Almost 3 weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Orange Conference.  This was my first conference in several years, and I was very excited to attend.  My experience, though, surpassed my expectations.  I have already shared my notes from each day on my blog, but I wanted to share some ideas I have on how to put it into practice.  The following is a list of steps I feel God calling us to put into place, regarding the student ministry at RCC.  Please pray that we can make this happen.

Get to know parents more.
If we are going to partner with parents more, we have got to know them.  It is as simple as that.  My wife and I are going to try meeting more with parents, having them over to our home, and reaching out to them…not just their children.

Parent meetings/forums.
I have not done too many parent meetings since arriving at RCC. Now, more than ever, I believe we need to start having these times for me to share God’s vision with them.  In addition, we will try to set up periodic time for parents to get together and share experiences.  Occasionally, we will bring in guest speakers, who can help encourage and equip our parents.

Family service days.
In addition to time for our students to do service projects, we will begin creating opportunities for parents and children to serve side-by-side.  This must happen, especially if we want to help families serve God together. We have to give them ideas and opportunities.

Push Family XP more.
Our curriculum provides a family experience connected with each series.  I have always sent these ideas to parents, but I have not really pushed the parents to act out on it.  These ideas are great, and it is necessary that I check in with parents to see if they are carrying out the family experience.

Family fun times.
Too many families today do not have fun together.  In my mind, that is sad.  Because many parents do not have the energy to plan or coordinate fun times for their families, we will begin providing periodic “family fun events.”  For example, instead of just going to mini golf with just the middle school students, we will strongly encourage parents to come along for the fun.

Students serving more in church.
Currently, we have students serving in only a few areas of church-life.  This needs to change.  We will start encouraging students to serve in all areas of RCC — including worship, kids’ classes, and local outreach.

Create student ministry team.
Probably the biggest idea I believe I was given by God while at Orange was to create a team that will change the spiritual landscape of Salem and NH.  I am planning on connecting with more youth ministers and churches in order to create this team.  If we are going to truly reach students and families in New England, we need to partner together, across denominational lines.  The spread of the Gospel is more important that small disagreements.  My (God-given) goal is to make sure 25% of Salem (and eventually NH) teenagers are in a church and growing in their relationship with God.

Connect with college students (care packages, invest, etc).
Following many ideas from Orange, we have to start pushing back the finish line.  Adolescence does not end as soon as a student graduates from high school. In addition, way too many students drop out of church after high school. We have to change that.  We will start sending care packages to our college students, staying in touch with those who go away for college, making sure they connect with campus ministries/churches, and we will do our best to help them feel connected with the church as a whole.  College life is all about moving from student-life to adult-life, and the church needs to help that happen.

Broadening our base.
There are many thoughts included in this, but essentially, we just want to begin reaching outside of our “bubble.”  In order to move beyond the students we have been reaching, we have to go places we have not been.  My wife and I are also going to start making ourselves available to speak at other locations and events.  Part of the idea behind this is to start sharing our vision beyond Salem and RCC.  You will even notice the new “booking” page on this site.

4 thoughts on “Orange Conference – Moving Forward

  1. Although Im not a member, I think the Connect with College Students via any means would definitely work out. Coming from my church from home, it was hard and is hard to try to stay connected to church and even harder to just venture out there and find a new church, at times it feels like there is no guidance. I wish mine had tried to stay in connect and such.

    I pray for the best!

    1. I think college-age people are the most overlooked and unreached in most churches…and that saddens me. I want to make sure our church does what they can to not let them slip through the cracks.

  2. So have you read the “Think Orange” book yet, Steve? If not, I would definitely recommend it! It will obviously reiterate many of the things you learned at the Orange Conference, but it also goes further into detail and gives some AWESOME practical tips for putting the whole concept into practice. Our staff is reading it together…I haven’t finished it yet, but it has been amazing so far! It sounds like you have some great ideas already!

    1. I have not read it, but from what our children’s minister tells me, I’ve pretty much got all the ideas already. I will probably go ahead and borrow her copy, though. Our lead minister is also reading it right now.

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