Ideology towards Practicality

Practically Helping

I’m a father and I’m learning. I’m learning that signing my son up for baseball means I get to sit outside in the freezing cold March nights. I’m learning that my daughter will talk about her favorite songs for hours on end. I’m learning that what my kids hear at church isn’t necessarily easy for them to do right away. I’m learning that my children are a much greater challenge to me than my job as a leader of children’s ministries.

I’m also a pastor and I’m learning. I’m learning that setting things on fire in a building with sensitive smoke detectors is not a great idea. I’m learning that glitter is the archenemy of our custodial staff. I’m more importantly learning the best of intentions does not guarantee a real connection with my families. I’m learning that children are the most important people in the lives of their parents. I’m learning that what I teach kids at church is second in importance to what parents teach their children at home.

We’ve all been there. We start working with kids, because we love the kids. We love teaching them new things about God. We love hearing them discover new ways of understanding God’s plan for their lives. Then, we realize that it’s much more fruitful to pour equal amounts of energy into the people these kids we love so much live with. That’s when we hit the proverbial family ministry wall. All that work you’ve been doing to connect families to your church could be for naught. The parents aren’t doing it at home. Your materials are top notch, they’re shiny, and they’re perfectly designed for parents … you think.

Read more from this article that originally appeared in Kidzmatter Magazine March/April 2014 at:


Orange Books Deal Week

Orange Book Week

Get some great deals during Deal Week.

August 18–22 is the first ever Orange Books Deal Week. For five days, you can take advantage of five different special offers on select Orange Books: messages (including something new from Jon Acuff), subscriptions, and resources designed to inspire and help you grow your ministry. For details about the Deals—and the Prizes you could win just for posting the Deals—keep reading. To be updated about special offers like these from Orange Books, sign up on the home page of

What’s better than a good read? A good read for a good deal.

Orange Books Deal Week

This week, August 18–22, Orange will be offering special deals for Orange Books. That’s right! If you buy select titles of the available Orange Books this week, you’ll get free bonuses like:

  • breakouts from Orange Conference 2014,
  • materials for small group leader training,
  • materials for a parent and volunteer workshop, and
  • tickets to this year’s Orange Tour.

Learn more about the deals available now.

Sample Their Newest Books for Free Today

Find the right book for you, and sample each of our latest books, by clicking the links below. Then, head over to and find a great deal for yourself or your team members.


Some things you need to know

*You must buy on August 18–22, 2014, in order to get the Deals.

*You can post from now until August 22, 2014, in order to win a Prize.

*You must claim your Deal by August 27, 2014, by filling out the Claim form.

*You may buy from Orange, Apple, or Amazon unless otherwise noted below.

Tell your Story


Did you know your church is always searching for more leaders? No matter how big the church you serve in is, there is always a need for more people to invest in the lives of the children there. As a small group leader, you play a huge role in this “recruiting” plan.

If your church leader could clone you, they would! You are the one your leaders are attempting to replicate, and you play the oh-so-important role of recruiter for your ministry. You know the people in your world, and you know who would make an awesome SGL. Part of fulfilling the responsibility of “Creating a Safe Place” is to make it a safe place for new kids and for the times when you can’t be there. So, tell your story!

Invite Someone You Love. Most of us serve because we were asked by somebody we trust, so pay it forward by doing the same for someone else. What we do always carries more meaning when we do it with someone we enjoy being with. Don’t keep it to yourself, invite others to share the experience!

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

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.

Orange 2014

Orange 2012

Beginning in 2008 and continuing into 2014…I’ll be at THE Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This year takes on an entirely new flavor, but I feel like maybe I say that every year.

Orange, is special to me. It’s “just a conference”, if Thanksgiving is “just a Thursday.” It’s the place I see a family of people that love families all across the world. It’s the beginning of new friendships. It’s a place that I go to spend time with those that love the same things that I love. If you are here in Atlanta, I’d love to see you and spend time over some coffee.

If you aren’t here in Atlanta, but are interested in hearing from the likes of Mark Batterson, Derwin Gray, Sue Miller, Perry Noble, Andy Stanley, Jon Acuff, and Reggie Joiner…then join us live online beginning on Wednesday and throughout the week. Don’t wait until Wednesday to check it out, you’ll need to RSVP for your online spot!