OC 2014: It’s not always about you

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I’ve been attending the Orange Conference since 2008, in roles varying from from breakout speaker to nerdy blogger to an attender. I’ve attended by myself and slept on the hotel couches of my friends. I’ve attended with my entire staff team, and I even made a trip with my boss the year before that. The best of all was probably last year, when I got to hang out with my wife for the first time at the Orange Conference. If you search through this website, you’ll see a plethora of posts about my experiences.

Honestly, I’ve been so much that I’ve transitioned from attempting to drink from the fire hose of information thrown at me, to being more selective with where I get new insight. I’ve been to lunches with new friends, and drank coffee with old friends. I’ve listened to people lament their terrible situations and been encouraged by the amazing stories of others. I’ve heard messages that still echo in my head, and other messages that don’t so much. It has been 7 years of Orange Conference for this Family Ministry Director.

I’ve been there, done that.

This is where many people get stuck. What’s in it for me? Why come to a conference you’ve been to before? Is there something new this year? Are they finally going to have insert favorite communicator name speak this year? Do you want to know what the Orange Conference is for me? It’s a place.

It’s a place filled to the brim with people at all stages of my past experiences, and all stages of what I hope will be my future experiences (both to avoid and gain.)

It’s a place where people ask me questions. Not questions about my day-to-day job, but questions about their own day-to-day experiences.

It’s a place where I can be helpful to a few, and inspired by many more.

It’s a place where I go to center where I am. Connecting with old friends, meeting new friends, and listening to everyone in between.

It’s a place where I go. Would you like to go with me? I’ve got one free conference registration to giveaway. You’ve got to get to Atlanta, and you’ve got to find a place to sleep (not my house), but I can connect one person with a $400+ conference admission.

It’s your opportunity to create a place. A place for you that is unique. A place for you that is safe. A place for you where memories can be made and experiences can begin.

 

I’ve got one free conference registration to giveaway. You’ve got to get to Atlanta, and you’ve got to find a place to sleep (not my house), but I can connect one person with a $400+ conference admission.

Sponsored Post: Introducing the Orange Expanded Trial Package

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The great thing about Orange curriculum is that it’s part of a whole bundle of resources that are designed to equip churches. Right now, Orange is making it easy to try almost everything they offer. Its called the Expanded Trial Package.

You can try two months of their curriculum, plus all the videos and music. You’ll also get the posters, giveaways, and social media package. And of course you’ll get a great explanation of the Orange strategy with a video series and an Orange Specialist who can answer all your questions.

If you haven’t tried Orange before now is a great time.

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Special Orange Track at CPC 2013

CPC 2013
I am so excited about some of my favorite things all coming together in January of next year. I’ve been a huge fan of all things ORANGE for years now, and an even bigger advocate of small groups and those that lead them. I’m also highly invested in making the 2013 Children’s Pastor Conference one of the best places to take your team. For those reasons, I’m thrilled to share that both CPC and Orange are coming together for a special Orange tour experience at CPC.  There will be breakouts concentrating on their new Lead Small initiative and developing Small Group Leaders for children and preschool ministry.

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Lead Small - the key to mobilizing an authentic faith in the next generation.  Every stage of life needs a unique kind of influence. So, how do we create a culture in the church where small groups can thrive? How do we coach small group leaders to embrace their role in discipling a generation? You’ll walk away from this one day pre-con experience with practical tips to help you effectively hand off a timeless mission to a new generation.
Here are the breakouts available at CPC, all being taught by  Terry Scalzitti. There will be an entire team from Orange that will be there to answer any questions you have about Lead Small and all other things Orange!
5 Catalysts for Spiritual Formation
You’re invited to an interactive experience to discuss the key components on how the spiritual formation of the next generation takes place. We’ll take a look at 5 catalysts that spark transformation in a person’s life.
Lead Small  
We believe Small Group Leaders are one of the keys to a child’s spiritual formation.  Filled with practical application for small group leaders or working with small group leaders – you’ll walk away challenged, encouraged and renewed to do for a few what you wish you could do for many.
Why Structure is Important?
Groups will never work until we work like groups are important. We’ll dive into how to structure your Monday – Friday schedule to work on the things that will make your groups thrive on Sunday. This breakout is chocked full of easy, practical tips.
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Orange: The Messy Gospel

Last night the Orange Conference was kicked off with a great message from Reggie Joiner about the messiness of living the Gospel in today’s world.  I know that many blog posts related to what a speaker says at a conference are just a synopsis, and that’s allright; but the message last night was something my family and I have been living through for over a year.

When we chose to live out the gospel through fostering kids in our community, we couldn’t have known then just how messy and painful it would be.  Here are thoughts and things heard last night as it relates to the Gospel and it’s messiness.

The gospel is messy and painful. What we are compelled to do, is something that is messy. Collide with humanity.

  1. I can’t do what I do, without getting messy.
  2. It’s gonna be messy, because Jesus couldn’t have done what He did without getting messy.
  3. Jesus always challenged. It made things messy.

The gospel connects us all to those who believe. (This is what makes environments like Orange such a fun place to be.)
Jesus didn’t live a sinless life to set a good example. He lived sinless, so he could die for us. // Boom!  This is really great.

  • There is no way to live the gospel without getting messy.
  • Disciples were willing to do the difficult, because they had watched Jesus get messy.
  • There is no way to make disciples without them getting messy.
  • If my kids don’t get messy, I’m not equipping them to live the gospel.
  • I’ve got to help kids see the church as much bigger and expansive than the single one we attend.

We have a Gospel that is paradoxical and mysterious. Grace and Truth. Faith and Works.
Its time to acknowledge the tension of the Gospel and Theology.

Humans are the Living Sacrifice… Because we keep crawling off the altar.

  • Trust a God bigger than our Theology. Tension is necessary. Tension creates balance.
  • Engage In a Gospel that invites us into a bigger story.
  • Gospel is messy, because the cross was messier.

If you’ve never been to the Orange Conference, than take some time and see if it’s a place you could be next year in 2013!