An Almost Accurate History of Orange
A lot of great things happened in 1995. For starters, Yahoo was founded. It was also the worst year for hurricanes in over six decades. It’s also the year Reggie Joiner created FamilyWise. We are still feeling the ripples from that grand invention to this day. A year later Reggie was part of a team of six pastors who founded North Point Community Church. Reggie also had a hand in KidStuf—we just don’t know which hand.
So FamilyWise, North Point Community Church and KidStuf are all separate entities that are loosely connected by a bunch of friends who love ministry.
And so, the FamilyWise team started to form.
Yes, Reggie was busy that year. Like a kid with finger-paints he was creating whole worlds in his head. That same year (1995) Lanny Donoho floated in with his own set of finger paints. Lanny is famous for lots of things: LightBrite, Lego building, and bubble blowing to name a few. And his name makes you want to run to Dunkin Donuts. Lanny and Reggie became friends over their shared love of zany ideas, and their friendship became the foundation of their hosting gigs at KidStuf, Catalyst, Orange, and a few other minor events along the way.
If you stop by the Orange office building you can meet Colette Taylor. In her former professional life she wasn’t professional, she just volunteered at KidStuf. After much persuading, and donuts from Lanny, she joined Reggie’s team in 1997. And then something magical happened that had nothing to do with Colette. Lanny invited Reggie to BigStuf Camps to teach student leaders. No, student leaders are not magical. But Andy Stanley teaching Reggie how to build sandcastles is.
Rumor has it that during the now famous “sandcastle sessions” the ideas for the children’s ministry UpStreet and the preschool ministry Waumba Land emerged. A year later those ideas became reality. Neither Reggie nor Andy will deny or confirm this.
In 1999 Greg Payne sporting an eye patch and the ability to spin a good yarn, joined Colette and Reggie. The coup was underway. It didn’t take long for the now burgeoning staff to come up with something else to do. And in 2001 the first Grow Up conference was held at North Point Community Church.
Y2K came to FamilyWise but didn’t do a whole lot of damage. We eventually found Reggie in a nuclear fall out shelter stocked full of water bottles, BigStuf t-shirts and Vicks Vapor rub. Counseling has helped Reggie move on.
The new decade brought more growth. In 2002 Melanie Williams joined the staff at FamilyWise as the 252 Basics editor. 252 Basics is a children’s ministry curriculum that shows kids how to build robots (Not really). In 2003 the First Look curriculum got its first look. A preschool ministry curriculum, First Look helps “the littles” understand that God made them and loves them and that Reggie’s nose cannot be honked (Most of that is true).
2003 was a good year for FamilyWise. Not only did First Look come on the scene but FamilyWise said hello to a new name: The reThink Group. The idea for the name came from the fact that Reggie and his team, like Pooh-bear, need time to “think, think … think think.” And then usually has to rethink everything.
So one day the following year, Reggie was rethinking over pancakes with Kendra Fleming and Greg Payne. Reggie observed Kendra’s unorthodox use of orange slices on her pancakes. Thus, the “Orange” idea took form. And all of a sudden we made all our collateral material orange. The pancakes were full of magic berries and syrup that day because they also helped produce the wonderful story of the “Skeeples and Lomes”.
More additions occurred in 2005 as Sue Miller came over to rethink after 17 years at Willow Creek. That same year Camp KidJam pilots their first summer camp for rising 3-6 grade kids. If you haven’t noticed we have a special affinity for making up words by using two words that have no business together: Family+Wise, Kid+Jam. We all know kids and strawberry preserves do not work.
In 2006 Reggie decided to actually take on a full-time job with reThink. It was serendipitous that Tim Walker was hired the same year. Accountability, accountability, accountability. It didn’t take long for Tim to churn out new curriculum. In 2007 he and his team launched XP3 for student ministries—not to be confused with PS3 or P90X.
As you can see, we are almost too creative for our own good. And we recognize that. So, around the same time Tim Walker joined reThink we decided to add some creative guidance as well and hired Jared Herd as our reThink creative director of XP3. Baby step, baby steps.
Maybe it was XP3 or Reggie’s new full-time employment, we’re not sure. But something prompted Stuart Hall and his entire team at DASH Student Leadership to join reThink the following year. This is when we started feeling like the cool kid that everyone wants on their kickball team.
This surge of new blood prompted us to launch AmberSkyRecords in 2009. This is our shot at bringing churches in touch with great music resources. The infusion of great music into the fold inspired Reggie to write. Writing a book with Crayons takes time and perseverance but at long last Think Orange was finished. Because we were all now “thinking orange” we decided to launch OrangeLeaders.com. We want this web space to become a great training tool for churches.
2010 is the year we bring it all together. After painting everything orange in our office complex, publishing a whole book about “thinking orange” we decided to go all in and rename our whole organization: Orange.
Disclaimer: Nobody was seriously injured during the writing of our history. All references to employees and our founder are in jest—this means “for fun”. Thanks for reading.