Drinking From a Fire Hydrant

Last week, I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Orange’s slogan is, “Imagine the impact when church and family collide.”

Yellow/Family + Red/Church = Orange

Reggie Joiner is the creator.  We use their curriculum in our church from preschool to high school.  The whole church, even the adults kind of rotates around the idea of family and church working together.  The idea of church impacting the family and family impacting the church. It’s wonderful.  We even send our high schoolers to “Bigstuf,”  which is a camp in conjunction with Orange  (I have links to Orange and Bigstuf on the right if you want to check them out!).

Our leaders in our church find it important for us to go to Orange because we learn so much, get great deals, build community with each other, and are fed spiritually.  I took 3 of our middle school volunteers with me. Children’s Ministry took 2 staff members and 5 volunteers.  John Tanner, our Senior Pastor, also went.  It was a great time!

Many times I laughed so much that I cried.  Many times I worshiped so much that I smiled and cried.  Many times I nearly got a crick in my neck from nodding in agreement with the speakers.  Simply wonderful.

I had the opportunity to listen to several speakers that are so knowledgeable, realistic, and honest about ministry.  To name a few:

Reggie Joiner, Lanny Donoho (of BigStuf), Jim Wideman, Doug Fields (Saddleback Church), Clay Scroggins (North Point Community Church), John Ortberg (The Life You’ve Always Wanted), Nancy Ortberg (Willow Creek Community Church), Perry Noble (NewSpring Church), Rev Run (Run’s House), Lecrae, Steve Fee, Sue Miller (The reThink Group), Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Mark Batterson, Jared Herd  (The reThink Group & BigStuf), Darren Klzer (Parker Hill Community Church), Ted Lowe (North Pointe Community Church), and  Abbie Smith (Can You Keep the Faith in College). That is just the ones I heard…their were tons more!

The breakout (smaller) classes I took were:

1- “Building and Apprentice Mindset,”  which talked in detail about how to reduplicate yourself with in ministry.

2- “Thinking Intern,”  which gave methods on raising up interns and how to lead an internship program.

3- “Looking Ahead and Pointing the Way,” which was about leadership, strategic planning, and going multi-site.

4- “All the Single Ladies…In Ministry.”

5- “Orange-ology- The Teen Years Part 2,” which was about the philosophies of Orange.

6- “Building Community Among Volunteers,” which talked a lot about community building strategies.

7- “Programming for Quality Small Groups,” which we were already doing most of what they recommended. 🙂

Every time I go to a conference,  I kind of feel like I am drinking from a fire hydrant.  It’s like getting doused or hosed down by the Holy Spirit.  Whatever you are thirsty for, you will be filled.  The great thing is that you can go and pour back out all your zeal!

All the information, thoughts, and ideas came at me at a rapid pace.  I have lots to process. You have all this community among ministers world wide, where you have a fast and furious chance to take advantage of networking, asking questions, and talking about ministry.  You also have the chance of worshipping with out worry of a mic going out or the band having issues. You have resources out the ying-yang! Lots of books, curriculum, c.d.’s, pamphlets, missions companies, seminaries, deals etc.

Now, I am reflecting. Reflecting on changes in our system, how to make it better, how to build up not only students but volunteers.  I am also reflecting on what we do well. It’s kind of like patting yourself on the back or saying “Yay God!”  I can’t wait to get back to the office and share with Darin!

I highly recommend going to Orange to anyone in ministry.  There is something for everyone.  I don’t think there was anyone in our group that did not at least learn something.  Also, try and take your key volunteers. It is so beneficial if they know the structure behind what you do.  It only better equips you and them for ministry!

Think Orange.


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