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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Family {with} Church

Last week, I had the privilege of gathering with other "orange thinkers" and ministry leaders in the Pacific Northwest region at The Orange Tour stop in Everett, Washington where I was also joined by our lovely Preschool Team Leader as well. There is a certain buzz and excitement in the air when multitudes of ministry leaders gather in the same room who share a contagious passion to see children and families succeed in building a legacy of faith that will leave its mark on the world. You just can't help but be excited when there's an orange spandex being bouncing around and giving enthusiastic high-fives and thumbs-up to everyone in the vicinity... or when you begin to imagine the potential of the church (light of the world = yellow) combining efforts and influence with the home (love of the family = red) to have a greater impact together (yellow + red = orange) than either could have alone. 

As a parent of two children myself, I came to the understanding long ago about how much I needed the church to help equip me as a mom {and wife!} in the raising of our children and in the nurturing of our family. From the time my children were in the womb, I felt greatly responsible for their spiritual formation. And rightly so. Research has shown that children spend a whopping 3,000 hours a year with their parents. We, as parents have an incredible potential to influence our children. This is one of the reasons I firmly believe that if we want to build a legacy of faith in the Kingdom, we need to start in our own homes with our children. As the years go by, however, we sometimes tend to forget, neglect, or become completely overwhelmed, or intimidated by this crucial, God-given role in our child's spiritual formation. At times, we may even drift toward a 'drop-off,' 'please-fix-my-kid' mentality when we show up at church. The fact is, while we as parents realize our need for the church, the fact is, we actually need each other.

While research shows that kids spend roughly 3,000 hours a year with their family, it also shows that children only spend an average of 40 hours a year in church. As church leaders and as parents, we are the biggest influences in fueling an authentic faith in a child's spiritual life. Given this statistic, it is obvious that the church alone should not be expected {by parents} to carry the sole responsibility of a child's spiritual formation... even though they are still a critical influence in a child's life toward that end. It becomes very clear why a "drop-off" mentality of years gone by just hasn't worked in turning out kids that have an authentic faith that sticks. However, it is also clear, in light of this, how much we need to be extremely strategic as a church in making Sundays count and by finding additional ways we can partner with parents to leverage our influence in the heart and lives of a child every other day of the week. We need to work together.

"Orange is what you get when you combine two primary colors—red and yellow.
 If you paint only with red, you will get what only red can do. If you paint only with yellow, you will get what only yellow can do. But when you paint with red and yellow, you’ll get new possibilities, fresh solutions, vibrant outcomes.

We use the color orange to symbolize what it means to parent beyond your capacity. Orange parents understand that by tapping into a wider community, they have the potential to make a greater impact in the lives of their children." - from OrangeParents.org

This strategy of "thinking Orange" is one we've been integrating into our children's ministry at CBC North Sound and into our home for almost a year and, already, I have seen a noticeable positive impact on the many families {and kids!} who call our church, "home"- especially my own.

Last week, I was inspired, yet also challenged, by keynote speakers, founder and CEO of Orange, Reggie Joiner and Orange Leader, Adam Duckworth to do what it takes to help parents win. Not only to help parents win, but to make it easy for them to win and to help them celebrate even the littlest of wins. As both a parent myself, and a church leader who desires to help parents win, I am going to put myself and my family out there with how we are trying to nurture faith in our own hearts and in our own kids

Let me be the first to say, we are not perfect parents... nor do we have perfect kids. So... if you're looking for someone who's got it all figured out, you might want to hop on over to someone else's blog.

I'm just a parent who happens to also be a church leader with a whole lot of passion, who is trying {really} hard on this journey... because I believe imparting a legacy of faith is what we are called to do as one of our most worthwhile contributions to the Kingdom in this {brief} lifetime here on earth... and because I believe in a more faith-filled future for my children and those of this generation.

I plan to share some of my experiences with you, my readers... in hopes that you will take the time to celebrate {and share!} even the smallest wins... because, in doing so, we encourage ourselves as well as others, and because even the smallest wins add up to huge victories!  

Join me?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coming Soon... A New Direction for Homegrown Faith

Over the past several months, I've been desiring to take Homegrown Faith in a different direction just as I feel like my life has taken on a more clearly defined direction. Earlier this year, I transitioned from my original staff position at my church as the Connections Director to the position of Director of Children's Ministries... and life's never been the same since.

I love what I do. 

In addition to cultivating an authentic faith in the lives of our own two kids, I now have the privilege of imparting and inspiring faith in the lives of other kids and families within our church. I get to partner with some pretty cool people {and fellow parents!}as we unite and rally behind a common goal:  

cultivating a faith that sticks in the hearts and lives of our kids that impacts the world with the love of Jesus.

So... coming {very} soon, I hope to deliver some fresh, new content... straight from the trenches of my own personal journey of faith. I am still learning what it means to walk this thing out day by day while also hoping that somehow God can use me to make a difference in the world... starting in my own home. And I hope and pray my words will somehow encourage and inspire you in your own faith journey to make a difference in the world around you... starting in your own home too.