while leaving the parent completely out of the picture. But parents don’t get off easy here either. It is much too easy to drop off your child or send your student on to their class or group and head off to big-people-church. This strategy is anything but integrated.

Orange thinking brings the church leader and the parent together to form a strong thread of spiritual formation. It’s not big-people-church and little-people-church. We are all the church. And we think it looks rather Orange.

Essential Two – Refine The Message

Refine The Message – Craft core truths into engaging, relevant and memorable experiences

At the core of Orange are a bunch of seeds. Start over. Orange’s core is centered on the truths of God, and a healthy bit of creativity. We are passionate about God’s truths and want to see children and young adults discovering them. But we don’t want them putting those truths down after they’ve lost their luster. We want them to forever fascinate over God and His love.

When you were five you mostly wanted to put acorns in your slingshot and see if you could hit the sun. When you were fifteen you wondered why you even exist. We want to wrap God’s timeless truths and deep love into experiences that will stir wonder and prompt questions. We want the kids and students to want to go deeper into their faith.

The message never changes but the way we tell it, can. It can be fun and engaging and reverent and awesome and giddy and magical and cool. As it turns out, those seeds aren’t seeds after all. They are God’s truth and love, dripping with sweet juiciness—waiting for a young one to take a bite.

Essential Three – Reactivate The Family

Reactivate The Family – Enlist parents to act as partners in the spiritual formation of their own children

No, this is not a programmatic idea. It’s actually a bit of magic (and yes, we like magic and believe Aslan is real). Why is it that when we go to church we divide into age appropriate groups? When you walk to the park do you see the adults splitting off from their kids, leaving them with relative strangers in the play area while they go enjoy coffee and a doughnut at the lake?

That is silly, yes. You see dads looking like complete fools on the monkey bars and moms chatting over by the merry-go-round shouting to their kids to hold on. You see blankets sprawled out in the grass and tickle fights and freeze tag and hear full-belly laughs by everyone. You see a robust game of catch or one-on-one on the field or on the court. When families leave the park do you think they’re upset that they just had crazy fun? Most families find themselves caught in some kind of weird awesome power after the park. Or was that love?

The church should be a safe place for parents and their children/students to interact on a spiritual level. It should be a place where the leaders can come along side the parents, supporting them in their child’s spiritual formation. Orange leaders and parents are partners, not divisions of church ministry.

Essential Four – Elevate Community

Elevate Community – Connect everyone to a caring leader and a consistent group of peers

It’s important to realize that eventually a child will move out from under a parent’s wing. They will value the opinion and thoughts of other adults over their own parents. At Orange we recognize this as a positive. It’s an opportunity to be intentional about who surrounds our children and students. It’s a chance to elevate community.

If we give any gift to our kids, let’s give them the blessing of leaders and friends who care for them—who want to see them succeed.

Essential Five – Utilize Influence

Utilize Influence – Create consistent opportunities for students to experience personal ministry

The Christian life is a both/and deal. Sure, we need to strive to know God in our hearts and in our minds. But passion for God does not ignite when we sit around and self-evaluate. The spiritual life that Jesus calls us to is one of passion and action, of risk and adventure. He didn’t call Peter over for tea and a meditation session. He asked him to step out the boat, on the water.

Action. Risk. Adventure.

Our lives are influenced by our actions. The more we experience, the deeper we understand and the more we are pulled toward the source of the experience. If we can create profound ministry experiences for children and students then we are that much closer to infusing their faith with unheralded passion.