Why Conferences Matter

Care About Oranges

Few people know that I was a Meeting Management Major in college. I think the name of the degree has changed somewhat, but it was essentially a tourism management degree with a special emphasis in conference, exposition, and convention management (meeting management.)

I would do internships at these big conferences where people were looking for work, philandering about with strange women, and filling up that travel expense budget for their companies. It was schmooze city.

Now I’m 37 and in spite of those  experiences, I love a good conference!  In fact, I will be spending much of the next week at The Orange Conference in Atlanta. It’s called ORANGE, because we believe that if we could create rich experiences for children and students including both the family (RED) and the church (YELLOW) we would have something that reflects ORANGE. Get it?

There will be some schmoozing here, I guess; but then again there is that about anywhere you go these days. As I’ve prepared to go, and prepared to write some of my experiences, I’ve felt compelled to share why someone that doesn’t work in a church should want their church leaders to be at something like the Orange Conference.

  • It’s Different. // The music is different, the speakers are different, the ideas are different, the environment is different, and for much of us it’s a fun mixture of all the familiar and unfamiliar in one place. This is good for your leaders. They will either come back with something fresh for your church, or they come home with stronger convictions than ever that you are doing it the right way for your church.
  • It’s Fun. // It’s always fun to spend time with old friends, and make some new friends. Maybe that’s the schmoozing I wrote about earlier… It’s good for your leaders to enjoy themselves, especially with other people that think and create like they do.
  • It’s Challenging. // I can guarantee you that if you send your leaders to Orange, they will be challenged on something they’ve elevated to sacred status. This is a good thing. Sacred Cows make the best hamburgers anyways.
  • It’s Out of Town. // That’s a weird one, I know. There is something symbolic about packing that suitcase, getting in a car, waiting at an airport, and arriving somewhere unfamiliar. It lends itself to a journey, and that’s exactly what you’re asking your leaders to do, right? “Go on over there, and come back and tell us what you see.”

This may be the most unconvincing  argument  for letting your church leaders attend something like the Orange Conference; but take it from the sincerest parts of my heart. It’s this “getting away with other leaders” idea that could be really, really good for the local churches in all different parts of this country and beyond!

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Friday Bag

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It’s that time of year again. Since 2008, I’ve had a fun opportunity to spend a week in Atlanta, Georgia with friends that do my job and those that love the things we do. I have a real passion for parents, kids, and everyone that loves them; and when I’m in Atlanta at the Orange Conference I never feel more surrounded by likeminded people than I do when I’m there.

In honor of what will be a few updates from the Orange Conference 2013, I give you the Friday Bag…Orange Edition.

New Orange Conference Family Ministry Track — This is a great opportunity to really narrow down what we do for families within our church, and it’s a special chance for me to lead a breakout with these same leaders. I’m stoked to be teaching “Clarifying the Win for Family Ministry” on Thursday Afternoon, April 25th.

Tune into The Orange Conference! “We d love for everyone to be here in person for OC13, but realize that s not always an option. So, we d like to offer you the next best thing: tune in online. You ll be able to see on and off-stage action, including session streaming, speaker interviews, mayhem and hi-jinx, resource updates and giveaways, and perhaps even win a ticket to OC14!”  

The Orange Conference App “If you’re planning to attend The Orange Conference this Spring in Atlanta, Georgia, this app will help make your experience on site pretty darn stellar.”

Why come to Orange Conference 2013? from Orange on Vimeo.

New Orange Conference Track for 2013

Spring is here. The trees are starting to bud and the scent of new life is in the air. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. One thing that comes with every spring for me is the little conference I attend every year in Atlanta called  Orange Conference. Ha! There s nothing little about Orange Conference!

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This year makes my fifth year to attend this great conference. From time to time, people ask me why I keep going back. Once you get this whole ‘Orange thing, can t you move on to something new? For me, Orange Conference has become a part of my annual routine because each year, it s a totally different  experience. I come home with different ideas, have different conversations and each event inspires me in a fresh new way. It s less about the event and more about the people and conversations that accompany the conference (but I must say, the event is spectacular). There are very few places where so many people are gathered in the same place for a few days that challenge and inspire me so much within the context of the ministry I m currently in. Why wouldn t I make my way to participate each year?

Now, I must say that this year is very unique for me. Something is happening at OC13 that is not happening anywhere else, and I think it is incredible. This year, Orange Conference is hosting a specialized breakout track for NextGen/Family Ministry leaders. Not just people who are responsible for family elements of ministry, but those in the unique staff role of both student and children s ministry oversight. It s a very new, but rapidly growing role within the church and there s so much to learn. Orange has put together some amazing communicators to talk about the things NextGen/Family Ministry leaders are dealing with. These breakouts attempt to define the role and the family ministry team. This track aims to process through the biggest hurdles leaders in this role will face. What I m even more excited about is gathering and rubbing shoulders with others in this role as we all learn together.

Breakouts include:

  • Leading a NextGen Meeting with Kenny Conley
  • NextGen/Family Ministry Leadership: Leading 360 Degrees with Michael Bayne
  • The Art of Delegation with Powell Grisham
  • Family Ministry 101: Defining the NextGen/Family Ministry Team with Darren Kizer
  • Leading Through Conflict Resolution with Kenny Conley and Jim Wideman
  • Clarify the Win: Narrowing Down What is Most Important in Your Ministry with Jonathan Cliff

So, if you are in this role, or you work with someone in this role, OC13 is the place to be this April.

If you d like more info about the various tracks at OC13, we ve added for 2013 are Track Champions and a greater explanation of our tracks. You can read more about the goals of the each track here (http://www.whatisorange.org/orangeconference/2013/new) and watch the videos here (http://vimeo.com/whatisorange)  to offer further explanation.

Consider Tomorrow

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Ever think about tomorrow? Of course you do, but do you ever think about somebody else’s tomorrow? When we have families, kids, students, and anyone else visit our church it’s always worth it to think about Thursday afternoon. Why Thursday? Because that’s where real life is lived, on the lazy afternoon of a normal weekday. It’s so often overlooked, but it’s always worth looking at the entire week of those that visit our churches.

How?  

Follow a parent on Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIN.

Send the mother an email, and ask some questions.

Put a pen to paper and mail a postcard…to the 8 year old.

Capture your most witty and encouraging sentence and text it to the teenager that visited.

Buy them a helpful app on iTunes and email it to them.

 

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to connecting with those that visit our churches, but it’s an iceberg worth tackling. If it’s warm cookies that the purple hairs bring to the house, or the senior pastor that follows up with a phone call. It’s all fair game when we attempt to connect a Sunday experience with a Thursday afternoon.