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Monday

Orange 2009

My wife and I are back from the 3 day Orange Conference for children and youth workers and pastors. For those of you not familiar with Orange it is put on by the Rethink group. Rethink produces curriculum for nursery, children, and youth ministries based on a family ministry concept. The "Orange" concept is that two combined influences are more effective than two separate ones. In this case the family (represented by yellow) and the church (red) combine influences for the Kingdom of God (red and yellow combined make orange, hence Orange 2009).

I think the concept is biblical and, therefore, a good one. Parents are called to be primary in the spiritual formation of their children and the church should support them in that pursuit. Despite my agreement on the general principle being promoted, I still left the conference with some uneasiness.

Almost every main session focused on ways to implement the strategy or craft the message rather than on the Message itself. I know the argument is that with a group of leaders one can assume that we all know the Gospel is necessary and central. I just don't think that is an assumption we can safely make. Too often we see well intentioned leaders stray from the gospel in the very attempt to widen the appeal of the Gospel. Too often "crafting the message" can lead to compromising the message. I believe that assuming the gospel is the first step in losing the gospel completely. Paul has already told us that the gospel is foolishness to many people, but to those who accept it, it is the power of God unto salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Let us all spend less time worrying about the context the message resides in and more time insuring we know the message intimately and are proclaiming it faithfully.

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Sheldon Clowdus

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