Your Annual Teaching Plan Is Here — Meet The New Scope and Cycle 🗺️

Your Guide to Annual Focus

What is an annual focus? 

Just another thing to tack on to our ministry year? No. It’s actually one thing to make everything else better. 

Like a vitamin in the midst of your healthy diet, a table of contents in a massive complex textbook, or the train tracks on a long journey with lots of different destinations. 

You can think of it as an anthem. A rallying cry. A piece of your DNA for the year. 

An annual focus is a clear central message for your ministry that can show up anywhere, at any time, for anyone. 

Whether a kid attends once or 52 times. 

But not just for kids and students. An annual focus can impact how you cast vision to parents, leaders, and volunteers, too. 

For the past several years, Orange has been introducing Annual Focus themes to create synergy and alignment. An Annual Focus can create momentum in your church as you hope to share Jesus’ love to kids and students and help them learn to trust God no matter what. When you all show up with a common focus, it can multiply your impact and get your entire church excited about building a lasting, resilient faith in the next generation.

You might remember these from the past few years: 

In our XP3 Student Ministry curriculum, we focused on “Jesus changes everything” in 2021. 

Then, for 2022-2023, we broadened the annual focus to include all of Orange’s Curriculum strategies with the idea: “Where did you see God today?”

For the 2023-2024 curriculum year, we’ve focused on “Everyday” to help kids and students build a lasting, everyday faith in Jesus that changes how they love God, life, and the rest of the world.

Now, for the 2024-2025 curriculum year, we’re thrilled to introduce, “HERE!”

You might be asking, what does it mean to be “Here?”

For leaders and parents, we hope you’re HERE for the kids and students throughout your communities and in your homes. When you show up consistently, when you are here for them, they can discover a sense of belonging and learn to rely on a faith community who can help them navigate through the complexities of life. 

We want kids and students to be HERE for a few things, too! 

HERE for faith practices and their positive impact as the emerging generations face a growing mental health crisis. A Harvard study indicated that participating in a faith community where faith is practiced through gathering in community, praying, and serving others “is associated with healthier lives, including greater longevity, less depression and suicide, and less substance use.” We help kids be here for faith practices through how we give them opportunities to hear from God, Pray to God, Talk about God, and Live for God. 

HERE for being fully present. We want kids and students to cultivate a life of being undistracted, intentional, and focused. In a world of distractions, misplaced desires and cravings, fleeting trends, and attention-snatching headlines, kids might feel defeated as they attempt to be in all the places and engage with everything all the time. What if they learned to simply be here?

HERE for committed, healthy relationships within a spiritual community. We want kids and students to have positive experiences with leaders and peers who can encourage them as they seek to follow Jesus with their life. This will include learning how to have empathy, discovering ways to be generous, and choosing to believe the best in others.

HERE for doing good. As we read in our theme verse for the year, Ephesians 2:10: “We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.” (NIrV). God put us HERE for a reason. We are created to shine the light of Jesus and share His love with the world.  

HERE for the transformation that will happen through being present with and becoming like Jesus. God’s Holy Spirit meets us right here everyday. God gives us what we need to opt into the way of Jesus and into an awareness of and connection with the Holy Spirit.

HERE for the unique ways God made them. As kids and students choose to trust God and follow Jesus, they will discover their unique gifts and abilities that will allow them to be here for the life God wants for them.  

You might also be wondering, how can I use an annual focus strategically?

First, you can weave it into your content. Orange helps you do this through “Easter eggs” found in places like preview videos and hands-on, age-appropriate activities  in curriculum, but you can take it to the next level.  Here’s how… 

Display it in your environment. We provide 8×10 ft files, so create an eye-catching display. 

Use the idea of being HERE as you lead volunteer huddles and share encouragement with volunteers. 

Use it to connect with parents and talk about it through email communications, social media posts, or even a sermon series about how to be HERE this coming year.

And be sure to listen for the theme on the Rethinking Youth Ministry Podcast and in the specific Orange Kids Facebook Groups

Make The Annual Focus Real in Your Life:

As leaders, we hope this annual focus inspires you to think through how you’re being HERE this coming year. Our prayer is that you might also remember how God is HERE for you, how your church and community are HERE to help you lead the next generation, and you can be HERE for yourself as you learn and grow in your own relationship with Jesus. 

Try one of these 5 Challenges to get some practice with being fully present yourself. We’d love to hear how it goes! DM us or message us on Instagram @orangekidmin @orangestudents @orangeleaders.

  1. Distraction-Free: Have a phone-free meal with your family or a group of friends. Phone-free meals create a greater sense of connection with one another. Try using a distraction app like “One-Sec” to limit scrolling aimlessly through social media. Device-free moments actually lead to increased creativity and productivity, reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, and better sleep when you take a break before bedtime.
  2. Practice Hospitality: Build intentional community through the practice of hospitality – use a YouTube video to bake fresh bread to share with others, host a game night or plan a themed dinner with friends or family, join a small group at your church, or gather your friends and drop off clean socks and toiletries to a shelter or community center. Create memories with others and invest in healthy relationships who can be with you as you seek to follow Jesus in your own life.
  3. Intentional Calendaring: Set aside one weekend each quarter to be fully present in a way that matters most for your family or your community. This could look like volunteering at your community rec center, going out for ice cream or coffee with someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with, completing a task for someone that you’ve been putting off, making time to write handwritten notes to people in your life who’d like to hear from you. 
  4. Get Outside: Spend some time in nature or wander around the city where you live. Notice the ways God shows up for creation. When you see the flowers or hear the birds, remember how much God cares about you and loves you even more. Or, if you feel the hustle and bustle of city life, remember how God created each person with a unique way of seeing and experiencing the world. God loves each and every one of them and loves you too! 
  5. Be a Good Listener: Enjoy a good conversation with a good friend or family member. Consider using some conversation starters or use these questions below as a way to kick off your time together:
    • What’s something you love about yourself?
    • What piece of your wardrobe do you feel like is most “you” and why?
    • Tell me a story about a memory you love.
    • What’s one thing you thought would be different about 2024?
    • What’s something you hope for 2025?
    • You have 24 hours to spend $5 Million. How would you spend it?
    • What’s something you’ve changed your mind about?

We can’t wait to see how God shows up in your ministry this year as you choose to be HERE.

Why does Orange Curriculum have an Annual Focus?

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