I’ve been recovering from being out of the office for a week (which can be a good thing), and trying to process all I took in after spending 3 days at the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m reluctant to post about the conference; being that a lot of those that read this blog were at the conference or have read elsewhere about it.
But in the spirit of self-promotion, here are my observations:
- The best breakout session of the whole conference was the second one I took during the Pre-Conference meetings. Nancy Ortberg spoke regarding, ‘Necessary Conflict’. She totally read my mail on how I deal with conflict within my staff; and she encouraged us to see healthy conflict as what it really is: Collaboration.
- Listening to Craig & Mary Jutila share about their personal journey through some marriage and family problems over the past year was moving. It’s encouraging to hear their story of renewal, and proved to be a good warning about pushing ministry life too far.
- Reggie Joiner’s session on Monday Night, turned the story of the Prodigal Son on it’s head. It was the one session of the entire conference, that convicted me the most as a pastor and as a man. Get the DVD or audio of the talk if you can.
- Francis Chan, “If I only had the Bible to lead me, what would I know?” and out of Mark 4:14-20 he said, “Jesus only wants to teach those willing to follow Him!” Francis Chan can really mess you up as a listener of his talks; and I kind of like it!
- I sat in a breakout session by Donald Miller. He was much better in the Main Session. It was fun listening to him speak when I have read all his books. He’s a brutally honest person, and that really shines through in his talks.
- Donald Miller, “A leader is someone who gets to know me in such a way that I can’t help but take ownership in their vision!”
- Listening to Andy Stanley defend Northpoint’s spiritual growth path was fascinating. (Not that it needed defending, but it was nice to hear it from the horse’s mouth.)
- Andy Stanley, “We have more in common with Non-Christians than we think.”
- Gabe Lyons did a breakout about the Fermi Project, and learning to understand the culture we live in. I’ve read his co-authored book, Unchristian; and this session was a lot of what is in that book. I felt like most in the room disagreed with him, which created some great tension in the room. I love tension in the room!
- Louie Giglio is a different kind of Christian. He totally encouraged, confused, and challenged the crowd at the last session. He spoke about the true intention of Jesus to come before, during and after our lives. I said confusing and I meant it…
Overall the Orange Conference was a great trip, not the normal whiny Children’s Pastors conferences I’ve been to in the past. (Who takes a breakout on puppets anyways?) It really had some meat on the bone, and I hope to attend again next year.
The challenge for me after attending is to take what I’ve learned about the “Orange” philosophy and make it work were I’m currently at. Doing it exactly as they teach it would not work in our current church model (as it’s currently structered. I’m not saying it could never happen.) I have to filter everything I’ve learned through how things work at our church. This will be a process that is ongoing.
I have walked away from the conference inspired about what I know God has called me to as a believer. To reach families with the gospel in such a way that a foundation for God Centeredness is created that will stand the test of time. I’ve come back and dusted off my personal mission statement, and I’m believing for great things at my church and in my own personal life.