The Orange Conference has officially begun! This morning, we attended some pre-conference You Lead Labs. (Be sure to check out my last post about becoming a better public speaker, which all came from one of these labs.) Tonight, though, we had our first main session with everyone in the Infinite Energy Center here in Duluth, GA.
As the main session started, we were treated to several great musicians and speakers, all bringing amazing truths. You can check out my Twitter feed for some quotes and images of them. The keynote, though, came from Orange’s founder, Reggie Joiner.
Reggie was great, as usual. He has such an amazing way of bringing simple ideas to light that many of us know already, because he does it in such a way that seems fresh and new. He packages his thoughts so well that they seem mind-blowing, even if we already knew it before he started. In fact, I think that’s what he does best — point out what you already know, but make it important again.
This year, he spoke all about the conference theme: For Our Neighbors. He main point was that we should be throwing a lot of parties.
You may be thinking, “But I don’t have money, time, or space to throw parties all the time!” Good for all of us, Reggie defined party as the following:
“A party is any effort to celebrate, serve, or enjoy each other in a way that adds value to life.”
He then looked at Jesus’ life, and pointed out that Jesus often spent time at parties. His first miracle was at a wedding party. He went to Matthew’s dinner party. He was often hanging out with people at celebrations, serving them, and enjoying others’ company. Based on that, Reggie made five incredibly important correlations:
- Sometimes it takes a party to change how we see each other.
- Sometimes it takes a party to demonstrate that God cares about people who party.
- Sometimes it takes a party to confirm that we can always be forgiven.
- Sometimes it takes a party to prove people matter more than our opinions.
- Sometimes it takes a party to remind us all that everyone is invited to the party.
Here are the lingering questions behind each of these: What would happen if we actually saw each other as we are supposed to see each other? What would happen if we truly cared about others? What would happen if we lived as forgiven people? What would happen if we valued people over our opinions? What would happen if we believed everyone is invited to the party?
Reggie then spent some time on something that I have been seeing in my own ministry. This next generation has a huge heart to serve. He said that one of the biggest ways we can help change the next generation is teach them more about how to serve their neighbor, instead of focusing so much on information. We often have multiple programs to teach kids about what to believe, but how many do most churches have that coach kids on how to serve?
We need to understand and help others understand what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:41, when He said, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” The first mile is all about fulfilling the objective. It’s the second mile that changes the nature of the relationship. That’s what Reggie says we need to pass on to the next generation.
So, how do we do this? Reggie wrapped up his talk with seven practical principles that will help us begin to think differently and and be better neighbors:
- Invite somebody new to the table. Meet some new people.
- Fast forward someone else’s dream. Put their desires above your own.
- Inspire every kid you meet. Each one matters and has amazing potential.
- Create beautiful spaces. Show others you value them by your effort.
- Speak up for someone else. Use your voice to be a voice for another.
- Discover life together. Let God work in the mysteries of your experiences.
- Do something you don’t have to do. Set yourself aside and value others.
As Reggie said, when we begin to do this, we will start to see our lives change and, better yet, we’ll start to see our neighbors’ lives change.
What do you think of all this? I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses in the comments!
You can follow Reggie Joiner on Twitter @ReggieJoiner. You can also purchase his books on Amazon or OrangeBooks.com.
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