Isn’t Orange just about Virtues?

I am not going to Orange this year I have gone for the past 3 years as a blogger had a blast and met loads of great kidmin and Student ministry people. I thought that I would do a blog post or two about Orange even though I am not there. I thought I would do a blog post for those of you who stay away from the Orange movement due to a huge obstacle for many of you…..virtues.

At our church we have used 252basis for around 6 years. Upon telling people that often I get the following question. “Isn’t Orange just about virtues?” My basic response to most people is that if you make 252Basics just about virtues thats your fault more than it’s their fault. Curriculum is such a tricky thing because there is no such thing as perfect curriculum.

Around a year ago I went searching for something else because we had used 252 for quite a while and I wanted to see what is out there. Our church is very Gospel driven we want our kids to understand the message of the Gospel in a very clear way. We want our kids to not only know about Christ but to have a theological basis for their faith. All the other curriculums we looked at need as much or more work than we put into 252 most often it was much more work.

Here is why a person like me who is against Moralistic Therapeutic Deism a major advocate for virtue based teaching?

1. The virtues give you a theme and a framework to discuss what Christ has done in a theologically practical way.
2. The scripture content at Orange is excellent and has only gotten better over the years.
3. I have found that the Orange team is very open to ideas and input.
4. I like the fact that so many other people are teaching the same lesson there is a great ability to network and group think.

How do we avoid teaching our kids moralism? This is a much deeper question that takes much more time than we have hear but I think that the people at Orange have been unfairly branded as moralists the problem is more systemic in kids ministry. So how do you teach virtues in a non-moralistic way? In talking to our kids pastor and story teller we always tweak the application so that the virtue is shown to our kids through Christ rather than a way to Christ. We avoid moralism when we understand our depravity and his Grace. When we see that we can be brave, and honest, and have conviction not because it makes look more like Christ but because Christ lived a life of honest conviction and bravely laid down his life we too can do those things because of what Christ has already done for us. Virtues demonstrated are a much different thing that virtues we strive to attain.

I think virtues have gotten a very bad rap.

I miss Orange 2012 already!

For the first time in 4 years I will not be at the Orange Conference. It’s a great conference Reggie and his team knock it out of the park every year.

Why do I love going?
I love the idea of Kids pastors and Youth pastors aligning forces to partner with parents.
We use their curriculum and find that it works great for our multisite environment.
I love seeing my friends that come back every year.
I really like the bigness of it.
I love connecting with a different crowd. (Every conference has it’s unique crowd and Orange is no different.)
I love Reggies heart appreciate the work he does.
The production value of the event is always fantastic.

Here is what I will miss most this year
Hanging with my posse
Being a Part of the the book launch and book signing of “The Eric Trap” which officially goes on sale today!
Going to the official and not so official tweet-ups.
Seeing McKee walk around in his White Pants and Orange boots.
Meeting new amazing leaders from around the world. (Last year I met, Rob Bradberry, DC Curry and Terrace Crawford all of whom I learned a ton from.)

Here is what I am going to do this year.
Watch the live feed of the opening night and the backstage streaming.
Try to keep up with the twitter feed
Read as many blogs as I can. With 30+ bloggers going I am sure I’ll catch the vibe of the event.


Why volunteers don’t attend your meetings.

Have you ever asked yourself why no one ever comes to your training meetings? Have you ever bought 200 bagels and 5 boxes of Joe in preparation for 100% attendance by your volunteer teams? Only to have 185 bagels left over. I see that hand and that hand belongs to me.

What do we do? We blame the people we invited we blame the methods we used to get the people out, and even sometimes the donuts, but rarely do we look at the content of the meeting itself.

In my experience most meetings for volunteers are held because of the accumulation of important information that needs to be shared. So you call everyone out to the church, on a Saturday for a three hour meeting on diaper changing policy.

The first big mistake we make is we think people care as much about information as we do. They don’t.

If you want people to attend your meetings. Here is what you need to do.

1. Start on time end on time – value their time.
2. 30% Fellowship/Relationship
3. 60% Inspiration/Vision/Values
4. 10% Information – Give people information other ways – email, facebook, blogs.
5. Connect meetings to things they are already attending
6. Most leaders want to grow make your meeting about leadership growth not trivial facts.

If they know they are going to be poured into and challenged they will come back. Do them and your ministry a favor. Talk vision and values way more than you talk about putting stickers on freshly changed baby bums. turns 5.

Can not believe my blog is ready for kindergarten. I remember when he was just learning to walk. In the busyness of life I forget to properly celebrate. Last week was the 5th anniversary of what a blessing it has been to my life. I love the fact that in the past 5 years so many blogs have come on the scene. I love how I have gotten to know so many of you on line and met many of you at conferences.

I still remember telling my wife 5 years ago that I was going to start a blog. She said “Why are going to do that?” I told her that I want to give to others and be what I wished I had when I started. 1187 posts 4305 comments later I feel that I have received much more than I have given. We are grateful.

I am so grateful to all of you who have placed ads, wrote encouraging words, and left comments. Thanks for believing in my and for adding to the conversation.


I thought it would be fun to re-post my first blog post for old times sake.

The Importance of Call
One of the most important things that will sustain you in a life in ministry is the assurance of the call of God on your life.

“No one escapes the general call to mission. No one can say, ‘Witness is not for me.’ The critical question is not whether we’re called, for we are. The critical question is ‘Where am I called to?’ The answer may be to serve Jesus right where we are already, among those we live with and work beside. That is a wholly legitimate calling” (Alistair Brown, 1997).

I remember the moment that I was called to work with young people. It was a very profound experience that I will never forget. I believe that in order to make it for the long haul in ministry you need to point to a specific place in time where you were called to do what you are presently doing. There will always come a time when you will doubt that call out of distraction discouragement or disillusionment. We are all called to someone to somewhere and often times we miss that call because we are looking for something else.

When you are doing the most important thing on earth, working with kids. The devil will do whatever he can to get you to quit. What you have to do when that happens is remember to whom you are called.

All Things Eric Newman Week 1

Here are the links to all things Eric Newman from the first week of the blog tour of our new book “The Eric Trap”.

My Posts

The Eric Trap
Who is Eric Newman?
Leadership matters.

Brother Jim’s Posts

Ready For A Blog Road Trip?
Day Two Of The Eric Trap Blog Tour
Day 3 of The Eric Trap Book Tour
Day 3 of The Eric Trap Blog Tour continued
The Tour So Far 

Kenny’s Posts

The Eric Trap Blog Tour Begins
The real Eric Newman
The Eric Trap Blog Tour: Day 2
Eric Trap: First video review
The Eric Trap Blog Tour: Day 3
The Eric Trap Blog Tour: Day 4
The Eric Trap Blog Tour: Day 5

Matt McKee

The Eric Trap: A #Kidmin Leadership Book You Should Read Even If You Don’t Like Kids

Andy Johnson

Book Review: The Eric Trap: A Leadership Fable

JC Thompson

The Eric Trap Book Review