Conference

It's Personal- bringing the BEST of OC19 to your team

Hello leaders! If you are anything like me, you spend lots of time and energy trying to find new ways to pour into your leaders. You’re looking for the latest book, podcast, blog, etc. in hopes of finding something refreshing and specific to an area of your ministry that you want your team to come away more knowledgable in. If I told you that I may very well have that resource for you, would you believe me? What if I told you that this resource has been presented before 8,000+ ministry leaders just like yourself, you can obtain this resource for a great price, and, the months and months of preparation put into this resource may even be in your area, would you believe me then? What if this resource has the ability to help change the way you see kids, the kids that live right around your church or neighborhood? I have the resource that you need to tap into. It’s called Orange Tour, and it’s likely coming to a city near you.

Orange Tour is a traveling one day conference that comes to cities all throughout the U.S. this Fall. Voices from Reggie Joiner to Carey Nieuwhof to Danielle Strickland and Ryan Leak share about how we, as ministry leaders, can make it personal for every kid and teenager in your community.

One of the great things about this one day conference if that you don’t have to pay big conference money to attend. Orange Tour is strategically priced to enable churches big and small to bring more of their team which helps build stronger and more unified teams. At the cost of $79 today (June 13, 2019) only, you will want to take advantage of the opportunity today.

Visit orangetour.org to register today!

Orange Conference Main Session 7 #OC19

Bob Goff!

Gerald Fadayomi (@geraldfadayomi)- Do you know what I can do? I know that you are capable of and it’s so much more. Get in the boat. Speak to their need. It requires us to show up. To not just show up Sundays, but be present Mondays through Saturdays. Call them to more. There is no age requirement to be a member of the body of Christ. Students will do more when they're invited to do more. What if we started doing ministry with students instead of just for students. We need you at 5, 6, 7, 10 and all the way to 18. What if we spent more time trying to get student to show up to church and spent more time getting volunteers to show up in their lives.

Bob Goff (@bobgoff)- Everybody Always. I think what we can do is we can speak to people and be available to them. But we need to speak words of love and truth. God needs people who know Scripture and will be available to people and speak to them in love. If you want to be all alone, you're going to hate heaven. Deal with the pieces in the middle, that's what we need to do with young people. Don't make people a project, people are people. We can give people words of correction, but we can do it with love. We ought to talk about people behind their back all the time. We just need to be talking about the right stuff. The world is filled with difficult people, and you're one of them! You want to dazzle Jesus. Go. Be. You. We're going to describe the mystery of the Gospel of Christ but we're all just a little bit afraid. What it's going to take for us to love people, is a little more faith. A courageous person that knew why he was doing what he was doing. There's something beautiful that happens when you get personal. Make it personal with your family. Coffee drinks me to wake up. The thing that makes me unique, can also be my weakest point. We need to bring it back to Jesus. Keeping our eyes fixed on the Author and Creator of Life.

Orange Conference Main Session Six #OC19

We’re back after a welcomed lunch break with another great session of communicators.

Sam Collier (@samcollier)- What you don’t know can hurt you. First lesson Sam learned, you can’t talk to old people that way. The second lesson Sam learned is that sometimes you just have to get out of the way. The third lesson Sam learned is that you’re not allowed to teach your wife anything. What are your blindspots? What leaders are in your life that can look into those dark places and help bring you to higher places? Don’t get some focused on your public image that you miss your personal issues.

Reggie Joiner (@reggiejoiner), Kristen Ivy (@kristen_ivy), Dr. Deborah Tillman (@DeborahLTillman), Dan Scott (@danscott77)- Families need encouragement universally. God had called me to have a mindset to mend them, heart to love them, spirit to serve them. Stop building walls and start building bridges.

Clay Scroggins (@clayscroggins)- No more hiding in church. You’ll never change the way the community sees church until you change the way church sees the community. The only way you'll change the way people see other people is when you start seeing other people. What could we do to start understanding the people outside out building? You take it personally when your connection with someone becomes personal. Jesus was moved not by what they believed, but by what they did because of what they believed. If our goal is to be the hope for the world, we’ve got to stop hiding in our church.

Reggie Joiner, David Salyers (@davidgsalyers)- Do you know what matters to me? The beginning of wisdom is humility. Chick fil A is now known more for their service than their food. Our mission is to improve the story of the people we do business with. How do we improve the stories of those we are trying to reach?

Orange Conference Main Session Five #OC19

WOW!!! What a start to Friday in session four, but don’t worry, session five will pack a heavy punch as well!

Kara Powell (@KPowellFYI)- Helping parents know they measure up. Guilt is feeling bad about what we do, shame is feeling bad about who we are. Jesus makes us enough! We are enough because Jesus makes us enough. 6-13-18-23 represent 4 ages of phases that parents need to know they measure up. You are enough because Jesus made you enough. Jesus is bigger than our mistakes. Sometimes as leaders, we don’t feel like we are enough. At age 6 parents need to know Jesus is bigger than our mistakes At age 13 it is ok for parents to be behind in tech and you could navigate it At age 23 parents need to know that this chapter is choppy but you are enough. Jesus is actually more than enough.

Carlos Whitaker (@loswhit)- Do you know where I Live. Jesus never ministered from a distance, it was always close up. He ministered in the homes of people. The more personal it gets, the messier and riskier it gets. But, ultimately, the more holy it gets. HOME = KNOWN When we know their name, they will open their hearts. When we know where they live, they will open their hands. When you get personal, it gets risky. And it takes risk in order to rescue.

Reggie Joiner (@reggiejoiner), Kara Powell (@kpowellfyi), Karl Vaters (@karlvaters), Dr. Bernice King (@BerniceKing)- Knowing me means knowing my context. You have to find a way to redefine success in ministry. How do you define success in ministry without attaching numbers to it. We should stop making some [churches] feel inferior. If you don't see a grasshopper in the mirror, no one will see a grasshopper in you. If I were to take numbers off the table, would my church be considered a healthy church? The numbers aren't inevitable. Every church is too small to hold all the ministry God wants them to do. You have to be intentional about connecting with people whose stories you don’t know. It’s really about following Jesus, for real. Jesus dared to connect with people when it was prohibited. We have to look in the mirror and examine our own prejudices and seek to rid ourselves of them. The next generation sees humans more than they see colors and races. Light belongs where darkness is. We have to deal with the dark places to truly deal with the dark of the world.

Doug Fields (@dougfields)- When it’s personal to you. When parenting became personal...it became more personal to my ministry. Leadership ultimately becomes powerful when your ministry becomes personal. Leadership ultimately becomes powerful when you draw a crowd, launch a podcast, build a platform. Jesus turns His back on the crowd to care for the one. The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to chase after the 1. When leadership goes personal, it restores dignity. When leadership goes personal, it builds confidence. Ministry is messy. And sometimes the most beautiful and courageous kind of leadership is when we leave the crowd for the one. The only One Who could throw a stone, didn't pick one up. He loved with forgiveness. This is a BIG conference with BIG ideas from BIG personalities who have BIG problems. You can impress crowds from a distance but you influence people up close. n their darkest hour when suffering was at an all-time high, He loved them when they needed it the most. That's what Jesus does. That's what I think going personal does. You can impress crowds from a distance. But you influence people up close. Don't leave here being seduced by the big. Be motivated for the moments where you can go personal.

Orange Conference Main Session Four #OC19

Good morning! I am so excited about this morning’s opening session! After a SERIOUSLY fun night last night, today’s content will be absolutely phenomenal.

Tom Shefchunas (@coachshef)- Everything in your church changes when relationships matter. #tweetablejustnottrue His church moves on through broken organizations. If small groups become your primary answer, then that ultimately changes everything you do...eventually. It takes time. High quality Christians make high quality connections. Kids don't leave programs, they leave people.

Crystal Chiang (@crystalcchiang)- Do you know my name? When we say their names, it lets them know that we see them. It matters. Knowing someone's name, lets them know that they matter. When you learn their name, you earn the right to get to know them. Who will know their name next? “Sweet girl, there is no next week. This week is the last week.” Getting a Bible for graduation didn't make up for being 'unadopted’. We know as their leader that what's ahead for them, is better than what's here for them. What happens when they graduate from my small group and no one knows their name? We need to be willing to take a step or two into the next phase with our few. You might graduate from this roaster but you can’t graduation from this relationship.

Reggie Joiner, Kristen ivy, Mike Foster, Kara Powell (@reggiejoiner, @kristen_ivy, @mikefoster, @kpowellFYI)- Seen people see people. No one person can know everyone’s name in our ministry. Whenever I look at people, I’m looking at a masterpiece. What if we could recruit the leader who would see the kid sitting on the back row. Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It's a shame when we tend to pay attention to the students who are around all the time. A lot of the time they are the ones who already have a lot of social support. The tragedy is the church just enforces the social hierarchy that in place in other places.

Danielle Strickland (@djstrickland)- Hear the voices of those who are not being heard. The desire in God's heart is for connection. There's a divine strategy called 'personal.' Let's hear the voices of those who are not being heard. Love has a name. Jesus is the first glowworm in history! Because of what Jesus has done, because of Who Jesus was... relationship and proximity changes everything. The gospel begins to attack oppression through the tiniest relationships. Even through knowing someone's name. e know religious systems. We don't know the way of Jesus very well. You want to move something big, do something small! The way of Jesus is always to the one. You want to move the mountain? It's mustard seed faith. Sometime's they need to know their name. To make it personal is a divine shift, it changes everything. We are the ones to remind people who they are when they need to know their names. Flowers were meant to bloom. “I need God. I was meant to bloom.” -Flower

Design Environments that Connect- Adam Duckworth #OC19

Adam Duckworth (@adam_duckworth)- Downtown Harbor Church, Fort Lauderdale, Fl

Biblical truths with life-changing potential

We should take our message very seriously

Because we have a very limited amount of time to do it

What if your weekly message…

  • Prioritized what Jesus prioritized

  • Appealed to the image of God in every person?

  • Showed a generation how following Jesus could affect their future?

Craft core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences.

Environment- Physical space that communicates what you need to communicate

Say it, and repeat it, and repeat it again

You just have to decide what you want it to communicate

  1. Say less- Just because you can say it doesn’t mean you should say it

  2. Say what matters- Is everything you are saying of equal importance

  3. Say it clearer- Do you think about how you say what you say?

  4. Don’t say it- Why do we feel that we need to talk when we have a microphone?

  5. Say it louder

Be selective about what you say and when you say it

Be strategic about how often you say it

Be intentional about who else says it

Be creative about how you say it

Orange Conference 2019 Main Session Two #OC19

It’s Thursday morning and day two of Orange Conference 2019! After a great opening session Wednesday night and a full docket of breakouts later this morning and afternoon, Thursday promises to be nothing short of awesome! Thanks for following along!

Craig Jutila- Don't do more than you were designed for.

Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy, Mike Foster (@MikeFoster), Nora Jones, Tedashii (@Tedashii) - Do you know what I’ve done? We’re not the sum of our worst moments, our biggest mistakes. Our setbacks can be part of our superpowers. How does our own story get in the way of helping others? We sometimes hijack that moment that was never intended to be about us. Vulnerability, authenticity, openness...are strengths. The power that comes from our pain can either be used to destroy us or fuel our passion to heal and help others. There are so many people living in shame who think they're the only one. The church is the first responders for a generation of kids who need first responders. God is good, even when life is not. Goodness isn’t shaken just because your world is.

Dharius Daniels (@Dharius Daniels)- Your presence on this planet has purpose. You are not some relational accident. Your parents may have been surprised by your arrival, but God was not. What matters to you as a leader will matter to those who follow you. God used words to create everything, not hands. You are not youth workers, you are purpose partners. Language frames the way we see things. This is a room full of world changers. A room full of a spiritual army. We have made a decision to fight for the next generation. God may have used words when it came to creating the universe, earth, plants, animals, etc., but when it came to people, God used His hands. God got His hands dirty when creating us! You have been strategically and purposefully placed on this planet born when, where and how you needed to be born. When we take purpose personally, we understand it's important to help others discover their purpose. Don't see others as an interruption, but an appointment that God didn't put on your calendar. In different seasons, different kids need different voices. Church may be the only place where a person comes to conclusions without asking the questions. If it matters to you, you will sacrifice for it.

  1. Examination- Had to examine if my proclaimed pastoral value were actually priorities.

  2. Investigation- If this mattered to me, I had to put my eyes on it.

  3. Investments- Invest organizational energy and organizational resources

Orange Conference 2019- It's Personal

The theme for Orange Conference 2019 is It’s Personal. On Thursday, October 18, registration opens for this incredible conference at the cheapest rate you will ever find it, $259. I, for one, love the theme for this upcoming conference because when things become personal, those things have a way of changing us and changing how we see things. Those changes help shape us and as ministry leaders, help shape those we are investing in daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Below is how my life and ministry has been reshaped through attending the Orange Conference. Consider this your open invite to join me and 8,000 other leaders in Atlanta, Georgia, May 2019.

Have you ever been somewhere expecting some good things to happen only to have those expectations blown out of the water? That has been my experience every year that I am been blessed to attend the Orange Conference. I typically show up on Tuesday night for the big porch party, grab my registration bag, chat with a few friends that I've made since being involved with Orange in some capacity and then call it a night knowing that the week will be good, the worship will be good, the attendance will be good, the ideas shared will be good, and so on. It NEVER takes long for my expectations to be destroyed though, which with all things considered, that is a very good thing.

Reggie Joiner and team invest so much into leaders. Leaders just like you and me. Leaders in preschool ministry, elementary ministry, preteens, middle schoolers (we all know they need lots of investment, right?), high school ministry, family ministry, married ministry, people ministry, and the list goes on and on and on and on. The team at Orange puts together such a comprehensive conference that many, many church leaders who don't even use any curriculum produced by the folks at Orange, make the Orange Conference a priority to attend every year. Why do you ask? Allow me the opportunity to share just a couple of things that have helped shape me in ministry. 

The biggest ministry changer for me has been the voices, the people, who have spoken directly to me without even knowing it. I think of a guy like Ryan Leak who visited his local Starbucks multiple times a week and began asking the folks who worked there how he could be praying for them. That rocked my world. I took that idea back home with me and began asking folks who were serving me at places like Chik Fil A how I could be praying for them. Just that one little question has produced a new confidence in me as an introvert to become more personal with "strangers" that I see on a weekly basis. I've been blessed to see and hear of how those prayers have been answered. 

Remember When?

Let's play a little game if you don't mind. A little game I like to call, "Remember When?" Here's how you play: I'll ask you a question that starts with "Remember when" and you insert the appropriate response. Easy, right? Let's begin.

Remember when in that one season in your life when you had someone invest in you? 

Here's another good one: Remember when you felt like what you were doing was making a difference in someone else's life? 

Last one: Remember when you went to that big conference and wish you could bring your entire team, paid and/or volunteer? 

I hope you liked my little game of Remember When! I can't really answer questions one and two for you but I sure can answer number three.

Perhaps you were among the 8,000 or so ministry leaders at Orange Conference 2018 and left there wishing that your entire team could have been there. Well, there's a way to get the best of #OC18 in your backyard and be able to get your team there. It's called Orange Tour 2018 or #OT18 for short. For one day only, June 7, tickets will be the absolute cheapest that you can get them for an amazing $50 off. That's right, a ticket for #OT18 is only $69. That price includes lunch, incredible breakouts, engaging main stage speakers, plus the awesome opportunity to network with other great ministry leaders like yourself.

Don't wait, sign you and your team up today to take advantage of the lowest price available. 

www.orangetour.org

 

 

Orange Conference- Main Session 7 #OC18

Louie Giglio wraps up with the 3 day conference with an incredible version of What A Beautiful Name that includes the stars, whales, and birds singing this song of worship. Here's some great notes from his session: 

I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.

If we can just lift our eyes a little higher today…

Salvation always ends in worship.

Our destiny is worship. 

"It's always about God, it's always been about God, and it always will be about Him.”

Sin makes us dead, but Christ makes us alive. This is the Gospel.

Worship is a weapon because it gets our gaze back on the God of heaven.

Your not David in the story of David & Goliath… Jesus is David in the story of David and Goliath

God is inviting us to wake up and look up…

David knew that he wasn’t the “David” in the story of David and Goliath

When I am weak, You are strong.

Orange Conference- Main Session 6 #OC18

This session included the following speakers: Dr. John Townsend, Tom Shefchunus, Sam Collier, Reggie Joiner, Virginia Ward, Lee Jenkins, and Carlos Whitaker. Here's some great notes from these amazing leaders: 

We can do more together when we invite others to show us our blind spots- Dr. John Townsend, Tom Shefchunus

Why does every leader need to deal with their blind spots?

Blind spot- tendency I’m not aware of

4 common blindspots- perception of having to have it together, to put tasks before relationship, conflict avoidness, harsh judge

How to give someone permission to speak into your blindspot- If you see me doing anything that would drive my life, my family or my leadership off a cliff, can I trust you to tell me way ahead of time? 

We can do more together when we help others find their voice- Sam Collier

Kids want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. They want their voices to roar. It’s in you, it’s in me. We all want to find our voice.

How do we help the next gen to find their voice? 

A mentor shows up in critical times to speak relational truths. 

If you don’t stop trading your dreams for lust, you’re going to kill yourself.

Preachers inform, mentors transform. Mentors transform, sponsors platform.

We can do more together when we act like their problems are our problems- Reggie Joiner, Lee Jenkins, Carlos Whitaker, Virginia Ward, Sam Collier

If we don’t confront something, we can’t cure it. 

The asterisk on America is how we’ve dealt with race. 

The church should model racial unity in the whole world. 

I want you guys to have the conversation that you have when there isn’t a white person at the table. 

It is so imperative that the people of God have this conversation. @virginiaward

Go home and have this conversation at home. @loswhit Carlos Whitaker

As a minority, we live out of our history. - Sam Collier

We have our opinions, because our experiences and history are different. -Lee Jenkins

We have to learn each other and love each other. @Virginia Ward

What do we do about this? Read John 4 and how He dealt with a minority, a Samaritan woman

Listen to each other, we need you to believe us, befriend us, start to gain compassion (you care about people you know), stand up for us . Lee Jenkins 

 

Orange Conference- Main Session 4

It's Friday morning at #OC18! This is a full day in the arena for main session speakers. On the docket for this session were Josh Shipp, Tom Shefchunas, Kristen Ivy, and Ryan Leak. Here's some key takeaways from each speaker: 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids over time- Josh Shipp

We don’t see you as a problem, we see you as an opportunity. -Rodney to Josh Shipp

Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. 

Every kid is one choice away from being a statistic. 

What kids don’t talk out, they will act out. 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids who are different. - Kristen Ivy

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you see yourself differently.

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you see God more fully.

Truth is real, but perspective is different.

When you get close to someone who is different than you, you show the world what love is.

Our differences are an opportunity to show what unconditional love looks like.

We can do more together when we create a safe place for kids who are hurting. Tom Shefchunas

There is no strategy if there is no sacrifice. 

What did Jesus choose to say and not to say

How did He choose to say it

When did He choose to say it

Sometimes we have to sacrifice our felt need to say everything so that what is most important can clearly be heard. 

Wanting to be a safe place and being a safe place are two different things. 

Microphones and websites are dangerous things because we can’t see their eyes. 

We can do more together when we create a safe place for each other. -Ryan Leak

Friends are like elevators, they can take you up, or they can take you down. 

Following Jesus doesn’t mean you won’t go through storms, it just means that you have an anchor with you through the storms. 

"Lost and found people…have marriage problems. Unchurched people and church people…both have money problems. The outsider and the insider…often struggle with depression.”

What if we created weekend experiences for people that were in pain. Wouldn’t we find ourselves reaching outsiders and insiders?

What if we took the amazing grace that we offer to people who don’t know God, to people who do?

Pretending will never do anything for your soul and it won’t do anything else for anyone else either.

When we really get authentic, we become allergic to short responses. I’m going to become a person that doesn’t allow people to sweep things under the rug.

4 things- vulnerability, authenticity, confidence, grace

Don’t judge them, help them.

How safe do we actually want to be. 

#OC18 Main Session 1

What do #OGRJ, A Million Dreams, and the number 8,100 have in common? Answer: night one of The Orange Conference 2018. Infinite Energy Center was rocking for a solid 2.5 hours Wednesday night. Here are some key statements made by folks like Jon Acuff, Gerald Fadayomi, Danielle Strickland and Reggie Joiner. 

@jonacuff: We have a God who has said, "It is finished" not it is beginning. 81% of American's want to write a book, less than 1% actually do.

@geraldfadayomi: If you could only pray for one thing for the next generation, what would it be? Unity is not uniformity. It's setting our differences aside to make a difference.  

@djstrickland: We can do more together when we live like the future is now. The Kingdom of God is like the wedding in the alley.

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@reggiejoiner: We must be challenged to do something that we don't know how to do. Nehemiah didn't spend a month figuring out spiritual gifts. Nor did he say, "Go home and pray about it." Everybody Nehemiah needed was already in town. Chances are, hour future volunteers are already there, just ready to be put to work. 

YouLead Labs Wednesday PM Edition

The afternoon sessions of the YouLead labs were just as informative as the ones from the morning sessions. I sat in on a session about what volunteers want from their leader led by Gina McClain. She is such a dynamic speaker and has the ability to connect with her audience immediately. It didn't hurt that she had some really awesome Charlie Brown and Snoopy shoes on. Here are some key points she made in her breakout: 

How do you communicate when you delegate? Big Asks vs Small Tasks

A big ask is a mindset that conveys vision, clarify the win, and it’s going to have trust. 

Small tasks- You have a mindset that wraps around a detailed to-do list (has a micromanagement feel)

You have to find the right leader to delegate to. When people see what God can do through them, their level of commitment will astound you. 

How are you developing those you lead? 

Coaching is consistently keeping the vision in front of your volunteer. 

Coaching teaches your volunteers how to think.

Again, great stuff from @ginamcclain and I would encourage you to connect with her as she is just flat out, an incredible leader.

My second PM lab was presented by the Go Weekly team as they discussed created a social media strategy that can engage parents and help train leaders. This breakout was essentially a big plug for the Weekly tool that I use every week and has been an absolute game-changer in my ministry. You can find out more about Weekly at goweekly.com.

 

YouLead Labs Wednesday AM Edition

This morning consisted of two great breakouts all across The Forum at Infinite Energy Center. My first breakout was Navigating Infant Loss & Infertility, which was led by Kenny Conley. Kenny shared some hard to swallow statistics such as 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. 3 out of the 4 of those miscarriages end within the first trimester. As if those stats weren't devastating enough, 1 in 10 couples in the US face fertility issues. This breakout was totally relatable for me and was one that I was absolutely attached to since it was announced by the folks at Orange. You can see more of our story at www.ashersrainbow.org. Kenny plugged the Made Known resource that he and his wife Sarah helped create while serving in Austin, Tx. The church needs to find ways to better minister to this large population, in which, many fill the seats and pews of churches week in and week out with so many questions. 

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My second breakout of the day was Discovering What Volunteers Really Want- for Elementary Leaders, led by Bobby Ikebudu of Boca Raton Community Church. Here's a brief list of what Bobby shared: Every volunteer wants to follow a great leader, serve in a place that fits them, they want meaningful training (good food helps), they desire authentic community (we are made for community), they want to serve in a "we" type of culture, fill their bucket with vision, celebrate wins with big time fun. 

#OC18 is here

If you’ve attended The Orange Conference in the past, you know that Tuesday nights informally kick off the week with a Party on the Porch. Music, games, Kona Ice, your favorite Orange Specialist and hundreds of like-minded folks gather for two hours of fun talking, dancing, coffee drinking, snow cone eating, name badge and registration bag retrieving, Orange store shopping, excitement.

If you’ve not attended The Orange Conference before, perhaps catching a glimpse of all the fun is enough to make you want to attend next year. Get the dates on your calendar now as #OC19 takes place in Atlanta May 1-3, with the Party on the Porch kicking off the week on Tuesday night, April 30.  I’ll be blogging and posting interviews all week from various attendees and even hope to catch up with some of the speakers as well. I’ll also be live tweeting throughout the conference and you can follow along @dmaddron or simply by using the hashtag #OC18 in the search field.

Think Orange!

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The Countdown is On

In just a few days, 7,000 - 8,000 people will gather together in Atlanta, Georgia for three days of dynamic worship, teaching, networking, bridge building, note taking and Serious Night. That’s a lot of stuff to do in just three days, right? What is happening, you ask? It’s the 11th annual Orange Conference. 

 

That’s right, this marks conference number 11 for the team at Orange. And it seems each conference just gets better and better and folks from around the world continue to leave inspired and driven to make their ministries better, their communities closer, and the family stronger. 

 

Here’s a list of things that I’m looking forward to this year in no particular order:

 

YouLead Day- YouLead Day takes place on Wednesday morning/afternoon, and while it is an additional cost to the conference, it is a cost that I’ve deemed worthy of spending each year that I’ve gone. These tracks really dive into specific topics and have proven to be some of the best tracks of the entire conference. YouLead Day is all about equipping you in specific areas of ministry and is can’t miss type of content. If you have the opportunity to go, take advantage of it. You won’t regret it. 

 

The Resource Center(s)- The Resource Center(s) at The Orange Conference are amazing. I emphasize centers because there are numerous vendors set us throughout both buildings along with the impactful Phase Gallery. The Phase Gallery really helps folks remember how short our time is with our kids and that what we do every single day matters. An extra perk of the Resource Center(s), FREE COFFEE. Drink a cup or two for me, please!

 

Party on the Porch- Tuesday night, from 7:00 - 9:00 PM, it’s Party on the Porch. This is one of the best times to network and connect with folks including your Orange Specialist. You can pick up your name tag and goody bag on Tuesday night, play some awesome games, take some cool pictures with their amazing backdrops, and munch on some yummy Kona Ice as DJ’s keep the party pumping with the help of party host, Sam Collier.  

 

The Breakouts- The breakouts on Thursday are really good. You have a chance to hear from phenomenal leaders, learn how to align your teams (paid and volunteer), and how to make a greater impact in your ministry. Thursday is a great day at The Orange Conference.  

 

The Food Trucks- King of Pops, Chick Fil A, I could go on and on and on, but it’s hard for me to move past these two Atlanta staples. You need a popsicle from King of Pops and a chicken sandwich before you leave OC18! 

 

There you have it. Some of the many things that I am looking forward to at The Orange Conference. I didn’t even touch on Serious Night, because it's unlike anything else I’ve been apart of. That should whet your appetite and build some suspense! See you in Atlanta soon!

Thoughts from Children's Pastor's Conference Day 2

If you have been in attendance this week, say Amen to everything God has poured into you thus far. If you haven't been here, don't be discouraged. Hopefully, you are getting inspired enough to want to be present next year. Let's get into the day, shall we?

McNair Wilson was the morning speaker for the general session. He has done work with lots of corporations, both big and small, but the two that sticks out to me is his work with Chick Fil A and The Walt Disney Company as an Imagineer. I love them both for many of the same reasons, the way they treat their guests. I could go on, but you want to read more about the conference so let's proceed. 

Here are just a few key statements from McNair in the general session. 

What do you do best? Do you do it every day? 

Years ago is the place you can’t get to from here. Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do yesterday.

All actively creative people:

  • Take risks
  • Challenge assumptions
  • Stay curious
  • See differently

Failure is evidence that you’ve tried something.

Ask the question: what has never been done before? 

Ok. There's just a bit from McNair. More from him in a bit as I also sat in on his breakout. That last statement though is worth us really spending some time trying to answer in how it relates to where we're doing ministry and our methods as children's ministry leaders.

Breakout #1- Effective Neighborhood Outreach led by Kevin Reynolds. The synopsis to this is being willing to meet kids and families where they are at. Build that relationship, get them wanting to come back for more, give them Jesus, and then watch them enter the doors of your church. So many churches are investing big time money from their budgets on getting people inside their churches for an event other than a weekend church service.

I think back to our own efforts as a church. This past Halloween, we saw 1,300-1,500 folks come through our doors. I measured that as a huge win except for the fact, a few days later, when our church doors were opened again, they didn't show up. 

If we are going to be effective, we must be willing to meet folks where they are. Have your church members offer up their front yard for some neighborhood engagement. Don't stop with the one time. Build it up. Build a team to lead that neighborhood group and then you, as the children's m ministry leader, find another neighborhood and another front yard. Before long, you've got a handful of cell groups throughout your community who you've built relationships with and hopefully they are stepping foot on the weekends at one of your church services. Jesus went to where the people were, and then they began to follow Him. Stop expecting unchurched folks to walk into your doors without you having invested something in them. Let them see that you care and then they'll show you how much they care!

Breakout #2- HATCH: Brainstorming secrets of a Disney Imagineer

Let me just start off saying, buy this book. You can find it on his website: mcnairwilson.com

I'm not paid to say that either. This book has the ability to change you, your ministry and your church staff. Order 20, and he'll throw in a free 30 minute Skype session with your staff. Let me just tell you, BARGAIN!

Here are a few notes from his breakout:

When coming together for a brainstorming session, consider following these steps: 

 

  1. Start a Fire- let people know what the meeting is about and hold it to about 3-7 folks
  2. Creative/Critical thinking (never do these together)
  3. Yes, and- always follow up with this statement
  4. No blocking/no wimping- must be a team player, nothing negative to be brought to these
  5. More ideas- don't limit the number of ideas you bring to the table
  6. Wild ideas- don't limit the craziness of an idea (McNair has helped create some great attractions at Disney parks all around the world) 
  7. Critical thinking- hash out the details here, storyboards, napkins, etc.

McNair went on to share a conversation he had with Dan Cathey, of Chick Fil A. Dan raved about the book Good to Great and asked McNair his thoughts on it. McNair responded with such a great question that we absolutely must consider when thinking about our ministries "What's after great?" We simply can't stop at great. 

My final thought of his to share is this: design spaces/events with the whole senses in mind (Sound, look, smell, feel, taste).

Incredible stuff I tell ya.