Think Orange Review: Freshly Squeezed Perspective

Matt Guevara —  May 11, 2011 — 9 Comments
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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.

 

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Matt Guevara

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Digital explorer, pastor, & kidmin thought leader. Fascinated by the intersection of technology & learning.

9 responses to Think Orange Review: Freshly Squeezed Perspective

  1. Thanks for the correction post. It means something out here in the world of quick judgements and rare corrections! :)

  2. Matt, thanks for writing up this article on Orange. Just a couple of thoughts:

    1) I’ve used 2:52 Basics for 1 ministry year on Wednesday nights, and it certainly feels virtue driven. Even the intro videos from Pastor Reggie Joiner spends some of his time defining the virtue and why it is a Biblical one. Another example, one virtue they used was ‘Resourcefulness.’ But I remember thinking the stories they were using were a bit of a stretch. But, perhaps, some of these things have changed…

    2) While on the surface the Orange Strategy sounds good, I am beginning to wonder if a church-driven ministry to children & families is what we should be focused on. I’ve sensed that many parents in our churches don’t really WANT to worship with their kids and they don’t want to hear about what it takes to disciple their children in the home. They WANT someone to take care of it.

    Just thinking out loud…

  3. Thanks for the review! We’re looking at this curriculum. Would you call it “gospel driven” and “Christ Centered”? What I mean is that virtue/character based curriculum can be moralistic (“do this and live”) rather than redemptive (“This is what Christ has done for you”). I like the “Big God” approach, a lot. But someone once said that if a rabbi liked your sermon, you haven’t preached Christ.
    Any insights?
    Thanks!

    • Tom – Thanks for reading and exploring the Cory Center website. Glad to have you with us! To answer your question, I’d recommend downloading the sample lessons from http://whatisorange.org/252basics/see-it/ and speaking with one of the Orange Specialists (I spoke with Amy Grisham). These theological questions are critical in the process of choosing the right curriculum for your ministry context. Way to tackle the important stuff!

    • Noticed these important questions. I would have to say its definitely not gospel driven. I’ve been a small group leader in the program for three years at my church and i must say i get constantly dissapointed at the lack of information for the kids about who God is and why he does what he does such as the salvation message. Its very after school special. If it were not for the bible stories that i can bounce off of and add teaching to ,the curriculm would probably be great for a new age church. I hate to say that cause i’m sure they don’t intend that. Great strategy just need to beef up the gospel. I say its more important to know Jesus first in order to have the fruits of the spirit apply.

      • Clark – thank you for your reading and responding. Thank you for working so hard as a small group leader to read and prepare for your experiences with kids. This is a great example for children’s ministry leaders everywhere! I too am grateful for curriculum that actually uses God’s Word – I have interacted with some that had no Scriptural basis whatsoever! I would encourage you to engage in conversation both with the leadership at your church and with members of the Orange team to discover how this curriculum can best serve the children and families in your context. Blessings on your ministry!

      • Thanks for being involved in your teaching clark!

        I think what you may be feeling is a difference in approach. It used to be that people were focused on truth and once they you could persuade them to believe by showing them something truth, leading them to believe, and then they would be happy to belong.

        Truth is sill truth and always well be – but there is a different mindset in this age. Before they are willing to believe you they need to feel that they are a part. In their mind, your truth doesn’t apply to them unless they have a relationship with you first.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that truth is relative (or that the people creating 252 Basics believe that) rather that people want a relationship first – before they are willing to hear the gospel.

        And I would say that the people at reThink (the creators of Orange) are focused on helping you make a relational connection first so that the message of the Gospel will be heard. And, in the past I would have agreed that the lessons are a little too soft or too far of a reach and that scripture should be more centered….but I also believe that they have noticed that too and moved in that direction.

        Nonetheless, thank you Clark for your participation here.

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