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Orange First Day

Spent a great morning, afternoon, and evening with my friends and church staff at the Orange Conference. I bounced around a little between pre-conference breakouts and other somesuch. Here is the Official Wednesday breakdown:

  • Had breakfast with friends Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, Gina McClain, and Matt McKee. My evening schedule is pretty packed, but it was great to get together over coffee, eggs, toast, bacon, and more coffee.
  • Pre-Conference Breakout #1: How to Mobilize Kids and Youth to Lead // The awesome Joy Bowen shared a vision for connecting into the lives of our teenagers by encouraging, trusting, equipping, coaching, and celebrating acts of service in our ministry areas. Joy has a passion for this, and it came across brilliantly. However, I was hoping it would cover more of how to use children as cheap and easy labor in my nursery areas. Maybe next year… :)
  • Pre-Conference Breakout #2: Leading a Family Ministry Meeting // Mike Clear from Discovery Church walked us through the Orange-O-Meter test in the Orange Leaders Handbook. It was quick, and full of content. Mike had some great ideas for how to use the Orange Leaders Handbook in staff ministry meetings. However, I was really excited to learn that Mike’s wife’s name is Crystal. This is all kinds of cool.
  • Pre-Conference Breakout #3: Get More Done in a Day // Jim Wideman taught some great life lessons. Jim leads from the front in the area’s of time management and organizing your day. He had some great things to say about How to get More from your 24. Personally, I would rename this breakout “How to make your day longer.” I’m not saying it works, I just think it’s funnier.
  • Pre-Conference Breakout #4: Social Networking Something or Another // I was the emergency text-question answerer for this breakout. Kenny and Matt brought the heat, and throughly confused those not on social networking sights; yet at the same time encouraged them to take that next step and engage our parents in this new arena and new way. I may have not answered the questions in a perfect way, but it was fun. Put those 120-word a minute typing skills to serious use. Yikes!
  • Opening General Session: After some great music, watching bad dancers in the audience dance, hearing great stories of people moving in God’s Direction towards a hurting world. Then Andy Stanley took the stage, and here are a few of his thoughts and words:
    • “Early Christians captured the imagination of the Romans because of their compassion and generosity.”
    • “Early Christians annoyed society, because they were benevolent!”
    • “Early Christians exposed the lack of government help in society.”
    • Our foundation of Christian faith has opened doors for us to shine this light in the world.
    • Sacrificing your marriage, forsaking your children, and dismissing your brother is paganism – chasing after those things is Christ
    • The church is more important than you will ever imagine.
    • The overflow of the church on mission is a force that nothing can stand against.
    • We are stewards of the message of eternal life…and we are stewards of the message of there is a better life.

I’m now totally exhausted, yet I’m really looking forward to this entire week, and promise to update every evening…or very early each morning.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.