#OC17 For Our Neighbors

Friday at conference was absolutely unbelievable. With the likes of Dr. Bernice King, Bob Goff, Doug Fields, Andy Stanley, Lecrae and more on the schedule, you had a feeling that the day was simply going to be amazing. 

Friday's at #OC are stocked with heavy hitters who are bringing a message the world needs to here. This year was no different. Let's take a brief look at some of the message points that really stuck out and what we can do with them going forward.

Ryan Leak brought another great word to us at #OC17 this year. Ryan is a Pastor in the Dallas, Texas area that loves to ball and loves to keep his car clean. He shared something else with us, he loves to hand out Gatorade to the guys he's playing basketball with. 

Ryan was very encouraging about some ways that we can be for our neighbor. Ryan has made it a steady practice that when he is at his local Starbucks or even the carwash, ask the simple question "Is there anything I can pray for you about?" The responses he's received from that have been life changing. Me and a couple of friends from the conference even put it into practice Friday night at dinner by asking our server if there was something that we could be praying for him about. Our server shared that just earlier in the day he had reconciled with his mother. Isn't God good? 

Here's a couple of other quick quotes from Ryan: "If it’s the worst it’s ever been, then it’s the easiest to make things better." He was speaking about how different folks he had encountered would talk about the collective attitude of the country. His response was great and challenging. One last quote from Ryan: "There’s someone in your neighborhood with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and they need to know that God is on their side." We must get to know our neighbors if we are going to be for our neighbors.

Jeff Henderson, Pastor of Gwinnett Church, is a great leader and speaker. I absolutely love what his church is doing in Gwinnett County, Georgia. They are reaching folks who've never stepped foot into the church and even having folks who came to be agnostic claiming Gwinnett Church as theirs. Want to know their secret: they are simply For Gwinnett. They are for Gwinnett families, businesses, other churches, visitors, commuters.

Jeff shared a verse that really struck a cord with me. It was the beginning parts to John 3:16. "For God so loved Gwinnett. How impactful. How moving. How "For Their Neighbors". They are impacting drive thru lines with kindness simply because they are FOR Gwinnett.

I was so moved by that attitude and sense of selflessness. It reminds me of the church described in Acts 4. They were simply FOR each other. I've come home with the attitude that I want to be FOR Lee's Summit simply because Jesus is FOR Lee's Summit. Encourage your family and your church kids to be For Their Neighbors.

I would like to wrap up this post talking about Dr. Bernice King. Her father is the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King brought me to tears and several hundred if not thousands of others. I'm going to leave a couple of quotes here and be done. I can't do them any justice by elaborating because they are so in my face and quite divine. She spoke on racial reconciliation. Here's some quotes: We must connect with each other and our stories. What killed my father was not hate, it was indifference and apathy and absence of the people of God and the Spirit of God.

Friends, let's be #ForOurNeighbors!


#OC17 Breakouts

So if you're new to the Orange Conference, you will know that today was information overload. It's ok. They have a great resource called the Orange Conference Influence Kit. It has all of the audio from the breakouts and main sessions. You NEED this resource. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about the kidmin breakouts that I attended today and some brief takeaways from each. 

My first breakout today was with Chad Ward from Browns Bridge Church. Browns Bridge is a part of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia. Chad talked about moving kids to be neighbor to be neighbor minded. Chad presented us with 3 big opportunities:

1. Create meaningful generosity and compassion opportunities. We simply need to be presenting our kids opportunities to show generosity and extend compassion to their neighbors. On a side note, did you know that 1 in 6 kids across America go hungry on a daily basis? Create some opportunities within your ministry to help improve and dissolve that statistic.

2. Create meaningful invest and invite opportunities. The challenge to this for us is that we have a lot of full calendars with no focus or purpose. Let's change that! 

3. Create meaningful conversation opportunities. Get a good curriculum that will guide conversations to help kids become neighbor minded.

My second breakout was about Leading Elementary Volunteers to Weekly Influence. This breakout was presented by a very influential person on this topic Adam Duckworth. Here's the 4 big points that he made.

1. We must have a STRATEGY.

2. We must look SIDE TO SIDE.

3. We must be CONNECTED.

4. We must CELEBRATE.

Session 3 featured the Jingle Jam FX. What an incredible production it was. We will be doing our first of hopefully many Jingle Jam's this upcoming Christmas season. It's worth the investment. 

Session 4 was without a doubt my favorite of the day and quite possibly of the entire conference. It spoke on Reimagining VBS to Reach Your Community. The Executive Director of Orange VBS Amy Fenton led this breakout and provided some valuable information that helped me reset my focus on why our church does VBS but even more important, it helped shape up my vision for our VBS in July. Here's the statement she made that shook me up and made me push the reset button on my vision for VBS: Leverage VBS as an opportunity to build relationships with kids to tell them about Jesus.

We hear a lot about evangelizing and how VBS is such an impactful tool in doing that. Our approach is so crucial. We've got to leverage VBS as a relationship builder and not just another event. You and I have the opportunity to help kids who need to be known, who want to connect with others, and who want to come back on Sunday. Let's keep this in mind as we lay out vision over the next few weeks with our volunteers.