Category Archives: Los Angeles

Orange Tour: Los Angeles

Orange Tour: Los Angeles

Learn to Lead Change and to Lead Small

The Orange Tour is coming to Glenkirk Church in just over a month.  I’m incredibly excited.  Last year, hundreds of churches attended this gathering – looking forward to another great experience!

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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Los Angeles, Orange


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Orange Week: What’s to Come

This week, registration begins for Orange 2012.

I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly excited I am.  In fact, I’m so excited that I’m joining in on a little blog tour leading up to the opening day of registration.  To find out more about that blog tour, you can check out this link:

Over the week, I’ll be posting a series of posts in a hope to convey how Orange, as a strategy and as a conference, has shaped and reshaped the way I serve and minister to families.  I’ll be walking through the following topics this week:

Tuesday: There is No “I” in Orange: Why Orange shouldn’t be a solo experience

Wednesday: Out of Left Field: The thing I learned at Orange that I never saw coming

Thursday: Dreaming in Orange: Simple ways that we’ve become a more Orange church (and you can too!)

Friday: Orange Tour LIVE: Glenkirk is hosting the Orange Tour THIS Friday!

I’m looking forward to the week… and also looking forward to meeting a TON of Orange Thinking friends for lunch this Thursday in the LA area (details here:

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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Orange


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The Orange Tour: Los Angeles

The Orange Tour Comes to the Los Angeles Area

Get the Tools Needed for Effective Family Ministry

Hundreds of regional church leaders will gather in the Los Angeles area on Friday, September 23 for The Orange Tour, an exciting series of one-day events across the nation created to equip and inspire attendees. This fourth stop on the tour will be packed with practical ideas, move teams toward a unified strategy and provide easy-to-implement suggestions for partnering with parents. Speakers Reggie Joiner and Sue Miller will focus on the nine core insights to shaping the next generation’s worldview.

Designed to be an interactive gathering of church leaders from specific geographic regions, the Orange Tour’s relaxed environment provides each leader with the chance to network with other leaders in their area. The relationships formed here can become an invaluable tool to help build stronger ministries.

The Orange Tour is perfect for every member of a ministry team—preschool, children’s, student ministry and senior pastors. The speakers they’ll hear from, the training they’ll receive, and the community that develops provides an excellent environment for growth. This gathering is also a great opportunity to get ministry-specific questions answered from our Orange Leaders, Orange Coaches, and fellow ministry leaders who have the same or similar experiences.

Information shared through the tour stems from the Orange Strategy, a pioneering concept that believes parents, as partners with church leadership, create the most impacting center of influence for children and teenagers. “Thinking Orange” blends two vital, yet often unconnected worlds to reshape the current ministry model.

The Orange Tour Los Angeles stop will be held at Glenkirk Church in Glendora. Registration is $59, including lunch, if registered on or by September 9, after which the price increases to $69. The one-day training opportunity can either be considered a stand-alone event or as a precursor to The Orange Conference, the 4,000-plus national event, which will be held April 25-27, 2012, in Atlanta. For more information about The Orange Tour, please visit, email or call 678-845-7168.


I can’t begin to express how thrilled I am that our team and our church is hosting the West Coast stop on the Orange Tour this Fall.  I’d love to connect with those of you out here in California and the surrounding states if you’re able to make it to this event – drop me a line via facebook, twitter or in the comments section and I’ll make it a point to create time for us to talk shop and hang out while you’re here.

I’ve even added a link at the right of my blog for you to register – it’s that simple.

Hope to see you there!


Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Orange, Resources


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Guest Post: The Price of Privilege

The following is a post from our Middle School intern, Kailyn King (@kailynking).  You can share your thoughts about the book, or questions about this post, by commenting below.

I have to say I was really excited to start this book. I’m not a parent, or a teenager anymore (granted only by a few months) but I have known and now know plenty of teens that fit the demographic of this book (including my previous self) and I was really interested to see what Dr. Levine had to say about privileged teens and their emotional problems. I have known all kinds of teens struggling with the challenges of growing up, but this is the first time that I have read a book specifically about the particular needs of teens growing up in affluence. I grew up in an affluent home in an affluent town and am now graduating from UCSD with many more affluent young people raised all over the state. This book didn’t trivialize these kid’s needs, or the challenges presented to their parents and never reduced the root of the problem to some sort of “poor rich kid” syndrome. Dr Levine was able to talk about some of the challenges of raising kids in tactful and honest way that called particular attention to the difficulties in raising kids in an environment where money is no object.

The chapter on the formation of “the healthy self” stood out to me as particularly relevant to what I have seen. With statements like “It is hard to develop an authentic self when there is constant pressure to adopt a socially facile, highly competitive, performance-oriented, unblemished “self ” that is promoted by omnipresent adults” (page 65) it was hard for me not to see a little bit of myself, and tons of other teens I grew up with being described to some extent. I know young adults who were so over scheduled as kids, so encouraged by parents and adults, so socially crafted that they get to graduation and honestly have no idea who they are. I have seen people I love go away to college and have no idea how to self regulate, how to make decisions like picking a major or class schedule for themselves. They become literally paralyzed with indecision and with lack of self awareness. Having seen this in action, Levine’s book becomes an important resource for me to understand how being raised in affluence may be a risk factor for emotional difficulties instead of being a buffer as has been suggested in most of the other sources I have read.

The next chapters of the book focus on different aspects of parenting that are affected by money and the kinds of societal norms that may emerge in areas where there is money. I won’t go into details about exactly what she covers, but I will say that I would strongly recommend giving this book a read. I think parents, prospective parents, people who work with teens or their parents could really use this book as a starting point (or a continuation of) taking a hard look at the effects of monetary comfort on their kids and teenagers. Levine is understanding and sensitive to the challenges parents face while still managing to get real about how important it is for parents to understand how what they do influences the emotional state of their kids. I know my parents fought hard to make sure to cultivate in me a sense of self and of personal ownership and responsibility and I so appreciate their hard work. I know it wasn’t easy for them to do but I have to say everything they did then is greatly appreciated by me now! This book seems like it would be a resource I would want to have if I were looking at the incredible challenge of raising kids.

I hope this was helpful, either in encouraging you to read this book or helping you decide it’s not for you.



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things I should hate more than I do: #7 Movie Endings

Who hates movie endings, right?

This is an absurd idea… or, is it absurd that we all don’t hate movie endings more than we do?

Think about it.  You invest hours of your life into following a story, only to have it end happily, tragically, or ambiguously.  Every movie, good or bad, has an ending.  If nothing else, a time comes when you have to leave the theater and drive away.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and saying goodbye… and I’ve decided that movies set us up to expect something from reality that we seldom ever get.
I’ll resolve that thought in a moment.

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine passed away.  If you’ve lived, then, chances are, you’ve lost someone at one point or another.  It’s hard for me to get past a week without thinking of things that were unresolved in our relationship… and, I find myself wishing that things would have played out differently.  I have no regrets about our friendship – I’m just shocked (for lack of a better term) at the stark finality of death.  I want to share more stories with my friend.  I want him to grow old and get to know his grandchildren.  I want him to have another tomorrow – a chance to hear birds, love his family and take a Sunday off from volunteering as a Sunday School teacher to play a round of golf.

It’s been nearly 5 months since a colleague and close friend of my family resigned from her position on our church staff to become a chaplain at a private school in the heart of Los Angeles.  I know that transitions happen, but, after years of investing in a relationship and a ministry partnership, it’s hard to lose the results of the effort and relational capital that’s we’ve both invested in each other.  Sure, we’ll still be friends… but, she’s moved on to the next exciting chapter of her life and has left us all behind.

So, I was listening to an author by the name of Don Miller talk about what makes a good movie a good movie… or what makes a good story a good story.  Basically, he was able to put into words and name for me what I hate about movie endings – a good story has closure.  Even if the movie ends and you know that the story goes on, you know that there has been some sort of conflict that’s been resolved and you can rest, knowing that resolution has happened and the movie world is a better place because of it.

Now… I’ll tie it all together, because that’s what the expectation is, right?

There will always be something else you could have done/said/fought for… but, at the end of the day, the day ends with things undone.

At the end of every movie, when the screen fades to black, we need to remember that the story goes on.  Our stories go on.  Long after our life here fades out, our story will continue.  Movies set us up to expect closure – but I’m beginning to doubt that it ever actually happens or exists in reality.

Anyone else feel this way, or am I just getting bummed out by the week of rain we’ve had in Southern California?

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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, Uncategorized


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my favorite things: #31 Good News Clubs

One of my favorite things that we do as a ministry is a little thing we like to call Good News Clubs.

My assistant, Staci Travisano (@Stacitrav) and I put together a little video that we’ve been sending out to potential volunteers for this booming ministry.  Could we have done a better quality video for this?  Absolutely!  But, after multiple takes, and taking into account that we both hate being on camera, we felt like the people watching this already like us – so, it was more about giving them a head’s up for what Good News Clubs are like in our community.

Currently, we provide support for 4 clubs in Glendora (3 directly and 1 in partnership with another amazing church down the road from us) and I’m starting conversations today to launch a 5th club at the only public school left in our city that doesn’t have a GNC on campus.

Want to know more about running gospel-centered programs on public school campuses in your neck of the woods?  Drop me a line in the comment section and I’d love to follow up with you!


Posted by on October 20, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles


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Top 10 Reasons I Want You on Staff

I’ll begin by saying, for the 100th time, that I’m bummed to see our current Student Ministries Director, Jenn Graffius, leave.  After 5 years of faithful service, Jenn has taken a call to become an Associate Minister and Chaplain at a Christian school in the greater Los Angeles area.  I’m bummed to see my friend leave, but excited to watch God use her in her new ministry context.

So… that leaves us looking to rearrange the way we structure our staff to best serve our church and the community around us.

Today, we begin our search for a new Youth Pastor at Glenkirk Church.

I’m just one voice on the search team, but this person is going to be my teammate in trying to reach families in our community with the Gospel – for this to work, I’m going to have to like you.
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Reasons I Want You on Staff:

10. You’ve Done This Before

I’m going to like you because this isn’t your first rodeo.  You’ve seen large youth groups in action and you’ve actually introduced youth and their families to Jesus for the first time.  We’re going to get to share stories and ideas from past successes and failures.  And… you should be excited this isn’t an entry level position.

9.  You’re a Team Player

You and I both agree that a silo approach to ministry isn’t okay.  You care just as much about what’s going on in the church’s small groups or Women’s Bible Study as you do what’s happening in your area of ministry.

8.  You’ve Read My Book

Well, it’s not just my book… but What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry is a great resource for churches and leaders who care about the trends impacting Children’s Ministry across the nation.  You need to know what’s going on in Children’s Ministry because families who have kids in youth group often have younger kids too.  This book is a great place to start figuring out what matters, today, in ministering to children.  Here’s a hint: the answer is not flannel-graph.  Oh, and did I mention the book is totally FREE?  You should download it now.
(CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD: What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry)

7.  You Empower Volunteers

You can’t do everything and be everything to everyone.  I’m going to like you because you already get that – you understand the power that is unleashed when small group leaders own the ministry.

6.  You Collaborate

Your ministry is not an island.  I look forward to hearing about the blogs you read and the other youth leaders you are in conversations with on a regular basis.  You’re not afraid to share ideas with others… and you share new ideas and ideas that failed just as often as you share ideas that worked.

5.  You’ve Heard Jim Miller Preach

You wouldn’t apply for this job if you didn’t know how amazing the Senior Pastor is, right?  Our Senior Pastor’s ability to preach makes our job a million times easier.  And, in case you really want to know what his favorite sermon illustrations are, he usually posts them on his blog.

4.  You’re Planning on Being Here for a While

You know how great our local school districts are and you’re going to want to raise a family here… so, think of your kids (future or present) and plan to settle down here.  Glendora is the perfect mix of small-town-feel with big-city-everything within driving distance.

3.  You Know Why This is Funny

2.  You Think Orange

This is the direction our family ministry team is going.  You’ll be a part of that team.  I need Orange to be a part of your working vocabulary.

1.  You Care about Lost Sheep

You read the job description for this position and your heart started beating faster.  We’re a church that cares about those who don’t yet know who Jesus is.  So do you.  That’s why we’re a perfect fit.


So… want the opportunity to work alongside me?  You can send a Facebook message ( or DM me ( and I’ll give you some more information about the position.  All inquiries will be held in confidence… so, even if you’re stoked with where you are now, you can still look at what it might mean for you to come onto our team.  You can also visit to find out how you can get a hold of the job description.


Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles


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California Island

California as an island date 1741

California is an island… and I’m not the first person to say it.

If you’ve ever been to California, then you know it’s expansive.  California is so big, in fact, that it can feel as though it’s three entirely different states.  Southern California is dominated by Los Angeles and the beach cities found up and down the coast.  I’m always entertained when I’m watching Lakers games and I see cutaway shots from the Staples Center fading into shots of the Hollywood sign (11 miles… 40 minutes in traffic), Santa Monica Pier (14 miles… 55 minutes in traffic), Universal Studios (10 miles… 35 minutes in traffic) or Disneyland (28 miles… 1 hour 40 minutes in traffic).  These places are nowhere near each other… yet, those are the images we think of when we think of LA and Southern California.

Northern California is a whole different ball game.  The state capitol building is a 385 mile drive north from Los Angeles, the population hub of the entire state.  The rest of the country might not know this… but there are 300 miles of California freeway between Sacramento and the state border with Oregon.  That’s 4 and a half more hours of driving through Northern California past the state capitol.  In Northern California, there are frequent conversations about how much better the state would be if it was divided in half. And, for the record, people in the “real” Northern California don’t consider the Bay Area as a part of the NorCal family.

There are times when I wonder if those facts play into the fact that church leaders in California don’t network well with those to the East of us.

We tend to think that our island is so unique that what you’re doing in Ohio, Texas, New York, Tennesee or Georgia can’t speak into what we face when it comes to the trials and tribulations of ministering to kids and their families.

So, I need your help… if you live in California, and are in active ministry, get over yourself and start connecting with leaders in other states. If you live outside of California, please find and adopt a west coast leader into your circle of friends. They need your voice in the conversation – even if they don’t know it yet!


Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles


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How Greenpeace Changed the Way I Serve Families

Speaking of Greenpeace…

I had a fascinating experience walking out of Trader Joe’s this afternoon.

Members from Greenpeace were outside of the store, trying to strike up conversations with people as they walked to their cars. There are times when I truly feel for the volunteers who get talked into doing this sort of job, so I offered to hear their pitch. The young man who approached me was very understanding and allowed me to put our kids in the car, unload our groceries and turn the air conditioner on before starting into his monologue.
(I’ll be honest, I figured turning the a/c on would encourage him to talk faster… a car sitting in a parking space with it’s engine running has to fluster anyone from Greenpeace, right?)

I had two considerable take-aways from our conversation.
And, to answer before you ask, I’m not going to go hug a tree… that was not one of the things I learned.

The Power to Choose

“I respect your time,” said the young man as I returned from starting my car. “Do you like Oceans or Forests?”
You see, Greenpeace had given this guy a script where he needed to tell me about the ways that people are destroying the Earth and he was supposed to talk through the various ways we’re polluting and over-harvesting all of our natural resources. However, recognizing that I didn’t have 20 minutes to hear a speech, my Trader Joe’s friend let me choose the thing that interested me the most. This was a simple decision, because the ocean freaks me out. Seriously. Swimming pool = Awesome. Ocean = Terrifying.
After selecting Forests as my option of choice, I heard about the ways that Greenpeace has successfully lobbied our government to ban some of the most harmful tactics that companies were using to harvest trees in places like the Amazon and Indonesia. I also heard about how Greenpeace has successfully petitioned major US based companies to stop using ingredients in their products that come from our planet’s rain forests.
By finding out what I was interested in, and pursuing a conversation from there, this Greenpeace activist was able to get me to remember what he said.
Score 1 for Greenpeace.

Baby Steps

So, the pitch is over, we’re 4 minutes into the conversation, and I ask what the next step is.
“By simply filling out the form, you can join Greenpeace and our global efforts to save our planet from destruction.”
Well, he probably didn’t say it just like that… I honestly don’t know exactly what he said because I was so overwhelmed by the size of his form. In no way was I going to write out all of my contact information and credit card info (as a member, you can choose to donate $20, $50, $80 or $100 monthly and have it automatically withdrawn from your account) on a piece of paper some guy was holding outside of the grocery store.
There are times in life when I do stupid things, today was not going to be one of those times.
The disconnect, for me, was jumping straight into membership and donating large chunks of money to a cause that I’d heard about for 4 minutes.
At that point, I pretty much turned off my ears and began thinking of my exit strategy.

How Greenpeace Changed the Way I Serve Families

As a church, I think we need to care about the environment… but, that’s not where I’m going with this.
When serving families at our church, we need to be willing to give up our 20 minute sales pitches. We need to find out what individuals actually care about and decide if that’s a need we can meet or not. I tell my team all of the time that we need to make sure that what we offer is answering the questions people are asking. I should care about forests AND the ocean. But, the ocean gives me nightmares… so, I’m kind of heartless in that area. Greenpeace Joe was smart enough to find out my interest and start from there. We can learn a lot from that.
However, I also learned, first hand, the importance of baby steps. I love the Bill Murray movie, What About Bob? and the concept of baby steps. I’m not going to attempt to summarize the movie – just know that it’s awesome.
Where Greenpeace failed, and I do this too, is when the next step they offered was a giant leap. Do I care about the environment? Sure, I watched Ferngully as a kid. Trees are good… evil-pollution-spewing-tractors are bad. I get it. Do I want to become a member of an organization who’s brand is fairly polarizing and then give them all of my money?

And… am I talking about Greenpeace or the Church?

You see, hurting people walk into churches every week and are given the impression that the next step is a giant leap into associating with an organization that some people hate and giving them all of their money.
I need to be better about communicating next steps for families in a way that doesn’t make them turn off their ears.
I enjoyed my conversation with Greenpeace Joe. At the end of the day, he’s probably not someone I’d choose to just hang out with – but, I’m glad that I took some time to talk with him. I suggested to him that the next step he was offering was a little too much for me and asked if there were other ways I could support the Earth without jumping fully onto the Greenpeace boat. It was then that he let down his guard and told me about how he got involved in Greenpeace. I learned his story… and it didn’t start with a guy holding a clipboard outside of the grocery store.
Isn’t that almost always the case?


Posted by on May 8, 2010 in Los Angeles


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Gone to Catalyst: Back Alley Dealings Await

from the official Catalyst website:

What is Catalyst?

Catalyst: a person or thing that causes a reaction and precipitates change.

Catalyst is a unique leadership experience that inspires next generation leaders through engaging dialogue, powerful content, and awe-inspiring worship. Catalyst creates moments that leave a mark on each of us, a collective community, experience, and movement that continues to define a generation – The Next Generation – who will envision the endless possibilities of leading change in our world.

Leaders from all over the West coast and around the world will converge – a revolution of ideas where you’ll challenge the process and think unconventionally. Even more than a cutting-edge event, Catalyst is an experience that leaves you enlightened, rejuvenated, and ready to be a Catalyst in your own life and the lives of others. Join this movement of influencers passionate about impacting their communities, their churches, and their culture for Christ.

Catalyst West is truly an experience. Unconventional. Untypical. Unpredictable, and as unusual as the tomorrow we face. On April 21-23 you’ll experience three days designed to challenge leaders to be change agents in a culture that dictates change for the world. Join 3500 great minds who will envision the endless possibilities of giving more, doing more, and living more on purpose for the cause of Christ.

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Posted by on April 22, 2010 in Los Angeles



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