Human kind seems to be hard-wired for family, significant relationships and for God. People on this earth today have experienced more technological change than in all the previous history of the planet. Traditional roles and institutions have changed. Society is constantly moving, norms shifting, and values continually challenged. Communication with nearly the whole world is instant. As the culture around us flexes and moves people in North America have challenged and are abandoning the Church. Significant, face to face relationships, are declining as those born since 1980 are spending an average of 6.5 hours a day on Face Book and other social media. People, especially younger families, face challenges and pressures on their time as never before yet, they are clinging to the family.
Jesus went to the people and talked about things that related to their everyday life. Paul adapted to the Athenians (Acts 17) when he was in Athens and used their form of dialogue and debate to introduce them to Jesus. Paul said he would be all things to all people in order to reach some. John Wesley went to the streets. The Methodist circuit riders went to the people in the far reaches of the western wilderness of North America and embedded themselves in the culture. Only then could they share Christ effectively.
If we are going to share Christ in the culture in which we live we have to be culturally relevant and offer people need something they need. Of course that is Jesus but it begins with relationships and unconditional love. .
The average Christian kid who grows up in the Church has about 40 hours a year of impact from the Church. They have about 3000 hours of impact from the family in the same time period. Orange is the combination of God’s love for the family as represented by red and God’s light in the world as represented by yellow. Together they are orange. It only makes since to go where the people are and scratch where they itch. ORANGE IS NOT A PROGRAM – IT IS A STRATEGY FOR DOING CHURCH that makes sense in our world today! It is doing Church inside and outside of the building with the emphasis on family, close person to person relationships and most of all God.
I was impressed with this strategy 8 years ago when I was able to speak with some of the Leaders of North Point Church in Atlanta Ga. where it started. I had hoped this church would someday inculcate the orange strategy into its DNA. Today is the time and now is the moment for metabolic transformation!
The Orange Conference was great and inspiring but most inspiring is to see the staff pulling together in the same direction. Staff all had independent areas and focused on them. Staff was supportive of each other but now all the staff is playing on the same field. There is a closeness and energy in the staff that I have not known in my 10 years here. It is an exciting time. We are seeing this same “team spirit” permeating this church. Orange is a strategy and a focus on connecting with each other to join with what God is doing in our world, community and church. It is a strategy for reaching and changing lives inside and outside this congregation. Jump on, Hang on and enjoy the ride!