We’ve all experienced it. Some of us were prepared for it, while it has hit some when we were least expecting it. It’s all too real, though, even though we don’t want it to be. Many of us heard it was a thing, but if you’re like me, you tried to ignore it, hoping it wouldn’t come true. I’m talking about loneliness. And in the context of ministry leadership, it is all too real. So, what do we do about it?

Christmas season is all about Jesus, of course, and many decide to celebrate His gift to us by giving gifts to others. This Christmas, the “Orange Blogging Team” is collectively giving a huge thank you to Orange for their many gifts. Specifically, I want to thank them for all of my partners in ministry. Being connected with Orange has, in turn, connected me with so many like-minded people. In a career that is often lonely, this is invaluable.

Every year I go to the Orange Conference, I see more and more people I know. It has become like a huge reunion, connecting with old friends, hearing about what God is doing in their ministries, and being challenged together by great speakers and worship leaders. I look forward to the great content, but I am equally excited to connect with my friends and partners within family ministry.

This also helps when I go to other ministry events or am traveling. Just a couple weeks ago at the NYWC, I reconnected with several people I had originally met through Orange. Again, it was so great to catch up and hear stories from their ministry and families. Several of the men and women that work for and are closely associated with Orange are people I can call friends. I am excited to see them throughout the year, and they seem genuinely excited to see me and talk for a bit.

The online community is also great. If you use their XP3 curriculum, their Facebook Group is a great place to talk with others who use it by sharing success stories and asking clarifying questions. But even if you don’t use XP3, it’s a great place to talk with other youth workers. Their fairly new podcast, Rethinking Youth Ministry, is also worth a listen to not only hear some great wisdom but also to get to know the people behind the curriculum.

Whether or not you fully buy into the entire Orange strategy of doing family ministry, do not ignore the camaraderie and connections you can make with both the people behind Orange and other youth workers who are associated with them. They have become some of my best friends and partners in ministry. I really enjoy talking with them online and seeing them in person at events. If you’re looking for a larger network within student and family ministry, look no further than Orange.

So, thank you, Orange, for all the connections and networking opportunities you have given me and so many others within the world of family ministry!

As I mentioned earlier, this week is “Orange Blogger Week.” Be sure to check out all the other Orange Bloggers to see what they are thanking Orange for this Christmas.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for The Orange Conference 2019! It’s a great place to begin making connections within the Orange network. And if you sign up soon, you can save $70 per ticket! If you’re unfamiliar with this event, check out the promo video below.

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