I meet a lot of “specialists” in my line of work, and I love chatting with them; I always learn something new! When I attended the Orange Conference, though, I had no idea what an “Orange Specialist” is! How blessed I was to be able to chat with Amy Grisham and Susan Richards. These ladies, along with their colleagues, provide direct support for children’s ministry professionals and volunteers who use ReThink materials. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to talk with them (it felt rather like getting a lovely, unexpected present!), and they were gracious enough to provide me with a bit more information once they returned home, so I can share it with you! Below is a little Q & A …
How would you “sum up” the role of Orange Specialist for folks who have never heard of this before?
Amy Grisham: The job of the Orange Specialist is to come along side leaders to equip them in any way we can-from the basics of navigating our website to understanding what it means to develop a full partnership with parents, and everything in between. We want them to truly view us as their partners in ministry! I would also say, one of the things that really helps us do our job is each OS has been a practitioner in ministry-we have had experience in the day in and day out work of leading a team, preparing for Sunday, interfacing with parents, etc. We’ve all lived the process of ministry-we pray this gives us an understanding/empathy for what they face everyday in what they do!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Susan Richards: One of my favorite aspects about being an OS is being a safe place for our partner churches….we get the privilege of journeying with them in ministry. Often with that we can be a safe place and sounding board for what they’re walking through and sometimes helping them think outside the box to arrive at solutions.
Amy Grisham: The favorite part of my job is being on the phone with a leader who has a ‘lightbulb moment’–when all of the pieces of the pie fall into place for them-when they grasp the potential they have for equipping parents to be the spiritual leaders in their homes, empowering their volunteer leaders to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the next generation and, of course, realizing the potential they have to help children fall in love with Christ and help kids make the connection that God cares immensely about their everyday lives!
Can you share a success story?
Susan Richards: My success story would actually come from just before I was on staff with Orange and on staff at a church in kids ministry. We were already users of First Look and 252 Basics, and I was charged with launching a weekly family experience. As we began to gain momentum and families became excited God totally surprised me with not only families being jazzed about attending the family experience, but I had families wanting to SERVE together as part of the family experience. I loved God’s creativity in that and our families owning that time in a way that I could not imagine. I want that for the churches that I get to partner with. My hope is that families grow and engage in learning together, and in turn allow that to put feet to their faith as a family.
What an incredible model: specialists who can not only give information and direction, but also support,
encouragement, and Christian community!
Please know…Amy and Susan really know their stuff. As Amy said, Orange Specialists have wide experience, and they understand the inner-workings of children’s ministry. But, there’s more… in addition to being incredibly accomplished and knowledgeable, they were funny, warm and hospitable. After just a brief conversation, I felt like “part of the family.” What a treat for me…a newcomer to Orange…and for anyone who is lucky enough to work with them. These ladies (and, I’m certain, their colleagues as well!) really put the “special” in “specialist.”
Thanks to both of them for using their gifts to color the Kingdom Orange!