The theme of Orange Conference 2011 is It’s Your Move. Here are my notes from the conference main sessions. Click here to see my notes from the breakouts I attended.

Orange Conference 2011: Main Session 1

  • The conference opened with a motivational video filled with inspirational quotes about being the Church (capital C).
  • We heard stories of different people who are doing all sorts of things to advance God’s kingdom. Church plants, homeless shelters, ministering to families with special needs, helping schools, and others.
  • The point is that some of us need to make a MOVE and do something. Some have already made a move, but many of us still need to.
  • 30 different denominations & 13 different countries present.
  • “Sometimes to make a move you have to stop something from moving.” – What do we need to stop? A ministry? A way of measuring success? A meeting? A curriculum? A bad volunteer?
  • Reggie interviewed Ron Hall, author of Same Kind of Different as Me. The story of a husband and wife who’s lives were changed by meeting a homeless man.

Andy Stanley’s Talk

  • The Church launched from a person (Christ) and an event, the resurrection. It’s a movement and not a building or institution.
  • Jesus said the Church would be built on the fact that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Catholics may disagree 🙂
  • How did the first Christians survive the first century, Rome, Jewish institutions fighting against them, persecution?
  • Ministry is hard but something stirs in you when it comes to the local church.
  • It was radically different 2000 years ago to claim that everyone was made in the image of God and God loved them.
  • Christians have done amazing things throughout history such as stopping abortions, serving people with the plague because they didn’t fear death. These things were amazing because they were different, and better, than the cultural norm.
  • Emperor Julian complained about Christians saying their morality, benevolence and kindness helped it spread even though he didn’t actually believe they were genuine. He acknowledged that Christians supported their poor, while they neglected them.
  • A Chinese social scientist who studied the west (Europe & America) to find out what caused it’s success and pre-eminence in the world said they thought it was because of better weapons, or better government, or better economics, but over the 20 years they researched it they discovered the heart of that culture was Christianity. Christian subcultures in China are far better off (morally & economically) than the rest of China.
  • The Church is more important than you’ll ever imagine.
  • It is not natural to forgive, to stay moral, to love your enemy.
  • Andy read from Galatians 5 to contrast human nature driven by sin to living God’s way through the Holy Spirit.
  • All our laws are in place to protect us from human nature. With verses 22-23, there would be no need for law.
  • The Bible addresses the 3 root causes of all our problems in this world. – Andy via Adrian Rogers.
  • The bottom line- Christianity and the Church makes a profound difference and people will know we are Christians by our love. – John 13:35. We are stewards of eternal life, but we are also stewards of a better life for others.

Orange Conference 2011: Main Session 2

We opened the session by praying for all the people and communities that were devastated by the storms yesterday. It was great to get in groups and pray for God’s grace and love to pour over those people in such a difficult time.

Each year Orange invest resources into do studies designed to help churches reach families better. This year the study focused on leveraging technology well. Reggie Joiner brought Carey Nieuwhof and Jared Herd up to talk about the results from the survey.

  • 92% of parents using cell phones/smart phones compared to 75% of teens.
  • Only 36% of teenagers felt they have close, emotional relationships with their fathers.
  • Technology probably isn’t causing issues in families but rather is just another way that pre-existing issues in families are revealed.

Reggie Joiner

  • Our message is important so we need to say less to make what we do say have a greater impact.
  • What we do say, we need to say more often.
  • Discipleship hinges on relationships, not just teaching. Relationships at church and relationships at home.
  • Put kids in consistent small groups with consistent leaders for the greatest impact.
  • Think about including some type of family experience in your strategy. Use it to communicate to parents regularly.
  • Reggie talked about the importance of serving our families well first. He interviewed a couple pastor’s kids to get their insights about what their parents did right in raising them in a ministry context. What we can learn from them:
    • Minister’s, remember that the ministry is your job and not your kids. They have to find their own identity.
    • Our relationship with Christ is the priority, not attending every church event. Let your kids see you follow Jesus with your life first, not just at church.
    • Student minister’s, make sure your students have a mentor. Maybe it’s not just their group leader but also a college student.
    • Let each student know you believe in them. Don’t neglect some who are probably already neglected at school.
    • Dad’s, tell your daughters they are beautiful and you love them, every day!

Jeff Manion

  • Jeff Manion is pastor of Ada Bible Church.
  • Jeff talked about different struggles we go through in our families where we’re stuck in the land in between.
  • He read from Exodus 3 in talking about God’s concern for the Israelite’s suffering. In talking about bringing them out of Egypt and into the promised land he didn’t mention the land in between, the desert.
  • God is interested in rescuing us in the desert, but not always from the desert. What is your desert, your land in between right now?
  • The Israelites go through multiple crises
    • Crisis 1 – WaterExodus 15 – A real crisis. God helps Moses make the water pure again.
    • Crisis 2 – FoodExodus 16 – Another real crisis. God provides manna.
    • Crisis 3 – Water…againExodus 17 – Their faith in God is being tested and formed through crises. God provides water from a rock, something dead, something out of nothing.
  • God was teaching the Israelites to trust him completely.
  • He teaches us to do the same.
  • In the land between the soil is fertile for transformational growth but it is also where faith goes to die. Our response dictates which way we go.
  • Complaint resists eviction. To get rid of complaint, invite trust in instead.

Orange Conference 2011: Main Session 3

Gordon MacDonald interviewed by Reggie

  • He’s convinced our best ministry work will be done in our 50’s+
  • Your family is the Lord’s work.
  • There are as many as 5 different generations in each church and they need to find a way to be one.
  • Gordon talked about the importance of older generations in the Church as well as young generations. He said churches should focus on their babies.

Jud Wilhite

  • Remember what you were before God called you and remember what he has called you to.
  • Jud read from Mark 2 about the men who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed.
  • God moves on our behalf not just so we can be forgiven and free but so we can be sent out on mission to share his love and grace.
  • We’re called to help people out of their mess, not judge them when they’re in it.
  • Ministry is messy because sin is messy.
  • If we’re going to reach people in our culture it’s going to get messy.
  • Our gravitational pull is away from the mess.
  • Some questions in relation to the Mark 2 story
    • When was the last time things got messy in your church or area for Jesus?
    • Are you seeing obstacles or opportunities?
  • The last Greek word in the book of Acts is unhindered.
  • Believe the impossible for outsiders and for your friends.

Who am I believing the impossible for?

Orange Conference 2011: Main Session 4

Jared Herd interviewed Kara Powell

  • Parents, do your kids know how you became a Christian? Talk to them about it.
  • Ask your kids questions about their faith. Research shows they need that in order to grow in faith and find their identity in Christ.
  • We have to be careful not to turn the gospel of Christ into the gospel of sin management.

Reggie Joiner interviewed Eric Draper

  • Eric was the personal photographer for George W. Bush for all 8 years in office.
  • Eric took pictures in the White House and experienced all the crises, disasters and challenges they faced.
  • We watched pictures Eric took throughout those 8 years and he gave us insight into what was happening behind the scenes. I loved hearing about the President and his staff as people, not just titles.

Doug Fields

  • A new perspective is often necessary to see tings clearly.
  • Many church staff members are not good at developing other leaders.
  • If y0u are a self-preservation type of leader then you don’t take time to develop other leaders.
  • Rarely in the church is leadership development intentional.
  • Many leaders are trying to build their own kingdom while working in silos separated from the rest of the church ministries.
  • A spotlight leader is one who puts the spotlight on others. Who are you pushing into the spotlight?
  • Spotlight leaders can be defined 3 different ways:
    • Secure – Spotlight leaders are secure. They step back to allow others to step forward.
    • Searches – A spotlight leader searches for the best in people and draws it out. When I think about __________ (someone I know or work with) do I want them to do really well, or just well enough to not be better than me, or not well at all?
    • Servant – Leaders are servants. Servants are rarely ever recognized on this side of eternity. It’s common for serving to turn into self-serving.
  • Spotlight leaders love people more than they love themselves.
  • If you will be a spotlight leader everyone wins.

What are 3 things I can do to push others into the spotlight?

Orange Conference 2011: Main Session 5

Reggie Joiner interviewed Geoffrey Canada

  • Geoffrey started the Harlem Children’s Zone.
  • He is part of a documentary called “Waiting for Superman” which takes a hard look at education.

We heard stories from different people about people in their life who believed in them and helped them become who they are today. Powerful. Who are you believing in?

Perry Noble

  • John 5:6-9
  • We’re all afraid of something.
  • If you chose to do children’s ministry or student ministry you’re insane.
  • What you do today is going to matter tomorrow.
  • Who packed the boys lunch that ended up providing food for everyone?
  • Somebody taught that boy about Jesus.
  • If we want to help kids we must…
  • Teach kids to recognize Jesus.
    • Some of the most messed up kids are church kids, because they don’t recognize Jesus.
    • We try to teach our kids good moral behavior and end up separating the good kids from the bad ones.
    • Maybe lost people act like lost people. We need to accept that and them.
    • We’re so obsessed with appearing good and behavior modification that we’re not teaching them about heart change through Jesus.
  • Teach kids to trust Jesus.
    • Kids are taught they are an accident, not a creation of God.
    • It’s a lie to tell kids they can do anything they want to do if they believe in themselves and try really hard. American Idol shows us that is not true.
    • The truth is kids are created uniquely by God and he has a plan for their life. They need to surrender to Jesus and pursue his plan and not their own.
  • We need to release kids to Jesus.
    • There have been more church splits over a church van than anything else.
    • There’s too much fighting and competing going on in the church.
    • We need to teach kids to recognize Jesus, trust him, and release them to reach their generation.

What you do today matters tomorrow. Never underestimate it.