Last week I had my annual trip to the Orange Conference. It's a week I look forward to every year. I posted notes from the first and second main sessions, but here are some general takeaways I had from the conference. It's a random list in random order.

A Refocus on Mondays

The theme of this year's conference was Monday is Coming, with the idea being that what we do throughout the week is potentially more important than what we do on Sundays. I came back with a renewed focus on investing in people outside of Sundays along with some ideas for how to do that.

The NextGen Role and Structure Are Growing

My position at our church involves overseeing staff who lead birth through high school, as well as the transition out of high school. This position, which has various titles in different churches (NextGen, Family Pastor, Family Ministries Director, etc.), is becoming more popular. More than that, the structure of having one team is more popular and I think that's a good thing.

I'm Excited About NextGen Staffing Solutions

NextGen Staffing Solutions, a partner of Orange, launched last week. It's a new staffing firm helping churches hire Children's Pastors, Student Pastors and NextGen/Family Pastors. My friends Jim Wideman and Matt McKee are behind it, and they'll do a great job connecting churches with leaders. Personally, I also hope churches will allow them to help the church get some things fixed before hiring someone into a position, should there be any issues that pop up.

Complexity is All Around

Every year I get to talk to a number of ministry leaders from all around, and this year I had more conversations than any other year. One thing stands out, and it's the amount of complexity most leaders are dealing with. Whether it's the healthy complexity of leading in a multisite environment or the bad complexities that come with lack of clarity in leadership, it's everywhere. Leaders who are in good, healthy situations where things are clear, are rare.

Story is Powerful

This isn't new, but it was on display at OC16. Multiple people shared stories from their life on opening night to help connect us to them and the message they were carrying. Reggie shared a powerful teaching and, as usual, told a story that brought some tears and helped us feel the weight and importance of investing in people outside of church.

Leaders Want to Network

Kenny Conley helps organize some networking opportunities for NextGen leaders and people respond really well to them. Leaders also jumped at the opportunity to be coached. I love the posture of wanting to learn and the heart to connect with other leaders and learn from what they're doing.

If you attended, what were your takeaways?

That's certainly not all of my takeaways, especially if you could see the list of things I need to process and save in order to come back to over the next month or so. If you attended or watched online, what did you walk away with?