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5 Things Orange

I had a great time at the Orange Conference last week.  It was my 4th time to attend, but the first time I’ve taken my entire team along for the experience.  I was abel to make the normal Orange Conference connections that I’ve made each year, meeting new friends and reuniting with old ones.  Because these Internets love a good list, I’m going with a top 5 things I took away from this years Orange Conference:

  1. The Team: Taking my senior pastor, executive pastor, college pastor, student ministry pastor, and connections pastor was quite the experience.  When you add me to the mix, that creates 6 different personalities living within close proximity with each other for 5 days.  I’m proud to say that nobody was killed.  :)
    • They all had different takeaways from the conference, and I’m looking forward to reaping a harvest of action from all the ideas planted within them.
  2. The Friends: I had breakfast each morning with some serious Family Ministry big-timers.  It was a great experience to get up early so I could eat, talk, dream, and pray with those that I share my life with.  Easily one of the best takeaway experiences of the entire conference, was the breakfast me and some others had with Jim Wideman.  I realize I don’t have enough Jim’s in my life right now, and the time I had with him; and the answers to my questions that he had were a blessing to me.
    • <rant beginning> And if you attended this conference or any other conference, and don’t make the time to connect with those that don’t work at your church…then you are missing it in a serious way.  Build it into your schedule to take someone from another church out to dinner, breakfast, or coffee when you have them in your view.  Don’t think they have the time?  Well, maybe you just haven’t asked yet. <rant over>
  3. The Word: Listening to Andy Stanley, Jud Wilhite, Perry Noble, Gordon MacDonald, and Doug Fields speak in the Main General Sessions were life changing.  I was recapping some of what they had to say to a friend this morning, and I realize that the words from those brothers in Christ were just what I needed to hear.  Love the time I have to experience the teaching of God’s Word when in the company of like-minded people!
  4. The Breakouts: Breakouts are a tricky thing.  Will you get some great content, but a bad presenter?  Or will you get some great humorous person with great delivery that doesn’t really say anything of value?  It’s sort of a crapshoot.  This year I batted about .900 in picking breakouts; and it may be the best year yet for me.  Easily the most  inspiring  one was from Chap Clark on turning a church Orange.  Listening to him give a church history lesson on the use of overhead projectors, was insightful and challenging.  This is the one breakout that I wish everyone in my team had been in on!
  5. The Sleep:  Oh wait, there wasn’t any.  Every year I go to Orange I tell myself that I’m going to sleep more than the previous year, and yet every year I stay up til 1am, and find myself waking up at 5am to head out to breakfast somewhere.

It was a great year at Orange, and if you were there would you do me a favor?  Leave me a comment and say hello.  I miss you already!

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.


  1. Anthony Prince · May 2, 2011

    Hey buddy,
    I’m a little bummed we didn’t have a chance to connect more this year!
    There’s always next year, right?


    • Jonathan Cliff · May 2, 2011

      I was swamped this year like never before. Having 5 other people from your church creates a much different experience than years past…

      It was good to see you when I did!

  2. JC · May 2, 2011

    It was a blast! Connecting with people is most definitely THE best part of conferences. The time spent with Gina, Cathy, Anthony, Jim, and others were priceless.

    Wish we could’ve connected more. But now that you are following me on twitter we can :)

  3. jimwideman · May 4, 2011

    I enjoyed getting to know you better and look forward to spending more time with you!

  4. Cmetcalf · May 4, 2011

    I’m pretty proud of your whole team for coming. It is my secret biggest dream ever ever that our entire church staff team would come together…