Orange Books

Summer Reading List

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WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS SUMMER?

Orange Books has put together a reading list just for you.

Whether you are in children’s ministry, a lead pastor, a volunteer, or stumbled upon this page by accident, they have a book for you.

Leaders, like writers, read. So they asked leaders three questions about books:

What books do you recommend to leaders in your area of ministry? 
What books are you asking your team to read? 
What’s on your own reading list?

The Summer Reading List is the result. Organized around eight topics, and comprised of both religious and secular books, it’s actually multiple lists in one. In fact, it could form your reading plan for the entire year. You may wish to read (or re-read) several books related to your area of ministry, or you may want to “cherry pick” across topics, but they think there’s at least one book per topic you’ll find enriching or challenging.

Click HERE to get your copy of the List. By signing up, you’ll receive not only the List itself, but eight special offers (one per week beginning July 12) on select Orange Books. Watch your inbox for details each week.

Give your ministry the gift of a better you. Reflect, rethink, and renew this summer with Orange Books.

Orange Conference Follow Along

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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.

Hashtag

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 www.Twitter.com, 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 Twitter.com/OrangeLeaders, 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 Twitter.com 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 www.Twitter.com. To go to the Orange Leaders account page without having an account, in your browser’s URL address bar, type www.Twitter.com/orangeleaders.

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!

IFTTT

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.

 

 

5 Reasons Easter at Your Church Still Matters

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In just a few weeks many across our towns and cities will gather in churches to celebrate Easter. More appropriately, we’d say that some gather because their mothers asked them to attend; but for the most part many feel compelled to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a good thing.

I’ve served in the local church for over a decade now, and have seen the the great, and unfortunately the regrettable approaches to celebrating this holiday together. It’s easy as a church staff insider to get lost in the organization of a day with 3 times the normal responsibility, and it’s also easy to forget that what we are doing on this weekend of all weekends matters.

Here are 5 reasons to make it worth the effort this year:

1. People far from God feel safe to be in your church. I’ve seen opportunities on Easter where those that have felt far from knowing Christ have used the holiday to approach Him in the safety of the numbers that Easter presents.

2. People close to God need the reminder of what it means to celebrate the resurrection. Many could go on and on about how we don’t talk enough Jesus in our churches, but I won’t go there. Instead let’s remember that Easter of all Sundays, is the one weekend that we are without excuse to put Jesus front and center.

 

3. Easter is for families. Easter is a holiday, and holidays bring out the family in all of us. It’s a season that people gather with their families, share big meals, hunt easter eggs, wear pretty dresses, and show off their favorite pastels for all to see. While these things in and of themselves will not save us from our sins, they are still things that bring families together. How can you leverage that?

4. Authentic community can flourish at Easter. Just as the resurrection of Christ is celebrated, we can also celebrate those that help this special weekend happen! Easter is a great reminder that it takes a community, working through Christ, to reach a community.

5. Jesus. 

 

Developing Faith with Catechism

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My kids are learning so much. The three of them range in age from 9 to 12 and are tackling subjects like: Electricity, Comparative adjectives, Geology, Pre-Algebra, Revolutionary War history, and have written papers on the men and women of history like Pocahontas, George Washington, and even the ancient math-whiz Archimedes.

So much learning, so much content and yet this is only the beginning.

They’ve had to learn how to use the multiple remotes in our living room, that the milk goes back in the fridge after a bowl of cereal is poured, and that you never hug your mother early in the morning before their teeth are brushed!

With all of this memory work happening in their brains, where do we begin faith conversations? How can I capitalize on their impressionable minds with something that ties them to this faith that our family holds dear? How do I make the truths of the Gospel something they can quickly recall and use when it fits their everyday life?

Devotions are a great place to start, but with late Elementary and Pre-Teens I want them to have a great foundation that we can build devotions on as they mature and age. I’ve found something that works great for our family, and the brains of the three growing kids in our house. Catechism. That’s right, you read that correctly. Catechism.

The word “catechism” comes from the Greek word katācheō, which means “to teach, to instruct.” The word is used in Bible passages like Luke 1:4 and Acts 18:25. It can be used for any kind of teaching or instruction, but it came to refer to a specific type of teaching very early in church history. In the early church, new converts were taught the basics of Christianity by memorizing a series of questions and answers. A catechism is just that–a series of questions and answers that teach Bible truth.

For example, here are some of the catechisms we’ve learned this year; and there are many more that we will learn in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Who made you and everything? God made everything and me.

What is God like? God is our holy and almighty Creator. He cannot be seen, but he has made everything we can see.

Why did God make you? God made us to enjoy him and show his glory to others.

What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news that we enter God’s kingdom through God’s cross by God’s grace.

Why does God tell us, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy”? So we will rest in God and remember finished work of Jesus.

We’ve added a few catechism’s to the kids weekly spelling lists. We’ve added them to whatever vocabulary words they are learning, and I’ve thrown them into a few special “get rewarded with ice cream real quick” scenarios I create on a whim. There are many different catechisms out there, but our family settled on the wonderful NorthStar Catechism developed by my friends at Sojourn Church. You can go download a PDF of all of them and even order yourself some playing cards sized ones right now!

I think it’s pretty well stated what catechism is, and when you read over the details of them all you’ll quickly understand what they are communicating and preparing in the hearts and minds of your children. However, for clarity let me state what they most definitely are NOT.

They are NOT just another way to beat my kids over the head with more learning. They are easy to memorize, easy to learn, and fit perfectly alongside all the other things our kids have learned. If you think your own kids are not smart enough to memorize these, then you’re not giving them enough credit. It has worked for us to add catechism to what we were already asking our kids to memorize. You’ll find that they’re just different enough from what they normally memorize that it’s fun and unique.

They are NOT a way to guarantee faith in our kids. The catechisms won’t do much for their souls if learning the Catechisms aren’t marinated in their hearts by engaging in impactful spiritual conversations with their parents and others that love them. The cards are oftentimes a starting point for us, they are not the end point.

They are NOT separate from God’s Word. God’s Word is perfect and each catechism we take the time to make it clear that these answers (and many of the questions themselves) come out of the Bible. The foundation is God’s Word, and anything I can do to help bring that to the center of my kids lives, is key.

There are so many ways to teach our kids faith, and the challenge for us as parents is to find ways to make faith relevant, real, timely, and catchable to our kids. I know that the day will come when they have to decide for themselves who they will serve, but it’s my duty to help them get the right picture of what you are believing when you believe in Christ for eternity!

IF THEY DON’T admit their struggles to someone, they will never experience the power of bringing things to light in a way that facilitates freedom and forgiveness.  IF THEY CAN’T be their Monday-through-Saturday-self when they are with you in group, they will have a hard time applying their faith in everyday situations.

Reggie Joiner

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And don’t forget about the special Orange Conference 2015 Registration Giveaway. Go Register Today!

 

Lead Small: Five Big Ideas Every Small Group Leader Needs to Know (Atlanta, GA: Orange, a division of The reThink Group, 2012)