Think Orange Group Blog Project – Chapter 2: Bright Lights

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by volliem)

Today we are looking at the second chapter in Think Orange entitled “Bright Lights.” Our contributor for this review is Theresa Haskins. Theresa is a volunteer in children’s ministry at Northside Christian Church in Yorktown, Virginia. Theresa is also the author of the Passionate Children’s Servant blog.

One thing communicated over and over throughout this chapter (and the entire book) is that every “influence” and “essential” (explained in later chapters of the book) is defined in Scripture. As a matter of fact, every aspect of “orange” comes straight from God Himself (and leaders that must be extremely knowledgeable in His Word).

Chapter 2 outlines the influence and responsibility of the Church in the orange strategy. The author begins by defining one primary function of the church in society-to turn on a light. He provides Scriptural references, as well as various other Spiritual leaders’ opinions, to confirm his point. “The church exists to show the world who Jesus is.” He goes on to compare the light concept with the lampstand of the early church. He explains that the lampstand was the only source of light in the tabernacle of God and that the priest was responsible for keeping it lit; never allowing it to burn out. He points out the relationship of the Old Testament lampstand and the body of Christ, and states the Church’s focus should be concentrated on showing others who God is. He explains that the Church’s job is clearly defined: keep the wicks trimmed, the light burning, and the lampstand in its proper place. The Church will be irresistible if it reveals the sacrifice Jesus made. Its effect will be weakened if the lampstand is moved or compromised in any way.

He challenges all of us to BE the church; not be hindered by the way things have always been. Ultimately, all leaders should refer to James’ statement in Acts 15:19: “It is my judgment ….that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” No matter what our denomination or view-what ultimately matter is someone’s relationship with God.

The statistics prove that what the Church is doing now doesn’t work-kids raised in the Church are not staying after they become young adults (and their parents aren’t making them go). We, the existing leadership, must serve as role models to the next generation. We must BE the church-we must do what Jesus did, give to one another. In that way, by shining His light, the next generation will understand the mission.

Our Church, Northside Christian Church-located in Yorktown, Virginia, has been focusing on “being” the Church for some time. As a matter of fact, we had a huge “Be the Church” launch – where every member of the children’s ministry was given a t-shirt with those exact words on it (and who doesn’t love a cool t-shirt?). The children’s programming is strategically aligned with reaching the lost-huge VBS programs (over 600 children); neighborhood block parties in the summer inviting the children to VBS and weekly programming; collections of food, school supplies, winter items, etc. for the less fortunate-where the children participate in the delivery of items; and numerous collections for ministries abroad (shoe boxes, monetary collections, etc.). Our Church as a whole conducts many no-strings-attached outreach programs in our community (too numerous to mention) and my girls and I volunteer to serve in just about every one of them! I know, from personal experience, that young girls watch their moms! I was so incredibly blessed to have been given a fabulous Christian role-modeling mother. Whether children admit it or not, they want to be just like you, which created in me a deep desire to be a good role model.

With being heavily involved in children’s ministry, it allows you the opportunity to follow the strategic changes taking place in ministry as a whole, which in turn creates a strong desire to make a difference for His Kingdom! I am SO passionate about making a difference in the next generation. And I must say that the orange strategy has changed my life! I am on-board hook, line and sinker!

You can check out other posts in this series:

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25 thoughts on “Think Orange Group Blog Project – Chapter 2: Bright Lights

  1. Henry Zonio says:

    I really resonated with this chapter. I loved the image of the church as the lampstand illuminating who God is and making sure that we, the Church, focus on doing that.

    One thing that I don't necessarily agree with is the statement that the church will be "irresistible" if it focuses on doing what it's supposed to be doing. That, though, is due to my particular view on theology. If the church can be irresistible, then there would be more people coming to church… but that isn't the case. I think a view that we can be irresistible puts undue expectations on what church should look like and should be. I'm not saying that we don't do things with excellence… What I am saying is that we need to focus on doing what God is calling us to do even if it means it looks like we aren't being irresistible. I've just seen the lampstand get moved too many times for the sake of being "irresistible."

  2. Tammy says:

    I would love to hear some of the "no strings attached" outreach programs that you do…

  3. Interesting thoughts on being "irresistible", Henry! I think if our focus becomes making our "church" irresistible, by the programs, activities, etc, that we offer, instead of our focus being on the illumination of God Himself, we are less effective. Programs and activities are great, but only God is able to change lives. A student that graduates high school and moves away to college will leave a church of programs and activities, but will take with him a changed life. We have to keep our focus on exalting God!

    • henryjz says:

      I think the hardest thing about all of this is that we aren't the ones in control of transformation… the Holy Spirit is. It's our job to illuminate Christ and do the work of tilling the ground, planting and watering and leaving the growing up to God.

  4. Janet says:

    I loved Theresa's take on this chapter and the passion she resonates from being a "volunteer". I, myself, have been a volunteer for over 25 years and I love to meet others who are also so passionate about Children's Ministry as I am … that are of the volunteer status. True "ownership" mentality rather than "obligation or opportunity. I look forward to diving deeper into this Book with the rest of the contributors and hopefully it will be a mix of volunteer as well as paid CM participants.

  5. Tom Bump says:

    Henry,
    I see what your saying, as I read what Reggie was writing he follows with the idea that If the the Church is lifting the name of Jesus in the way he asks the Church to do, God will draw them in, making the churches message (Jesus), irresistible. I agree that we cannot control transformation or even really attract anyone to Christ. (That's God's Work) but He does ask us to shine and light does attract so if, the church can be obedient and function in a way that totally keeps Christ at the center and the main thing, then we would naturally allow us opportunities to share Jesus with the lost. (I hope this makes sense) this is a great read!!

  6. henryjz says:

    Thanks Tom. What you wrote does make sense. I completely agree with the sentiment being conveyed that we do more to draw people to Christ by keeping Christ at the center by loving God and loving others. I just have trouble with the theology behind an "irresistible" understanding of grace, but that's OK.

  7. Emily says:

    I, too, love the idea of the Church (universal – not just mine or yours, etc) as the lampstand. One of the things we are stressing to our families and our children is serving and being Christ to those around us. Part of our vision statement is to "seek the welfare of the city." Our church members have come to think of it as serving downtown with the homeless, and now we are trying to teach them that it also means being Christ to your literal next-door neighbor as well. Funnily enough, our kids seem to "get that" more than our adults.

  8. Wendy says:

    First of all I was just blown away by Theresa's passion as a volunteer! Love hearing how God is working thru people volunteering in Children's ministry! Never gets old!

    I have to agree wih Barbara that sometimes we can loose focus trying to attract and not illuminate which really are two different things.

    Love hearing about outreach also. Isn't that one way that we can illuminate? By being the hands and feet?

  9. How awesome to read all these amazing comments! I am so excited to be able to share my faith and excitement about children's ministry with the world via this amazing opportunity! My mother was the most amazing Christian woman! She was an amazing servant, and honestly – because of her witness (and numerous other life events orchestrated by God), I have the passionate faith I do today! HE has given me sooo much (that I could never get from any one or any thing else), that I just HAVE to share the message! I plan to serve in ministry for my entire life!

    • henryjz says:

      Theresa, is there any way we could clone you and spred out your clones to our churches? 🙂 All kidding aside, thank you for participating in this project, and may God continue to bless you as you bless your church and the kids and families in your church and community.

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