Two years ago I went to the Orange Conference as a parent blogger. The conference is held in Atlanta each spring by The ReThink Group, and it’s geared toward children’s ministry folks. I felt kind of out of place.
Not only was I not a children’s minister, but I was a less-than-enthusiastic nursery volunteer at my church that didn’t use Orange curriculum. But even I couldn’t help but notice how much Orange loves kids.
They love kids so much they aren’t willing to let parents or church leaders take anything for granted or get lazy or assume the other is going to teach kids what they need to know about God. Orange suggests that raising kids takes two – families and the church, working together.
Since attending that conference, my family has changed churches and now attend a church that uses Orange – and I’ve seen this family+church strategy first-hand. Annalyn loves getting her “homework” every week, and we stick it on the fridge as soon as we get home.
[She doesn't really bring home "homework." It's a handout that tells parents what kids are learning in their class and suggestions for integrating the lesson into family time during the week.]
Also, the music we get from Orange is so fun. Annalyn loves the CD I got two years ago at Orange, still listening to it every few days. (And don’t even get her started on how she wants to be a rock star like Yancy. She’ll sing your ear off!)
I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend Orange Conference this year, although I’d love to. Last month I started contributing in our children’s ministry department, overseeing what we call Praise Parkway – the large group story and singing session elementary kids to to during Sunday service. I didn’t expect to love it, but so far I do – and I know the Orange Conference will prompt dozens of ideas for Praise Parkway and offer tons of information I could bring back to my church.
The Orange Conference will take place in Atlanta on April 24-26. And if you register by February 14, you’ll get $40 off your registration, plus a $50 Orange credit.
If you can’t go to the conference – and even if your church doesn’t use Orange curriculum – you can still learn more about parenting in partnership with your church with Reggie Joiner’s book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community. Here’s the description of the book:
When parents work in tandem with the faith community to raise their children, they increase their parenting capacity exponentially. Most parents have so many demands on their time that they can’t be the kind of parent they desire to be. They need to know the Orange Factor: Two combined influences will make a greater impact on kids than just two influences. And it’s true. Parents who partner with the faith community are the best way to bring the next generation into the family of God-and keep them there.
I’m excited to give away a copy of this book to one lucky reader. To enter, simply leave a comment telling us about a positive adult influence in your child’s life or in your own childhood. The giveaway will be closed at midnight (CST) next Friday, February 15.