I should have two high school diplomas.
Let me rephrase that: I should have a high school diploma and a Sunday School diploma. I went through my county’s educational system, K-12, and walked across a stage in 2006 to shake the superintendent’s hand and receive my piece of paper. It was a great time, as many friends and family members were there to celebrate with me. 13 years of schooling finally equaled into an achievement, and I was headed off to college to get another diploma. I’m very thankful for that.
Sunday School was a little different. I started when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. There was a little country church across the road from my home, and I would go to Sunday School there with my aunt as my teacher. She did a fantastic job (which is great, seeing as how she was also my kindergarten/1st grade teacher at my elementary school). I learned all kinds of things: Abraham moving, Isaac, Noah and the ark, David and Goliath, Jesus walking on water, the resurrection, and the missionary journeys of Paul. I even learned Paul’s first name, Saul. For a young elementary kid, I felt like I was a walking biblical encyclopedia.
Fast forward to high school, when I was attempting to live out my faith in a public high school. I did a terrible job of it. Actually, I did very little to live out the knowledge I had of the Bible. I was still learning about the Bible in Sunday School, but that knowledge usually stayed in the room, where I could pick it back up the following Sunday. After all, I had to go to school and go to work, right? There was no time to think about the Bible between Sundays.
Fast forward even more to the end of my senior year of high school. I had just declared that I was going to Kentucky Christian University. A lot of my classmates questioned my decision. They wanted to know how a guy like me could go to a place like that. I didn’t seem to know much about the Bible. Sometimes it seemed like I didn’t even know Jesus. But I had gone to Sunday School nearly all of my life and was active in the church. I should have had a Sunday School diploma at that point.
Do you see the problem I had? I knew all kinds of stuff about the Bible, and I could even rattle off some verses from memory. But I wasn’t living it out at all. That led me to this question: What good is the knowledge if it isn’t applied?
I think that still happens in the church today. Actually, I know it still happens. You’ve heard the statistic: 70-80% of teenagers leave the church whenever they get to college. Why? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s because they have no clue how to live out what they have learned. Their biblical knowledge affects the brain, but not the heart. And if it doesn’t affect the heart, then we might have wasted our time.
In recent weeks at The Mount, we have been rolling out a strategy to fix this. It’s called the Orange strategy. Why that name? It’s because it combines two critical influences: the church and the home. A kid will spend about 40 hours this year at church. They’ll spend 3000 hours at home doing next to nothing. Why not combine these hours and influences so their lives will be changed?
What a kid will learn on Sunday can be applied on Monday-Saturday with this strategy. They’ll be taught how to do it, and parents will be equipped to encourage and help their kids live out their faith day-to-day. The result will be stronger followers of Jesus, better families, and a faith that will grow beyond their 18-22 years at home.
We’ll do this with our kids ministry on Sunday mornings. We’ll do it with our student ministry on Sunday nights. Even our adults will be doing this with our worship services and home groups. This is a comprehensive strategy that will help grow all people in our church.
As a matter of fact, we already employ this strategy in our student and adult ministries. But we will get better, because this is too important to slack on.
In order to make this happen, though, we need as much help as possible. You can volunteer to help with our children’s ministry and never see a kid. We have positions open like designers, security team members, registration team members, and hosts. If you want to be more hands-on with kids, then sign up to be a storyteller or a small group leader. We also need substitute small group leaders if you want to help but have a crazy schedule. Stop by the Orange table on Sunday and sign up.
Trust me on this. You do NOT want to miss out on what is about to happen in our children’s ministry! You have the opportunity right now to get in on the ground floor and help us do something revolutionary. We’re going to grow like crazy, and we need your help to make this happen!
If you have any questions at all, just let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stop by and see me on Sunday. I look forward to you helping out!
Thank you all for your support in this and for helping us make a difference. Let’s advance the Kingdom of God!