“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”-Proverbs 22:6
As a Christian Education Director and a Youth Pastor, I strive to equip kids with the ability to live out their faith in their community, school, and family. I encourage them to learn what their faith means to them and discover their potential to influence the world by sharing their love of Jesus.
I have found that kids get excited to learn, but rarely get excited to share. Don’t get me wrong, there are some who are eager to assist others in understanding their journey with Christ, but the numbers are a lot lower than those who choose to stay silent.
I have asked myself the question: Why? Why are kids so hesitant to share their faith? Why does it seem like they love coming to learn about their connection with Christ and their role in His kingdom, but trying to help them see the value of having spiritual conversations outside of youth group is like asking them to dance the cha-cha on the Today show (weird analogy, but it works)?
I have come to this conclusion…I only have influence in their lives 4 ½ hours out of the week, if they come to our mid-week Bible study, Sunday school, and youth group. The rest of the time, they are at home or in some other activity.
In comes the Orange strategy. I had heard so much about the Orange strategy from a great friend and comrade in ministry, but it took me awhile to warm up to it. Now, I love it!
The whole concept is based on the idea that the light of the church (yellow) and the love of the family (red) need to come together to make orange! See, not rocket science. However, it seems like a concept that has been lost in the church.
We send our kids to their respective groups, while we have “big church”. Then, the kids come out with a craft or snack that might end up on the fridge or given as a gift to grandparents, but limited questions are asked. In fact, I would venture to say, no questions are asked by the majority of the parents because they have no clue where to start.
This month, we started using cue boxes. These are boxes filled with conversation starters, widgets (a gadget to help with the monthly memory verse), character cards, and more. They are fantastic!
The one item that really struck me was the conversation questions on the lid of the box. They are there to help the parent/guardian ask the questions that will trigger memory of the lessons their child experiences in their group.
It not only allows for the child to remember, but it causes the family to dig deeper together and discover biblical truths that they can apply to their everyday lives.
I have a role to play in guiding the students spiritually, but I only have so much time. However, when I partner with parents to assist them in their ability to continue the spiritual conversations at home, my position becomes even more valuable.
My reach goes beyond the kid into the entire family.
It also empowers the parent to be a spiritual leader for their child and guide them outside of children’s church or youth group and into the world to be active disciples of Jesus.
When the parents are empowered and the children are being influenced spiritually by both the church environment and their home, the Church as a whole benefits greatly with walking in faith, equipped and ready to continue the spiritual conversation beyond their comfort zone.
QUESTION: What do you do as a family to continue the spiritual discussion outside of church time?