Orange Conference Follow Along

OC Follow

This week I’ll be at The Orange Conference in Atlanta, GA seeing what is happening in and around the world of local church ministry to children, students, and families. I’ll be in breakouts, meeting with friends, and trying to update my social media feeds with those items that are curious, intriguing, and thoughtful.

Orange Leaders Blog

You’re accustomed to reading helpful leadership articles and event information from Orange Leaders blog. During conference, you’ll still receive detailed information about OC15, as well as information about Orange Tour and Orange Conference 2016, so check the blog daily. As well, we’re including recaps and notes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so that you’ll be able to take in some of the key concepts being presented this year. To easily see all of the posts related to OC15, click this category link.

Social Media Accounts to Follow

Whether you’re a preschool leader or a NextGen leader, Orange Leaders have accounts for you to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and beyond. In addition to our brand accounts, our Orange Specialists each have Twitter accounts where you can connect, share, and learn helpful insights. Click to see all of the Orange social media channels.


A hashtag is a means by which you can follow a subject matter or conversation on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook (public posts), Instagram, Google+ and more. A hashtag is our connection to you. It’s how ministry leaders and Orange hears your ideas, questions, and insights. Every time you use the hashtag for The Orange Conference —#OC15—there’s a group of leaders listening and learning from you. Join the conversation.

Be aware that no person or company can “own” a hashtag. Therefore anyone can use a hashtag for any material they choose to publish. Orange takes no responsibility for unseemingly content published using any of these promoted hashtags.

Twitter Searches to Follow

Whether you have a Twitter account or not, you can still follow the Twitter conversation by following searches.

To follow a search, simply go to, search for the name, subject or hashtag you wish to follow, and bookmark the search. Refreshing the bookmarked search page will allow you to stay on top of the most recent posts on your desired topic.

Tip: At the top of the search page, you can choose to view the “Top” posts for your search, or you can choose to see “All” posts for your search.

Recommended Searches For Those Attending OC15:

Twitter: #OC15
Twitter: #JustAPhase
Instagram: Using the search feature indicated by the magnifying glass in the app, you can search for names, hashtags and subjects to see recent posts.
Facebook: In the search function at the top of the newsfeed, enter any search term or hashtag to find related posts.

Recommended Searches for Those Not Attending OC15:

Twitter: #OC15Live – You’ll be watching the Live Stream at home, right? See below for details.
Twitter: #OC15
Twitter: #JustAPhase
Instagram: Using the search feature indicated by the magnifying glass in the app, you can search for names, hashtags and subjects to see recent posts.
Facebook: In the search function at the top of the newsfeed, enter any search term or hashtag to find related posts.

Twitter Lists to Follow

Each Twitter user has the ability to create lists of people from which they want to see posts. Orange Leaders has created a couple of lists you can follow that you may find useful.

If you have a Twitter account, you can “subscribe” to lists so that you have access to only that particular group of Twitter accounts via your “Lists” menu. To find the Orange Leaders’ lists, go to, click “Lists.” Next, click the list name, and on the left, click to subscribe. Subscribing to lists gives you access to this group’s updates via your Lists menu in your account.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, bookmark the following URLs:

Speakers at Orange Conference 2015
Orange Bloggers at Orange Conference 2015:

How to access/view Twitter accounts without opening a Twitter account.

If you’re not interested in following lists, or bookmarking searches, you can still find information from your favorite authors or speakers on Twitter without having an account—provided the person you want to view has a public account.

To read a public Twitter account, go to and search for the person’s name or email address, if you have it. Or, if you have the person’s account handle, for example @OrangeLeaders, simply add /OrangeLeaders (removing the at-symbol, @, and replacing it with a forward slash, /) to the end of To go to the Orange Leaders account page without having an account, in your browser’s URL address bar, type

Live Stream and OC15Live Hashtag

Once again, we are excited to offer non-attendees a Live Stream experience throughout OC15. Watch from the comfort of your home or office or favorite restaurant—provided that WiFi is available.

Be sure to RSVP today, and watch this blog for updates and the soon-to-be-released schedule!


For those who like to get a little more technical, the web and phone application, IFTTT (If This Then That), can provide hacks for gathering resources, information and contacts.

Click to view Orange Leaders’ IFTTT recipes.



Trophy Child: Saving Parents from Performance (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2012)

Sponsored-Post (1)


What a great book for parents! This is a book more about parenting motives than parenting strategies, and it will force you to answer some questions you may have been avoiding. Chocked-full of family devotion ideas, and of course since it’s a Ted Cunningham book…some practical marriage help as well. I love what David C Cook has published here, and I hope those parents out there looking for something new and unique would give this one a chance!



“Having kids who look out for the needs of others and who truly
love and serve the Lord—that’s what every Christian parent longs
for! Without relying on formulas or easy answers, Ted Cunningham
helps moms and dads understand what it means to instill character
in their kids. This is a great book!”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family


“Let’s face it—parenting ain’t for wimps. We need to let our kids
do their own homework, learn how to lose a few games, and deal
with the consequences of their decisions. This book will give you a
backbone without turning you into a tiger mom.”
Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times bestselling
author of Have a New Kid by Friday


“Ted Cunningham is a gifted communicator who is renewing the
way this generation thinks about marriage and parenting. The
thinking behind Trophy Child won’t just make you a better mom or
dad; it will make you a better follower of Jesus.”
Margaret Feinberg, author of Wonderstruck and
Scouting the Divine,

Orange Conference 2014

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved.©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

This week at the Orange Conference has been a special one. We heard things about… same-sex attraction and middle school ministry…depression and the church… why the church kills so many marriages, and everything in between. I’ve seen it all and argued both sides of nearly every point in my church ministry career, so I can appreciate an environment with tension in the air.

This conference, this week, we embraced the tension. Just some of what we heard from Reggie Joiner on the opening night summed it up:

You can KNOW God, but God is a MYSTERY

You can become a Christian in a MOMENT, but it will take FOREVER to understand what that means

You can trust that the BIBLE is true, but everything true about LIFE isn’t in the Bible

TRUST leads to stronger faith, but DOUBT also leads to stronger faith.

You should enjoy the CHURCH and you should enjoy living in God’s created WORLD.

Your BELIEFS matter, but PEOPLE matter more.

God has an IDEAL for your life, but God also uses BROKEN people.

That God is GOOD and that you should DO good.

If you’d like to take some of The Orange Conference 2014 home with you, then keep an eye out on for information on how you could purchase recordings from breakouts and main sessions from this awesome week together.

Books that Impact the Family Ministry Leader


When I’m talking with potential leaders, I’m usually investigating how much knowledge they have and how they learn. One great question is “What are you reading right now, and what books have impacted you the most?”

I love the responses to this question, and thought I’d answer it myself here. Here is my list of books that have impacted me the most as a family ministry leader. Please add your own impactful books in the comments, doing so might even get you a few books mailed your way...

Think Orange, Reggie Joiner || Honestly, it’s a bit much, because it’s the manifesto on all things family ministry. Lots of things to disagree with and agree with all in the same book. There is also the Orange Leader Handbook, which is much more digestible to go through with a team of leaders.

Lead Small, Reggie Joiner and Tom Schefunus || This is a fantastic book written for leaders that lead kids/students in small groups. I’m real excited about what could come from this little book, because it is stuffed to the brim with ideas for the small group leader. I’ve always got this book available to give away. I take to to lunch when I’m meeting with small group leaders, and have even highlighted sections in advance for people!

Dreaming of More for the Next Generation, Michelle Anthony || I recommend this book to anyone working with kids and students. It’s a great thesis on the “how” of leading kids/students. I love the thoughts on how to teach the Holy Spirit to kids.

Revolutionary ParentingGeorge Barna || A slightly controversial book on what research says about adult Christ-following kids. It’s great if you want to connect parents to what matters. I’ve given this away to parents for years.

Deep & Wide, Andy Stanley || I really believe that as you talk to churches, you are going to find more and more that have been through this book. At least in the interviews I’ve done in the past month, that has proven true.

Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley || Intentional Apprenticing is vital to how we do ministry here at Athens Church. This book is a great guide to take a young person through, or anyone that you see potential leadership

StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath || This little book is the easiest way to discover what makes you the leader you are, and when used on an entire team will give you a glimpse into how to lead those around you, as well as how to follow your own leader well. I’ve got a stack of these in my office at all times to give to leaders I’m talking to.

Sticky Faith, Kara Powell || A look at the attempt of churches and parents to develop deep, profound, sticky faith in their children. I’m not sure it has all the answers, but it’s impactful nonetheless.

Lead Small for Men

Lead Small Guys

Do you know the hardest volunteer to find? It’s a man willing to work with boys in a small group. It’s the boys groups that are the loudest, craziest, and sometimes, just sometimes, the most destructive. I’m a parent of 4th and 6th grade sons, and I know as well as anyone how difficult it can be to get them to have sincere conversation around spiritual things. And yet, this is the very challenge our men small group leaders are faced with every week.

It’s always my goal to challenge us all to continue to fight the fight for relationship with our kids. Here are a few things I believe could help our men in their attempt to wrangle their small group:
  • Make Introductions. Boys respond well to strong introductions, and being by the door to greet parents and share a fist bump with their son is monumental. It shows parents they can trust you, as well as makes a strong statement of who is in charge of your room. This may mean that you and your co-leader take turns at the door, to make this first impression.

Read the rest of my contribution at the Lead Small blog at: