I’m at the Orange Conference this week, and I’m blogging notes from breakouts and main sessions. Here are my notes on the pre-conference breakout entitled…

Creating a Strategy for Improving Your NextGen Strategy – Adam Duckworth

Every ministry age group leader should care as much about every age group as they do their own.

5 Gauges to Monitor

Strategy Gauge


  • Churches spend a lot of time on their mission, and not enough time on their strategy.
  • Mission is what you’re going to do. Strategy is how you’re going to do it.
  • Are you aligning your systems so that your staff, your leaders and your parents lead to the same end in mind?
  • Figure out the end. For Orange, the end is all about relationships.

Experience Gauge

  • Create an experience that’s age appropriate, relevant and fun.
  • Are you crafting core truths into engaging, relevant, and memorable experiences?
  • Do people like coming to the environments you’re creating?
  • When is the last time you experienced your environments as an outsider?

Parent Gauge

  • Nobody has the opportunity to influence a child like their parents.
  • How have you developed a strategy where parents actively participate in the spiritual formation of their own children to build an everyday faith?
  • When was the last time you considered how your current program could help lead their children?

Groups Gauge

  • Move from the classroom model to a relationship model.
  • Are you creating a culture that truly grows and develops leaders who serve in your ministry?
  • Relationship = discipleship, so we must train people and give ministry away to people who can develop those relationships.

Service Gauge

  • Are you providing middle and high school students the opportunity to get in the game, or just be spectators?
  • Are you creating consistent opportunities for kids and students to experience personal ministry?
  • Where are you creating those opportunities? Don’t relegate them to the sidelines when they serve.
  • When is the last time students have done something meaningful for someone else in your ministry?

Personal Gauge

  • When is the last time you prioritized your own development over someone else’s? 

My Ideas for Action Items

  • Buy the Orange Leader Handbook and use it to evaluate your ministry.
  • Bring in an outsider to evaluate your environments and debrief. This could be a friend from another church, or an unchurched person who can help you see things you are blind to.
  • Create a plan for getting middle and high school students involved in ministry. (Side note, we set a goal this year to have a greater percentage of students serving than adults).