Color Calibration: When orange starts looking too red

We are starting a new series in our church on the book of Galatians. We will be talking about Galatians for 6 weeks in “Big Church” and 3 weeks using XP3 for our 5&6th graders. I also had the privilege of interviewing Sally Lloyd-Jones for the next edition of K! one of the things Sally said about the Gospel has gotten me thinking the past few weeks. What I took from her response to my questions is that we teach the Bible to kids as a list of do’s and don’t and we communicate to kids that the Bible is full of superheros that achieve things we never will. We don’t explain the Gospel to kids.

I am a fan of orange thinking but personally I think the kidmin community is thinking so much about the red (family) side of things that we are neglecting the Yellow (church) side of things. I am willing to be wrong but what kids need more than a milestones alone is a clear understanding of the gospel. Parents need to understand and communicate to their kids that virtues, milestones are great but being a good kid doesn’t save you. Doing things even good things doesn’t bring favor on your life. The gospel is Jesus Christ + nothing else = our assurance.

In all our talk about partnering with families we need to be clear that our goal is not modified behavior but gospel centered life transformation. So for those of us involved with teaching kids we need to ask ourselves before we think orange am I thinking yellow. Because when it’s all said and done it’s the power of the holy spirit at work in our lives that really transforms us and really transforms our families. It’s not virtues, milestones, spiritual disciplines alone that does  that work it’s the power of the gospel thorough the work of the holy spirit we must never forget, minimize or neglect that!

[thanks to Tony Kummer for helping with my blog title today.]

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “Color Calibration: When orange starts looking too red

  1. Sam,

    Well put! It's was illuminating. There has been something really bothering me about Orange lately, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I couldn't really figure out if it was just my perception of the whole thing or something tangible. I think you drilled down and hit the nail on the head (pardon the combined/mixed metaphors). There is A LOT of talk about families – empowering families, engaging families, partnering with families, etc. These are all good things, but the bigger point seems to be marginalized in all the discussion I see – that point is the gospel which you rightly pointed out must be the center of all things, the starting point of our spiritual journey and the truth that sustains us. I think that, fundamentally, Orange is about combining influences for a greater impact. Unfortunately, I think the conversation has been overly weighted towards "How do we get families involved" and less discussion has been had regarding how do we make sure that the yellow side is doing it's part – instilling in kids a love for God, an appreciation for Jesus Christ, an understanding of the Bible which reveals it to us, and a longing for the Gospel.

  2. Excellent thoughts Sam! That's why most of what we do at Kidmin360 is about the foundational elements of church ministry. That must INCLUDE equipping families to be the primary disciplers of children, but cannot neglect the God given responsibilities the church has. I wrote some of these same thoughts earlier this week (see here… and here….
    Thanks for another reminder, Sam! Love your thoughts!

  3. Sam, thanks for the great challenge! We have been promoting a similar theme to the #kidmin leaders we speak and write for–taking your kids' services beyond solely Scriptural facts to experiencing God for themselves. If they are learning how to experience God personally in the kids' worship, they take it home, grow with it. It becomes internalized and an eternal work that doesn't fade away when they get old enough to have a choice whether or not to attend church. Everything always comes back to balance–not just facts, not just experience. Balance! Thanks again, Sam!

  4. Great stuff you guys. I believe this needs to be central to the debate going on in family ministry today. I appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

  5. Really great thoughts here, Sam. So many ministries have noticed that the parent/family element has been lacking in the past – so now they are emphasizing that and may be losing focus on the church's responsibilities. Thanks for a post that helped clarify my own thinking.

  6. Great thoughts Sam. Thanks for the reminder. The Gospel is key whether Red or Yellow or Orange or Green or Blue.

    The Gospel changes lives alone, not a strategy.

    If I could give you one thousand thumbs up, I would.

  7. I'm glad you went forward with this post. It's easy as a parent (speaking for myself) to put short term goals of good behavior ahead of eternal goals like kids loving Jesus.

    As a kidmin (speaking for myself again) it's easy to go along with the stuff parents already get excited about, rather than the hard work of keeping them focused on the Jesus + nothing point you made.