Below, you’ll find my notes from Orange Conference 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is Focus – clarify the essentials and eliminate distractions. Orange is a conference for family ministry teams and senior leadership in churches. You can see my notes from the breakouts I attended here.

Orange Conference 2013 Session 1

Reggie Joiner

  • When you see the time you have left, you get serious about the time you have now.
  • Reggie talked about the importance of realizing the time we have as parents and church leaders with kids before they graduate high school.
  • Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12
  • Reggie shared an idea they did with parents at church, giving them a jar full of marbles to represent the number of weeks they have until their child graduates. His new book, Losing Your Marbles / Playing for Keeps, shares 6 things every kid needs over time and 18 practical ideas to make your time and influence with them matter more.
  • You can’t make a kid have faith, but you can engage them in a story that’s bigger than themselves.
  • Make what matters matter more.

6 Things Every Kid Needs Over TIME

  1. Time over time creates history.
  2. Love over time shows worth.
  3. Words over time give direction.
  4. Stories over time give perspective.
  5. Fun over time provides connection.
  6. Tribes over time give us a sense of belonging.
With the limited time we have we must be more present with a few.

Orange Conference 2013 Session 2

Ken Coleman

Reggie interviewed Ken Coleman. Ken has a radio show in GA and a new book out called One Question. I know of Ken mostly from him hosting the Catalyst Podcast, which is an excellent resource for church leaders. Ken & Stacy are passionate about adoption and Ken has been able to help encourage other people to consider adoption as well.
In the interview with Reggie Ken talked about how we, as children, ask so many questions. However, by age 13, most people ask just a few questions each day. We’re trained to answer rather than inquire. He said that good questions inform, but great questions transform.

Andy Stanley

  • Andy shared how a lady once told him (34 years ago) that he had a gift for teaching. He believes it changed the course of his life and her words mattered.
  • As the Church we have felt like Christians are the majority in terms of the population.
  • We’re not the majority any more.
  • Because we assumed we were the majority, we spoke and taught with authority, believing people who disagreed would just catch on.
  • The early church spoke not from a position of authority, but as the minority with very little influence. Yet, 2,000 years later almost a third of the world believes what they believed, that Jesus is Lord.
  • Approach determines people’s response to what they hear.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:20 – Paul changed his approach depending on who the audience was, all with the purpose of pointing them to Jesus.
  • Never prioritize the approach over the goal.
  • You inherited approach that assumes consensus around biblical authority.
  • Engaging people with the Bible has more to do with your approach than your content.
  • You do not believe what you believe because the Bible says so.

7 Guidelines for Communicating the Scriptures to a Biblically Illiterate, Skeptical World

  1.  Choose a passage of scripture and stay there.
    • Bring your energy to the text.
    • Find the energy in the text.
  2. Give people permission not to believe or obey the scriptures.
  3. Teach in a manner that emphasizes the identity of Jesus over the authority of Scripture.
    •  People believe Jesus is who he says he because he rose from the dead, not because the Bible is inspired and infallible.
    • People must believe in who Jesus is before believing the authority of the Bible.
  4. Don’t refer to the Bible as a book.
  5. Cite authors, not “the Bible”.
  6. Acknowledge the odd as odd.
  7. Don’t create the impression that one must choose between faith and science.
Acts 15:19 – “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles  who are turning to God.”

Orange Conference 2013 Session 4

Bob Goff

  • Be who you are made to be.
  • Don’t hold each other accountable. Hold each other close.
  • You leak what you love.
  • Jesus sees who we are becoming.
  • Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we get that right, we get everything right.

Kara Powell

  • Kids and students live under extreme expectations to achieve or perform.
  • Sticky Faith research showed that student ministry graduates view the gospel as 2 lists of behaviors (do and don’t do).
  • A better way to teach students the gospel is with 4 G’s
    • Good in God’s image.
    • Guilt and sin separate us from God.
    • Grace from God saves us.
    • Gratitude leads us to serve and obey God.
  • Jesus is bigger than any mistake.

Orange Conference 2013 Session 5

Sherry Surratt

Sherry is the CEO of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and recently released the book (coauthoried with Jenni Catron) Just lead! A No Whining, No Complaining, No Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders in the Church.

  • Sherry challenged men to utilize the incredible female leaders in their church. She pointed out that many men will step up into a leadership role where as most women need to be invited.
  • Women are leading all over the place and the issue of women in leadership can unnecessarily hinder that from continuing.
  • “A woman leader in her sweet spot of leading will change the world.”

Doug Fields

  • Doug has seen a lot of things different since leaving full time vocational ministry.
  • He felt like his ministry work was like running on a treadmill.
  • A great student ministry makes the whole church better, more relevant.
  • Children’s ministry and student ministry leaders need to be more bold in leading up to make sure students are thought about when preaching messages.
  • Student ministry forces you to prioritize relationships.
  • Don’t treat students as the “future”. Engage them to be the church now.
  • The church should be a leadership factory, and student ministry sets the stage for that.
  • Students fall away from church after high school because they’re committed to a program and a person. If they serve, they become committed to the church.

Orange Conference 2013 Session 7

Perry Noble

  • It’s our availability, not our ability, that matters to children and students.
  • 1 Samuel 3
  • God uses jacked up people.
  • If someone thinks that children’s ministry and student ministry are dead, they’re obviously not serving there.
  • Perry’s church pays the way for all students to go on trips. They are not required to raise money.
  • Nobody is “just” a volunteer.
  • Sometimes the next generation can’t see Jesus because of the environment we put them in. It should be clean, safe and fun.
  • God’s voice always gets louder when he pursues us.
  • If we’re available, God can use us to make a bigger difference than we can ever imagine.