Orange Day

This week there will be a plethora of web writings and blog postings extolling the virtues of The Orange Conference.  I’m sure that you’ve heard my take a few dozen times over the years, but the Orange Conference is (IMHO) simply the greatest combination of family ministry minds gathered together each year.  There are some great conferences out there, and we are living in a Church Ministry golden age of some great gatherings for leaders.

To me The Orange Conference is the premier place to get to know children’s pastors, youth pastors, family ministry pastors, and senior pastors; because they are all in the same room.  The Orange Conference is NOT a family conference.  The Orange Conference is NOT a children’s ministry conference.  The Orange Conference is NOT a youth ministry conference.  But what it is NOT, is what makes it so great.  Those that gather each April in Atlanta are gathering so that they can step outside their own ministry comforts, and join the conversation within a greater team of leaders leading the entire family.

I’ll be there this April in Atlanta, and I hope that if you are a church ministry leader you will pray about joining me with the others in attendance.  Let’s work to be game changers in our churches and communities!

Check out the NEW Orange Conference website today, and don’t forget to mark your calendars right now!  Registration begins on September 22nd, and you will want to register on this day to get the cheapest rates to the Orange Conference!

Illuminate Conference News

This just in…stop…from Mr. Kenny Conley and team…stop…big news out of Nashville…stop…Illuminate…coming to a town near you…stop…read below for all the cats pajamas…stop…you’re welcome…stop…

With two Illuminate Conferences under my belt, one thing is sure… Illuminate is like no other conference. At both Austin (2010) and Birmingham (2011) I heard the same thing over and over.





That’s what kidmin volunteers from Texas, Alabama and Georgia all had to say about their Illuminate experience. So, the only logical thing to do is more events, right? That’s what I thought too.

On Saturday, February 18th, 2012… Illuminate comes to the great city of Nashville, TN! Details are still coming together (like speakers and breakouts) but we do have a handful of great communicators already lined up.

  • Jim Wideman (General Sessions and Leader Q & A)
  • Jonathan Cliff
  • Amy Fenton Lee
  • I’ll be there too… plus a few others

So, if you live within a 2-4 hour radius of Nashville, TN, make plans to attend the only event bringing some of the most influential voices in kidmin to the local arena to equip volunteers. It’s one of the best investments you could make in your volunteer team. At the early bird price, you can afford to bring them all!

For more information about Illuminate, check out  For more information about the Nashville event, visit

Staff Talk: Assume the Best

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the tension that exists on our church staff this week.  This is my last attempt at teaching myself and others how to navigate these sometimes bumpy waters of working on a church staff.  I’ve written about defining what you want out of your church staff relationships, taking action steps to make it happen, and practicing a high level of accountability to seeing it take place in your reality.  Right now I want to address the bow that tops the gift.

When working on a church staff, you always put yourself in a position for success when you decide beforehand that you will assume the best of those you work with.

Put it however you want.  You have to give them a benefit of the doubt, expect the best out of their intentions, and stop assuming the worst in everyone else’s motives.

I’ve sat in many an office with someone that is deeply wounded by the actions of another.  Many times I’m not seeing the offense, but I encourage the wounded person to speak to that person to hurt them.  What’s crazy to me, is how often the offense was never intended; and the person that did the wounding leaves wounded.  Why would they leave feeling hurt?  Because they can’t imagine that someone they trust would think they’d have such a terrible motive behind their actions.

When we choose to assume the best of those we work with, we free ourselves from the comparison game.  We free ourselves from bitterness towards the success of others.  We free ourselves from resentment that only handicaps our own efforts for the Kingdom of God.  When was the last time you were willing to give others the opportunity to have a bad day?  Do you never have bad days?  When have you given people the room to just misspeak?  Have you never misspoken?  When have you offered someone quick forgiveness, seeing that they genuinely made a mistake?  You can live free, and it all starts with giving others the same courtesy you’d want them to give you!

I’m not naive.  I realize there are some mean and angry people working on church staffs.  There is rarely a conference that goes by that I don’t hear stories about how church staffs that turn my stomach.  But even in that world, assuming the best goes a long ways towards giving us the health we need to work with those we lead, those we cooperate with, and those we follow.

Staff Talk: Practice Accountability

You’re making it happen on your staff.  With those you lead, those you work with, and the people you follow; you have figured out what you want and you are doing it.  But there’s more.  It’s the dreaded time to Practice Accountability.  Are you really doing what you’ve defined?  Are you really making it happen?

The truth is that you can only expect to change those things you are willing to evaluate and hold accountable.  On this step, it will look drastically different depending on what level you are practicing accountability.  Pay close attention and don’t mix these up!

Those I Lead -> You have the strongest role here for holding your team accountable.  You’re the leader, it’s on you to evaluate and manage.  However, I’ve learned it’s so important that you let individual accountability happen in an individual setting.  The flip side of that is to only let team accountability happen within a team setting.  Don’t confuse these two!

Those I Cooperate With -> I’m going to encourage you to get inward-focused on this one.  Evaluate yourself from time to time with these questions: Are you being the person you want them to be for you? Are you being the friend you want them to be for you? Have you invested the time necessary to build the peer atmosphere you expect?  Practicing accountbility at this level is all about personal accountability.

Those I Follow -> Accountability at this level becomes even more inward focused than it does with our peers.  I’ve found the easiest way to practice accountability at this level is to put myself in the position of the people I report to.  From this perspective I can evaluate myself, but I have to be willing to look at myself honestly.

To skip the step of holding accountable what you’ve said you want, and what you say your willing to do; is to skip actually seeing it completed.  Take the time to let it happen in a real way, by practicing personal and individual accountability in all of your staff relationships.

How do you practice accountability when you’ve set a plan?  Let us know in the comments below!

D6 Happenings

Next Tuesday, I’ll be heading east back to the DFW Metroplex to attend the D6 Conference.  I’m looking forward to meeting some new friends, and connecting with some old friends at the same time.  What is the D6 Conference about this year?  I’ll let them explain it in detail:

For the last several years everyone has been talkin family ministry, right? But the conversation is really bigger than just family ministry. It s bigger than any trend we ve seen come through the church or an exhibit hall at some conference.


The bigger conversation is really about biblical discipleship. And biblical discipleship is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


We no longer have to sell the crisis the church is facing in NextGen discipleship. Instead, our challenge is to provide NEXT steps and NEXT strategies: practical, time-proven plans to implement change within the church and in the home.


The primary challenge we face is implementing the strategy and practical steps to breakthrough to the NEXT level in fulfilling the mission of the church. D6 2011 is fully dedicated to equipping leaders, ministers, volunteers, and parents with practical NEXT steps and NEXT level strategies for discipling the NEXT generation.


Leaders at D6 2011 will collaborate on what is NEXT for the church, families, parents, students, and kids.


  • Radical Homes
  • Broken Families
  • Biblical Worldview
  • Growing Marriages
  • Implementing Change
  • Healthy Ministry Teams
  • Generational Discipleship

I’m really excited to be attending a conference that combines such a great group of parenting, marriage, and church experts in one place.  Every conference has their niche, and I see D6 as having a valuable voice in the family ministry movement in our churches and schools.  I feel like I live in the golden age of church ministry conferences, and I’m so thrilled to be participating with D6 next week!

I wrote about it last week, that I’ll be a part of a special writing and live-blogging group bringing you relevant information from pre-conference labs and main general sessions.  I’ll also be conducting some back stage interviews throughout the week.  Stay tuned next week for more information, and get ready to learn something new along with me!