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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:

http://www.whatisorange.org/orangeleaders/blog/?p=5986

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: http://www.whatisorange.org/orangeleaders/blog/?p=5999)

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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 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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my favorite things: #7 Cargo of Dreams

(stay up to date on this project HERE)

It’s no surprise – I love my church.

But, bigger than that, I love the Church-at-Large when it has a mission.  Recently, our Senior Pastor (http://pastorjamesmiller.com/) reminded our church that it’s our mission to storm the gates of Hell to seek and save the lost.

(link to one of the best Palm Sunday sermons I’ve EVER heard)

I’m a real believer in the Gospel having real life implications now and that eternity isn’t a train that’s coming… it’s already upon us.  With that in mind, I get chills thinking about the work that can be done when God’s people rally in creative ways to give people hope in a lost and broken world.

An organization doing amazing things, that you may have never heard of, is called Cargo of Dreams.

(http://www.cargoofdreams.org/)

When our pastor heard about Cargo of Dreams, he came running to our team and told us that we needed to find a way to get involved in the work they’re doing to bring the Gospel to lost and hurting people around the globe.

The basic premise is this:

  • Your church buys a giant cargo shipping container (pictured above).
  • Your church transforms that container into a ministry environment.
  • CofD then ships that building on a boat to the other side of the world to impact lives in the name of Jesus.

The project our church is a part of is a multi-phase initiative to build a preschool for kids in South Africa who currently gather under a large tree.  I know, I know… what kind of a preschool can meet in a container?!

A church in Salem, OR is building phase one… and it looks a little something like this:

Once we’ve finished phase 2, our container will be shipped to South Africa and placed across from the container that will already in place.  We’ll then send a team of families who will construct a roof to connect the two containers to create a fully operational preschool in a community that is aching to care for the little ones in their township.

Having a hard time seeing that picture in your mind?  Here’s a rough draft of what that might look like…

The church, when it cares about lost and hurting people, is an amazing testament to the love and hope that we have in our Savior.

Want to get involved or have questions about this AMAZING project?
Send me a message via the comments section and I’ll connect with you.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Resources, Thoughts

 

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Legacy | First Thoughts

Coming out of the Christmas season, our church took a look at leadership during a sermon series titled, “We Three Kings.”

The “three kings” we studied weren’t the kings we normally hear about around the holidays – instead, we looked at the leadership styles of the first three kings of Israel… Saul, David and Solomon.

As much as it was a study on leadership, it also gave us a chance to talk about the legacy we leave behind.  Saul is known as a king who put his own desires and timing in front of God’s.  That is his legacy.  David was a hero in victory and had some epic failures… all the while, he was a man after God’s own heart.  That is his legacy.  Solomon valued wisdom more than anything else, stock piling riches, wives and  power… and inevitably setting up the kingdom to be divided and conquered.  That is his legacy.

We all have a legacy we’re leaving behind.  In fact, we’re already the continuation of the lives of those who came before us.  The question I want to leave you with is this – who’s legacy are you proud to be a part of?

I’ll share my answer later this week.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Thoughts, Uncategorized

 

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Love Your Neighbor Month

For the last couple of years, our kids’ ministries have used February as a time to help families in our church and in our community focus on caring for the needs of others.  Rather than simply doing a token Valentine’s day craft, we take an entire month to look at what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.  Let me share a couple things we’ve done over the last few Februarys in our ministries.

Partnering with local Public Schools

We’ve partnered with a local public school district to raise funds, supplies and awareness for a program in our community that reaches at-risk kids.  As a church, we have a strong relationship with the surrounding school districts – I was only a little surprised when I was approached last year with the idea of coming alongside a program that gives children who are struggling in school (socially and/or academically) a space to let go of their worries and connect with a few caring adults through creative play.  We asked the program for a list of toys needed to make the year a success and gave out the list to families on Sunday mornings.  Families were encouraged to bring in new and slightly used toys to give to this program – they were also encouraged to pray, as a family, for the kids who would be ministered to through their donations.  It was a fairly simple idea and a great way for families to serve other kids in the community through giving.

Partnering with Local Food Pantries

We’re blessed to be a part of a church that created and launched a food pantry that is now large enough that it operates as it’s own non-profit organization.  Because of the partnership that already exists between the pantry and ourselves, we are able to find out what the most immediate needs are in terms of food donations – it’s a list of those needs that we’ve passed on to families during the month of February for them to rally around and donate toward as they talk about what it means to truly care for others in the community.  It’s a blessing to watch children and families drop food into the shopping carts we set out to collect donations – one mom even bragged to me that the donations she brought in were all free to her because of her savvy use of coupons.  Very cool.

Partnering with Our Families

One of the things I totally LOVE about the resources we use on Sunday mornings at our church is that our families are being equipped to live out “loving their neighbors” in their own homes, schools and neighborhoods.  I dig watching our kids learn about being KIND to others all month long and hearing stories from parents who tell me that their kids are actually putting our Sunday morning lessons into practice.  It’s been neat watching our kids learn to love those who live outside of their homes and down the street from them – it’s been a cool experience as I’ve watched the rubber meet the road in how they’re dealing with the people who live down the hall from them.  Loving your neighbor is bigger than caring for the people in your own house, that’s for sure.  However, our brothers, sisters and parents provide great practice for us to show God’s love toward others – and February is a great month to reinforce that idea.

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Those are just a few of the ways that we’ve decided to leverage a month where the world around us is elevating the idea of “love” in order to teach kids and their families to care for others in their home and in their community.  If your church or your family has taken a different approach to this concept, you can share your thoughts below in the comments area – we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in Kidmin

 

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Kids’ Worship: Where We’re Going

I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying AYO
Gotta let go
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying AYO
Baby, let’s go

‘Cause we gon’ rock this club
We gon’ go all night
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite
Cause I told you once
Now I told you twice
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite

Here’s a quick relevancy test: are those lyrics familiar to you?  Chances are, they’re familiar to the kids in the community you live in.  More on that in just a moment.

Today’s post wraps up a series on Kids’ Worship: Where we’ve been, what our transition looked like, where we are today… and today’s post will cover some dreams I have for the future of kids’ worship in our ministry.

Student Led Worship

Since our transition (from something to nothing and back to something), I’ve been the primary worship leader for our kids on Sunday mornings.  On the occasion that I’m out of town or sick, our church’s worship director has taken time out of his busy Sunday to come over and lead worship for our kids.

One of my hopes for the coming year is that I shift away from being the worship leader in our Elementary environment and that we get to a place where the youth in our church are leading our kids in worship.  We’re in the midst of raising up multiple teams who can do this well – I hope to see this transition happen before the end of this school year.  Two thoughts behind this move:
1) Kids love seeing high school students in leadership roles.  If guys on our high school football team can rock out for Jesus on a Sunday morning, it gives our kids the freedom to join in – their coolness factor isn’t on the line (because, let’s be honest, singing along to a lady or old guy with a CD player can be a sure way to embarrass a kids in front of their visiting friend).
2) When students take leadership roles in your church’s ministries, they grow in their faith and in their commitment to the Church.  I truly believe that high school students learn more about their faith by serving than they do by spending a Sunday morning in Bible studies.  Call me crazy.

Kid Owned Experiences

For our church, Sunday is the road IN to our community and the Faith.  Sunday mornings at Glenkirk are meant to provide space for people, young and old, to ASK “who is Jesus?” in their lives.  With that in mind, we always want to think about our first time visitors when programming our kids’ worship time on a Sunday… because we know we’ll have them.  We also recognize that our kids need a place where they feel welcomed if they’re going to welcome others.

That’s what led to our great idea that then lead to the card you see at the top of our post.  We started thinking – “how cool would it be if kids had significant input on the Sunday morning experience?”  If kids knew that they had influence over the way a Sunday morning looked, maybe they’d be more likely to attend regularly, invite friends, and get involved during the time they spend with us.

Good ideas often lead to new experiments, which (more often than not) lead to failures.  The cool thing is – failures can allow us to learn how to succeed in the future… if we try to learn from them.

Our idea was this: What if, as a first step into giving kids ownership over a Sunday morning, we allowed kids the ability to choose what songs we sing during our worship time?  So, we developed a card that kids could fill out for song requests.  In fact, we might even use their song suggestions in our worship service at 11:11am (kids begin that service with their parents in church for community worship before being dismissed to programming).  As soon as I announced the new change, one 1st grade girl ran to the stage to pick one up… I had hardly finished my sentence and she had taken the card to the back of the room to begin writing furiously with a purple crayon.

I was excited when she brought it back to me at the end of the morning… and I knew that I had to share it with you.  It was too classic to let it slide (at the same time, I realized that I had to provide SOME context to the post – hence the series on Kids’ Worship).

I clearly didn’t set the parameters well – our great idea wasn’t defined well enough for the kids to understand what we were going for.  Instead, multiple cards were turned in with song requests for our worship team to perform cover songs.  The cards are helping me shape some of the music we play through our sound system during pre-service activities (creating a welcoming environment includes being intentional about the music playing in the room when children arrive)… but, that’s about it.

So, we’ll go back to the drawing board on that one and try to figure out other ways to get our kids actively involved in owning their Sunday morning experience.  If you have ideas or suggestions you’ve seen work in your context, feel free to post them below in the comments section.

That wraps up my initial thoughts on this series.  Shaping our Sunday mornings is still in process and I love getting input from parents and other kidmin leaders across the country (though, you get bonus points if you live on the West Coast).

You can connect with me via facebook (facebook.com/anthonyprince), twitter (twitter.com/anthony_prince) or through the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Kidmin

 

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