Here is a great resource – Orange Conference notes! Each year 6,000 leaders gather in Atlanta for the national Orange Conference for church leaders. Cheryl Kneeland is a member of our team. She took excellent notes from the main sessions and several of the breakouts. She has graciously shared them with us for this guest post. Be sure to follow Cheryl on Twitter here.
MAIN SESSION #1
Virginia Ward – Changing, A Series Of Systematic Movements
We need to learn some things about change and see and understand each other. “I wanna be a youth leader who helps young people connect faith and life together.”
We are going to say YES to change!
Brooklyn Lindsey – Say YES to being uncomfortable.
Chaos is our love language (in middle school ministry).
Carry each others’ burdens. (Galatians) We can’t fix it all, we can’t move this right now, but we know that God can help and we can say YES to the uncomfortable right now that opens the door, shows them that we, the church cares.
Believe in a church that will sit with us in our doubt and tell us that we are here and love you.
> I’m not going to leave your side. I can tenaciously pursue unbelievers and can sit with them and carry their burdens with them.
> The yoke will never be too heavy for us because the burden is shared.
Say YES to the redeemable, uncomfortable person in front of you.
Reggie Joiner – Say YES to a God that is bigger than you think
When you go through life changes you lean into the people that you do ministry with, work with, do life with. I hope you will be surrounded with people that you can lean into; that will share with you, encourage you, be with you, whatever it is that you are going through right now beyond learning the skills, I hope you will find relationship with the people around you.
> KNOW- You can know God. Without a shadow of doubt.
> MOMENT- You can become a Christian in a moment. All it takes is a moment, to become a Christian, a new believer.
>BIBLE- The Bible is all true. It is a unique thing that God has given us so we can understand what it is he’s given us.
> TRUST- Trust leads to relationship.
> CHURCH- You should enjoy going to church.
> BELIEVE- Your beliefs matter. Understanding God’s principles.
> GOD- God is good. God is a god that genuinely cares.
Just because something is true doesn’t mean someone will hold on to it.
People walk away from church…It wasn’t because what we told them wasn’t true, it wasn’t because we didn’t teach them the gospel because we did,
65% of people that walk away, say they are not religious.
If we’re not careful, we can dismantle their faith or leave them with an impression that God is small.
“Sometimes in our zeal to fight for what is true we don’t fight for the tensions that actually connect those truths to what is real.”
The mercy of God doesn’t water down the truth, it amplifies it.
Tension doesn’t make truth less true, it makes it more real.
Somewhere along the way, we need to understand that we can somehow hold truths in our hands and honor them that will help us articulate and help others understand how powerful God is.
If you want to stretch the faith of a kid, capture their imagination, then look at truth in a different way. I want them to understand that YES you can know God but YES God is a mystery and somewhere along the way we have to hold both of those truths in our hand and yes you can know God and he can still be mystery and you don’t have to know everything about God.
YES you can understand what it means to have a relationship with God in a moment, but it will take you forever to know what that means.
Sometimes we hang kids on a foundation in faith that teaches them that if you have this faith, everything will be better. They will learn that somewhere in this process, being a Christian is harder and messier than we thought it would be.
Yes the Bible is all true and YES at the same time, everything true about life is not in the Bible.
One day they are going to face some problems that aren’t directly addressed in the Bible. The Bible is the final authority when it comes to many issues, there is other information that we need. The Bible is the way we can understand the story and the character of God.
We can learn from each other and we should be good stewards to learn.
> Why do you interview non-Christian leaders to learn how to lead? Because God made them.
> Why do you go to educators? God made them.
We don’t have an excuse not to learn everything we can possibly learn to be the best leaders we can possibly be. We can’t be afraid of learning everything we can learn…
Kids need to know that God is bigger than your Bible.
YES, trust leads to stronger faith and doubt leads to stronger faith.
> This is a huge issue; it’s important because the kids are going to grow up and start asking questions in middle school and beyond and the way you answer their questions will make a big difference.
> If you don’t allow kids in middle school to process their own doubt, they won’t own their own faith.
They should enjoy church and they should enjoy the physical world around us, what God has created.
> It’s okay to enjoy other things, other than church.
> Don’t raise your kids and tell them they won’t enjoy candy.
> Don’t get worried because you might like people that are not Christians, even better than some Christians, don’t worry if you like listening to Justin Timberlake.
> Don’t make kids choose between the world and church, for the same reason you watch a non-Christian run a football down a field.
YES to beliefs that matter and YES people matter more.
You know what you believe, but people matter more. The lost son is a good example.
If your beliefs cause you to treat people the wrong way, something is wrong with your beliefs.
YES God has an ideal, but YES God uses broken people.
> Some of your kids are going to try to live up to an ideal and they’re going to get broken along the way. But let’s go back through the scripture and look at how many broken people God used.
> When your kids feel they cannot measure up, they may give up. Give them the idea and the concept of Grace in the middle of their world.
YES God is good and YES you should do good.
> You should do good because he’s created you to do good.
> At the end of the day you and I do not have an excuse not to do good.
> If we’re not leading them into the trenches to do good then we’re not leading them to the truth.
If you don’t say yes to the tension kids could grow up to become “that” Christian.
God is good but you need to be responsible to do good in the world.
> Don’t get stuck when things don’t work out the way you want them to.
> Don’t be a jerk.
> Don’t be weird.
> Don’t be so threatened by questions & doubt that you don’t believe God is bigger than your questions.
> Trust that God is doing something bigger than you, bigger than your perspective.
The world is watching, your kids are listening and you need to make sure your giving them that AND this.
Take a moment and pause and worship a God that is bigger than us.
MAIN SESSION #2
Heather Zempel- Pastor of Discipleship at National Community Church
SAY YES to finding everyone a place where they know they belong
Programs don’t disciple people, people disciple people.
Are our programs just keeping people busy or are they leading to relationships? What if we made sure our structures discipled people? Need to create places for people to encourage relational discipleship.
It’s going to take hard work to disciple people.
Disciples are made…When they know that they matter to somebody, when they know that they have a place to belong.
Romans 16 list…the people that invested in you, walked beside you along the way. Who’s list is your name going to show up on? We have the ability to control who’s list we’re on.
We need to name their potential. Drawing out of them the person that Jesus created them to be. Our words matter so make them big. Call them up to a higher level. You have to be a little crazy to be a disciple maker…You have to see things in people that no one else sees.
Be an example to all of the believers (Paul said to Timothy).
We also need to say YES to braving their mess. SAY YES to the inevitable mess that they will either create or find themselves in. Mess transforms peoples’ lives. We say YES to mess beginning with diapers and drool and it doesn’t stay that clean. You’re dealing with the bad choices that they make. If we want to say YES to the next generation, we have to say YES to the mess. We’ve got to speak life into the messy places. We need to remind kids that their mess is not final fate, it may be the incubator for miracles in their life.
We say YES to inconvenience, yes to hard conversations and shifting our priorities.Tell them a story that is larger than their own. We need to find ways to make kids experience grace that is unmistakable. It’s one thing to give kids a list of statements and say believe it or give them a list of rules and say follow it…We’re not going to win the next generation by making statements at them.
It’s not rules to live by but a calling to live for.
Who are we leaving in our wake? Who’s going to be on these kids Romans 16 list? We can make sure that they experience grace in the fullness of truth and the fullness of truth in the experience of grace. We’ve got to tell the story over and over again.
We cannot let Jesus’ last command become our least concern.
Invite them into a story that’s bigger than our own.
Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor at National Community Church
SAY YES to re-imagining what you do…
If you want to repeat history, do it the way it’s always been done. If you want to make history, do it a new way. Re-imagine the way you do things…
Acts 10 “He prayed to God regularly”
If you pray to God regularly, irregular things will happen regularly.
Orange, go home. Lock yourself in your room and draw a circle, get inside the circle and pray that God will bring a revival in that circle.
You can have Holy confidence because you know that God goes before you and you know that He can change anything and everything.
One day…you are one prayer away from a totally different life. Prayer is the difference between letting things happen and making things happen.
We underestimate what God can do in one day. God can accomplish more in one day than we can accomplish in a lifetime.
God’s revealing to us, giving us a vision from Him. Ask…What is your agenda (God) for me?
Often times I want God to reveal the second step, before I take the first step..don’t wait until you have the whole plan. You wouldn’t be in the place where God wants you to be.
Don’t let your budget determine your vision, let your vision determine your budget.
God is calling Peter to step out of the universe that he knows. It’s a huge step of faith to go where you’ve never been or do what you’ve never done. Sometimes re-imaging is as simple as changing the way you do something small, like switching translations of your Bible. (Get a different perspective).
Change of place plus change of pace equals re-imagining.
When and where do you pray? You should be able to answer this. If you can’t answer when and where you pray, you need to rethink your prayer time.
Prayer is a spiritual contract. For the will of God.
Where is it that you’ve experienced God’s miracles? Sometimes we have to go back to that place to re-imagine.
“Surely not Lord” Peter had obeyed laws his entire life, he could hardly re-imagine another scenario. How many surely not Lord moments do we have?
Sometimes God shows up, sometimes God shows off.
When you get into an argument with God, if you win that argument you loose. If you loose that argument, you win. Is there an argument you need to loose?
Sometimes you have to risk your reputation to see God’s kingdom advance. Faith is willingness to look foolish. (Noah building an ark, Sarah preparing for a baby, wise men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh, peter walked on water, etc.)
Peter walked through the door…This is the biggest moment in the history of the church. The moment that Peter entered the threshold, whosoever…we wouldn’t be here if Peter had not risked his reputation and re-imagined what he could do.
MAIN SESSION #3 – When you SAY YES, you say YES to drama!
Ben Crawshaw & Jon Acuff
You’re a student leader and you’re in the middle of this and it’s messy; just start listening to people. You’ll learn a lot about people and see them as a person and not a problem.
Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner
We need to live in the tension of theology and ministry…
Distinguish between theology/ministry:
> Jesus never allowed theology to get in the way of ministry. Religion has it’s place, but religion is second place, it should never be first (people are first).
> As a team you need to wrestle with what does this look like. Jesus really did deliver us the great commandment. Ministry, putting others first, relationships.
> Love God, Love your neighbor: All the law and the prophets hang on this. We need to keep coming at it from the position of hanging on Love God and Love your neighbor.
> When in doubt, what does love require of me?
What would happen if the world around us saw us treat each other with grace?
If we can learn to SAY YES to the messiness, to walking alongside people when they are struggling; the church will thrive.
Kara Powell and Reggie Joiner
Say YES to not always having the answer.
70% of youth group kids who are graduating have doubts. When young people have the opportunity to express and explore their doubt and questions, they typically have a stronger faith.
It’s not doubt that is toxic, it’s unexpressed doubt that is toxic (or damaging).
When kids or teens ask tough questions, how do we respond?
> I don’t know, but…
Don’t just give the “Christian” answer of just trust God. Many people walk away at that point and don’t come back to church, to faith.
Jesus is bigger than our biggest questions. He can handle our questions and our kids’ questions.
Perry Noble – Say YES to not having it all together
There are many students that struggle with anxiety and pressure…for some they are sensitive to body image. (Many adults are too).
Many people have a season of life when they struggle with fear and anxiety (other struggles can be depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.):
> Don’t say “Do more, work harder.” They feel caught in the situation and they can’t get out.
We as leaders need to create an environment where it is okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to stay that way.
James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? If any one of you are sick, we need to call the elders and pray over them.”
> We often just think of the typical sicknesses like a cold, flu, allergies, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc.
> Worry leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to depression, depression leads to suicidal thoughts.
> These four things (worry, anxiety, depression & suicidal thoughts) are just as real sicknesses and we need to help each other.
> A sickness is anything that is not God’s best for you.
> Physically sick, emotionally sick, mentally sick, etc.
> I didn’t know that it was okay to not be okay as a leader. We need to create and model that type of environment…DO NOT pretend that everything is always okay.
> The first step is admitting that you are sick, that there is something going on that you need help with.
Churches often aren’t passionate about relationships and creating a safe place to be sick, they are a place to try to look perfect.
We cannot be the church that tells someone that they are struggling or messed up so they can’t come back.
For many churches…It’s okay to not be okay, but we have to pretend that we’re perfect. What does that look like to God?
You go to hell because you don’t know Jesus, you don’t go to hell because you commit suicide.
Many leaders in the Bible struggled (Jonah, Noah, Moses, David, etc.)
Godly people get stressed and anxious, and overwhelmed. Those people are some of the most spiritual people on the planet, but they are dealing with some real issues, some big things.
“…elders pray with them and anoint them with oil…”
Is it a sin or is it wrong for a Christian to take anti-depressants? No, don’t say you just need to depend on Jesus. You wouldn’t show up to tell someone having a heart-attack and turning blue that they just need to read their Bible more and pray more.
There is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it is okay to use a medication to help balance your body.
Most of the Bible heroes could not have worked at our churches. (Noah, David, Peter, even Jesus!)
If we’ve created environments in our churches where Jesus couldn’t be employed that’s not okay.
“…prayer will make the sick person well…The Lord will raise them up…”
The healing process begins and you can step out of darkness by helping us to see our sin issues and work through them. He never wastes a tragedy or a problem. It is a refining process, but there is a key to the environment we must create for our churches, our students, our kids…
vs. 16 “…therefore confess your sins to each other and pray with each other…”
I want something powerful and effective to happen in my spiritual life. You have to tell someone what’s going on, then you can be healed. You may not have told someone because you’re scared. It’s not easy to open up and tell someone else. But when you do, it makes a big difference.
God doesn’t necessarily heal you in the moment that you tell someone, but He starts the process. You have to model that environment where you tell someone and it’s really okay to not be okay, but it’s just not okay to stay that way.
The healing process begins as we talk about it out loud. Jesus said in His Word that talking about it heals.
Have the courage to be transparent, so that we can be trustworthy as leaders.
MAIN SESSION #5
Doug Fields: SAY YES to helping marriages win
Bait & Switch- Is a practice in which the advertiser advertises one thing and then switches the deal when you arrive for something of their choice. Don’t do a bait & switch.
How do I help kids? Know Jesus? Be healthier?
I can’t adequately care for kids if I don’t care for their family, more specifically I need to care for their parent’s marriage.
We have to extend our definition of family ministry to include the family’s marriage.
When a marriage is bad, everything is bad. If you’re mad, you’re mad at everything. If you don’t have a healthy marriage, you don’t have a vibrant red in your family, your home. And that makes it hard to have a healthy Orange color when partnering with the church.
When you say YES to the next generation, you say YES to helping marriages win.
Many of our church’s marriage strategies are like putting a band-aid on a hemorrhage. It’s not enough to do a once a year conference or give couples a book or do a short sermon series on it. We would never use this approach for students and children. You wouldn’t teach them one thing and expect them to remember it and hold onto it for a whole year.
What if the people in this room came up with a plan to help the marriages in your church, a marriage strategy? What would that look like to do this at your church? We need to have these conversations.
If you’re about kids, you’ve got to be about those kids’ parents’ marriages.
Maybe it’s time to cut some things out and focus on the families, the marriages. The families, our families would be healthier.
Those of us that care the most about kids, need to take the lead on caring the most about marriages.
Children of divorced parents are more than five times more likely to walk away from the church.
1. Focus on your own marriage. Whether you’re married or not, you & I can be an advocate for marriage. Your audience, the kids are watching you. Your marriage is more important than your ministry. You marriage may be more important to your church than your ministry.
2. Teach your kids about marriage. We need to talk about marriage, more than just the sex talk or a purity message. Hebrews 13:4 We are good at teaching the second part of this verse, but we don’t do a good job teaching that marriage should be honored by all.
3. Recruit a mentor couple to be around your ministry. Be around the kids, other leaders. Help us think how we could help other marriages in our church. There are people that have something to offer at your church and they are just waiting to be asked to help.
4. Help couples date. Marriages are healthier when the parents get to date. Have teens help with date nights at church. Challenge the teens to serve and understand that they are helping marriages. Offer childcare. Do a date night for couples with children with special needs. We just need to hand couple’s footballs in our world; give them date night ideas. Resource: marriedpeople.org
5. Up-sell. Just like at a fast food restaurant. Connect a marriage strategy to your family strategy. Book: Married People, How to Build Marriages that Last (authors: Ted Lowe and Doug Fields). We’re looking for some courageous earlier adopters, that can help us figure this out in the trenches, getting in on phase one. We are on the ground floor of connecting marriages and children.
When you say YES to the next generation, you say YES to helping marriages win!
You came here thinking that you’re part of children’s ministry or students ministry, I want you to leave knowing you’re in marriage ministry too.
Let’s make it happen to help make marriages a priority.
Jeff Henderson: Say YES to people who say no to church
What you do is incredibly significant! What you are doing in family ministry is life-changing.
You change the world by falling in love with Jesus and letting him lead your ministry.
There is something in common with all of us here, this community that’s the same with your community.
Never tell God never, he plays close attention.
For some of you…You’re wow, but you’re not how. (Not typically good at figuring out the how).
I want you to know that God loves you and you may not believe all of these things that we’re reading, but I believe that God loves you unconditionally. It’s good news.
You may have said no to Jesus, but Jesus has said YES to you.
In 11 years pastoring, here’s the group of people we need to talk about. We need to say YES to those who have said no to what you & I believe, say YES to those that said no to the church and say YES to those that said no to Jesus.
We’ve got to get our hearts around this as it relates to the church.
You will never experience what the church can do for you, until you experience what the church can do through you.
We say YES by talking less. We talk too much.
> Sit down with the staff and listen. As she began to listen, the staff began to think that she really cared about them. Listening builds trust.
> Many reasons that people say no to the church is that we’ve just talked and preached at them and not listened to them.
> Asked people who do not go to church; How interested would you be in hanging out with a church pastor or staff member? 84% of unchurched 18-34 year-olds said they are not interested.
> They are more likely to attend church if it feels like a community.
> What would it look like if you could listen to your community?
> Own a restaurant, know the staff, the waiters, and talk to them. (You don’t have to literally be the restaurant owner, just get to know the people there, be a regular).
> How can we go on a listening tour? Say YES by talking less and listening more.
Say YES in a common unifying language.
> We talk church lingo too often and it confuses people. We want them to understand what we have for them. What is our promise to our community? And what are we saying in a way that they can understand?
> The reason so many people have said no to the church, is because they don’t understand us.
What do we want to be known for?
How can we say YES to those that said no?
Is there a phrase or language that we can communicate consistently that they would understand?
We are trying to get this language out to the community. FOR is a great word.
Look for events in the county that need help. We just want to let the community know that we are for them. More people know more of what the church is against than what they’re for…make sure they know what it’s for.
When people have said no to the church, we want them to know that Jesus has still said YES to them.
MAIN SESSION #6
Derwin Gray, Pastor at Transformation Church: Say YES to letting God rewrite your story
Leaders see things in other people, that which they don’t see in themselves…That who they are today, is not who they will be tomorrow.
Say YES to the next generation, to finding YOUR Story in HIS Story.
God has a story and he’s writing you into the story.
We must be learning His story so we can understand it.
Say YES to co-crucifixion with Christ.
Why are we not using teenagers, and involving teenagers? They are not the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today.
They don’t have volunteers (you’re heart doesn’t volunteer to beat), they have servant leaders and EVERYONE 6th grade and older is a servant leader, serving somewhere in the church.
How do we say YES to the next generation so that they can have their story rewritten?
Say YES to receiving God’s love in Jesus.
Do they know that you LOVE Jesus? When it’s all said and done, they don’t remember the games, they remember JESUS.
On Sunday morning do you spend more time in your Bible or in your closest choosing what to wear?
Do our students know they’re loved? We want a generation that as they disembark in this world, they are intoxicated with Jesus.
Say YES to receiving significance in Jesus.
We want our students to say YES and do phenomenal things but we want them to find their ultimate significance in Jesus.
Jesus is my significance. We want our next generation to be achievers for Jesus’ glory.
Say YES to receiving a new identity in Christ.
We all have a past, but our identity is defined by Jesus Christ. Your past is no longer holding you in bondage. We have a new identity and a new power. Loose the victim label and accept Jesus’ identity for you.
Dream, imagine what our glorious God can do and have a generation of students that can imagine what Jesus can do and rest their identity in him.
Jesus says, That’s why I choose you, because you can’t. Jesus can.
Jon Acuff: Say YES to future, Say YES to being afraid
Courage is fun to watch other people have. But it’s not always fun to try to have yourself.
Bravery feels like wanting to cry, throw up, not sleeping very well…
Transition moments like the end of an event; you get so full of hope, but then fear is waiting in the car, “I’m not enough”, “other churches are cooler,” etc.
When you say YES to being afraid…
God tells us you don’t have to have it all figured out. There is a pressure to have your whole life figured out and feel like everyone else does except you.
> The closer you get to God, the more you realize I don’t know but I do know who does.
> We need to be able to say I don’t know and that’s okay.
> God takes you in places you can’t plan, he surprises us in ways we can’t imagine.
> Anyone who is successful and tells you they knew where they were going is lying. Moses had to move first before he was spoken to.
> You were created for more than just errands.
God knew you were going to be afraid.
> The most common phrase in the Bible is “Do not be afraid.”
> There are so many references to fear.
> Matthew 6:26
> What a gift it is that God choose a bird. We all see birds. There are thousands of them.
> God gave us something that we can look to regularly.
Sometimes we pray for the wrong things.
> You don’t always win and sometimes we are going to loose. Sometimes we will fail.
> When you face fear and you come up with all the options, where is Jesus in that?
> Why is he not one of your options?
> You perform and perform and perform and one day you wake up and you dread Christmas, or you say you can breathe again once you get through Easter. Is that why it was created?
> God doesn’t need us to add our talents to complete Him, he invites us into his story to part of it because He loves you not because He needs you to complete Him. He’s already complete.
God will never be handcuffed by the failures of your ministry or the successes of your ministry.
Sometimes you meet people and feel like you’re the only one with fear. We all have fears!
He loves us too much to take away our fears. Sometimes we pray for God to take away our fears…but, Why would He close the one door you’re walking through right now?
They don’t say consider their threats and remove them or get rid of them. They pray to have more boldness.
We need to stop praying for less fear and pray for more boldness. Pray for better legs that run faster to the one that is bigger than our fears.
God has a plan for you, but we don’t know it; that’s the tension and we have to live with it.
Don’t see fear as failure, see it as a doorway to a God that wants to have a relationship with you.
— BONUS NOTES —
Pre-conference Session #1
Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D. Special Needs Ministry (SOAR) at Grace Church in Overland Park, Kansas
Topic- Training Volunteers to Include Children and Students with Autism
Don’t get down on the trials in life, because God is doing something!
Every individual is different, no one has the same exact needs.
Approx. 90% of children and families with special needs family members do not attend church. Most of them have either tried a church and didn’t feel welcome (fear of acceptance and the anxiety of volunteers) or got asked to leave a church.
75% of Jesus’ miracles in the Bible were performed on people with special needs.
We need to embrace special needs individuals in our churches, in our church family.
Most children with autism or other special needs, you won’t know right away.
The first impressions team and parking attendants need training to work with families with children with autism as well. They can help a family with a child that’s struggling to get out of the car or into the building and make the family feel loved and welcome.
Sensory Integration: Agitated Student- (Student refusing to sit down)
> Get down on the child’s level…DO NOT talk above them or down to them. It will elevate their stress.
> Stay calm and talk them through what is going on and exactly what is expected. Use First-Then language. Example: First we’re going to sit down, then we’re going to have snack.
> Verbal child- Have them repeat the First-Then statement back to you.
> Get some mouse pads (solid colors, just one or two colors total). You can have the child pick which color they want to sit on and you enable them to be a part of the plan and choose something for themselves. Works great with regular attending kids. (Builds routine)
Transitioning Behaviors: Overstimulated Student- (Recurring pattern with a regular child)
> Start with reminders (Sally 5 minutes until we’re going to go inside, Sally 3 minutes until we go inside, 1 more minute Sally)
> Try bringing them in several minutes before the class, walk them over to the drinking fountain and use the First-Then language. Helps them cool down.
Sensory Integration – Large Group Challenge (worship time)
> Try to figure out what the problem is. Too loud, new or strong smell, lights, too crowded, etc.
> Move them to another location in the room to see if it helps them. If it’s Miss Sally’s new perfume, moving to another spot in the room helps a lot.
> Sensory toys- create a small tub for each room.
> Deep massage or simple squeeze- helps them feel safe and they “melt”
> Have them stand by a window where they can look out and stand up, but still participate in the worship.
> Live Stream worship (either kids or adults from main service) in another room where you can control the sound and lights better.
Sensory Integration – Objects in Mouth
> Could be that the child just needs movement. Sometimes sitting in the chair is painful.
> Use a sensory box (full of little toys-squeeze toys, Rubik’s cube, gel wands, glitter wands)
> Get some larger items that can’t go in the mouth- large vibrators like the snake that goes around the neck tend to work well.
> If you do snacks in your room, have the child come over with you to get a small snack.
> Ask a simple question- Sally what goes in your mouth? It’s a simple reminder to them bc they often don’t even know they are doing it.
> Ask the parents what they do at home (many probably have chew toys) and ask them to bring one and label it in a zip-loc bag for them.
Behavior Integration – Meltdown (full kicking, screaming, hitting, biting- any ages)
> Create distance between the individual and the rest of the kids. It is often easier to remove an entire class (go on a bathroom break, outside, etc.) than removing the child).
> YOU may be the trigger, so be aware of that.
> If they are in danger of hurting themselves, get another adult to help you so you are NOT alone.
> Last resort, call the parents.
> Keep yourself at a safe distance, talk calm, slow, help bring their stress down.
> Reinforce with things like, hey Johnny your parents are coming soon.
> Turn the lights off, or dim them to get the stimuli down. Turn off the music and other distractions and stimulus.
> Get a weighted blanket. Ask someone to make one (filled with rice, beans, beads, etc). Typically weighs about 15 pounds.
> Lay the blanket on top of the child and let them calm down.
> Physical restraint is a last resort and needs to be a trained staff member and ONLY if the child is in physical danger of hurting themselves or others.
Behavior Intervention – Runner
> They can get through any lock, any gate, they’re fast.
> Go after them; however, don’t make it a game of chase. Stand still or walk toward them.
> Be careful not to turn it into a game.
> Figure out the trigger (are they escaping a task, want attention, bored and want to do something else).
> Need a code word for staff team and security at church. Call out “code green” and everyone covers all the doors to make sure they don’t leave the building.
>They also like to hide, so have your extra volunteers help look for them.
> They will hide in small dark places, especially when they are on the verge of sensory overload.
> During transitions, let them know ahead of time using First-Then statements.
> Hold their hand to walk to the next place.
> Remind them of the reinforcement system they have, so they know that they will get something positive when they are showing Christ-like behavior, or what they are suposed to be doing.
Behavior Intervention – Parent Conversation (At this point you’re tired, frustrated)
> Stay positive, talk about what their child did well that day.
> Don’t tell them they are a bad parent or a horrible parent.
> Special Needs parents are bombarded all the time, everywhere with the negative and all the things they are doing wrong (because people don’t understand that their child has special needs).
> Church needs to be a place of refuge, where the parents know their child with special needs is being loved on.
> Have the ministry director or pastor help you with the conversation
> Evaluate if the negative is something they really need to know about.
> They are constantly worn out, dealing with it everyday.
> Don’t do it in the middle of the hallway. Be respectful and private.
> Sandwich- Positive, Negative, Positive
> Do not place emotion in it (yours or assume the child’s), just state the facts of the negative.
> Pray through it and see if you really need to do it.
Language- Peer Interaction
> Kids will direct their questions and interactions to the adults in the room.
> Model to the child how to interact with the non-verbal child.
> Include the special needs child in the interaction, don’t just talk about them.
> Encourage and promote any interaction socially with their peers.
> Parents want to see their children included.
Language – Unengaged Student
> Be a model, show them the actions you want them to do.
> Encourage volunteers to get involved.
> Kids with autism, can be highly stimulated and on the verge of sensory overload, so even when they don’t appear to be involved (may just sit and watch quietly), that’s okay. That may be all they can do.
> Let them walk in the back of the room with a toy, it let’s them experience what you’re doing in their own way.
> Ask them questions about what you were teaching. They may repeat the whole story and beyond. Some kids will repeat several weeks or even months of stories to you.
> Have the same expectations, do not sell them short. Share the gospel with them and realize they can get it.
> Don’t give up on them.
> Observe the behavior. Sometimes it’s not sensory overload, it’s more of a choice action. Talk with them, why don’t you help with the motions today.
> Volunteers are allowed to touch the children and the child knows the word No.
> Help them stand up. Put your hand over their arms and help them do the motions. They frequently think it’s fun.
> If it doesn’t work well, take a step back and allow them to sit on the floor pr engage in worship in their own individual way.
50% of children with autism have seizures.
> First, stop and look at the time. The length of the seizure makes a HUGE difference. 5 minutes or more is an emergency!
> Ensure their safety, move them away from the wall, toys, etc.
> DO NOT put anything in their mouth including a bite block
> Call for help (another adult).
> If it’s a known seizure child, you may not need to call the parents, but you need that plan in place and agreed upon first.
> Always call immediately if it’s the first time they had a seizure or a new child
> Have two people there one on each side, to help them once they stop and are regaining balance
> You may need to call 911
Charlotte’s Web – Marijuana for children with seizures
> As a pediatrician absolutely not something I recommend.
> As a parent, if my child was having 100-1000 seizures a day, I would do it in a heartbeat to help with the quality of life.
> As a church, no where in the Bible is there something that says you are not allowed to do charlotet’s web. Some churches say no and have asked families to leave the church because they are doing it.
> No church should be making the stand to tell the parent how to parent. Take the high road. The family needs you to come alongside them, they need spiritual encouragement, love them.
It is helpful to interview your new special needs families and create a plan for their child to do what’s best for them and to be able to love the child and help the child.
For the parent in denial that their child is autistic; do not come into the conversation saying they have autism, just talk about how you’ve noticed that Jacob needs a little extra help in the class and we would love to get Jacob a buddy to help him have a better time in class, and keep up with the activities. You are just offering a little extra help, not accusing them of doing anything. You may ask if they have an IEP at school and ask about it.
Training for Physical Restraints (CPI). Check to see what training is offered locally and get your staff trained.
Buddy System- Majority of special needs students do not need a buddy. Try to keep them mainstreamed. Youngest buddy is 8 years old, but he’s one of the best ones. It’s more about training and language use then the age of the child. Encourage youth and adults to be apart of it. Tap into your middle school and high school students. Families may also want to serve together and this is a great opportunity.
Pre-conference Session #2 – How to Reach Families in Your Local Elementary School with Dan Scott (Orange) and Dan Kubish (New Spring Church in Wichita, KS)
There are lots of kids that will never walk in the doors of your church, and they need help, they need to see God’s love in action.
School in General:
> 50.1 million kids will attend school in US this year
> Average size is 20-25 kids & 1 teacher in a classroom
> 160,000 kids will miss school because of bullying
> 71% of kids report that bullying is a problem.
> 1 out of 5 kids will drop out before graduation
Americans are not happy with our schools.
Barna’s Schools in Crisis Survey
> 76% of Americans think greater family and parental involvement will improve lower-performing schools
> 70% high quality teachers will improve lower-performing schools
> 35% more involvement from faith communities will improve lower-performing schools
> Who is responsible? Primary resource for education 80% parents
We can help, but the church in general isn’t too sure. We can…
> Encourage teachers
> Help with fund raising
> Volunteer at local schools
> Help promote reform
Instead of helping, many in the church flee.
There is so much potential- our kids can be the light in their public schools, in the darkness.
There are 3 big influences in the life of a child:
> Church (40 hours a year)
> Home (3000 hours with family at home)
> School (1600 hours a year)
What would happen if we leverage the influence at the schools as well??
> That’s a lot of hours you can impact on top of your 40 in the life of a child over the year.
3 is greater than 1 plus 1 plus 1.
We need to work together, get on the same page with the schools.
75% of kids in your community will never benefit from what you do inside the church because they will never come to you. If you want to reach those kids, you have to go to them. Orange is about widening the circle, reaching out.
Dan Scott interviewed Dan Kubish (thebigideaexperience.com)
Core Central Values- Pathway to Public Schools
Where to start…4 simple steps
Adopt one school. Schools are looking for it. In Kansas schools are required to have a virtue based curriculum.
> Set up a time to meet with the school.
> They started with a 40 minute program to do for the school.
> They didn’t cross the line, didn’t say Jesus or get out their Bibles, but they still taught the virtue.
> They started getting referrals from other schools
> Need to meet with people on staff. Talk to the people in charge of curriculum, typically a counselor. Probably don’t want to go through the PTA. Directly to the people that make the decisions.
> Ask to do an assembly for the school
> It’s great to have a teacher invite you to the school, but not necessary.
Actually meet at the school, on their turf, in their time frame, with their rules
> Hang out and talk and see how you can get on the same page.
> Meet with them, Big Idea coming to your school (wear the same shirts to make yourselves identifiable).
> Janitor may not be too happy, so bring help to clean and set-up, tear down.
> Safety issue to have people on campus, so make sure you follow their policies. Go over the rules and make sure you tell them what your signal is to keep the crowd quiet. Have fun, but keep it organized. Be respectful, don’t come in like you know it all. Humility is key!
Be Positive – Point out good things about the school
Ask how you can help
> Leave your agenda behind
> Serve with humility
> Exceed expectations
Another idea is to do a carnival for them or something of that nature. We are here to assist the school.
In Kansas, May 1st is the Stop Bullying March, the kids all wear a shirt and participate in activities that day. They created a short 15 minute video for them to get the kids pumped up about participating and wearing their shirts.
New Spring church has a truck and tailor and they bring and set-up all their own equipment. They go to 71 different schools.
They also put up a billboard for Humility on the major highway through the city.
It will be the easiest money you raise as a church, people will step up to the plate. They told people what they’re doing and they donated the money to put up the digital billboards on the main freeway (I35). A radio station donated a short amount of time to them as well, where they just a do a 30 second blurb on what the big idea is (Humility, use the virtue)
There is a tab on the 252 website for the school XP and it can be a start for you.
Free to the schools, Dan K. buys most of their stuff from Core Essentials.
Most schools can’t afford assemblies but they are looking for them. Offer your program to schools as a free assembly.
You must have excellence, needs to be a program that both the kids and teachers love.
You can teach God’s truth to the kids and tell them Bible stories by changing names (for the Good Samaritan they used football team names).
They are able to build relationships with the school and he is able to go now when they call him to talk to a student when they’re going through something hard.
Encourage kids and administration.
They have a different website, name and mailing address away from the church. It keeps the schools open to partnering with them.
Most pastors will ask what will it do for the church. We would still do it even if no one started coming to the church because of it, but over 80% of the teachers and kids from those schools come to their church now. Teachers have figured out that if you love the kids so much that you come to us and build relationships and love on the kids than what amazing things are you doing at your church.
The teachers see the kids more than you do at church.
Tell the schools, we’d love to provide the core essential curriculum for you. It’s a great way in. Costs about $199 a month or so. It’ll be worth it for you to reach your community.
How do you go to 71 schools, 5 services on the weekend, and have 13 staff members? Do 4 shows at schools a day. DO NOT WRITE YOUR OWN CURRICULUM. Don’t waste your time. Work 40 hours a week.
Talk with your parents, talk with teachers in your church. Start small.
What are some ways to fund the program if your church does not have the funding?
You can talk to community leaders because it’s community-based.
Businesses (& business leaders) in the community like to help with things that help the community. There are people in your church that this is their passion…there are people already volunteering in schools and this may be part of their dream. They may volunteer to help you.
For Core Essential Values there is a backlog to go get at a later time if your school is doing a different value or virtue that month; however, there is stuff specific to the time of year or month like December.
You can do it with 3 people at the minimum.
PRE-CONFERENCE SESSION #4
FX Interactive with Adam Duckworth in Fort Launderdale:
Context for why we do what we do related to Family experience.
What is Orange? Two combined influences make a greater impact than just two influences. Church and Family…
Light in a broken world that should shine the light brighter so that everyone can see it.
Red and Yellow together make Orange.
FX is that coming to life, represented. Family and church should meet and learn about the same things together.
5 Principles to the orange strategy:
> Integrate Strategy: Align church leaders and parents to lead with the same end in mind.
> Redefine the Message: Craft core truths into engaging, relevant and memorable experiences.
> Reactivate the Family: Enlist parents to act as partners in the spiritual formation of their own children.
> Elevate Community: Connect everyone to a caring leader and a consistent group of peers
> Leverage Influence: Create consistent opportunities for students to experience personal ministry.
Populate the stage with middle school students and high school students: they engage in personal ministry beyond high school. It helps them stay in the church once they leave the community.
FX: A shared experience for families designed to engage parents as partners with a strategy to shape the character and faith of their children.
The life apps help shape kids, shape their faith, shape their future, shape their families. It’s a shared experience.
Why an FX? By creating an FX you help “reactivate the family” in your community.
> Communities are crumbling
> Families are different today, they are changing.
> Our doors are always open because we want to help your family take the next step toward Jesus.
Spiritual Leaders: Spiritual leadership has no clear definition.
There are people that are attempting to engage with us that may have no experience in a church, no experience with faith. They don’t know what that means.
It should be our goal in family experience to encourage people to take steps.
It should never be our goal to engage parents to do everything but to do something more.
Levels of Partnership:
> Aware: who understand they have a responsibility
> Involved: who are active and busy
> Invested: who are devoted in their participation
> Engaged: who are intentional about doing something
It’s very rare that someone is going to become engaged overnight, but we help them take little steps.
> Family Centered: Creates a consistent, shared experience for parents and kids
> Kid Focused: Targets the everyday issues in a kid’s everyday world
> Value Driven: Emphasizes specific life apps that allow kids to develop faith and character
> Creatively Wired: Uses innovative and creative tools to communicate timeless truths
> User Friendly: Creates a non-threatening environment for families to invite friends to
> Volunteer Fueled: Build on teams of volunteers
When you get like-minded people around the table implementing the same vision it will change your community. Volunteers are awesome.
About 13 elements in a typical FX
FX can be done with as few as 3 people, but it’s better (& easier) to have more people.
THURSDAY BREAKOUT SESSION A
Brooklyn Lindsey, brooklynlindsey.com
Leading through Crisis, Tragedy & Trauma (Students)
Announcement: XP team has an emergency kit that you can use. Includes what to say and do programming wise after an emergency in your community.
You are not alone, it’s going to take a lot of people and a lot of love and you are not alone.
Small crisis: Play Finger Ninja- hands up, put your right pointer finger in the palm of the person next to you and on the count of 3 trap one side and escape the other side.
Quote: Ann Lamount says “Lighthouses don’t go all around an island looking for boats to save they just stand still and shine their light.”
Lighthouses are stable and strong, & they are drawing in nature, they draw ppl in.
Stay strong and be who you are in Him. That identity in Christ enables you to do what you need to do to help others.
We may not be the best at handling certain situations, but we will be the best at being ourselves and we will have what it takes.
Ldrs are often the first responders, usually starts with a conversation. You have this knowledge that you’re going to call on the phone or have a face to face conversation.
> Difficult, hard, don’t always have the answers. At the end of the day, our job is to respond.
> Your genuine and thoughtful response will tell the hurting that you care.
> Show up, respond, don’t be afraid of that.
SAY THIS NOT THAT:
As you begin to have the conversations:
> Focus on listening
> Focus on Feeling (Let them voice their emotions)
> Focus on Remembering (Tell me about a good memory, why do you love someone so much) – Journal, talk about your memories
> I’m so sorry for your loss
> I hate that you’re going through this
> I know this is really hard
> I know that this is really difficult
> Tell me a story about this person
> We’re going to walk through this together
Book: Youth Leaders Guide to Crisis (good appendix of adjectives in the back of the book). Sometimes our simple words don’t express the depth or the breadth of their feelings. You can have a student circle some of the words that they’re feeling.
If you can’t go with them together, then find somebody that can. (Small group leaders are great)
DO NOT Say This:
> Avoid Cliches
> Avoid Answers (we don’t have all the answers)
> Avoid Timelines
> Everything happens for a reason
> How are you?
> You’ll get over this
> God just needed another angel
> At least you have your Dad/Friends/etc.
> Don’t cry
It’s good to grieve and let people grieve even when it’s hard.
There are times that you go through crisis that you will have to deal with it in the future, because someone forgot it or blocked it. (Crisis can come out at any time).
Crisis lives on and it can be the incubator for miracles. (Heather said this in main session this morning).
Sometimes people look at the church and they just want to see or hear something that says come home. The world is just saying “Say Something” to me, let me know you care and love me. Be open and receptive.
People in your life need to be filling you up, speaking words of truth into you. You need to be full so you can say YES to being the lighthouse
Crisis foreshadows the future, they are imaging their faith in the future through you. God wants you to help carry other people’s burdens.
What is Crisis:
> A crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger
> A period of disequilibrium that overpowers a person’s homeostatic mechanisms (therapeutic definition)
> A crisis throws people off balance
> It can be difficult to predict
> It can be brought on by anything
> It can be something that effects someone in one stage of their life and not in another
Who determines a crisis? The person going through it.
When to respond when and how:
Acute (pointed, immediate): (Needs immediate attention from you or someone else, like going to the hospital). Suicide attempt, abuses, runaway, assault, sudden loss, etc.
Chronic (enduring, reoccurring, persistent): (Sometimes this will quickly escalate to Acute and it is not your fault) Cutting, compulsive behaviors, ADHD, depression, etc. Response can be slower.
Adjustment (stressful on relationships, annoying but they are usually just transitioning): Lying, sibling born, defiance, family remarriage, etc. Sometimes it helps to tell someone to breathe. Can be fun, but can also be awful. Tell them you’ll be with them through this.
Lighthouses don’t go running around an island trying to save people.
Say YES to be the first responder and being helped by the first responders.
Orange Conference 2014 Notes – From Nick Blevins
#OC14 Orange Conference Notes – From Jim Wideman
Orange Conference 2014 Notes – From Brian Dodd
This information was presented at the national Orange Conference #OC14. Click here for more information on Orange.