Two of my favorite organizations have announced they are officially partnering up for future ministry. Orange, the people behind most the family ministry things I talk about, and Upward, a church-sponsored sports league, will soon be joining forces.

The curriculum writers at Orange will be providing three components of Upwards’ experience — the weekly practice devotions for kids, weekly halftime activities for parents, and end-of-the-season celebration DVD for families to take home. Because of this connection, the emphasis on reaching families for Christ through Upward Sports programs will be greater than ever.

I am very excited about this partnership, as both are excellent organizations! For more information, check out the official press release I have posted below.


———————————
Orange and Upward Sports Working Together To Accomplish More

Children Gain Valuable Life Lessons Both On and Off the Field

Atlanta, Georgia (January 3, 2011) – Orange believes in the power of teamwork to maximize influence in the lives of children, and for that reason recently worked with Upward Sports. Orange, an organization that creates curriculum and resources for churches, is very excited to work with Upward Sports by providing three pieces of their program: the weekly practice devotions for kids, weekly halftime activities for parents, and end-of-the-season celebration DVD for families to take home. These components have been a key part of the Upward Sports experience, but have been rewritten and reproduced to contain the innovative Orange philosophy of using virtues to teach biblical lessons to children. Now, churches that already use the 252 Basics children’s curriculum from Orange can connect with kids through sports, and similarly, churches that already conduct Upward Sports programs have an opportunity to continue the lessons inside the walls of the church building.

“We believe that working with Upward Sports is a perfect complement to what we do here at Orange,” says Reggie Joiner, founder of Orange. “By combining our efforts, we can not only have a greater effect on children, but take a more holistic approach in their lives.”

The purpose behind Upward Sports is to connect the local church with the community through the universal language of sports. Upward Sports develops, equips and resources local churches to create the type of positive sports experience that helps to tear down walls and enables people to see the church in a new light. Rallying around the idea of creating environments and events for kids, Upward Sports and Orange are looking to bridge a gap between community members participating in a 12-week sports program, and those same community members participating in the local church.

“Upward Sports uses a fun, shared experience to build trust between people over time so that the gospel can be shared,” says Caz McCaslin, founder and president of Upward Sports, “so it makes sense to work with an organization like Orange who can help churches extend their ministry beyond a sport season. Working together with Orange, we are able to better equip churches for year-round ministry. ”

By using materials based on Orange curriculum, non-church members experience what the church is like on the common ground of sports. The relationships formed on the court or field between church members and the community is what Upward Sports hopes will motivate community members to attend church, experience the gospel and become a part of its body.

Upward Sports and Orange hope this collaboration will provide a connection point for the community with local churches, fostering further involvement, and growing young lives toward understanding virtues, values and the importance of a personal faith in Jesus Christ. When churches unite the Upward Sports program with what they are already doing in 252 Basics, they are bridging a gap and providing a track to run on for families in the community.

About Upward Sports:
Founded in 1995 by Caz McCaslin, Upward Sports is the world’s largest Christian sports league for kids. The first-class sports programming—which includes basketball, flag football, soccer and cheerleading—provides a fun sports experience based on healthy competition for kids, teaching skills for the sports arena and values for life. Today, more than 550,000 children in 47 U.S. states and Canada participate in Upward Sports Leagues hosted by 2,400 churches. To learn how to start a league, visit www.Upward.org/connect.

About Orange:
Orange is a nonprofit organization providing resources and training to help churches maximize their influence on the spiritual growth of the next generation. For more information on Orange, please visit www.WhatIsOrange.org.

[PR Email from Orange]

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