There are a lot of great conferences out there. People ask me all the time what conference they should go to. I never recommend a conference across the board because I feel each conference has a unique purpose.
If you were to ask me why you should go to the Orange Conference that’s a different question.
What makes Orange Conference Unique
1. They have breakouts for Children’s, Youth, and Senior leaders
2. They have resources but the conference is more about a philosophy than about their curriculum
3. They have a lot of sharp young leaders on their team that are pushing the innovation envelope all the time.
4. If you are looking for ways to connect with parents this is the conference for you.
5. Of all the kidmin conferences I’ve been to they do the best with the Large stage portion
6. I have gone the last three years and every year I have really enjoyed the Keynotes. I love how they put people on stage many kids pastors would be able to hear.
7. Every year Andy Stanley talks – You don’t get that at any other kidmin conference.
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.
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.
WHO WE ARE
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.
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
(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.