These past couple of weeks, I've been excited. Not just a little, but a lot. We switching curriculum. No, that's not exactly right. We are changing the way we do things in our Y and F ministry. That seems weird to say, but it's true. Yes, we are doing Sunday morning faith formation. Yes, it is at the same time. So..in a sense, it isn't that we are doing things differently...but we are. Before I get into what it is we are doing, let me also say I have a sense of guilt inside of me as well. The guilt is that I am excited about this coming year. The guilt is that it feels as if I haven't been this excited for a while. It's not that I felt I was "phoning it in" necessarily, but the guilt that nothing I have done for a while has got me this jazzed for a long time. A really long time. I feel for the first time in a while it's not doing Sunday School, but rather a strategy to help develop faith in students. Rather than look and say "what stories do I want to be sure we cover the next year", it's, how am I helping students to see the relevance of their faith in their context. It's not, "how should we fill this time so the kids aren't let out early to run amuck around the church", it's, how do we help foster relationship between adults and students so they know they are cared for at church?
This also isn't a "we didn't put time into this before", because we did. It's not a "we didn't care about what happened" before, because we did. Rather, this is a "I really stinking believe this strategy could make a difference in the lives of our students". I've been here for...quite a while. Honestly, this is the easiest I've ever (by me, I mostly mean Jill) in recruiting people to be small group leaders (ya...they aren't teachers). Why? Well, my hope is that they didn't see themselves as babysitters, or whatever, but rather as people who want to help form the faith of our kids. As people whose main goal it is to build relationships. People who care enough about the next generation to invest their time and effort into what we are doing.
I'll be honest, every year since I arrived at FLC I've received some weird Orange postcard, email, letter telling me how exciting this strategy is. And for the most part, I think I recycled each one. (truth be told, in one of my "o crap, I need to make a place for somebody to sit", I may have thrown one or two in the garbage. It wasn't until last January or so that I actually watched a youtube video about it. From there I downloaded the free stuff, then chose a handful of people to listen in on a call with an Orange representative. After speaking with Amy (who herself was super excited about it) I spoke with churches (Lutheran and non) using it. They all seemed excited. I was sold.
My original plan was to just use it for K-5. Then we expanded to 0-3. Now we are using it for 6-7 grade as well as with my HS Youth Group. Now I'm all in.
Did I mention the best part? (ok - I know the answer because I've written this) One of the things I'm most excited about is an app and an email. So, the entire concept behind Orange is that Red is home, yellow is church....maybe it's yellow is home and red is church...anyway...one of my favorite things about this is how they get students need both. (Put red and yellow together and you get...Orange!). The app is Parent Cue. It's easy, useable, and relatable. It's a simple way for parents to connect with their students in simple easy activities that can be done at home, in the car, before bed, whenever. The same stuff in the app will be sent in an email to the parents.
Part of my excitement right now is I had the last of three meetings to get ready for this coming Sunday. Ya...so Sunday morning we had a SGL (small group leader) meeting and all but two were able to come. Seriously. That is awesome. The other two came tonight. After that meeting, I met with our Large Group Leaders. They are on board and pretty awesome as well. Don't worry - I'm not expecting this to go off without any hiccups. I am relying on 5 electronic devices to make everything go smooth. Ha....I wish.
There is much more floating in my head right now such as the Facebook groups that have been supportive and helpful when trying to figure out the lingo, the fantastic XP3 Middle School specialist who, despite laughing at me a lot yesterday because I was really clueless, was extremely helpful, and much more. Heck - I even painted today. Ok - so our custodian came in and kinda sorta just laughed at the job I had done and told me he would help tomorrow to make it look better.
Anyway - my wife, Jill, and our pastors I'm pretty sure have been rolling their eyes at me especially these past few weeks as my excitement has grown, and now you can too!
A few other notes (things you probably don't care about but I will share anyway)
- The Twins are a game up in the Wild Card. That is super exciting. They can hit and are even pitching a little bit!
- Vikings won. No, they dominated. That was awesome, although I only saw a bit of it as I was at a 3rd grade student, parent, and an uninvited bat meeting at church. Have I mentioned I really like the families we have at FLC?
- My fantasy teams went 2-2 this week.
- Below are two versions of the same song I have been listening to a lot. I really like them both, but lean a little more to the acoustic set :)