Image via Twitter
Brooklyn Lindsey is a middle school pastor at a church in Florida. She started off her workshop at Orange Conference 2014 by asking the audience if they have experienced crisis within the last week. After most everyone in the room raised their hand, she moved on to share a word of encouragement for everyone.
“You are not superhuman, but you are supernaturally able,” Brooklyn starts. You are probably not able to do things that superheroes do to save people by flying in and saving the day, but you do have the ability to respond in a way that is supernatural. The church is a lighthouse people often run to in times of crisis. Brooklyn urges to stand strong, because people will run to us in hard times. She then said, “We might not be the best in every situation, but we can be our best.”
Mark Batterson kicked off Thursday morning at Orange Conference 2014 with a message to say yes to reimagining what you do. This is so important, as we often get stuck inside our boxes.
He started by sharing several stories from history when people reimagined the process. The stories ranged from war to surgery to the Olympics. Mark then said, “If you want to repeat history, do it the way it’s always been done. If you want to make history, do it the way it’s never been done before.” Before he went on, he said that it must start internally. If you want to pray for something or someone, pray for yourself. Pray for God to change you, and give you what you need to approach things in a new way to reach new people.
Photo from whatisorange.org
Reggie Joiner started off the main sessions of the Orange Conference 2014 with an amazing message that we need to say yes to a God that is bigger than you think. Honestly, there was so many amazing things that he shared, and there is no way I can recreate it for you. If they make this message available for download, do yourself a favor and download it! However, I will share his main points, but know that it will only give you a peak into what he said.
Reggie started by sharing a list of what he wants kids to know:
- You can know God.
- You can become a Christian in a moment.
- You can trust the Bible.
- Trust leads to stronger faith.
- You should enjoy going to church.
- Your beliefs matter.
- God has an ideal.
- God is good.
Then, he went back through this list to share some other things kids also need to know:
Does your church lack a social media strategy? Does your ministry lack a social media strategy? Are you wanting to communicate better to your parents and volunteer leaders? If you said yes to any of the above, Matt McKee and Gina McClain have some things to help. They led a pre-conference workshop at Orange 2014 called, “Developing a Weekly Social Media Plan for Parents and Volunteers.”
Matt started by stating, “We’re passionate about social media, because we are passionate about people, and people use it.” They started with this video from Erik Qualman containing a ton of social media stats.
What is the “Next Gen Pastor?” This is most likely a common question from churches. Nina Schmidgall defines the role as the pastor to the next generation. He or she is the person who is leading the ministry from cradle to graduation (and maybe through college). In Nina’s Orange Conference 2014 pre-conference workshop she goes into detail about this Next Gen role in the church.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE NEXT GEN PASTOR:
1. Champion the Next Generation
This role is a guardian of the DNA. Before you guard it, though, you need to define it. Maybe someone needs to help you define it. This person’s goal should be where everyone on the team can state your purpose. Then, they help the overall team to remain committed to that DNA.
The first pre-conference workshop I attended was all about measuring what is important in family ministry. The speaker, Terry Scalzitti, is a senior pastor at a church in Oceanview Baptist Church (Myrtle Beach, SC), but he spent several years doing “next gen” ministry in Florida. He started off his pre-conference workshop with Deuteronomy 6:6 in order to focus on why we do what we do.
Before he jumped into his main points, Terry shared some basic information to get us all on the same page:
- We all want to be better at what we do, because we believe that what we do matters.
- You can leverage what is cultural, what is changing, to communicate what is eternal. If we don’t, we are the ones that looks like a fool.
- If you want to build something that last, you have to be willing to change what you build.
- When you upgrade your system (when you’re willing to change), you highlight the mission in a clear way.
Terry, then shared five gauges to help you do ninistry better:
Hey, everyone! I'm here at the Orange Conference 2014. As you know, I'm going to be sharing a lot this week from the conference, but I thought I would give you a quick heads-up about what workshops I am attending, so you know what to expect later, when I get to sharing what I learned.
- Measuring What's Important in Family Ministry (Next Gen) with Terry Scalzitti
- Defining the Role of the NextGen Pastor with Nina Schmidgall
- Developing a Weekly Social Media Plan for Parents and Volunteers with Matt McKee and Gina McClain
- Creating Experiences for Married People with Ted Cunningham and Ted Lowe
- Leading through Crisis, Tragedy, and Trama with Brooklyn Lindsey
- The Power of Story (Children & Student focus) with Heather Zempel
- Creating Games to Engage Middle School Students with Kenny Campbell and Elle Campbell
I will also be sharing from the seven main sessions. I hope you all are as excited as I am. Expect at least one post a day from me, but it will probably end up being more.
During the next week, I’ll be at the Orange Conference, learning more about what it means to help the church partner with families. I’m actually going as an official blogger for Orange, as I did a few years ago. What does this mean for you? I plan on taking a ton of notes and sharing them throughout the week right here on my blog. So, in a way, you can attend the Orange Conference right alongside me.
(For those regular readers who are used to seeing just a few posts a month, this is your warning that I will be posting a lot more over the next week.)
In addition, you can also check out main sessions and other talks via a free live stream of the conference. Yep, it’s FREE! Just head over to the Orange Leaders blog for more information.
I’m looking forward to going back to the Orange Conference this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing everything with you. So, stay tuned!
This year, I'll be heading back down to Atlanta for the Orange Conference. I'm really excited to be blogging for them again this year. So, what does this mean for you, as a reader? This means you can expect daily posts during the conference about the main sessions and workshops I attend. It might also include some interviews and maybe even a giveaway or two. You never know.
In terms of preparation, I want to make sure I am covering the things you want to hear about. So, let me know in the comments what you would like me to cover at OC14. There are a ton of workshops, which are already filling up. I've done my best at signing up for the ones that I think will be most beneficial, but if you see something on the list, be sure to point it out.
During the week, I will also be post little tidbits on Twitter, so be sure to follow me there, too!
During my college internship, I was asked to read the book “Family-Based Youth Ministry” by Mark DeVries. This was the first time my eyes were open to the idea of youth ministry reaching beyond the teenagers, themselves. He gave several good ideas about how to connect with the parents of teens. While it was a great book, that is all it really was for me. I never really took it further than starting to say hi to the parents more or making sure they had our youth group calendars.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I attended my first Orange Conference, that I really began to understand the importance of connecting with parents. This concept goes way beyond putting information in their hands. It’s about working on the same thing at the same time. Before I get into it, I do want to admit that I still have a long way to go in truly implementing this concept to its fullest potential. What I have seen, though, has blown me away. Why? Because it is not about just keeping parents in the loop. It’s about coming alongside them in their efforts to raise their children to serve God all the days of their lives. It’s much more than just sending that calendar home. It’s about talking to them about their struggles of talking about the Bible at home. It’s about giving them suggested questions to ask their teenagers. It’s about offering times for them to connect with other parents of teens. It’s about partnership.
Speaking of partnership, one of the other benefits of the Orange philosophy is that I get to work more with our children’s minister and early-childhood minister. When I was in college and in my early days of ministry, I never really considered that to be something I would enjoy. But since we have been thinking about an entire church mentality, we have begun to “silo” our ministries less and less. The end result is a partnership that I have grown to love. When we get together to talk about ministry, not only do I know what is going on with the little children, but they know what is going on with our teens. Then, we are able to develop strategies together that span birth through graduation, and beyond. On top of that, we come up with plans to strengthen that partnership with the parents.
As I look forward to the future of our church and my ministry, I have begun to think of it less and less as mine. Instead, it belongs to God, ultimately, but He has given it to the church, as a whole. We need to stop siloing our ministries and begin thinking of them as one big ministry who partners with the family. This not only includes the “traditional” ones like youth and children, but it includes men’s and women’s ministries, preaching, music, and beyond. Yes, it is important to share Christ with one person, but think of how much greater it would be if you reached the entire family! That’s my vision and goal, and I thank Orange for helping me see it!
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