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Integrated Strategy

This week I’ll be addressing the 5 elements of an Orange strategy.   These are explained in great detail in the “Think Orange” book that can be found at your friendly, neighborhood bookstore. I’m going to assume that you’ve read Think Orange, and that you are somewhat familiar with each idea.   With than in mind, my goal over the next five posts is to talk about myself.   That’s a novel blogger idea, huh?   I’m going to share about how I have been able to implement each element at my church (even if it’s only been an incremental change.)

Please bear in mind, that I am the Children’s Ministry Pastor, and bear no overall job responsibility for the other Next Generation ministries at my church.   Currently I am responsible for birth through the 5th grade, and am trying my best to implement Orange from the bottom up.

#1 Integrated Strategy

When you combine two influences you create synergy

An integrated strategy means that we are aligning leaders and parents to lead with the same end in mind. (I did not write that sentence, it’s in the book.)   The first step before we can align with parents is for our ministries to align.   For me working from the role of a Children’s Ministry Pastor, I’ve tried to work to integrate myself much more with the other ministry in my church that is closest to mine.   Being…can you guess it?   Junior High Ministry, or middle school ministry or whatever.   I know that each Summer I move my 5th grade students up and out of “Children’s Ministry” into a new and adventurous environment with other Jr. High kids.   Knowing that I have this natural interaction, I have worked to create a level of integration with my Jr. High pastor.

At our church we currently operate under the departmental model (again, it’s in the book), which means that every department is responsible for it’s own family programming.   Knowing this, I’ve worked to merge as much of the ministry focus for my 5th graders with the ministry focus of my 6th, 7th, and 8th grade leaders.   I’ve opened up my events to their leaders, I’ve offered every conceivable incentive to their department if they will assist with the transition, and I’ve had Jr. High leaders even lead my summer small groups for 5th graders.   We are a far way off from a true Orange Family Ministry Model as a church, but I’ve seen the benefits of integrated strategy work with just our Children’s Ministry working alongside Jr. High Ministry.

What have been the results? I’d say that about 80% of our 5th graders move into active Jr. High involvement.   We just aren’t losing large quantities of kids anymore when they leave our ministry.   And because the Jr. High ministry is small group based, and our Children’s Ministry is small group based; the kids have transitioned seamlessly.   And that other 20% that doesn’t move into the new areas of ministry?   I’ll save those special kids for another blog post. Catch my drift?

If you’re not making plans to attend the Orange Conference in Atlanta this Spring, then start making them now.   I’ll be there, and many more important people as well.   Come see if an Orange way of thinking can help you integrate strategy with your entire Next Generation ministries at your 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.


  1. Kendra Golden · January 17, 2010

    Wow! Cool in the trenches insights! Leading up is hard and sounds like you are doing it with both tenacity and humility. I pray God will honor that big time.
    .-= Kendra Golden ´s last blog ..Day Seventeen: Peculiar =-.

  2. Kendra Golden · January 17, 2010

    Oh that still linked to my personal blog. For my Orange Week posts go to: In On The Ground Floor
    .-= Kendra Golden ´s last blog ..Integrated Strategy =-.

  3. Anthony Prince · January 17, 2010

    I have our Senior Pastor, Student Min Director, and Jr. High Dir all heading to Orange with me this year to catch the vision… jealous? ;)

  4. Anthony Prince · January 17, 2010

    (LOVE the idea of having Jr High leaders shift in the summer… putting that one in my back pocket)
    .-= Anthony Prince ´s last blog ..Orange Week: Integrated Strategy =-.

  5. Bre Hallberg · January 17, 2010

    Great blog! Love your practical ideas and that you are doing everything in your power to create synergy!

  6. David · January 18, 2010

    My partner in ministry has always been our middle/high school minister. We’ve been together for over 10 years now, and it’s so great to have someone asking questions like, “How does this fit into the big picture? Are we involving parents enough? Can I do more? How do we make the transition easier?” I’ve been in churches where each department was its own entity. Kids ministry had NOTHING to do with student ministry. In fact, they often had contempt for each other. It is SO great when everyone’s on the same page, working for the family.
    .-= David ´s last blog ..When Helping Hurts – 1 =-.