First Christian Church | Pittsfield

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Orange Curriculum Update

04.13.17 | Elder's Corner | by Helen Earls

    It has been quite a while since I have talked to you about “Orange” so I thought I should do a refresher for some and if you are new to the concept, a mini training session.

     

    What Orange is:

     

    The Orange movement was started in 1995 as an off shoot of the family ministry of North Point Church in Atlanta who believed that the church could do a better job of coming alongside families to grow their children spiritually. Out of that concept came the philosophy of “Orange” which is the blending of church and families (represented by red and yellow) to create the color orange. The curriculum was created to enhance this goal.  It is a non denominational and Bible based curriculum.

     

    The basic concept of Orange is that God created both families and His church and He desires to use them to show His plan of redemption and restoration. They believe that the family and the church need each other and too much is at stake to fail.

     

    The Orange philosophy and curriculum is a three part cradle to college plan to help kids see themselves the way God sees them, to help them see God for who He is, and to show them how to love others the way God does. It is designed to incite wonder, provoke discovery, and fuel passion through each of the phases the children go through. 

     

    The goal is that by the time the children graduate High School, they will know:

                The wonder of a loving Savior who pursues restoring a broken world.

    Discover and experience a living Savior who gave His life so that those who trust Him can be rescued.

    Have the passion, empowered by God’s spirit, to continue His mission and message. 

     

    How Orange Works:

     

    The Orange curriculum is divided into phases.

    The preschool, toddler, and baby phase is called the Embrace phase.

    The Kindergarten through 5th grade phase is called the Engage phase.

    The Middle School (6th – 8th) phase is called the Affirm phase.

    The High School phase is called the Mobilize phase.

     

    Each phase has different goals but with one end goal in mind: that every child knows God and has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

    Each phase meets the children where they are developmentally and spiritually and strives to make them feel secure, successful, and loved.

    Most curriculums are designed to teach the kids the Bible. The main difference in the Orange curriculum is that their strategy is not to teach kids the Bible, it is to teach the Bible to the kids.  They believe that kids will have a better future when they make wise choices, build strong relationships and have a deeper faith.  The last of these three affects all the rest. 

     

    The curriculum is designed to prioritize what we teach. They try to teach like Jesus did. He decided what the most important truths were and He taught them.  Everything focused around loving God and each other. It is designed to help them know God, discover how to relate to God, and to experience the unconditional love of God at every phase. It will look differently at each phase but each phase transitions into the next phase and we want to make sure we don’t miss it!

     

    The real beauty of this ministry and curriculum is that it works with the families of these children to equip them to be more comfortable in their role as a spiritual leader of their children. They base it on Deut 6 where Moses gives us a perfect example of what we should do.

     

     Deut 6:5-9

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

     

    How we are using Orange:

     

    We are using the Orange curriculum during all our small group classes at 9:15 on Sunday morning for age 3 through 5th grade.

    We are using the curriculum at our Youth @ First meetings on Sunday evenings.

     

    We are now offering FX (Family Experience) quarterly to all our families and children.  This is for parents and children together and is designed to enhance and support communication and Christian learning in our families in a fun way!

     

    We are using the First Look curriculum, videos, and music with Children First and have seen exciting results in just one year. To see and hear those little children sing the songs joyfully and enthusiastically and to hear them recite their memory verses at their Christmas program this year was heart warming!

     

     

    Where we go from here:

     

    With much regret, we decided not to have our Wednesday Kid’s Connection, formerly known as Wednesday Youth, in the fall of 2015 due to difficulty staffing it.  We have now gone two school years without it and we definitely feel that this has had a negative impact.

     

    Our Wednesday programming was often a way to reach families through their children evangelically. It was also a way to supplement and support what our children were learning on Sundays.  It also provided a way to reach the children through music and then to provide an opportunity for the children to grow their talents, learn to worship through music and prayer, and to serve by sharing their music with the Sunday services.

     

    What we would like to do is start a Wednesday program for kids Kindergarten through 5th grade this fall and use the Orange curriculum.  Orange provides us with enough material to do this in support of what we are doing on Sundays without duplication.  We will however need a few dedicated staff that can be here on Wednesday after school October through March. By using the Orange curriculum, we can present the material in large group and then break into 3 age appropriate small groups for discussion of the lesson, just like we do on Sunday morning at 9:15.

     

    Please be in prayer about this because we do need committed volunteers to make this a reality.  If you feel called to help with this or think of someone who might have the availability and the heart for this ministry, please let Michael, Chaz, or me know. 

     

    I feel that we are once again on a very important precipice as a church.  I feel God is calling us to make a difference in our community and to use our facilities to grow His Kingdom into the next generations. 

     

    I am excited about the opportunity to go to Orange Conference again this year.  This year’s theme will be about reaching “Our Neighbor” and teaching our children to do the same and it promises to be exciting!  Chaz, Kate, Bethany Dunham, and I will go to the conference in Atlanta on April 26-28 and learn as much as we can.

     

    I believe that God is using this conference theme.  I do not find it a coincidence.  God is calling us once again to step out in faith and move forward as a congregation.  What that is going to look like I do not know but I do know that God will reveal it to us in His timing.  But, before He will part the waters, we have to put our foot in. (Josh 3)

     

    This is so exciting and I am grateful for a chance to be a part of it!  Love you all!

     

    Helen