Orange ConferenceWhat I love most about Orange, other than the people, is how they are constantly innovating. They're always looking to improve, add, tweak, change, and create in order to help churches win with families. I don't know about you, but our team does not have enough time to do all the things Orange does. However, we do benefit from it. It's a huge help to our church and the Orange Conference is where all of that comes together every year.

The Orange Conference started in 2007 and I can point to numerous innovations over the years from Orange that were released at the conference. All of them have been helpful to our church.

Here’s a list of some of the great things Orange has created and announced at Orange Conference over the years. Below, you’ll also find my notes from every Orange Conference I  have attended (all but one – 2008).

Partnering With Parents

Partnering with parents wasn't a new idea, but the innovation of Orange made it the priority it is today in many churches. They did that by teaching about the importance of the influence of parents, creating resources for parents, and creating curriculums that are based on the value of parents leading their children.

Family Experience

This was an innovation of Reggie Joiner while he was at North Point, but Orange helped it spread to churches everywhere. The purpose is an extension of the previous innovation, the desire to help parents learn with their children and lead them in matters of faith.

Lead Small

Lead Small” is a phrase coined by Orange to emphasize the importance of having kids and students in small groups with consistent, weekly leaders and peers. Small Groups have been a strategy in churches for some time now, but Orange helped emphasize their importance for kids and students. Our church has small groups for kids from age 3 all the way up through high school, and Orange has helped us tremendously with that effort.

Just a Phase

Just a Phase is one of the biggest and most recent innovations of Orange. It is a collaborative, ongoing, effort assembling classic and innovative research, with practical application for parents and church leaders that can help them understand and lead kids best at every phase of their life.

Every year, I'm excited to see what's released at The Orange Conference. Below are notes and takeaways from past Orange Conferences.

ORange Conference 2020

Orange Conference 2020 is quite different as an online experience this year, but the content has been amazing as usual in the opening session. Here are some of my notes:

Kristen Ivy

  • When you don’t know what to do, start by asking why:
    • When you remember why you will do the next right thing
    • When you remember why you will go into the unknown
    • When you remember why you lead like some things never change
  • Remember some things never change
  • Faith | Hope | Love
  • What is your why?

Reggie Joiner

  • When you change your mind it means you can grow, forgive, have empathy, and be a leader
  • When you remember why you will realize it's okay to change your mind
  • Paul was someone who changed his mind
  • When you remember why you lead others to reimagine how
  • There are people who aren't showing up on Sunday morning but could be reached a different way
  • This crisis has taught us to get ready for those who won't come on Sunday

Orange Conference is one of my favorite weeks of the year and this was no different. The theme of the 2019 Orange Conference was It's Personal, and the Orange team did a great job of sticking to that theme throughout. Here are some highlights from the main sessions:

Orange conference 2019
  • “It’s easy to hate an idea, it’s hard to hate an individual.” – Jon Acuff
  • “No one needs to be seen by everybody but everybody needs somebody who sees them.” – Kristen Ivy
  • “Everybody needs somebody to see them like Jesus does.” – Reggie Joiner
  • “Pause long enough to make it personal. You can’t be personal with a crowd, you can only be personal with a person.” – Reggie Joiner
  • “It’s harder to leave people than a program.” – Tom Shefchunas
  • “You might graduate from this roster but you can’t graduation from this relationship.” – Crystal Chiang
  • “You want to move something big, do something small.” – Danielle Strickland
  • “Every parent and every person needs from you to remind them you are enough because Jesus makes you enough.” – Kara Powell
  • “If I took numbers off the table, would I call my church a healthy church?” – Karl Vaters
  • “Don’t make people projects. People are people.” – Bob Goff

5 Questions Every Small Group Leader Should Answer

  • Do you know their name?
  • Do you know what matters to them?
  • Do you know where they live?
  • Do you know what they’ve done?
  • Do you know what they can do?

I’m at the Orange Conference this week and I’m blogging notes while I'm here. I'll update this post to include links to the posts throughout the week. In the meantime, here's what I'm looking forward to this week:

  • Seeing friends I've made at the Orange Conference over the years
  • Hanging out before the conference with new friends who were in mastermind groups this past year
  • Learning all about volunteers on YouLead Day
  • Connecting with the other Orange Bloggers
  • Checking out the new resources being released this year
  • Talking about Boosting My Ministry with Kenny & Kevin on Wednesday
  • Sharing my 5-Part Strategy for Partnering with Parents on Thursday (the latest iteration)
  • Learning from everyone I possibly can
  • ..and more!
Orange Conference 2018

Doug Fields

  • We > I
  • Some of us have embraced the idea of an individual ministry leader
  • Culture doesn't change because we desire it to change. Culture is changed when the organization is transformed.

Andy Stanley

  • When you lead as a team with one voice… what matters most matters more. – Reggie Joiner
  • When we're one, the world changes.
  • Jesus modeled being one.
  • People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, and he liked them back.
  • Jesus predicted it.
  • Jesus prayed for this.
  • Unity is mission-critical and disunity disrupts the mission.
  • Oneness is how we win. Oneness is how the world will know the heavenly father sent his son. Not theological correctness.
  • The goal wasn't to be right about anything, the goal was to be one.
  • Jesus branded it.
  • Imagine a world where people were skeptical of what we believe but amazed at how we treated one another.
  • It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
  • If your theology separates you from sinners like you, you may have some work to do.


Gerald Fadayomi

  • If you could pray for one thing for the next generation, what would it be?
  • Jesus prayed for unity
  • How can the next generation believe there's a God who loves them when we can't love one another?
  • Can you imagine what would happen if we stopped seeing the church across the street as competition, and instead saw them as co-workers on mission?
  • A united church is a powerful church, a culture-changing church.
  • Unity is not uniformity
  • Unity is setting our differences aside to make a difference

Danielle Strickland

  • What would make us better? What would make this world better? Free? Healed? Reconciled? It's the Kingdom. Now.
  • Jesus drags the kingdom of God from the future into the present.
  • The thing to do is to grab the kingdom of God and start living that future now.
  • Wake up! Jesus is knocking. We're better together if we live the future now.

Reggie Joiner

  • It's not what you build that matters. It's what happens in you. It's what happens to you.
  • How we work together will change how a generation sees God.
  • In the story of Nehemiah, they named what was broken.
  • When any church ignores what's broken in their community, they forfeit their right to have influence with their community.
  • We can't ignore what is broken.
  • In the story of Nehemiah, he leveraged what he had.
  • Nehemiah said he was cupbearer to the king. This wasn't in his job description.
  • We can't expect to build anything without it costing us something.
  • Nehemiah went and saw for himself.
  • If you want to be the leader you want to be in this generation, you have to go and see for yourself sometimes.
  • Proximity changes perspective.
  • Nehemiah called people to do something they didn't know how to do.
  • Do something you don't know how to do.
  • Nehemiah made an assumption that he had everything he needed in order to rebuild the town.
  • Keep working together, regardless.
  • Expect to see God, but not the God you expected.
  • Keep doing what seems impossible and you'll do more than you ever expected.

Doug Fields

  • We > I
  • Some of us have embraced the idea of an individual ministry leader
  • Culture doesn't change because we desire it to change. Culture is changed when the organization is transformed.

Andy Stanley

  • When you lead as a team with one voice… what matters most matters more. – Reggie Joiner
  • When we're one, the world changes.
  • Jesus modeled being one.
  • People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, and he liked them back.
  • Jesus predicted it.
  • Jesus prayed for this.
  • Unity is mission-critical and disunity disrupts the mission.
  • Oneness is how we win. Oneness is how the world will know the heavenly father sent his son. Not theological correctness.
  • The goal wasn't to be right about anything, the goal was to be one.
  • Jesus branded it.
  • Imagine a world where people were skeptical of what we believe but amazed at how we treated one another.
  • It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
  • If your theology separates you from sinners like you, you may have some work to do.
Orange Conference 2017

Bob Goff

  • Look for Christ in people.
  • I'm not trying to be right anymore. I'm trying to be Jesus.
  • Following Jesus means leading a life of being constantly misunderstood.
  • I’m just a participant in this. I just want to see more Jesus in people.
  • On your very worst day Jesus calls you beloved.
  • Don't be right. Be Jesus.
  • Get back to the simplest version of your faith.
  • Jesus doesn't do things to show us His power, but to show us His presence.
  • Your faith and mine are the sum of everything you are hanging onto and everything you are willing to let go of.
  • If it matters more what your faith looks like than what it is, it's time to do something else.
  • Love everybody, always.

Carlos Whittaker

  • Help parents differentiate what is fact from what is feeling.
  • If we are for parents, we never let parents parent alone!

Gerald Fadayomi

  • We have the most incredible opportunity to point teenagers who want to be heard, to a God who listens.
  • The next generation needs someone who has gone before them to be for them.

Danielle Strickland

  • Jesus saw past every single barrier, including the one you put up over your own life.
  • Instead of seeing a problem, see a neighbor.
  • How much would your life, ministry, or church change if you saw all people as beautiful, as Jesus does?

Bob Goff

  • Look for Christ in people.
  • I'm not trying to be right anymore. I'm trying to be Jesus.
  • Following Jesus means leading a life of being constantly misunderstood.
  • I’m just a participant in this. I just want to see more Jesus in people.
  • On you very worst day, Jesus calls you beloved.
  • Don't be right. Be Jesus.
  • Get back to the simplest version of your faith.
  • Jesus doesn't do things to show us His power, but to show us His presence.
  • Your faith and mine is the sum of everything you are hanging onto and everything you are willing to let go of.
  • If it matters more what your faith looks like than what it is, it's time to do something else.
  • Love everybody, always.

Reggie Joiner

  • Sometimes it takes a party to change how we see each other.
  • Sometimes it takes a party to show that God cares about people who party.
  • Sometimes it takes a party to confirm that we can always be forgiven.
  • Sometimes it takes a party to prove that people matter more than our opinions.
  • Sometimes it takes a party to remind us that everyone is invited to the party.
  • What if we all started acting like EVERYONE is INVITED to the party?
  • What would happen if we started looking at the kids and teenagers in our churches through a different lens?
  • Stop acting like discipleship is about information, and start acting like discipleship is about relationship.
  • We have been programmed to teach kids what to believe, but not coach them how to serve.
  • How to be a better neighbor:
    • Invite someone to new the table. Someone not like you.
    • Start a party that is not about you.
    • Inspire every kid you meet.
    • Create beautiful spaces.
    • Speak up for someone else. Use your influence for good reasons.
    • Discover life together. Do faith together.
    • Do something you don't have to do.
  • Why inspire kids? Because Jesus said to.
Orange Conference 2016

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 a 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 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 the 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.


Session Notes

Monday is Coming

The theme of this year's Orange Conference is Monday is Coming. The question we're challenged with is:

Will what happens on Sunday matter in someone's life on Monday?

Reggie Joiner

Sundays never has to be:

  • boring
  • superficial
  • irrelevant
  • exclusive
  • disconnected

You have to imagine someone's Monday before you can re-imagine Sunday.

  • When you have a Monday mindset, you think about what's coming the rest of the week.
  • When you only have a Sunday mindset, you measure success by how many show up.
  • When you have a Monday mindset, you focus on how many will come back.
  • Truth matters, when love matters.
  • Sometimes what you say doesn't matter even if it's true.
  • You can't speak the truth in love if you don't know the people you're speaking to.
  • It's not your job to fix anyone. It's your job to love them.
  • It's hard to speak the truth in love if you don't know about someone's Monday.
  • Empathy doesn’t change the truth; it enhances the truth.
  • Empathy is the ability to press pause on your own thoughts and feelings long enough to understand someone else's thoughts and feelings.
  • We need to re-imagine how to knock on someone's door the way Jesus talked about knocking on the door of our hearts.
  • There will be kids and families who will never step into your church until you step into their world.


Andy Stanley

  • The church saved my life, in a preventative way.
  • You are preventing more than you can ever imagine in the lives of kids and students.
  • For Andy, the Church:
    • Informed his conscience – A conscience that is well-shaped in a child is an anchor for the rest of their life.
    • Instilled a sense of purpose
    • Provided the context for lifelong friendships
    • Served as a window into God's activity all over the world
    • Taught me to be Jesus
  • Following Jesus will make your life better and make you better at life.
  • People followed Jesus before they believed.
  • The Church provides the strongest argument for the dignity of individuals and human rights.
  • “Classical philosophers considered mercy and pity to be character defects, contrary to justice. Not until Jesus did that attitude change.” – Philip Yancy
  • The Church inspires us to embrace the one mandate that could change everything – Love your neighbor as yourself.

Outside of your family, there's nothing greater you'll invest your life in than the local church.

Key Quotes & Actions Steps

Last week, our family ministry staff, along with about 10 volunteers, attended the Orange Tour stop in Lancaster, PA. We attend the Tour every year and it was a great experience as always. Unlike past years, we went north to Lancaster instead of south to D.C. and the traffic was way better.


Here are some key quotes, along with actions steps I would suggest, coming out of the 2016 Orange Tour.


“This week matters: if it’s repeated.” – Reggie Joiner


Action Step: If you currently don't have weekly volunteers in your ministry, create a plan to get there. It's hard to repeat what matters if you have different people with kids/students each week. Don't expect to do it in one day, but draw up a plan to transition from monthly or bi-weekly to weekly.


“Kids matter: more than adults.” – Reggie Joiner


Action Step: Analyze your budget towards kids and students. I'm completely biased, obviously, but if you divided up your church staff's hours into 3-5 core segments, with children's and student ministry being a segment, it should get the most hours. More than worship. More than groups. More than operations. More. It should get more budget as well (okay, minus facilities).


“Prioritize young people everywhere.” – Mike Park (Kara Powell at some stops)


Action Step: By the new book Growing Young from Fuller. Take the assessment and apply the learnings to your church. Fuller offers some additional resources along with the book and the assessment that are also helpful.


“Church should never be boring” – Reggie Joiner


Action Step: Evaluate your environments weekly and ask the question, was it fun? Yes, our ultimate goal is to make disciples. However, there won't be many kids and students to make disciples of if their experience is boring, dull and irrelevant.


“Every parent will do something more.” – Reggie Joiner


Action Step: Think of something this week you can challenge parents to do that is something more. Not 10 things more. Not a 6-month project. One thing. What is it? How will you communicate it to them? How will you help them?


“The shortest distance between your church and the parent is a small group leader” – Reggie Joiner


Action Step: Equip small group leaders with the contact information for the parents of their few and encourage them to reach out. If it's the first contact, I think the best option is to write a sample email for the leader, have the leader personalize it and send it to every parent. Every partnership begins with someone reaching out to open a dialogue.

Orange Conference 2015

This year's Orange Conference is all about phases. Phases of a kid's life and the uniqueness of each.

Reggie Joiner

  • It's just a phase, so don't miss it.
  • It's easy to miss things that are happening in a kid's life as they go through phases. They don't know how to ask about it.
  • Kid's have different questions at different phases.
  • Words to help identify each phase
    • Preschool – Embrace
    • Elementary – Engage
    • Middle School – Affirm
    • High School – Mobilize
  • We don't remember what we don't remember.
  • Every kid is made in the image of God.
  • Jesus taught us that when we welcome kids, we welcome him.
  • We don't anticipate what we don't anticipate.

Jim Burns

  • Love every kid like they're wired to pursue love.
  • Even with the depth of pain, some kids struggle with, those issues do not define their destiny.
  • The more positive, healthy sex education a kid receives, the more likely they are to make wise choices in that arena.
  • 25% of adolescent girls experience depression within 3 months after first having sex.
  • Help kids have a healthy view of sexuality from early on.
  • Embrace Stage (Preschool)
    • Talk to them about their bodies.
    • God made you.
    • God made your body.
  • Engage Stage (Elementary)
    • They're curious – where do babies come from?
    • Talking about this early on can help fight against sexual abuse.
  • Affirm Stage (Middle School)
    • The average kid sees pornography for the first time at age 11.
    • Introduce a purity code and help them guard their eyes and heart.
  • Mobilize Stage (High School)
    • Keep the purity standard high while showering them with grace and acceptance.
    • God created sex and he sees it as very good.
    • Don't commit adultery (God wants the best for you).
    • Run from immorality, not from healthy sexuality.

Jon Acuff

  • We may only get to be one verse in the song of a child's life, but that verse matters.
  • It's not a matter of if they will talk about their identity, it's a matter of will they talk about it with you.
  • You're accepted. You're perfect. You're created for a bigger story.
  • You can fast forward childhood, but you can't rewind it.
  • We need leaders to be brave.
  • Stories get stuck unless leaders get brave.
  • Be brave enough, to be honest where you are.
  • Be brave enough to run into somebody else's story.

A phase is a time frame in a kid's life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future

Jim Mellado

  • Jim is the president of Compassion International.
  • Compassion decided they would be Christ-centered, church-based,
  • In a study, they asked kids to draw a picture of themselves in rain. Kids who were not in a program, and felt they had no hope, drew a black and white picture of them in the rain. Kids who were in a helpful program, and felt hope, drew pictures of themselves that were in color, with a raincoat and umbrella, and the sun showing.
  • Hope is not just optimism, it's the belief that there's a path out of adversity.

Andy Stanley

  • Nehemiah 1 – Nehemiah's heart broke, and he paid attention to his broken heart.
  • Who are you?
  • What breaks your heart?
  • God uses broken-hearted leaders.
  • Leaders are all about what isn't, and bringing what needs to be into reality.
  • There's an inexorable correlation between leadership and change.
  • Leaders make things better, and that requires change.
  • Leaders love progress, progress requires change, and change brings conflict.
  • We're not just all leaders, we're called leaders.
  • Leaders don't blame. Blame is an effective change-avoidance strategy.
  • You are where you are because of a generation before you who paid attention to you.
  • Nehemiah's broken heart was part of a divine design.
  • You have no idea what hangs in the balance of your decision to embrace the burden God has put in your heart.
  • You must pay attention to what God has stirred in your heart.
  • Sandra (Andy's wife) said – “I know the thing that I would love people to line up at the end of my life and thank me for”.

Kristen Ivy

  • Kristen is the primary creator and lead voice of the Phase Initiative.
  • The goal is to help parents identify the phase their kids are in and lead in that phase as best as they can.
  • Every parent wants to be a better parent.

Jud Wilhite

  • The church is the tool God uses to save countless lives.
  • In life, we only make a handful of big decisions. The rest of our life is spent managing those decisions.
  • Luke 15 – Religious leaders are upset because Jesus is hanging out with notorious sinners.
  • The sheep are equally valuable, but there is a priority on the one that is lost.
  • People who are lost need help and hope.
  • We were rescued to be rescuers.
  • Create a culture that draws in people who are not connected to Jesus.
  • My greatest ministry flows out of my greatest dependence on God.
  • It's not what God wants to do just for the people in your church, but also for the people 

Main Session 5

Kara Powell

  • Being a leader doesn't mean keeping it all together. It means pointing to a God who keeps it all together.
  • “Think of me as a fellow patient in the same hospital, who having arrived a little earlier can give some advice.” – C.S. Lewis
  • Broken is the new beautiful.
  • Pain demands to be felt – 5 words that drive teenagers
  • As parents, as long as we have a relationship, we have influence.
  • As parents, as long as we have a relationship, we are being influenced.
  • We must be open to learning and growing from our time with children and students.

Perry Noble

  • “Most of my bad experiences in family ministry were not with kids, they were with parents.”
  • 1 Samuel 16 – Saul is the king of Israel.
  • Saul hires a part-time worship leader (David).
  • Saul gave David a shot at doing ministry when he was young.
  • We should give students the ability and permission to do ministry when they are young.
  • Sin loves our students more than the church does. We can't let sin out-love us.
  • The sooner you get students involved in ministry the more solid their relationship with Jesus becomes!
  • The local church is a cause worth committing your life to.
  • We don't reach the next generation. We raise up the next generation to reach the next generation.
  • Saul tells David he can't kill goliath. Isn't it ironic that Saul tells David he can't do the impossible, and then later tries to kill him because he actually did it.
  • This next generation is the most cause-driven ever. The local church is THE cause worth committing your life to.
  • David had fought battles that Saul was unaware of. Kids today are fighting battles we no nothing about!
  • If David fought the battle the way everyone thought he should fight the battle, he would have died.
  • Because they've fought battles we've never fought, this generation will have ministry ideas that we've never considered.
  • Students have different ways of reaching students.
  • My Music + My Personal Preferences + My Style of Services = Our Church's Funeral

Breakout Notes

These are my notes from the Orange Conference 2015 Breakouts. Orange is a conference for family ministry teams and senior leadership in churches. You can see my notes from the Main Sessions here.

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.
  • The 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 environment 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).

7 Quirks of Incredible Volunteers

Start Somewhere

  • Many people never take the first step.
    • The needs are too big.
    • There are too many to choose from.
    • They're looking for the perfect fit.
  • Try something that appeals to you.
  • Start over if you've been burned.

Small is Big

  • Not normal volunteers believe the smallest things they do have the biggest results.
  • Don't look for big things to do, look for small things. Small things have a bigger impact than we realize.

Own, Don't Rent

  • Not normal volunteers are owners, not renters.
  • Owners invest more for a bigger return.
    • They show up on time.
    • They read their curriculum before they arrive.
    • They commit to serve each week. 

You, Me, & We

  • This is not about me. It's not about you. It's about how we do this together.
  • Everyone should understand we're in this together.
  • Volunteers should get to know each other and develop relationships.
  • It's about looking side to side to see what is going on around you – rather than focusing on yourself.

Honor the Leader

  • Leaders need volunteers. They need love, support, prayer.
  • When volunteers work against their leader, nothing good comes out of it.
  • Sometimes the best thing a volunteer can do is amicably move on if they are in conflict with their leader over vision.
  • Your leader needs a cheerleader, not a drama queen.

Replace Yourself

  • Many volunteers should look for and identify their next step.
  • Let go of what you want. Let go of your current role. Let go of controlling your future.

You Can't Always See It

  • Many kids aren't going to tell you how you have impacted them spiritually.
  • Help people understand they may never see those results, and that's okay.

My Ideas for Action Items

  • Evaluate volunteer recruitment strategy to ensure there are clear opportunities where people can start.
  • Use the Not Normal book content in volunteer training.
  • Identify a role you play where you can replace yourself.
  • Celebrate wins from student ministry in preschool and elementary to help people see the impact, even if it's not on the specific kids they led.

Developing a Weekly Plan to Become a Better NextGen Leader

John Huber

  • Matthew 4 – Jesus calls us to be part of his mission, and he will “make you fishers of men”.
  • Revisit our call to his mission often. Go to the place where you first felt that call.
  • We need to make a plan with action steps.
  • We need to invite others to speak into our lives.

Cindy Fiala

  • Ask questions. “Good questions inform. Great questions transform.” – John Maxwell
  • Am I genuinely interested in others?
  • Am I humble?
  • Am I adding value to my team? Is my team better because I showed up?
  • Am I investing my time in my best people?
  • Be intentional with my own relationship with Christ.
  • Know your why and lead from that.

Frank Bealer

  • Balance doesn't exist.
  • Think integration, not balance. Make Jesus the center.
  • Use this phrase to make exceptions, unplanned things that take your time, more integrated:
    When this… (i.e. When I have to spend a night out in a meeting)
    Then that… (i.e.  Then I take the morning off and spend it with my kids)

How to Reach and Keep Families As a NextGen Leader – Pat Rowland

Families have less time for your church.

  • 67% of Americans are dual-income homes.
  • Programs and activities run the family around 7 days a week.
  • The 20-30-year-old demographic the one missing from church the most.

Regular attendee is being re-defined.

  • The typical rhythm of a family, even a Christian family, is becoming less connected.
  • “A “regular” churchgoer shows up for worship once every four to six week” – Churchless (Barna Group)

The traditional family is becoming the exception.

  • 18% of unchurched people fit the “traditional” family.
  • Single parents are the fastest-growing demographic.

Things Pat is learning about single parents.

  • Single parents are cautious and fearful.
  • Single parents want to be acknowledged, but not noticed.
  • Single parents want an invitation to be part of the church family.
  • Single parents need financial assistance, but they won't necessarily ask for it.
  • Single parents are willing to serve, but not every week and not away from their kids.

5 Big Matters in NextGen

  • Image Matters
    • First-time visitors are deciding about your church in seconds, and before they even attend through your web presence.
    • Public perception is reality.
    • Clarify your identity.
  • Environment Matters
    • We want to create spaces, not places. Space is inviting and irresistible.
    • Your environments communicate something, and possibly something bad.
  • In Creating Spaces
    • Focus on all 5 senses.
    • Know your audience.
    • Put on your first-time glasses.
    • People in the place reflect the space.
  • Experience Matters
    • Focus on quality.
    • Time to plan.
    • More innovation than budget.
    • Say “yes” to the best.
    • Development over delivery.
    • Give them a story.
  • Connection Matters
    • Create a culture of connection.
    • View follow up as an invitation to connect, not to invite to another event.
  • Every day matters

My Ideas for Action Items

  • Plan meetings to evaluate your strategy and message as it relates to single-parent families and all non-traditional families.
  • Walkthrough your space with a guest and evaluate every piece of it.
  • Evaluate your ministry with the 5 Matters from above and discuss with your team.

5 Best Practices to Building a Learning Team

Nina Schmidgall, Cindy Fiala, Pat Rowland, Kenny Conley

Expectations for Content Consumption

  • Have a culture of learning on your team.
  • Have a rhythm of learning together.
  • Expect everyone on the team to be learners and self-learners.
  • Read together.
  • As the leader, you may need to aggregate and feed content.

Strategic Offsites

  • Use offsite retreats to grow together.
  • Use offsite trips during the day (not overnight) to focus specifically on something.
  • Use the offsite time to work on bigger things, but also to strengthen relationships.

Mentoring Relationships

  • Join a coaching network.
  • Pay for a 1-on-1 mentoring relationship with someone who is further down the road.

Intentional Networking

  • Pursue relationships with people you don't know yet.
  • Introduce yourself to people you have only know of online.

My Ideas for Action Items

  • Build learning into the rhythm of your team meetings, even in small chunks. Discuss a chapter, a podcast, an article, etc.
  • Reach out to someone to start a coaching/mentoring relationship. Just start by asking for time to ask questions.
  • Find a network, or start a network in your area.

Kenny's idea – join Twitter, follow everyone who used the #iamnextgen hashtag, message 5 of them with a question in the next week.

ORange Conference 2014

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.

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”?

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.

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.


Defining the Role of the NextGen Pastor | Nina Schmidgall

What is a Family Pastor / NextGen Pastor?

  • Someone who champions the next generation.
    • They define and protect the DNA of the church.
    • They ensure partnership with parents.
  • Someone who can lead a team of leaders.
    • They can lead up and cast vision and champion family ministry.
    • They have a heart for leadership development and the skills to do it.
  • Someone who will fight for strategic alignment.
    • Are the ministries in your church competing?
    • Fight to avoid the dangers of having age group silos.
    • We need to inspire staff and volunteers.
    • Does your team agree on what the goals are?
    • Work to align with your strategy for discipling adults as well.
    • How can you know if you're strategically aligned?
      • Does everyone on the family ministry team sit around same table regularly?
      • Do budgets align or compete?
      • Is there a designated leader for the team?
      • Have you clarified the win for parents at every stage?
      • Do you have an easy and clear transition between age groups?
  • Someone who is a pastor to the entire family.
  • How to make your family pastor successful:
    • Ensure they have a seat at the top level decision making table.
    • Ensure they have freedom to hire/fire and build their team.
    • Help them articulate the DNA of the church.
    • Help them develop a common language across all ministries.
    • Allow them to meet regularly with their team leaders.
    • Help them align the calendar and budget.

Say Yes to Every Life Stage (NextGen)

Kristen Ivy

  • Every life stage is unique.
  • It's just a phase… So don't miss it.
  • Phase: a time frame in a kid's life when you can leverage opportunities to influence their future.
  • 3 Parts of a Phase:
    • Understand Their Present Realities
      • Understand what's happening to them mentally and physically.
        • 0-2 yrs – Sensing Beginners (Sensory-motor).
        • 2-8yrs – Honest Narcissists (Pre-operational).
        • 8-12yrs – Good Scientists (Concrete Operational).
        • 12+ yrs – Emerging Philosophers (Abstract Intellectual).
      • Understand what's happening around them relationally and culturally.
      • Understand how what's happening affects their faith and character
    • Leverage Distinctive Opportunities
      • Leverage distinctive opportunities as you think about your message.
      • Leverage distinctive opportunities as you create experiences.
      • Leverage distinctive opportunities as you celebrate critical moments.
    • Influence Through People
      • Preschool staff/volunteers – Embrace: see God's love, meet God's family.
      • Elementary staff/volunteers – Engage: trust God's character, live out God's story.
      • Middle School staff/volunteers – Shift: own their faith, never do faith alone.
      • High School staff/volunteers – Mobilize deeper discipleship, greater mission.
Orange Conference 2013

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

Breakout Notes

Defining the NextGen/Family Ministry Team

Darren Kizer

Downloadable resources here:

  •  Family Ministry or NextGen Ministry is pretty new in church world (less than a decade).
  • It's our job to lead people to where we've never been.
  • Darren's church, Parker Hill Community Church, created a family map to outline their plan for families:
  • Darren uses the map to create a plan for staffing, budget and calendar.

Best Practices in Family Ministry

  • Smart Clusters – Define how you'll group kids and students by age strategically.
  • Right Seat – The Family Minister needs a seat at the decision making table.
  • All Plays – They bring their team together to do specific things (appreciation parties, baptism, family map day).
  • No Pets – Move the pet projects out (your favorites). The Family Minister should value all the age group ministries the same.
  • Staffing Structure – Design roles of appropriate size and style.
    • Lead as many roles as possible.
    • Give away as many roles as possible.
    • Staff should know whether your conversations with them are from a position of influence or authority (think about this or do this).
    • Decide to staff based on vertical clusters (like age groups) or horizontal pursuits (like groups, production, events, etc).
  • Champion unity and parent partnership.


  • The oldest kids always wants what's next. Don't define clusters based on their opinion, or you'll have too many.
  • Every cluster creates another exit ramp (beware of that).
  • Every cluster increases complexity.
  • Every positive has a negative flipside.
  • Multisite messes it all up.

Viruses, Riots, and Velcro: What They Teach us About Getting and Keeping Volunteers

Craig Jutila

Virus – The Contagion

  • We want the vision to spread like a virus.
  • The “r naught” of a virus is a measure of how many people would be infected by one person that had it.
  • We want a high “r naught” with our vision “virus”.
  • A virus spreads with close proximity.

Riot – The Confirmation

  • Riots are confirmation that something is going on (good or bad).
  • The first person is the visionary.
  • The second person verifies it.
  • The third person validates it.
  • 4th+ people show it's become a virus.

Velcro – The Connection

  • Over 60 million yards of velcro sold each year.
  • Volunteers need to feel connected.

Who can spread a vision virus for you?

Who can start the riot for you, that third person who can come on board and validate it?

Who is currently serving that you can thank for connecting with you?

Breakout: Successfully Partnering with Parents of Elementary Kids

Darren Kizer & Jessica McKee

  • Intentionally partner with dads.
  • Applaud parents for everything they do to lead their child, no matter how small.
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-7
  • Community is assumed – Pursue Community
    • Create a culture that embraces a wide and accepting view of family and parental partnerships.
    • Redefine “parent” to embrace biological parents, guardians, mentors, grandparents, godparents, adopted families, etc.
    • Family must be protected, valued, resourced and celebrated.
  • Visualize, celebrate, measure and equip milestones.
  • Partner with parents through Classes, Events and Priorities.
  • Darren referred to their family map again –
  • Develop a rhythm for consistent conversation.
Orange Conference 2012

Session 1 opened with some great song covers like Orange does every year, where the lyrics of popular songs are changed to be a tribute to volunteers and staff. This time it was small sections of a bunch of different songs and it was quite hilarious.

Reggie Joiner

Here are some highlights from Reggie's talk:

  • There's no way for you to do what you do without getting messy.
  • Jesus didn't live to set a good example. He lived sinless so he could die for us.
  • Jesus didn't die to make you happy. Jesus died so you could be forgiven.
  • There's no way to make disciples without getting messy.
  • We want to get children and students ready for a messy world.
  • Some of us need to stop acting like we signed up for something and realize we were called to something.
  • There's no way to make disciples without them getting messy.
  • The best way to equip the next generation in our church is to allow them to get messy in the gospel with us.
  • Wouldn't it be an amazing thing if people around the world really believed that Christians love them?
  • As Christians we don't know how to love each other, so why would non-Christians think we love them?
  • Engage children and students in a gospel that puts us all in the same family, the Church.
  • Engage them in a gospel that is paradoxical and mysterious.
  • Trust a God who is bigger than your theology.
  • Engage in a gospel that compels you to connect to a bigger story.
  • The cross was messy with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Joel Manby

  • Joel is president of Herschend Family Entertainment. He was recently featured on the show Undercover Boss. He serves as the chairman of the board for reThink/Orange.
  • They played a clip from the show where Joel was inspired to start a program to help their employees with financial aid for college.
  • Joel has received thousands and thousands of letters after doing Undercover Boss about how people are frustrated by working under bad leadership.
  • Joel recently released a book called Love Works, about loving and caring for the people you lead.
  • “I fundamentally disagree with the false dichotomy of people and profits.”
  • The book is based on 7 words out of 1 Corinthians 13 about love, and they use those 7 words in his company as guiding principles for how employees should live.
  • “Trust your team so they will trust you.”
  • “The higher you go in an organization the fewer decisions you should make.”
  • Joel talked about how Christians often times aren't completely truthful in giving people feedback because they don't want to hurt their feelings. So, the great performers are encouraged and get better and the poor performers don't learn and grow.

Craig Groeschel

  • Craig has a new book called Soul Detox.
  • What do you think success is for the next generation? How would we answer that as parents and church leaders?
  • “Culture believes success is raising well-rounded, well-educated, happy kids.”
  • “When I hire a staff member I don't want someone who is average at a lot of things, rather, I want somebody who is great at a few things.”
  • “Worshiping the false God of happiness leads us into sin.”
  • Psalm 71:18
  • “We are called to unleash single-minded, Christ-centered, Biblically-anchored world changers.”
  • The quickest way to forget what God thinks about us is to focus on what others think about us.
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-9– 3 things to learn from this
    • Enlist supporting voices – Parents will always be the most important voice but should not be the only voice. The Groeschel's have had college students live with them to mentor them and have them mentor their kids. In some cases, as the Church, we are the only voice in a child's life.
    • We need to raise the expectations for the next generation –  Don't just expect some commitment. As in the Deuteronomy passage, challenge them to love God with ALL, not some of your heart, soul, and strength. We will rarely ever get more than we ask for. 1 Corinthians 13:11. The Groeschel's challenge their kids to get a mentor and be a mentor.
    • Keep it real – Talk about God, the Bible, and life throughout the day. Make it commonplace. Let your kids watch you live it out with authenticity.

My takeaways:

  • I need to get Joel's book Love Works and Craig's book Soul Detox and have our family ministry team read them.
  • I should try to get the Groeschel's to write a book about parenting, including all of the specific things they have done in raising their kids. I have no connection to Craig Groeschel so that might be tough.

Andy Stanley

  • “The local church should be the greatest place in the world to work.”
  • Andy wants everyone who works at North Point to say that job was the best job they ever had.
  • New employees at North Point evaluate the church after their first 3 months.
  • Mark 10:32-37
  • “Healthy and productive staff cultures are characterized by mutual submission.”
  • “I may be the boss but I'm here to facilitate your success.”
  • While our responsibilities differ, everybody is essential to the success of the enterprise.
  • The question mutual submission asks is – “How can I help?”
  • We should be the best servers of other people.
  • Jesus is the only anointed one, unlike the Old Testament where kings were anointed and everybody served them.

Best practices for mutual submission

  1. Do for one what you wish you could for everyone.
    1. Do not be fair, be engaged.
  2. Systemize top-down service.
    1. How can I leverage my influence and gifts to support those I lead?
  3. Create and maintain a sustainable pace.
    1. One reason we don't serve others is that we don't have time.
  4. Celebrate and reward mutual submission when you see it.
    1. What's rewarded is repeated.
    2. What's punished is avoided.
    3. What's neither rewarded nor punished is neglected.
  5. Confront your ego.
    1. Secretly, senior pastors may view their staff as a cast of characters who are there to support you.
  6. You have to drop the term loyalty from your vocabulary.
    1. Anyone who demands loyalty has a loyalty problem.

Andy read a quote from Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler's chief architect who witnessed Hitler's horrible leadership. He read from Albert's book, including this quote and more:

“There is a special trap for every holder of power. . . .His favor is so desirable to his subordinates that they will sue for it by every means possible. Servility becomes endemic among his entourage, who compete among themselves in their show of devotion. These exercises sway over the ruler who becomes corrupted in turn.”

Matt McKee

  • Leaders should understand social media because it's about people connecting to one another.
  • We can get past our local community through social media. It's not about the medium, it's about the connection.

Jon Acuff

  • Social media matters if you believe people matter.
  • If people do matter, then get involved in social media because that's where people are.
  • Jon wrote a book called Quitter – Closing the gap between your day job & your dream job.
  • As of June, 2011 people spent more time on mobile apps than on their computers.
  • Churches shouldn't be afraid to talk to younger, less experienced people.
  • You don't have to be everywhere on social media. Invest where your community is.
  • “I wish Christian hate mail was an oxymoron.”

Orange Award

The Orange Award was given to Denise Briley, for launching a special needs initiative in her church that has been hugely influential in the church. People who have special needs children and/or work with special needs children were honored as well.

My Takeaways

  • I've heard Andy teach this before and I try to incorporate it into my leadership but to make sure I do, I will add the question “How can I help?” to every reminder or calendar item where I'm meeting with someone I lead.
  • We share wins at our family ministry meeting each week but I want us to make sure we celebrate where we see mutual submission happening.
  • I'm putting on my to-do list to talk through a mobile strategy specifically for our parents. The Parent Cue App (iPhone / Android) already helps but we send so much communication to parents and I'd love to have that same communication available through a mobile app. Time to talk to my friend Matt McKee and ROAR.

Mawi Asgedom

  • Mawi's story is an amazing journey from being an Ethiopian refugee to author and motivator of thousands of students.
  • A game-changing moment in Mawi's life was when his youth pastor had him and other students in his group read specific scriptures, reflect on the meaning, think about how it applies to him, and write action steps to put into place to apply it. He grew through that process.
  • “You never know the impact you will have. That's how you could be a game-changer.”

Kara Powell

  • Sometimes we do church like we're two totally different teams, adults and children/students. It's like the children's table at holiday dinners.
  • Luke 2:41
    • Who took care of Jesus while his parents were gone for 3 days?
    • We don't know, but probably the faith community.
    • Nobody asked them to take of Jesus, they went a day before realizing he wasn't with them.
  • Kara noted that 40-50% of students who grow up in church leave after high school. Usually, that number is seen as higher, even recent studies show it's still around 70%, though not all leave because they don't believe.
  • She noted that the research they have done ( has led them to new insights.
  • They found that getting kids and students involved in the community with all the generations in the church, helps their development.
  • Do you want to help end the segregation (of age groups) that hurts the children in your church?

Doug Fields

Doug shared 3 things that he looks back on after his time as a student minister and realized he was blinded by.

  • Importance of numbers
    • Doug was more familiar with John Maxwell's leadership material than the Bible.
    • When you focus too much on numbers you become blinded and you think bigger is better.
    • Doug referenced the book Renovation of the Church.
  • Pace of life
    • Ministry never ends. There's always more to do.
    • Doug had a longing for isolation when he was too busy in ministry.
  • Constant comparison
    • Comparing your ministry to other ministries. How you lead compared to others. How you preach compared to others.
    • People compare you to other people.

These aren't bad things on their own. It's when you focus on them too much that it distracts you. Doug learned these lessons after looking back on those blind spots.

  • Bigger isn't better. Better is better
    • Most people in the church don't want to be a number.
    • Numbers can feed our ego.
  • Hurry is the enemy of depth
    • There's a price to pay for hurry.
    • You can't rush discipleship.
  • Replace comparison with the effectiveness
    • I needed to stop comparing and start abiding.

Do you pay attention, deeply, to the things Jesus cares about?

  • What if we went on a numbers detox?
  • Quit being impressed by the busyness of other people.
  • Busyness is a sign of brokenness.
  • When you look to the future, are you happy with where your soul is headed?

My Takeaways

  • We tell stories at our family ministry team meeting each week. Those stories are typically not about numbers, though it does come up. I want to care about numbers because they represent people, but I want to make sure we're talking about other important things as well.


  • My #1 highlight always surrounds the people. We took 7 other people from our church and 2 from a partner church and I had a great time experiencing the conference with them.
  • I also had great conversations with a number of leaders including David Lyons, Dan Scott, Jon & Gina Napier, Bre Hallberg, Carey Nieuwhof, Sean Seay, Tom Pounder, Mike Kelly, Nina Schmidgall, Jenilee LeFors and others.
  • Craig Groeschel preached a great message on Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
  • Jim Wideman reminded me of the importance of giving people shots at leading at higher levels, even if they're not sure if they can do it, or want to do it. It's an experiment so there aren't any huge expectations.
  • Tony Morgan was one of the best conference workshop speakers I've ever had. I've followed his blog for 5+ years, read most of his books, and talked to him in person but this was the first time I've really seen him present or teach. He had helpful, practical content and engaging presentation.
  • The importance of leveraging social media was talked about multiple times. Our church does this pretty well but we can definitely improve. I have ideas of how we can do this.
  • Andy Stanley's talk about mutual submission on staff was killer. I've already heard him say most of it before, but he did add a lot more pointed things specifically to senior ministers who think they're “anointed”. It was hilarious and convicting.
  • Like every year, the music was amazing. I love the song parodies that are done to pay tribute to specific groups of people in the church.

These are my notes from the Orange Conference 2012 Breakouts. Orange is a conference for family ministry teams and senior leadership in churches. You can see my notes from the Main Sessions here.


Managing Multiple Ministries

Jim Wideman led this workshop. It's unique in that it was a conversation setting and the group was limited to 30 people.

I signed up for this workshop because of always battling the tension of managing multiple things. At church, I want to do a great job managing my roles and ministries, including preschool, children, students, college, website/tech, and my role on our pastor's team. Outside of church I manage this blog in hopes of helping other church leaders, develop websites for people, run, create resources to help church leaders (2 big projects in the works now), and coach other leaders.

I want to do all of that well while keeping God and my family's priority over all of that.

  • Be faithful in small things and God will bless you with many, big things.
  • Study time management to help with managing multiple ministries (The Effective Executive & Beat the Clock books).
  • Use tools for time management
    • Find a way to separate the different things you manage.
    • Jim uses different computers for church and his personal website/work.
  • Meetings are one of the top things stopping us from getting things done.
  • He meets every other week with each ministry team (children's, student's).
  • You need the freedom and support of your family to manage multiple ministries.
  • Burnout happens when you lose the ability to take a big task and break it into small parts.
  • If you're going to manage multiple ministries you have to let other people represent you.
  • “The larger the ministry, the more time you have to spend in leadership development.” – Ed Young Jr.
  • You'll have to give up things to manage multiple ministries.
  • How you get depth at key roles is to always have people apprenticing, learning, watching.
  • Set priorities and make appointments based on those priorities.
  • Think in steps and not just leaps.
  • Evaluate your time. Look at how you actually spend it.
  • What are you doing that somebody else can do?
  • They can't do it if you don't spend time with them to show them how it's done, or at least make a checklist for them.

My Takeaways

  • Have our volunteers who aren't leading teams of adults step up and lead 4x/year or even once/month in coach and director roles.
  • I set a reminder to look over the multiple things I manage so I can see how it's divided up and make sure they're not overlapping.

XP3 College Unpacked

Chuck Bomar and Abbie Sprunger

  • Mentorship means different things to different generations. Some differences include:
    • Older generations are typically an arms-length away with personal information and they value practical help and guidelines.
    • Younger generations value that openness and close relationships. They like natural conversation and connection.
  • You can go through a curriculum with college students and totally miss connecting with them and their life.
  • We can't view college students as people to be fixed.
  • A discussion happens among leaders and college students, leaders should be part of the conversation not as a teacher/student but as a group member.
  • XP3 College is a different kind of curriculum in that it simply provides conversation topics for use in group settings. They release about once a month.
  • XP3 College also includes a mentor guide to set leaders up well for connecting with college students and guiding them through these discussions.

My Takeaways

There's probably nothing new here as our church is already working on ways to help college-age people connect more. I think the Xp3 College conversations are great for college-age groups and the session went through what they offer. A lot of that information is available on

Simply Strategic Volunteers

Tony Morgan led this breakout based on a book he co-authored with Tim Stevens. Tony is an experienced leader, strategist, consultant, and coach for church leaders. His blog is the first one I ever followed years ago and I'm a better leader because of it.

  • Think volunteers before staff
    • Ephesians 4:12 – The leader's responsibility is to equip people to do ministry.
    • God's people aren't called to do the leader's ministry, they're called to do God's ministry.
    • If our mindset is to find people to do ministry tasks we will face challenges.
    • We have to find how people are wired and gifted and help them pursue God's dream for their life.
    • LifePoint Church has 70% of adults serving, only spends 30% of their budget on staff, and has the lowest staff-to-attender ratio of any church Tony has ever worked with. The high volunteer number and low staff number are related.
  • We need to teach shoulder tapping
    • Tony used a group of folks as an illustration. He had them all play ministry leaders in a church who were going to recruit people to their ministry all at the same time, talking at the same time, loudly.
    • The point is that we oftentimes compete within the church and attenders are confused.
    • We realize that 70-80% of people who show up at church for the first time were invited but when it comes to volunteer recruiting, we promote and forget the personal invite.
  • Stay focused
    • “One of the reasons we have a hard time finding volunteers for ministry is we're doing too much.”
    • Too many options cause most people to not decide.
    • We need to encourage people to take steps with their friends.
  • We need to identify leaders, not doers
    • Tony referenced Moses' struggle with being overwhelmed with having to be the only person people could take their problems to. His father-in-law helped him hand off leadership and that leadership was at different levels.
    • 4 stages of leadership Tony sees: (see more here)
      • Lead by example
      • Lead other people
      • Lead other leaders
      • Lead by vision
  • We need to empower people to use their gifts
    • Never do ministry alone.
    • Jesus did ministry in teams.
    • We need to cast a vision for where we're going in our ministry.
    • 1 Corinthians 12:27 – “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
    • We can't continue to tell people what to do, especially if they have the leadership gift.
    • “We lead other people in our ministry like they're first graders.”
    • Real leaders will not stick around in that kind of environment.

My Takeaways

  • We're already planning our regular Summer Team volunteer opportunity as well as a one-time push in the fall specifically for our large group teams. I'm going to make sure part of our strategy is to leverage personal invites and not just promotion.

Structuring Your Ministry for Growth

Jim Wideman led this workshop. It's unique in that it was a conversation setting and the group was limited to 30 people.

  • The structure is like the skeleton in a human body.
  • Structures have to change to keep growing.
  • There are growth structures and maintenance structures.
  • 75-80% full feels full for Americans.
  • 4 Structures that need to be right to grow:
    • Organizational
    • Facility
    • People in the right place
    • Budget
  • Do you have the structure to support 100 people if they asked to volunteer?
  • If we'll do what we can do, God will do what he can do.
  • Have depth at key positions. Jim likes for leaders to have assistants, who have apprentices.
  • Jim doesn't staff by ratio, he staffs by function.

My Takeaways

  • I'd like to get Jim's books on volunteers, structure, and more.
  • Our current family ministry structure was designed to support our ministry as it grows to a bigger size than we are now, but I'd like to re-evaluate it anyhow.
Orange Conference 2011

range Conference 2011

  • 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

  • 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 its 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.

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 invests resources in doing 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 of the survey.

  • 92% of parents using cell phones/smartphones 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:
    • Ministers, 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 ministers, 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 – Water Exodus 15 – A real crisis. God helps Moses make the water pure again.
    • Crisis 2 – Food Exodus 16 – Another real crisis. God provides manna.
    • Crisis 3 – Water…again Exodus 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 complaints, invite trust in instead.

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 a 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?

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 things 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 in 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?

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 boy's 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.


Volunteer Assimilation – Nina Schmidgall

Nina Schmidgall led my first breakout called Volunteer Assimilation. Nina is from National Community Church (NCC) – One church in 7 locations. She provided a link to their children's ministry blog:

NCC Demographics

  • 78% are in their 20’s or 30’s
  • 63% are single
  • 40% turnover each year
  • 27% unchurched/de-churched

Assimilation – Incorporation of new concepts into existing schemes.

Best Practices for Reaching New Volunteers

  • Maximize gifts, don’t fill holes
  • Vision cast
  • Encourage “Heart Service” – people serve most passionately when they serve how God has gifted them.
  • “Date” a new volunteer – Jonathan and Thomas McKee –
    • Shadow system – a system to allow volunteers to explore the ministry while we observe how well they fit.
    • One time ask – give people opportunities to be involved without a long commitment
    • Entry and exit points – Easy ways to begin serving and stop serving. NCC uses a semester system, allowing them to step out at the end of the semester.
  • Carry a pen
  • Create a vacuum for service – create opportunities for volunteers

Best Practices for Assimilating New Volunteers

  • Orientation and manual
    • Vision
    • Roles and responsibilities
    • Commitment – never say ONLY! – Never minimize the commitment. Saying it’s only twice a month devalues the role and its importance.
    • Schedule
    • Safety
    • Security
    • Policies – stepping down, substitutes, preparation, discipline
  • Curriculum
  • Protect new volunteers – they need extra support and encouragement
  • Coach or mentor teacher

Best Practices for Keeping New Volunteers

  • Encouragement
  • Appreciation – Food, small gifts, notes.
  • Privileges and perks
  • Create community
  • Create culture
  • Provide new leadership opportunities
  • Ongoing training
  • Feedback
  • Huddle
  • Have fun!

What are you doing to appreciate the families of the volunteers who serve with you?

Not JUST a Volunteer – Jeanne Stevens

Jeanne Stevens is one of the lead pastors of Soul City Church, after serving at North Point Community Church and Willow Creek Community Church.

  • Jeanne shared about their story planting Soul City Church and how volunteers have made it all happen.
  • God wants to usher volunteers into building his kingdom
  • When volunteers are healthy and empowered it’s an unstoppable force
  • It’s amazing when a volunteer finds their sweet spot in ministry.

From Here to There – what helps people become committed volunteers

  • Moving from attending to serving
    • It’s where faith starts to stick. Find ways to help people serve even if they aren’t Christians yet.
    • Provide an opportunity for people to find out how to take the next steps.
    • Provide first-serve opportunities so people can test drive that role/ministry.
  • Moving from serving to owning
    • It’s like moving people from being renters to owners.
  • Moving from “they” to “us”
    • Helping volunteers talk about the church with terms like we and us and not you and they.
    • Volunteers feel like the church staff are “they” sometimes.
  • Moving from serving to leading
    • Are your leaders people magnets? Not extroverts, but are people drawn to them.
    • Do you discern potential? Use it to draw potential out in others.
    • Do you see the consistent performance in a prospective leader?
    • Can they handle a non-glamorous position?
  • Releasing healthy power
    • I do, you watch.
    • I do, you help.
    • We do it together.
    • You do, I help.
    • You do, I watch.
    • Both of you repeat that process with someone new
  • Don’t put people in leadership too quickly, especially without empowering them.
  • Volunteers won’t be responsible without being given responsibilities.
  • Let go of some control and release it to others.
  • “Never sacrifice the many for the one” – Andy Stanley. What he means is that we can’t allow one volunteer who is harming the team to continue having that influence. Sacrifice the one for the many.
  • As a leader, where are you serving?

Who do we need to invite to serve?

Who is serving, that we need to invite to lead?

Who do we need to release from a position?

Am I giving enough responsibility and authority away? Where do I need to give more?

Innovative Ideas to Partner with Parents – Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is the pastor of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, Canada. Carey’s a great guy and I would encourage you to get to know his story. In short, he pastored 3 churches at the same time (small churches) that he combined into one, sold all the property, and became portable. From there the church broke off from the denomination to start Connexus.

  • Parents have the greatest influence on a child’s life.
  • Orange is about leveraging that influence and not simply depending on the church to raise children in faith.

Innovating with Parents

  • The script isn’t written yet….you’re writing it.
  • Most parents don’t have a positive role model…they’re it.

Innovating Initiatives

  • Don’t just think about events, think about experiences.
  • Don’t just have them come to you, go to them.
  • Don’t just think commitment, think community.
  • Don’t just facilitate information…facilitate dialogue.

Carey interviewed a panel of family ministry leaders about ways they’ve partnered with parents.

  • Jeff Brodie
    • He talked about partnering with parents by sending home information was not very effective because they weren’t reading it.
    • They talk to parents about strategy.
    • Families don’t look at their kids in different age groups (preschool, elementary, middle school, high school).
    • Parents want to spend more time with their kids but didn’t know-how.
    • The Great Family Experiment is something they started to provide an experience for families to reinforce the five family values.
  • Kendra Fleming
    • Their Baby Dedication was a big event but not a helpful journey for parents. They figured out the few things they would want to tell a parent at that stage of life. They created a new Baby Dedication event called BabyD:
    • Parents have to listen to 3 messages and complete homework together or on their own if they are single parents.
    • All of the pre-work is required to take part in the event.
    • For elementary, they changed up KidStuf to KidStuf Live, KidStuf Online along with a KidStuf Takeout. KidStuf Live happens once a month and is a family experience event. KidStuf Online has more ideas along with a recap. KidStuf Takeout is an experience for families to do on their own at home that syncs up with KidStuf Live.
  • Kenny & Elle Campbell
    • Parent & Small Group Leader Breakfast – an event designed to get parents in the same room as the small group leaders of their children, where they can connect, have some fun, and brainstorm ways to partner together for the sake of their children.
    • This is an idea they implemented for middle school but it would be great at any level.
    • Small group leaders handled all the promotions of the event. They invited parents personally.
    • They made placemats for the tables that helped the small group leaders have conversations with the parents.
    • They created small group leader profile cards for the parents to have so they can get to know their child’s small group leader.
    • Possibly do it as a dinner or dessert night.

There are a lot of great ideas here to implement in our ministries.


Building a Local Network of Leaders – Brian Vander Ark

I was looking forward to this breakout as I’m part of a children’s ministry network in Maryland and I’m always looking for ways to better serve the leaders and churches that are a part of that network.

Brian Vander Ark is the Family Ministry Director at Ada Bible Church.

  • He talked about his story with beginning to network with other leaders in his area.
  • They used to meet in fall, winter & spring and would focus on volunteers, ministry strategy and personal development respectively.
  • His network started to dwindle because he, and others, weren’t giving time to it.
  • He asked himself What If questions:
    • What if the churches in your community and region were working together instead of alone?
    • What if gathering these churches made not only your ministry better, but also improved the church down the street?
    • What if you were not alone but had a local network of Orange thinkers in your corner supporting your efforts, cheering you on, sharing your load?
    • What if the Kingdom was bigger than just you and your church and everyone did not need to go to your church to grow spiritually because healthy churches existed around you?
    • What if you could add Christian community leaders as valid participants in your local network?
  • A local network is a group of leaders that can help you explore new ideas, understand local trends, and evaluate your ministry in face-to-face conversation to influence and change the greater community.
  • Basics to making a local network work well
    • When egos are left in the parking lot.
    • Gatherings go beyond information sharing to a balance and giving and receiving wisdom.
    • The gathering is centered around a shared philosophy of ministry.
  • Basics to starting a network
    • Take the initiative
    • Begin with relationship-building
    • Identify common needs
    • Create goals and develop a strategy
    • Create a yearly rhythm
    • Evaluate the purpose of the network often

Do you have a local network? If not, start one!