Every year the Orange Conference is a huge gift to ministries around the world. The work they put into creating a strategy and plan shapes churches and helps us all do ministry with excellence. The Phase Project is one gift that I wish every ministry leader would lean into and learn from.
Orange defines a phase as, “A timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.” If we want to influence the next generation we need to understand their development and study their culture. To leverage the time we have with a student we need this research-driven project to impact our thinking.
Do you know when attention span increases up to 45 minutes, and the average girl begins puberty? Do you know the phase when “unfiltered words make you laugh, homework makes you cry, and life becomes a stage where you kid shouts, ‘Look at me.’” Are you trying to disciple students in the phase when “friendships shift, grades count, and interests change so often your teenager has to explain, ‘This is me now.’”
The Phase Project helps us understand how to make disciples on their level. In the elementary phase, kids are thinking like scientists and they rely on what they can observe. To help these kids mature in their relationship with God we need to tell one story, use real illustrations, and make it fun!
You have probably heard, you get about 40 hours in a year to tell that middle schooler everything they need to know about God, Jesus, faith, forgiveness, grace, love, life, and eternity. So what’s the plan?
“How are you going to influence the spiritual direction of the average child or teenager when you only have a few minutes every other week? You could increase your time with each kid if you…build a Christian school, show up for dinner at their house once a week, start a 6 a.m. Bible study before school, bring back lock-ins, crusade against competitive sports on Sunday, force every parent to sign a 52-week contract, or add mid-week programming. Or you could rethink your strategy to make the most of the limited time you will have at every phase.”
Take time today to take advantage of the Phase Project gift Orange has made available to you by checking out the Phase Webpage. And if you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you get your ticket now for Orange Conference 2019 because I’m sure this year’s conference will be a huge gift to you and your ministry!