Which conference is the greatest?

Tomorrow I will go into more detail about why I think Orange Conference is unique but today I want to touch on something that I have noticed out there I call “conference supremacy.” It seems in my experience that some conference goers feel that the conference they attend is the only conference that should be out there. I disagree wholeheartedly. I may have a conference or conferences that I prefer, I however am grateful at the many options out there.

Cliff and I had a conversation the other day about how cool it was that there were so many options of conferences and how each one is unique in its own way. He wrote a great blog post about it today.

The one conference he doesn’t mention that I will be at this year is Napkin –

What makes Napkin unique

1. It’s put on my a local church. I am a huge believer in the local church.
2. Every single speaker currently serves on the staff of a local church
3. Napkin is about making big ideas a reality.
4. The format is smaller and fosters a collaborative feel
5. I have known Pastor Benny for 15 years and respect the heck out of him.
6. I get to meet Dave “The Legend” Wakerley. Very excited.

Cliff is much smarter than I am so instead of trying to duplicate what he said here is the link to his post today.


Orange Week: Best Breakout Speaker Doug Fields

I used a different strategy in picking my breakouts at orange last year. I picked my breakouts based on what who was doing them not based on what the topic was about. As a result I picked two youth pastor small groups. One of those was by Doug Fields I had heard him do a general session at Orange in 2010 and he was phenomenal.

As a kids pastor going into a session that is full of youth pastors it can be a bit intimidating. I did my best to act cool and make Lady Ga-Ga jokes till the session started.

The session started and was easily one of the best sessions I’ve been to at orange. Doug Fields was fantastic here are some of the things that really rang true for me.

We do the possible God does the impossible –

Spiritual growth has to be own your own. – we get kids connected to a program and a person.

Reproducible discipleship is relational-based.

1 person can’t disciple everyone – Raise the value of your volunteers – If you want to be effective you need to spend time with leaders and with parents

Failure, doubt and pain paves the way to spiritual growth – Don’t protect your kids from these things walk with them through them.

Discipled student can disciple other kids.


Visionaries of teenage spiritual growth

Discipleship isn’t a home run every time just consistent singles.

Examples of spiritual growth. – Kids don’t remember your messages they remember you. (This is so true)

Transparent with our personal journey.

Relational in our approach.

If you move from tenderness to having a hard heart you have lost touch with kids.

Every kid is hurting somewhere.

Motivate and support a climate of spiritual conversations

Go small. – the only people who like big are pastors. – Kids don’t grow in big meetings they grow in small groups.

Create and distribute spiritual growth resources. – Fill up their toolboxes.

If kids are not asking bible questions they aren’t reading their bible.

Roll Tide: 10 things I learned about leadership from College Football

Be aware of “Yes” men, generally they are losers. – Bear Bryant.

Well I know this may sound crazy especially for you down in the south but I have never watched a full college football game in my life. I wasn’t feeling good and didn’t have anything else to do so I decided to sit down and watch “The” University of Alabama vs. Penn St. The more I watched the more I cared who won. The more I tweeted that I was pulling for the Tide the more I was assaulted by Auburn fans. The more I was assaulted by Auburn fans the more I cared about the Tide winning. I am a die-hard Yankee fan so I understand a good rivalry. I think I may start watching college football more.

Here are some of the lessons I learned

1. If you don’t care about the outcome of the game. No one will love you or hate you. You’ll just be irrelevant to the conversation
2. Leaders make decisions even if they aren’t popular
3. A good defense make a good offense great.
4. Bear Bryant was a big deal and a great coach and not a cartoon character like I thought.
5. If the other team takes it to you in the opening drive bear down and do what you do with confidence.
6. Knowing who your enemy is makes you more focused and more effective.
7. When you care about a team it makes the game matter more
8. When you understand the strategy of the game you love the game more.
9. When you understand the history of the game each game means more.
10. God created the Tide (Day 3 Gen. 1:9-13) before he created Eagles (Day 5 Gen. 1:20-23)

Roll Tide Roll


Guest Post: Announcing Nashville Illuminate

(Here is a guest post from my friend Kenny Conely with news about his Illuminate conference.)

With two Illuminate Conferences under my belt, one thing is sure… Illuminate is like no other conference. At both Austin (2010) and Birmingham (2011) I heard the same thing over and over.





That’s what kidmin volunteers from Texas, Alabama and Georgia all had to say about their Illuminate experience. So, the only logical thing to do is more events, right? That’s what I thought too.

On Saturday, February 18th, 2012… Illuminate comes to the great city of Nashville, TN! Details are still coming together (like speakers and breakouts) but we do have a handful of great communicators already lined up.

  • Jim Wideman (General Sessions and Leader Q & A)
  • Jonathan Cliff
  • Amy Fenton Lee
  • I’ll be there too… plus a few others
So, if you live within a 2-4 hour radius of Nashville, TN, make plans to attend the only event bringing some of the most influential voices in kidmin to the local arena to equip volunteers. It’s one of the best investments you could make in your volunteer team. At the early bird price, you can afford to bring them all!

For more information about Illuminate, check out illuminateconference.tv. For more information about the Nashville event, visit nashville.illuminateconference.tv.

Conferences I’ll be attending: Group Kidmin Conference.

In a few short weeks there will be hundreds of kidmin leaders descending on Chicago home of the thick nasty pizza. I am really starting to get excited about heading out to connect with some old friends as well as meet a bunch of new people who share my passion for kids and youth.

Why this conference is different. – A little over a year ago, Group flew 10 kids pastors from around the country  out to Colorado to give talk about what they love, hate, and don’t really care about when it comes to a kidmin conference. It was a time of brainstorming ideas to make Group’s conference different. We talked about what speakers we want to hear from what breakouts would pack the most punch. I have never heard of people wanting to start a conference inviting the people who will attend and ask them what kind of conference do you want?

What can you expect – Group was clear about a few things that I think could potentially make this conference very different from most.

– Affinity groups – You can sign up to hang with a small group of other kidmin leaders who have some of the same things in common with you. Some of the groups will be , large church, small church, multisite, traditional church, spouse of a kidmin etc… In these groups you have a leader facilitating a discussion that will hopefully help you process some of the stuff you are taking in. It’s also their hope that the conversation from these groups continue beyond the conference.

– No green room – All the speakers at the conference will be out and about and you will be able stop them and ask questions about their talk their ministry or even hear a bit about their story.

– No Venders – For me this one I could take or leave I don’t really visit venders at a conference I do all that online. I do know that some people go to conference and going to see what is out there is a huge selling point others they feel like they are trapped in a kidmin infomercial.

I really like the affinity group idea and will be leading one for Large churches. If you are going and are from a large church let me know I would love to connect before the conference if possible.  I also like the idea of no green room maybe when I have my TV station and 4 jets my opinion will change. The vender thing I can take or leave. All in all it has lots of potential for relationship and I really like that.

Who is putting this thing on? – Group publishing. Christine Yount Jones is no stranger to next generation ministry she has been a vital part of everything Group does for years now. She is a wonderful person with a hear of gold. When I met Chris Jones for the first time I was so impressed she really loves what she does and she really cares about the work that youth and kids people do. Everyone at Group that I have met have gone out of their way to be the biggest support they can be for the work the church does.

I am going to be there and I hope you will as well. Time is running out. September 23 is the last day to register, but don’t wait do it now!