Last week I attended the Orange 2009 conference in Atlanta. To say that it was a mind-life-heart changing experience is an understatement.
The essence of the Orange concept is that 2 influences working together are stronger than those 2 influences individually. The color orange is used to grab your attention: think traffic cones and safety vests. It's made by combining red and yellow, which are both bright colors, but not quite as arresting as Orange. In the context of the Orange Conference, the Red represents the family, the heart, being connected by a blood relationship. The Yellow represents the church, which is symbolized in Revelation by the golden lamp stands. The family has an influence on your child and the church has an influence on your child. If those 2 influences work together, arm in arm, they are so much stronger than they would be alone. If the church volunteers (Sunday School teachers, choir leaders) understand that they are not solely responsible for the spiritual growth of that child, that the parents will teach in the home the values that are presented at church, that volunteer will not feel overwhelmed. If the parent understands that someone else loves their children, wants the best for them, wants to see them flourish and mature, that parent has a partner to lean on. We want the same things: why not become a team?
That's what mentoring at our local elementary school is all about. The school wants children to become the best students they can be. A group of volunteers who are all members of my church wants those same things. We go every week to talk to and play games with those 6th graders. I say we talk, but most times we just listen. We show them that they are valuable. And I think that they understand that the school thinks they are valuable, too. That's 2 influences working together.
This Sunday afternoon, the youth band from our church is going to practice with the... what do I call the group I'm a part of?...certainly not the OLD band...I guess we're just the adult band! We will work on music for the service that evening and then I'm hoping we can work on some music that is fresh for all of us. The students may not feel confident enough to play in the service that night, but my hope and prayer is that someday soon they will. Our adult congregation needs to see that these young people are church leaders, not just "youth" leaders.
We are all on the same team here. Let's cheer for each other, come alongside each other, hold each other up. Let's think Orange.