I wanted to revisit my official reviews (here and here) of the book Think Orange in light of a recent conversation I had with a member of the Orange team. This conversation was an important one for me because my primary understanding of Orange was shaped tangentially through blog posts and Twitter updates, not through actual current experience with the 252 Basics or First Look curricula or by attending the Orange Conference. Orange represents a important model of family ministry that, as a member of the Cory Center team and a co-laborer in the field of children’s and family ministry, I could no longer be ignorant of. Having taken the time to truly understand the curriculum and the heart behind the Orange philosophy, I realized that my previous reviews of the book Think Orange misrepresented the 252 Basics curriculum and required revision.
252 Basics is a curriculum created in a manner that plays into a church that is implementing the Orange strategy. Part of the curriculum includes a resource called the “Family Experience”. I’ve been exposed to the Family Experience through Dan Scott’s blog. Often Dan shares artwork or videos he’s created for the Family Experiences at Ada Bible Church. These experiences look amazing and they are designed to bring the family together for a shared worship experience with the idea that when the family leaves together, they have tools to continue the discussion in the home environment.
Now, previously I posted that 252 Basics was structured around teaching virtues. This is incorrect. According to the Orange staff member I spoke with, the virtues of Christ are the organizational tool that help them structure Biblical content. In other words, they care deeply about teaching Scripture and use a monthly virtue as the thread that runs through each Bible story chosen for the month. So each week the “hub” of the lesson is the Bible Story and discipleship happens in small groups.
One of the things we say often in my ministry context is that the Bible tells us “who God is and what God has done.” One of the phrases that I heard over and over again in my conversation was, “We study God’s Word to find out God’s character.” That is right on the money, God’s Word reveals who God is and the entire premise of our faith tradition is that as we learn more of God’s Word, we change to become more and more like Jesus.
I was encouraged to find out that some exciting things are on the way from Orange in 2011:
- New curriculum components that will provide context for the actual Bible stories
- Increased emphasis on a foundational component of the curriculum: God’s Big Story
- Leader resources to make the Biblical connection between the story and God’s character
If you have any questions about Orange or the curriculum options they provide, click here. The Orange staff is more than willing to answer questions or dialogue about their ministry resources. If you are a leader trying to implement the Orange philosophy, make sure to pick up a copy of the Orange Leaders Handbook, which will help you customize the principles from Think Orange for your ministry.
On a personal note, I wanted to apologize to the Cory Center readers for misrepresenting the Orange philosophy and the curriculum that goes alongside it in my two previous reviews of Think Orange. As a children’s pastor and father, I am deeply committed to seeing the church integrate into my family and vice-versa. I am thankful for the program at Bethel Seminary in Children’s and Family Ministry that helped me understand and learn about the importance of family ministry and I support and champion ministries that help accomplish this work like Awana At Home, Visionary Family Ministries, Legacy Milestones, Faith at Home, Fathers52.com, and Orange. Thanks for reading.