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Orange Baby Steps -Part 2

We’ve been making some minor changes in our Ministry philosophy at Trinity Church.   Yesterday I laid out the first step I took to help shift the thinking of those all around me. There is a great desire to move from creating programs for kids, into creating programs for parents and kids.   We are early in the process, and have taken some very small steps to make this happen.   These next three steps have been tiny, but huge all at the same time.   What did we do?

  1. The big programming change we made started this Summer, and in reality it wasn’t a huge change.   We simply changed the “drop-off your kids” events into “Family Time” events.   It was simple really.   That event that in the past would cost $20 a kid to go to the amusement park with the Children’s Ministry leaders, is now only $5 a person and the entire family in encouraged to attend.   We budgeted this year to eat some of the expense so the entire family could attend (I could totally make a comment about how eliminating VBS changed our budget for the better, but I won’t.)   We saw double attendance from year’s past, and have seen the families in our church soften towards our leaders.   This isn’t rocket science people.   We’re trying to open the door to our families to be together, and not just create events that compete against everything else happening inside and outside the church.   If this is all we do, I know it won’t be enough; but we’re taking baby steps here.
  2. We’ve also changed our cattle call of a Child Dedication service to more of a parent training event.   What happens on stage on a Sunday Morning will be about the same as it’s always been, but what parents have to do to get to that stage has changed.   I know that to some this might sound so simple, but we just asked that all parents desiring their child be dedicated attend a parenting class.   The class will be about 75 minutes in length, and include a few minutes of table discussion.   No dinner is served, no public speaking by those in attendance is needed, just their presence and a desire for them to be spiritual leaders in their home.   Simple really.   There is lots of room for improvement, and it will be tweaked to further benefit our parents as it grows.
  3. We taken away the drop your kid off Baptism training, and instead put tools in the hands of our parents.   We’re distributing information (online only) that will help parents discuss whether their child is ready to accept Jesus as their Lord, and help them introduce baptism to their children.   We’ll still do occasional large group altar calls, and I will always be available to help families that want their hand held during this journey; but we’re really surrendering the main responsibility to the parents on this one.   I should probably say that after mom/dad/grandparent/guardian use the tools to talk with their kid, I will be meeting individually with each family before an actual baptism takes place.

These are some of the simple steps that we’ve taken to reintroduce our families to spiritually leading their own families.   Simple, right?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Matthew · August 7, 2009

    Good and well needed changes!

  2. parent · August 7, 2009

    I love the ideas for getting families more involved with their kids. I do have to say, though, that it concerns me to read “We ll still do occasional large group altar calls….”

    There are many, many children whose parents simply WON’T talk to them about this at home. Kids whose families never discuss Jesus or anything about Him outside the church walls. Kids who come from non-Christian homes and visit Trinity with a friend. Many kids. M.a.n.y kids. Please don’t remove this opportunity for kids to meet Jesus who otherwise would never have the chance. YES, I completely agree it’s the parents’ responsibility, but let’s face it, a lot of the time it’s just not going to happen the way it’s “supposed” to.

    Please, I would ask you to seriously reconsider the decision to give only “occasional” altar calls.

  3. Jonathan Cliff · August 7, 2009

    When I say “occasional Altar Calls” I’m talking about those times every 8 weeks that we make a specific push for Salvation. Every week, the main point, lesson idea, etc… will point to Jesus; but we make a special lesson every 8 weeks that is all about choosing to follow Jesus as a believer.

    I’m probably using Children’s Pastor language and not making it clear enough that we give our kids many opportunities to invite Jesus to be the Lord of their life. Does that clear up the confusion?

  4. acrathbone · August 8, 2009

    Those are some great transitional steps. I too am in an older church and it took me about 3 years of planting seeds and casting the vision before we launched into an actual family production. And a year later our Pre-K and Student ministries began to “think Orange” as well. Keep plugging away!

  5. Kendra Golden · August 9, 2009

    I think these are great steps! Another benefit of starting with things like these is that it gives you a platform to bleed orange all over the parents that participate in these events. Use every single one of these times as an opportunity to cast vision to them for impacting ad leading their kids and you’ll leave them wanting more. These are great examples of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink…but you can feed him a handful of salt to make him thirsty.” :)
    .-= Kendra Golden ´s last blog ..Joel 3 =-.

  6. Anthony Prince · August 10, 2009

    How cool is it that your parents are reading your blog and only semi-lurking?!

    Now, if they could get to a place where they actually posted their name so that you could have real dialog with them… that’d be awesome.
    .-= Anthony Prince ´s last blog ..Top 10 Children s Ministry Resources: #1 The Collaborating Community =-.