This April will be my third trip to the Orange Conference. It has become something that I look forward to each spring, as it is a staple in my growth as a minister. However, I have begun to think about why I am so excited about OC12. What are the main reasons I am looking forward to attending this conference for the third time?
First, I get to sit at the feet of some of the experts in the area of family ministries. I realized early on in my ministry “career” that I have a great deal to learn. I am far from perfect, and one of the best places to learn are from the fantastic speakers and leaders that come to the OC.
Second, I get to connect with other ministers who are passionate about family ministries. Not only do I get to meet the excellent OC blogging team, but I also am able to connect with other youth ministers at various times. The most fun is when we get together for a fun night at Dave & Busters.
Finally, I get to spend a week with little responsibility. Many of the trips I take involve watching after teenagers. At the OC, I get to kick back and relax a bit. It is a great feeling to go into a time of worship without having to make sure all your students are there. Instead, you can just focus on God, which is always a great thing!
It is that time of year again — Orange Week! Several bloggers around the world will be flooding the inter-webs with thoughts on Orange, the Orange Conference, and family ministry. For those not “in the know” about Orange, it is essentially a philosophy of how to combine the church and family. These are two institutions God established, and we believe that they need to partner together. The Bible is filled with examples of why this should happen, but we also have many modern-day examples/experiences as well. This is especially crucial, due to the current state of both the family and church in today’s culture.
For my first post, I just wanted to point you to others who will be posting about Orange this week. Be sure to check out their blogs this week and beyond!
Two of my favorite organizations have announced they are officially partnering up for future ministry. Orange, the people behind most the family ministry things I talk about, and Upward, a church-sponsored sports league, will soon be joining forces.
The curriculum writers at Orange will be providing three components of Upwards’ experience – the weekly practice devotions for kids, weekly halftime activities for parents, and end-of-the-season celebration DVD for families to take home. Because of this connection, the emphasis on reaching families for Christ through Upward Sports programs will be greater than ever.
I am very excited about this partnership, as both are excellent organizations! For more information, check out the official press release I have posted below.
Equipping and empowering adult small group leaders is the only way to significantly grow a sustainable youth ministry beyond yourself. This is a common thread I have encountered throughout my Bible college years, seminary and at The Orange Conference.
I was asked by XP3 to share my thoughts on how we equip small group leaders at RCC. That blog post was published today.
Head to the XP3 Blog to read it.
Today marks the opening of registration for The Orange Conference 2012. Many of you might be wondering why I am pushing this conference so much on here. Well, here you go…
If you are like me, it is easy to get in a ministry rut. Days go by, and you continue doing ministry the same way you have been doing it. Occasionally, something will come along to challenge you, but you typically stay the same. The Orange Conference, for me, is all about confronting myself. I get to sit at the feet of many who have walked before me and gain from their God-given wisdom. At the same time, I get to rub shoulders with others who are doing ministry. We get to talk and figure out what is working and not working in their setting. These times open my mind to the much larger world out there and how we can better reach them for Christ.
One of the reasons I love going to any Christian conference is gaining from the wisdom of others. The Orange Conference is no different. One of my favorites is Doug Fields. Many of you in the youth ministry world probably know who he is already. For those who do not, you should get to know him. He was the lead student minister at Saddleback Church in California for many years, before his recent resignation. Now, he continues to write and speak about student and family ministries all across the country.
Photo from whatisorange.org
Doug speaks from the heart, and he speaks from experience. Not only does he keep things interesting with lots of personal examples, he is a great communicator.
One of the things I have learned from Doug is the importance of putting family first (behind God of course) after ministry and the church. As a minister, your first priority should be on helping your family know, serve, and glorify God. Then, you should go help others do the same in the church and world. If your family is not healthy in their relationship with God, your ministry is suffering. This is a change of mindset for many in ministry, but it is crucial. Sure, things get busy and tough, but a minister needs to lead at home before the church. In turn, he lead better at church.
One other point I have learned from Doug is to move out of the spotlight and put others in it. This should happen in many ways. For me, it has influenced me in two ways. I have placed more importance on our small groups and small group leaders, with the goal of allowing the students to connect with them and seek them out for spiritual guidance (in addition to their parents). Secondly, I have also been trying to help the students realize their own spiritual gifts and talents, and in turn, begin using them in the ministry. Doug has helped me step out of the spotlight and place others in it, so that the ministry does not depend upon me.
To find out more about Doug Fields, head to his blog.
For more on The Orange Conference, head to their website.
As we kick off Orange Blogger Week for September 2011, I’d like to address a simple question of “Why Orange?” For those of you who have been in ministry situations for a while, or just starting, I know a new idea like this could be confusing as to why to change it up.
For me, it is all about the heart of the Orange philosophy. The idea of Orange is combining the heart of the family (red) with the light of the church (yellow). These two institutions were began by God, and it is important that they are brought together. Too often in churches today, we are fragmenting our ministries. The student ministry, children’s ministry, worship ministry, etc. have no clue what is going on in each others’ area. On top of that, parents often have the mindset that the church is the primary spiritual influence for their kids, instead of themselves. The Orange philosophy is about dismissing these two concepts. Instead, the idea is to get all ministries on the same page, partnering together in support of families being the primary source of spiritual influence. The church should partner with parents and families to make this happen.
This is why I have chosen to support Orange, this is and why our church has adopted this philosophy. Specifically, for student ministry, this means that I am working with parents more and championing the family. In the end, it seems like a “why not?” decision for me. Why not partner with families in helping them serve Christ? That’s why orange.
For more about Orange, check out http://whatisorange.org.
Posted in Orange
Tagged Children's Ministry, Church, cullum, family ministry, orange, orange conference, Orange Week, rethink, steve, steve cullum, student ministry
Today official kicks off Orange Blogger Week for September 2011, To start with, I just want to let you know about The Orange Conference, especially since registration opens this week! Below is a TON of information about the conference straight from the ones who put the event together.
What is The Orange Conference?
OC is premiere gathering for church leaders in family ministry (preschool, children’s, student and senior leadership). There were nearly 5,000 people at OC11 from all over the world.
When is The Orange Conference 2012?
April 25-27, 2012
Where is OC12?
The Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA (a suburb of Atlanta)
Where can I get more information?
When does registration open?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The 2011 Orange Conference is now behind us all. If you were there or just kept up with all my blog posts, you know there was a ton of information. Often, one will be overloaded after a conference like this, wondering what to do first. I know I was like that last year, and I tried to take steps to prevent that as much as possible this year.
It actually helped me by blogging about all the workshops and main sessions. I also tried to keep a notebook handy at all times to write down specific take-aways. Similar to last year, I thought I would fill you in on some of the steps I plan to take in the next few months because of my experience at Orange 2011. This is not only for me to share, but it is also a bit of open accountability.
- I am going to either start or join an existing networking team of other youth leaders in my community. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, but I have never fully committed.
- I am going to get more involved in the schools. Specifically, I am going to schedule a meeting with the principals of the middle and high schools to let them know who I am.
- I am going to try to be a better leader of leaders. I am going to begin to focus more attention on our adult youth leaders and our high school student leadership teams. I want them to succeed!
- I am going to create more volunteer positions that vary in commitment level. I know that everyone will not be able to commit to lead a small group, but they might be willing to do something else.
- I am going to set a better example for everyone as I lead the student ministries of RCC.
Sure, some of these are pretty big goals, but with God’s help, I know they can happen. Please pray for me when you think of me.
Posted in Church/Ministry Updates, Orange
Tagged Christianity, goals, god, jesus, moving forward, orange 2011, orange conference, Religion and Spirituality, steve cullum, stevecullum, Youth leaders, youth ministry
Each year at the Orange Conference, they perform a song for all volunteers in the church, specifically those serving in children’s and student ministries. I can honestly say they are often overlooked and not appreciated enough. I know that I personally would be up a creek without my awesome team of volunteers! To all my volunteers and the others out there serving God in sometimes tough situations, thank you!!
Posted in Music, Orange, Photos/Video
Tagged Children's Ministry, Church, Come Sail Away, Don't Fade Away, orange 2011, orange conference, steve cullum, stevecullum, student ministry, video, volunteers, youth ministry