Someone told me a while back that ministry is one of the loneliest careers. At the time, I am sure I had no idea what that person was talking about. I mean, I was surrounded with peers in Bible college who were studying and doing ministry, and it was some of the best times in my life. However, college does come to an end, people move on to begin their careers and families, and soon you realize that life is not the same anymore.
It had been five years since I had graduated college, and it had been about the same since I had attended any type of ministry conference when Amy (our Director of Family Ministries) told me she would like to take a group to the Orange Conference. To this point, I had heard about it, because we were using XP3 for our youth group curriculum, but that was it. However, I was excited at the possibilities.
From the moment I arrived, I was captivated. In fact, the biggest thing that I took away from the Orange Conference in 2010 was inspiration. It was amazing to be around that many ministry professionals who were going about the same thing, focused on the same mission, and shooting for the same ending — families turning to Christ. From the worship music to the main sessions to the breakout workshops to conversations with lots of awesome people, I was truly inspired. It helped me to get going again. It helped me to realize that we are not alone. God has an awesome team of individuals working for His Kingdom, and I was able to rub shoulders with those people for a few days last year. If that is not inspiring, I am not sure what is.
While the conference did help me tweak and change some practical areas of my ministry, the spiritual and mental changes inside me were far greater benefits. Since then, I have a renewed outlook on ministry. Sure, things get tough sometimes, but when it happens, I try to let God remind me of His presence. On top of that, it is not just me. I have an awesome team of youth workers at the church, and there are many others all around the world, who are just as passionate about this ministry, if not more. All that inspires me to be a better leader and a better minister, because I never know who God might use me to reach for Him… It might even be another youth worker.
To find out more about the Orange Conference, go to www.orangeconference.org.