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Orange Baby Steps

changeThose familiar with my journey will know that I’ve been helping our church to take more deliberate steps towards more Family Ministry.   And by Family Ministry I mean, a more ORANGE setup.   I believe we’re taking some baby steps towards interacting with our parents in a serious way.   Trinity Church is an older church, and comes with years of history that can be both good and bad. Things move a little slower here than they might at an adventurous church plant, if you know what I mean.   However, I really believe that our church has it within them to make positive ORANGE changes.

Here are some of the steps I’ve taken.   I hope that those much further along this path won’t think I’m super-lame, but instead I hope that those still learning to integrate parents within the Children’s Ministry will be inspired to keep pushing forward.

The first thing I did was educate myself on the principles of what I wanted to see at Trinity. I then started to plant the seeds of these principles in the hearts and minds of those working for me, and those that I work for. I’d do this in private conversations over lunch, voicing ideas in meetings, and quietly picking occasions where it would be accepted to share “What could be…”   It’s been almost 18 months of planting seeds of ORANGE principles in my leaders, and I’m finally starting to see some movement. In the book Think Orange, Reggie Joiner speaks specifically about the danger of instituting practices before you have the principles of “Why?” in place.

I’ve been careful in my situation to not push too aggressively for parent-friendly events, and instead have taken a baby step approach. There is a lot of confusion and fear when parents see the church trying something “new.” I’ve waited until there was a felt need, then jumped all over it. I’ve had certain options in place for over a year, and just waited until I saw that need come up then worked feverishly to meet that need with authority. For example, we’ve made some major changes to our Child Dedication process after hearing some parents express a desire for something more relevant. Every little thing matters, especially when you’ve got 45 years of doing things a certain way! Somebody say Amen, please!

Tomorrow I’ll address three very specific steps we’ve taken to reintroduce our families to the church.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Matthew · August 7, 2009

    Yeah buddy! I’m exited because I know what can happen. Let’s do this bro!