I got to hear from one of my favorite bloggers today, Jeremy Zach , as he led two breakouts about Orange-ology: The Teen years. At some point, I’ll post my thoughts and notes on this in more detail, but there was a question asked of Jeremy that I know for a while I sort of struggled with as well.
The questions was : What’s so different about Orange Youth Ministry? It seems like it’s just what is already being done.
If you look at the Orange website and are familiar with their curriculum’s, the strategy, and philosophy, you kind of pick up on the fact that this definitely sets Kid Ministries apart. If you were to experience an Orange Children’s program one week, and a non-orange Children’s Ministry the next, you would be able to point out differences, somewhat easily, at least for me.
In Youth Ministry, this is not the case. I have wrestled with the thoughts of what sets an Orange Youth Ministry apart, because honestly I don’t see quite as obviously the Orange distinctive’s in student ministry. And If I am really honest, it seems for me, and I know there are others as well, that what Orange says for Student Ministry is just kind of like ” DUH!”
I mean, granted, I have only been in Youth Ministry for around 5 years, but I also know that Youth Ministry is progressing. Jeremy touched today on the fact that Youth Pastor’s are becoming more Professional, and its great. But to keep it short, many of the things the Orange philosophy | Strategy addresses are things that led to a poor style of youth ministry that we are not coming out of. For Instance, I know that when I was in Youth Group, my Youth Pastor, who was way ahead of his time, still had a lot of the battles with Parents that kept him from Partnering with them that well. Orange isn’t the first place to stress the importance of that relationship, but Orange is standing firm in what it believes to be the best approach to Next Gen ministries and shouting it to the masses because they have seen it work. Is it revolutionary? No, its biblical truths that have been around thousands of years, just packaged for today’s leaders. Because ultimately, it’s not that being an Orange Youth Pastor makes you a great youth pastor. But it is about coming to the realization at some point that the way the church has done youth ministry for too long simply isn’t working, and there needs to be conversations about how to improve. Orange provides that for me, and it can for you too.