4 comments Written on May 25th, 2012     
Filed under: Better Together, Books, Culture, Intergenerational, Leadership
Today’s post was written by Chris Logan, Pastor of Worship Arts at Community Covenant Church in Lenexa, KS.


[Think Orange]

Our church recently went orange.

If you’ve never heard of orange before, you ought to go have a look at Reggie Joiner’s book Think Orange. In a nutshell, when the light of Christ preached in the Church (yellow) and the heart of the family (red) are combined in the right way, amazing things happen for all involved; we become orange. When the Church partners with the family, everyone benefits; children, teens, college and post-college-aged men and women, singles, couples, parents, and seniors all learn from each other and grow together. When the walls are broken down between cultures, between the silos of ministry, and between generations, the Church moves closer to being who she was created to be. There’s just one catch:

It’s hard.

Actually, no. It’s REALLY hard.

It’s also something that is becoming increasingly necessary in the new realities in which our churches in America find themselves (though one might argue, it’s always been important and maybe a lot of us forgot). Parents are incredibly busy bringing their kids to a larger and larger array of extracurricular activities (mostly sports, sadly, many of which are increasingly held on Sunday mornings) and thus have little time to volunteer. Church as a body gathered is becoming less of a priority for some, while for others the demands of job, work, or career keep them moving so much that Sunday is the only respite they get from being on the move. And so Sunday gatherings are facing declining attendance, even as the membership numbers are increasing and even (in some cases) as financial situations are oddly stable. From one statistic, 50% attend 50% of the time, 25% attend 25% of the time, and the rest attend around 75% of the time. And all the while, each of these groups still see our local church as their spiritual home.

It’s a weird world we’re living in.

It can be frustrating.

Church + FamilyThe challenge for us as pastors is to be mindful of the new realities, this terra nova that we’re exploring, and to pioneer new ways of doing the old principles – community, discipleship, and worship – in a world we weren’t expecting to live in and doesn’t live inside the tidy little boxes we were trained to use. In a world that is busier and busier, it is more and more important for the Church to enact its calling as both sabbath culture and as missionary culture, one that both gathers and sends, and become orange. We the church have a Word, often countercultural, for our people; but they have real challenges to face, and the world of the Church doesn’t always feel like it has solutions for those challenges. So when we think the world is becoming hard, our families are facing that difficulty tenfold. So instead of seeing our people as fighting us, we must see ourselves as the spiritual mentors, examples, and even change agents that we are and come alongside families to learn together what it means to be disciples of Jesus today.

And a family, by the way, is what the Church IS; an intergenerational, intercultural, interdenominational family. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s busy. It’s full of weird brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and everybody in-between. And yet, that’s what we have going for us:

We’re still in this together.

Only one question for you today: how can we best resource the families in our congregations to be holy, grace-filled missionaries in today’s changing world?

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4 comments “Orange”

Thank you for this post Chris!

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A very thoughtful and thought-provoking article, Chris!

Our church uses Orange for children’s ministry and a parenting class. It’s gotten rave reviews from our leaders who are involved in it, but I actually know very little about it. Are there broader church applications for Orange we should be exploring and aren’t?

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I think so, yes. One of the biggest assumptions that he lays out in the book is that, while we think we can “silo” ministry into compartments that are essentially self-sustaining, it is bad for the family to do so. We isolate students from kids from parents from grandparents on a sunday morning, the time of the week when the family of the church is at worship … which if you think about it makes very little sense.

The biggest impact it had on me was recognizing that even if we try to silo our ministries for the sake of clean programs, it still has a HUGE impact on the church’s praxis. Everything is connected, whether we like it or not, and so what we do in our worship gatherings really SHOULD be related to what’s happening in children’s ministry or in student ministry or in small groups or in sunday school / christian formation stuff … and I’m only now starting to flesh out, in a very simple way, what that looks like in our context.  We’ve started bringing the kids back into our gatherings once a month and intentionally choosing music that they know and can sing to, and let me tell you, it’s awesome!  Last time (last week, actually) there were a few kids with their parents up front and they were dancing as they sang through the whole worship set … talk about creating an environment of response!

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