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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 http://www.OrangeTour.org, email tour@rethinkgroup.org or call 678-845-7168.

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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!

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

 

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Calling All Youth Pastors

(Here’s a picture from our morning session on the first day of Middle School VBS Leader training)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, keeping the Kingdom in mind (and not just your own castle) is essential to lasting, effective and sustainable ministry.

As I wrote earlier this week, we spend a week each summer training hundreds of middle school and high school students in preparation for their work at our annual Vacation Bible School.  By opening the invitation to serve at VBS to all students in and around our community (we even have a couple that fly in from out of state to serve on our student leadership team), we find ourselves with an interesting mix of students.  The majority of students serving at VBS do not call our church their “home church”.  In fact, many have no church affiliation at all – they’re serving because they like kids and a friend invited them.  For many, it’s that simple.

During our training, we give our students a chance to commit or recommit their lives to following Jesus.  It’s been a conviction of mine that we give students a chance to own their faith in a new and fresh way before 1,000 little kids come onto our church campus to hear about God and the call that has been placed on their lives.

However, our staff has struggled with the follow up aspect of these decisions.  For years, we’ve followed up with parents and children’s pastors who have campers making decision to follow Jesus during VBS.  I spend the week after VBS calling local churches who were listed at the “home church” for campers who make commitments at our camp. Yet, we’ve never done that with our students – until this year.

For the last week, our Jr High guy, Scott Boss, has been contacting the nearly 40 churches who have students serving at our VBS this year.  He’s inviting the youth staff and ministry teams from those churches to come alongside us at our Saturday training event in order to connect with and pray for the students serving on our campus next week.

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while for a couple reasons.

Jesus is bigger than OUR building

By making these calls, and inviting other youth pastors onto our campus to help own what’s taking place here, we’re sending a message to our community – following Jesus and being a part of the Church has nothing to do with what building you meet in.  Jesus’ Church is bigger than any one building, denomination or church staff.  Our facilities might be hosting this event, but we don’t own it.  Jesus does.

Maybe other churches might try it

I know that kids from families who attend our church attend other church programs in town.  Odds are, some of the kids from our congregation have made important faith-commitments at the programs of other churches.  Yet, I’ve never received a call or email about it from another church in town.

I do know that “evangelism teams” from other churches have shown up at the houses of some of our kids and invited them to their church the following Sunday.  My guess is, if other churches are coordinating a follow-up process that includes door-to-door visitation, they could probably find the time to send me an email.

Because a lot of church’s senior pastors grade their kids and youth programs on attendance numbers, I can totally understand why return attendance would be something that children’s ministry teams would want to invest in.  However, I’m not convinced that partnering with other churches would hurt attendance – I’ve only experienced it fostering a community and posture that encourages the growth of a ministry.  With that said, maybe we’ll see other churches try it out.

We’ll let you know how our little experiment goes.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Kidmin, Orange, Thoughts

 

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Recharging the Family

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(This sign was created at http://www.addletters.com/disneyland-sign-generator.htm)

I had the joy of speaking at our church’s Homebuilders* group this weekend… and it got me thinking.  I shared a story of our adorable 3 year old son and how he loves going to church because he and his sister play in different rooms (baby Kate just turned 1 a few months ago… so she’s still down in our church’s nursery).  You see, Carter loves building towers with blocks and Kate LOVES knocking them down… but, at church, Carter can build towers and play with toys without “the Destroyer” coming by and wrecking his masterpiece.

After sharing that story, I wrestled with what we’ve done with church.  Church, in many ways, has become a place where a family goes to spend time away from each other.  Parents head off to classes or worship services, youth attend their own programming, while children spend time in a completely separate part of the church.  It comes to mind that a family who is struggling to find balance in their lives might decide to skip church altogether to spend family time at the beach or Disneyland (which, for us, is a 30 minute drive down the freeway) rather than “waste” a morning apart at church.

But, here’s where I think the church has an edge on those other family outings – a trip to Disneyland or the beach ends when everyone piles back into the car at the end of the day.  The time a family spends at church has the potential to change the way that family spends the next week together.

So the question to us and our ministry teams is this – is the time that a family spends with us on a Sunday (or a Wednesday night… or during large events that we run)  impacting the way they live out their lives together that week?  If we can point to tangible ways that the time they spend at church is shaping the way their family time looks in their living room that week, then we’re on the right track.  If we treat out ministries and programs as an end to themselves, then we have to compete with Disneyland – and we will always lose that battle.

*Homebuilders is a weekly gathering of parents at our church.  We discuss parenting, marriage and family life topics.  Homebuilders, for Glenkirk, is a community that’s smaller than a church service, but bigger than a small group – allowing parents a next-step into community with other believers who seek to raise up Christ-following kids.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2010 in Orange

 

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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.

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So… want the opportunity to work alongside me?  You can send a Facebook message (www.facebook.com/anthonyprince) or DM me (www.twitter.com/anthony_prince) 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 glenkirkchurch.org to find out how you can get a hold of the job description.

 
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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!

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

 

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Ideas: The One that Failed

https://i1.wp.com/www.wired.com/magazine/wp-content/images/18-01/cover_1801b.jpg

My wife loves me.  She knows me all too well.  She knows that I geek out to tech news and all things gadget-y and therefore recently got me a subscription to Wired magazine.  I just wanted to throw a quick shout out to her because January’s issue got me thinking…

This is a series of posts exploring three major types of ideas that exist in a collaborative community… ideas that have to be shared in order for the community to actually be collaborative.  For the first post in this series check out: Ideas in a Collaborative Community.

In this series, we’ve briefly explored two types of ideas that need to be shared in a community of thinkers in order for that group to truly collaborate.  We looked at the importance of sharing Ideas that Worked and the process that led you and your team to successfully executing that idea.  After a month long break from the series, we looked at the importance of sharing ideas while they’re still just ideas (New Ideas).

Today, we’ll wrap things up with the sort of thing many of us refuse to talk about: The Epic Fail.
I’ll start with one of my own… to show you that I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.

The Idea

https://i0.wp.com/www.glenkirkchurch.org/images/events/Growing%20Deeper-web%20banner.jpg

A few weeks ago, our church hosted a conference – Growing Deeper: Knowing God’s Will, Hearing His Voice.

Because our church seeks to resource and equip parents in our community to pass their faith on to their children, we decided to gear part of this conference toward parents.  How did we do this?  We invested heavily in a fully programmed children’s portion to the morning and recruited some of our best team members to be a part of what was sure to be an amazing day.  Our rationale: Parents will come if their kids are excited to come spend an awesome day wait us.  We made the conference extremely affordable for families ($10 per adult… FREE children’s program… lunch included for everyone!).  Our rationale: Families will come if you make the event affordable and give them food. We spent hundreds of dollars and put hours (and hours, and hours, and hours…) of prayer and planning toward this event.  Our rationale: If we put all of our energy toward this event, and invested spiritually as well as monetarily, the event would succeed.

We knew we were in trouble when, less than a week out, we looked at the registration for the event and noticed a glaring figure: 0 (ZERO) children had been registered.  In a last ditch effort, we hit the phones and emails hard one more time in an attempt to stir up excitement.  We found that we had three HUGE things working in our favor: parents had the morning free (a rainy forecast canceled many of the sporting events that usually get in a family’s way of church events), families had the money to spend on sending their kids to our program (again… FREE!) and our breakout speakers were notable names in our community.  We weren’t going to back down – we had said we were offering a full children’s program and I was going to make sure that we delivered on what we promised.

So, the day came.  And… the day went.  No kids came to our event.  Zero.  I let my team down.  I felt like my heart had been ripped out and stomped on.  You can’t fail much more than that… right?

How to Share Ideas that Failed

When it’s all said and done and your heart is done breaking, you need to tell others about your idea.  Whether it ended in a success for you or not, God might still have a plan for that idea.  Here’s what I mean…

It wasn’t supposed to work?!
I have a friend who talks with God.  No… he’s not crazy.  I promise.  I’ve met a few people in my life who have moments where they really can sense what God wants them to do (or what God wants them to see, or say, or know, etc.).  This friend of mine is one of those people.  One day, my friend was in a meeting and he felt God prompt him to share an idea of his.  He was embarrassed to share but, after feeling both nagged and convicted by God’s Spirit, he spoke up and told the group what he was thinking.
The group verbally assaulted him.  His idea was shot down and my friend left that meeting feeling utterly defeated.  After gathering himself, he began praying and asked God why he was set up to fail.  God simply helped my friend know that he was just supposed to share his idea… he didn’t have to worry about the results.
Sometimes your idea doesn’t accomplish what you think it will accomplish… God might want you to test run an idea that someone will reproduce in a better and more effective way down the road.  Your idea can only fail if you put a period at the end of it… I’d encourage you to consider replacing those periods with commas.  Share the idea and let God take care of the results.

Learn to embrace failure
I have another friend who sits down with me at least once a month to talk ministry and collaborate.  We have a standing agenda where we check in personally (you know… how’re the wife and kids?), we talk about new ideas we have, and we debrief recent ideas we’ve tried to move from paper to reality.  The first few times we met, I tried to hide the ideas I was trying that weren’t working or didn’t have success.  It wasn’t until my friend shared with me a recent failure he’d faced when I realized I’d been robbing our partnership by not being fully honest – I had to check my ego at the door and begin actually partnering and collaborating in a way that was no longer just about the castle I was building.  We’re at a place now where I feel like I can bring anything to the table, success or failure, and know that my ministry will be richer and more full because of it.  In embracing our failures, we’re learning together and we’re building a stronger kingdom because of it.

Over this series of posts, we’ve explored three major types of ideas that exist in a collaborative community… ideas that have to be shared in order for the community to actually be collaborative.  Thoughts or comments?  Feel free to share them via twitter (@anthony_prince) or facebook (facebook.com/anthonyprince) or add your ideas to the comments area below!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2010 in Kidmin, Los Angeles

 

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Ideas: The New One

http://jesterarts.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/orange-man-light-bulb.jpg

This is a series of posts exploring three major types of ideas that exist in a collaborative community… ideas that have to be shared in order for the community to actually be collaborative.  For the first post in this series check out: Ideas in a Collaborative Community.

After an “oh-my-goodness-raising-two-kids-is-more-than-twice-as-much-work-as-raising-one” hiatus, I’m back to finish off our series on Ideas.

As I mentioned in the last post in this series, Ideas that Worked are always the most fun to share… but they should only be a part of the discussion taking place in collaborative communities.  Though a little harder to share, it’s important that we bring New Ideas to the table whenever we’re having discussions with others in ministry.  I’m sure you’ll find it helpful if I start with an idea we’re kicking around the leadership table at my home church, Glenkirk Church – located just miles away from the epicenter of this week’s 4.4 magnitude earthquake.  One of the hard things about sharing a new idea, I’ll say up front, is that someone might steal it.  You have to be okay with that.  But… we’ll get there at the end of this post.

The Idea

There’s a couple general assumptions about family dynamics as they apply to church.

1) Moms like church

2) Dads think church is boring

It follows that, every year, Mother’s Day Sunday is highly attended at our church (what does mom want to do? Go to church!) while Father’s Day Sunday sees a bit of a dip (what does dad want to do? Sleep in! Do something fun! Anything but church!).  As we aim to be a church that engages and equips families, our team has started to wrestle with this dynamic.  Is it true?  Are we okay with this?  What could we do to fix a perceived dilemma?

The answers are simple:
Probably. No. Something we’ve never done before.

This year, we’re being intentional about making Father’s Day a day that unchurched dads will feel welcome on our campus.  We’ll be barbecuing on the patio all morning, offering relevant gifts to dads in attendance, gearing the worship services to be engaging for your average guy, and making sure the sermon is on a topic that resonates with the dads in the room.  Oh, and we’ll have live running commentary a la Sports Center from two guys on stage.

(don’t worry, it’ll be better than this guy)

The fun thing about a New Idea is that it’s just an Idea.  We don’t have all of the details worked out.  We’re still trying to put pieces in place and make sure that we have buy in where we need it.  You know, there’s even a chance that this idea won’t actually even happen… but, there’s value in sharing it.  Here’s why…

How to Share New Ideas

As I mentioned above, new ideas are exciting to share, but can be harder than ideas that worked.  What if it’s an idea that won’t actually lead to an action?  What if people don’t like the idea?  What if you didn’t ask your Sr. Pastor if you could share the idea and potentially get it stolen? (Sorry, Jim.)  I can’t speak to the third question (I’ll let you know tomorrow how that one went), but the first questions are legit and alright to ask.  You just need to know that new ideas are never bad.

Your idea won’t be perfect.
Some people won’t like your idea.  The advantage to sharing it, though, is that you can make changes to your plan before it actually launches.  Try bouncing the idea off of the people at your church who are brutally honest… what are their thoughts?  Sharing your idea and having it shot down will help you learn how to pitch it correctly.  Oh, and don’t forget to share your ideas via twitter, facebook or even CmConnect.org.  You have amazing resources at your fingertips.  Literally.  Your idea might not even be new – someone out there has probably tried it and can speak into your decision making process.

(which reminds me, if you’ve pulled off an amazing Father’s Day Sunday at your church, please comment below!)

Your idea might not work… for you.
That’s right… I said it.  Now, get over yourself.  Part of being in a collaborative community is that you have to think bigger than yourself.  The Church is bigger than just your building.  You idea might not work for you, but the process that led you there might lead someone to launching a better version of what you had planned.  An idea 2.0, if you will.  By sharing your idea, in the beginning stages, you open yourself up to be a resource to those around you and potentially expand your idea’s impact.  There’s so much to say here… but, simply put, you need to be okay with failing.  People have tried much bigger ideas than yours and have failed epically.

It might get stolen.
There’s no tip that I can share with you that can help you be okay with this.  You just have to be.  No magic wand here.  If you ever have the chance to have a cup of coffee with me, you’ll hear me stand on my soapbox and talk about how your ministry needs to be bigger than your castle.  Jesus came to usher in a kingdom.  You get to be a part of that.  You’re a jerk if you have amazing new ideas and you’re not sharing them because someone else might do them better than you.  If you’re called to ministry, you need to remember that you serve a God who leaves the 99 to chase the 1 lost sheep.  Your idea might help someone find that lost sheep.  So, listen to your mom and learn to share.  It’s what you’ve been called to do.

Later this week, we’ll tackle that elusive last type of idea.  Here’s a hint.

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

 

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