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!