Below, you’ll find my notes from Orange Conference 2014. Orange is a conference for family ministry teams and senior leadership in churches. You can see my notes from the breakouts I attended here.

Session 1

Like always, the Orange Conference kicked off with some funny hosts, excellent music, and a ton of fun. The theme of this year’s conference is YES, and saying YES to opportunities.

Brooklyn Lindsey

Brooklyn Lindsey talked about saying YES to being uncomfortable in the midst of difficult ministry opportunities. She used a funny story about an awkward conversation with one of the students in her ministry about his sin struggle. She challenged everyone to say YES to people, both within the church and outside the church.

Reggie Joiner

  • When you’re going through a thing, you lean into the people you do ministry/life with.
  • Kids and students need to know that they can know God.
  • They need to know you can become a Christian in a moment.
  • They also need to know that they can trust the Bible.
  • The church is a place where they can experience community and enjoy it.
  • They should understand that beliefs matter.
  • They should understand God is good, and he cares.
  • We think tension competes with what is true, but it doesn’t. The mercy of God doesn’t water down the justice of God.
  • Yes, you can know God, and Yes, God is a mystery.
  • If you don’t let kids process their own doubt, they’ll never own their own faith.
  • Yes, God is good, and Yes, you should do good.

Session 2

Heather Zempel

  • If we want to say yes to the next generation, we have to build churches where people matter.
  • Programs don’t disciple people, people disciple people.
  • Relationships require structure, but our structures must serve people and not get in the way.
  • Disciples are made when they know they matter to somebody.
  • Who is your Romans 16 list? (People who you were connected with that helped your faith journey)
  • Whose list is your name going to be on because of your investment in their life?
  • If we’re going to say YES to the next generation, we have to acknowledge and name the potential in their lives.
  • We have to say YES to braving their mess.
  • Remind kids that their mess is not final or fatal.
  • It’s one thing to explain grace, it’s another thing to experience it.

Mark Batterson

  • If you want to make history, do it the way it’s never been done before.
  • There are ways of doing church that nobody has thought of yet.
  • Acts 10 – Cornelius prayed regularly.
  • If you pray to God regularly, irregular things will happen on a regular basis.
  • Re-imagination begins with praying regularly.
  • Prayer is the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do.
  • God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
  • Where and when do you pray?
  • Sometimes God shows up, and sometimes God shows off.
  • In Acts 10, Peter’s reply was “Surely not, Lord!“.
  • What have we sensed God saying to us, that we have responded to with “surely not”?

Session 5

Perry Noble

Perry talked about worry, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

  • It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.
  • Is anyone among you sick? – We don’t think about mental health when we think about that verse.
  • Control is one of the greatest illusions in the universe.
  • I didn’t know it was okay to not be okay as a leader.
  • 16% of Christians at one point have considered taking their own life.
  • “I wanted Jesus to change my circumstances, but God wanted to change my life.” – talking about anxiety
  • Sometimes as churches we are more concerned with our image than with raising followers of Christ.
  • Everyone wants a pill to fix their problems, but it doesn’t fix you, it’s fixing you and you have to work with it to heal.
  • I want power and effectiveness in my life, mentally, physically and spiritually.
  • Some people have been forgiven, but never healed, because they’ve never told someone.

Session 6

Doug Fields

  • I can’t adequately care for kids if I don’t care for their family.
  • I need to care for their parent’s marriage.
  • When a family’s marriage is bad, everything is bad.
  • When you say next to the next generation, you say yes to helping marriages win.
  • When it comes to helping marriages, the church needs to be the hero.
  • What if a plan to help marriages was part of our family ministry strategy?
  • 60% of children of divorce will walk away from their faith.
  • Children of divorced Christian parents are more than twice as likely to walk away from church.

Here’s how we can help marriages more in our church:

  • Focus on your own marriage.
  • Teach your kids about marriage.
  • Hebrews 13:4
  • Recruit a mentor couple to be around your ministry.
  • Help couples date.
  • We need to help couples by providing ideas for dates.
  • Connect a marriage strategy to your ministry.

Jeff Henderson

  • Jeff grew up as a pastor’s kid, and thought many of the church members hated his dad.
  • He promised God he would never work at a church.
  • Never tell God never.
  • You may have said no to Jesus, but Jesus said Yes to you.
  • How to say yes to those who said no what we believe, said no to the Church, and said no to Jesus.
    • You will never experience what the church can do for you until you experience what the church can do through you.
  • Say Yes to those people is we talk less and listen more.
  • Jeff & Orange did a survey of 18-34 year olds who said no to Jesus and the church.
    • 84% of them are not interested in hanging out with a church staff member.
    • There was one answer when asked about what they like about church, community.
  • Say Yes in a common, unifying language.
    • In marketing, this is known as your brand promise.
    • The reason so many people have said No to church is because they don’t understand what we’re talking about.
    • What do we want to be known for?
  • Jeff’s church is trying to be FOR their community (Gwinnett) in some different ways:
    • Finding some events in the community that need help and helping them.
    • Putting the sign #FORGWINNETT on the property as construction is under way, and nothing else.
  • It’s a powerful moment when people who have said no to your church realize you have said yes to them.