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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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Dreaming in Orange

Orange Week: Dreaming in Orange

Simple ways that we’re becoming a more Orange church (and you can too!)

I remember walking away from The Orange Conference for the first time and wondering where to go from there.  Seriously.  You can’t help but feel like you have a spoon to build a mountain with when walking away from a conference that gives you a passion for a strategy that nobody else on your team has ever heard of.  Yet, we’ve been able to make some pretty significant moves toward partnering with families over the last 3 years.  How, you might ask?  Well… I dream in Orange.

(In other words, I’m always thinking about Orange and how we can embrace the strategy more as a team and as a church family – it’s become a part of everything I do)

I need to lay a couple things on the table.  First, the subtitle to this post is a little misleading.  Every church’s “next steps” into Orange will look different and it’s hard to describe a one-size-fits-all approach to stepping into a strategy that hinges on family partnership and unified team dynamics.  Second, our church hasn’t “arrived” at being Orange – in fact, I have weekly moments when I’ve had an interaction with someone else on staff and I want to retreat back into a silo mentality.  It’s never the right answer, but it’s so darn tempting sometimes!

All that to say, I’m going to suggest three simple things that we do on a regular basis that you and your team can try as well (you can start doing them as early as tomorrow!) that help us Think Orange.

We work with an end in mind

One of the things that Reggie and the rest of the Orange team talks about ALL the time is the importance of having an end in mind – of knowing where you’re going.  So, before I began conversations about “partnering” and started using Orange vocab, I chose one of the 5 Orange Principles and started there.  It’s hard to argue against having an end in mind when it comes to developing program content and strategy, so, for me, it seemed like a great place to start.

I began talking about having an “end in mind” at home to see if that language works when you’re talking to someone who doesn’t think about ministry 24/7 (crazy to consider – our spouses don’t necessarily think about ministry as much as we do!)… and, I was a little surprised, but it totally makes sense to those outside of Orange circles.  I began talking with other parents about parenting with an end in mind and found that it was an easy place to start.

From there, I began working Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner podcasts and videos into training sessions and parenting gatherings – and I chose clips where they talked specifically about having an end in mind.  Once that principle became a part of our regular conversations – as a staff, as parents, and as families – I began introducing more orange concepts.  It was a great place to start, and I’d encourage you to consider choosing one of the 5 Essentials (I’d argue that Imagine the End is the easiest) and go from there.

We talk about being a team

It’s not uncommon to hear me end a conversation on staff by restating the reality that we’re one team.  Whether I’m talking to our Student Pastor, our bookkeeper, our Small Groups Pastor or our volunteer front-desk receptionist – I am often heard up and down the hallway of our office building talking about the team we are all a part of.  In fact, at most coffee meetings I have with other pastors and directors in the area, I try to slip in the phrase “one team” into as many conversations as I can.

I talk about our one team reality A LOT for a couple reasons.  First, it helps us live into that reality.  It’s easy to overlook rules and philosophies that are never discussed.  Do you know what kind of pesticides your church uses in the event of a bug infestation?  Most of us don’t – because we NEVER talk about those sorts of things.  It’s easy to ignore the ins and outs of church life if you aren’t talking about them – so, I make it a point to talk about being on the same team.  All.  The.  Time.  Secondly, it’s a great reality check and helps me when it comes to accountability.  When we were setting our schedule for mid-week programs this Fall, I had to remind myself over and over that our schedules needed to align with our church’s other ministries – I don’t want to start talking about being a team and have people begin to roll the eyes because I made a decision or program choice that doesn’t reflect that vision.

By talking about a unified team, a staff can begin to live into the reality of those words.  Orange isn’t something that’s easy to do alone – if you can get the rest of the players to catch the vision of being One Team, it’ll be easier to get them to catch the vision for partnering church and family together onto One Team.

I wear a stupid amount of Orange

There are days when I wish it could have been a different color.  Green maybe?  I know Green, as a color, has already been hijacked by another movement.  I totally get it.  But… Orange is just so… Orange.

Now, with that said, I love that something as simple as a piece of clothing I’m wearing on a Sunday or Wednesday can communicate an entire philosophy or, at the very least, begin a discussion about our ministry strategy with a parent or a volunteer.

An easy way to get people in your church, staff or parents, to begin asking questions about Orange is to begin wearing it.  For the first year of overhauling our strategy, I bought a pair of orange shoes and wore them to every ministry event I was in attendance at.  After a while, people began asking about them (because, seriously, Orange doesn’t match everything and stands out a bit) and I’d have a chance to talk about partnership and the direction we were heading as a ministry and as a church (one team!).  A few weeks ago, I didn’t wear orange on a Sunday and I had parents AND kids call me out – Orange has become such a part of what I talk about that families care about and notice the color of my clothes.  Wearing orange is probably the least expensive and most effective thing I’ve done to get people at our church and our community talking about Orange.

If you’re thinking about shifting things at your church to partner with families, maybe it’s worth a try?  Start wearing something Orange.

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For others who’ve moved Orange in the last few years, what were your first steps?

For those looking at making that shift, what questions do you have?

What did I miss?

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Kidmin, Orange

 

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There is No “I” in Orange

Orange Week: There is No “I” in Orange

Why Orange shouldn’t be a solo experience

I sat down for coffee yesterday with a great local Family Pastor (and friend) in the area and spent nearly 3 hours talking shop and drinking coffee.  My friend has recently expanded his staff and has hired a part-time kids’ ministry director to help lead their church in a more “Orange” direction.  Whether he’s meaning to or not, my friend is doing something brilliant this week – he’s dragging his Senior Pastor to the Orange Tour we’re hosting at our church.  He understands an extremely simple concept – There is no I in Orange.

2 years ago, our church did something that was a game-changer for the way way we minister to families.  I was able to cash in all of my chips with our Senior Pastor and talked him into coming out to Atlanta with me to attend the Orange Conference.  In fact, we were able to send a team of 5 of us – Our Senior Pastor, our High School, Middle School, and Elementary directors, and I – across the country for some team bonding and strategy conversations.  Because Orange is more than simply a curriculum, we needed as many of the players as we could in on the conversation so that we could tackle the future of kids/student/family ministry at our church with a unified vision.

Now, to be incredibly honest, that trip was the beginning of a process for us – we’re still not as Orange as I’d love for us to be.  I’ll also add that it wasn’t even that hard to get my Senior Pastor to Orange – the speaker line up that they have (and reputation they’re building) pretty much sold the conference on its own.  With that said, sitting in a room with thousands of other children’s ministry leaders AND youth pastors AND senior pastors began to help us own the fact that a) we weren’t alone in trying to revamp the strategy we use to reach families with the gospel and b) there was a network of other leaders across the country that we could lean on during our transition.

I’ve met guys and gals at Orange who walk around by themselves with their eyes the size of tangerines as they try to take in all that the conference has to offer.  Over and over, I hear them asking about how they will EVER get their Senior Pastor to catch the vision for an Orange strategy.

Friends, this might be hard to swallow, but you can’t make your church Orange on your own.  Orange is a strategy that works best when there is alignment between departments – when churches stop operating in silos and begin working as a team that believes passionately about passing the faith on to the next generation.

Here’s where there’s a bit of hope – you don’t HAVE to fly multiple people to Atlanta to get the conversation started at your church!  I know that part of why this is “Orange Week” is because this is the first week that you can register for the 2012 Orange Conference… but, today’s post isn’t even going to have a link to the registration page.  Instead, let me offer a couple steps you can try before asking your church to invest in sending a team to Orange (because, seriously, if your church is going to help you attend Orange… you shouldn’t go alone.  It’ll probably just drive you crazy as you wish your team was there with you to process what you’re learning and experiencing).

Step One: Meet Orange thinking People:
Cost: Free
How: In the world we live in, you can connect with people online in ways I could have never dreamed of a decade ago when I started out in ministry. If you don’t know where to start or who to connect with, send me a message and I’ll point you in the direction of an awesome Orange-thinking person in your area.  It’s that easy.
(you can also check out some other Orange Week bloggers HERE)

Step Two: Read Think Orange
Cost: $15 (HERE on Amazon)
Why: This book will give you the framework that an Orange strategy is going to ask you to consider.  Taking steps past this point without having this resource under your belt is going to leave you scratching your head a bunch.  And, in all honesty, if you just make it through the first couple chapters before moving on, you’ll at least be starting on the right page.

Step Three: Bring your team to an Orange Tour stop
Cost: $59
Why: The step we took before our trip to Atlanta was getting our Senior Pastor to an Orange Tour stop.  After a few hours of hearing Reggie Joiner speak, I could see our team starting to get excited about where this new strategy might take us next.  Now… we’re half way through the Tour season, but there are still stops you can make it to!

** Seattle, WA | Tuesday, September 20, 2011 –  3-hour Gathering

Bethany Community Church
8023 Green Lake Drive
Seattle, WA 98103

Los Angeles, CA | Friday, September 23, 2011 –  Full Day Event

Glenkirk Church
1700 Palopinto Avenue
Glendora, CA 91741

** Morristown, NJ | Monday, October 10, 2011 –  3-hour Gathering

Liquid Church
Morristown Hyatt
3 Speedwell Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

** New York City Area | Tuesday, October 11, 2011 –  3-hour Gathering

Christ Tabernacle
64-34 Myrtle Avenue
Glendale, NY 11385

Charlotte, NC | Thursday, October 20, 2011 –  Full Day Event

Bethlehem Church
3100 Bethlehem Church Street
Gastonia, NC 28056

Indianapolis, IN | Tuesday, October 25, 2011 –  Full Day Event

Connection Pointe Christian Church
1800 North Green Street
Brownsburg, IN 46112

Jacksonville, FL | Friday, November 4, 2011 –  Full Day Event

The Church at Argyle
6823 Argyle Forest Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32244

Houston, TX | Tuesday, January 17, 2012 –  Full Day Event

Woodsedge Community Church
25333 Gosling Road
The Woodlands, TX 77389

Dallas, TX | Friday, January 20, 2012 –  Full Day Event

TBD

** Note: This is a three-hour (10:30am – 1:30pm) event focused on the Orange Strategy through the lens of Wonder, Discovery and Passion with Reggie Joiner.  The cost is $15 and includes lunch.

Step 4: The Orange Conference
Cost: $239/person (if you register THIS Thursday)
Why: Ummm… did you read the post up to this point?  Getting everyone on the same page is a big deal.  If you’re ready to make this step, it’s worth the price of admission.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Kidmin, 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:

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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End of the Year Celebrations: Parent Resources

As our mid-week programs are wrapping up at our church, I thought I’d share an idea that we put into practice last year and are still in the process of refining.

A few years ago, as we handed out awards and recognition for our students at the end of the school year, I began wrestling with how empty our awards ceremony felt.  There we were, with a ton of our committed parents in the room, handing out ribbons, certificates and trophies and then sending families on their merry way for the summer months.

So, last year, I decided to turn part of the night into a vision casting session for parents.  First, we show this video:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/18984255]

this video is courtesy of Orange and 252 Basics which we use as our Sunday Morning Strategy at our church

Then, with moms in the room getting all teary-eyed because they think of their baby leaving the house in a few short years, we give them a vision for making the next years of parenting count.  We explain that our church desires to come alongside them and partner with them to raise their children to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.  With the term “partnership” in mind, we then offer them resources that we feel will help them a) catch the vision of partnership with the church and b) equip them to parent more confidently over the next year.

This year, we offered three resources for parents to choose from.
You can read about them here: http://www.glenkirkchurch.org/articles1-170/ParentingResourceList

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So… here’s my question, have you done something like this and, if so, what resources are you putting in the hands of the parents in your community?  If you haven’t… tell me why not.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Kidmin, Resources, Thoughts

 

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