Orange Tour Notes 2015 – It’s Just A Phase, So Don’t Miss It

Orange Tour notes 2015 – summaries from various sessions.

Orange Blog Rob CizekOrange is one of the best resources I recommend to churches. Orange curriculum, books and conferences help leaders in executive, children and youth ministries. This April, 5000 people (including me) will descend on Atlanta for the Orange Conference 2016. Registration begins this week.

Orange also does regional one-day conferences. Those events present much of what is taught in the main conference in Atlanta. To get a feel for what Orange is all about, here are notes (courtesy Cheryl Kneeland) from this year’s Orange Tour Seattle.

ORANGE TOUR 2015 NOTES – MAIN SESSION #1

It’s Just A Phase, So Don’t Miss It – Reggie Joiner

Along the way whether you’re working with 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 5th graders… you could miss important things in each phase if you’re not paying attention. Life just keeps moving so fast.

It’s really easy to miss the things that are going on in different phases; if we’re not careful, not paying attention, we will miss it.

We don’t see what we don’t see. You as a leader are a guide… it is your responsibility to guide them through the phase and into the next phase.

Invisible questions kids ask in various phases:

> Birth – Am I safe? (The ‘I need you now’ phase.)

> 2nd Grade – Do I have what it takes?

> 6th Grade – Who do I like? / Who likes me?

> 10th Grade – Why should I believe?

As a parent you have to redefine your role at every stage. It’s tricky, it changes.

Single word to describe each phase:

> Preschool – EMBRACE

> Elementary – ENGAGE

> Middle School – AFFIRM

> High School – MOBILIZE

We don’t remember what we don’t remember. One thing to remember: Every kid is made in the image of God.

Every kid has a divine capacity to…reason, improve, and lead.
To care, relate, and trust.
To believe, to imagine… even to love.

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me…” -Jesus

Reggie’s translation of that verse: “I want you to treat kids like you would treat me” -Jesus

“In a lot of our churches we are so programmed to see sin in their life that we forget they are made in the image of God.”

He/she is made in the image of God.

What would happen if we…

Treat every student who breathes like they are made in the image of God.

Every kid, even those that do not attend your church and whose parents don’t attend church, are made in the image of God. Every middle schooler, even those that don’t tithe, are made in the image of God. Every kid, even those that are not homeschooled or sent to private Christian schools are made in the image of God.

Don’t expect kids to follow Jesus until you treat them like they are make in the image of God.

Kids need to trust you before they ever trust God.

 

ORANGE TOUR 2015 NOTES – MAIN SESSION #2

How To Live Out The Phases – Reggie Joiner

Orange Tour 2015The two most important people in a child or student’s life are their parent and small group leader.

Phase: a time frame in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.

At the end of the day, if they miss God somehow in this, none of the rest matters. We’re all here together because we are connected by something bigger. This is also the same thing you have in common with the non-Christian parents.

Conversation between Kara Powell and Reggie Joiner:

What can we do to get our parents to engage more?
So many parents these days are “dry cleaner parents”, just want to drop their kids off once a week spiritually dirty and come back 90 minutes later to pick them up “clean.” Getting the parent to be engaged in what your doing is huge! Leverage the phase to give the parent new information and help them redefine their role as a parent every year. Create rhythms to engage/connect with parents. Every week pray for parents for five minutes, every week send out a parent email from weekly, every month send a parenting article/tool, every year hold parent/SGL/student conferences once a year.

How can we get influence with families in the community?
“We’re so often known for what we’re against as churches. I wish we could be known for what we’re for rather than what we’re against.” says Kara Powell.  If families in your community start to realize that you are trying to help them win, it changes the atmosphere.

How can we get our staff to play together better?
We have to raise the bar. Every phase is the most important phase. We want you to look at content and be both a specialist and a globalist. We really need to support each other. Jesus says that they will know we are Christians by the way we love each other, but what if they know we are Christians just by the way we like each other?

How can we keep kids from getting lost in the transitions?
What are the times that our kids jump off a cliff in attendance and what are we going to do about it? What are we going to do to help with the transitions? It’s not an event, it’s a process.

(Conversation with Kara ends here, Reggie continues the presentation).

We don’t anticipate what we don’t anticipate. As leaders and as parents we meed to think ahead and not just look at this Sunday, but where they are going next year, two years, etc.

Read more than just your Bible. “The Bible is all true, but not everything I need to know is in the Bible.” Some of the best advice we get is from other people who are also made in the image of God.

The enemy despises us because we are made in God’s image. If the enemy has a strategy and is trying to anticipate the next steps of our children, why shouldn’t we have a strategy?

> 4 out of 10 kids grow up without a father. We need to be aware of potential pitfalls.

> 80% of ten year girls worry that they are not thin enough.

> 2 out of 10 seven to eleven year-olds are sexually abused. These things don’t have to define them.

> 50% of kids will have seen porn by the time they are 13.

> 1 in 10 kids will start cutting in middle school.

> 6 out of 10 students in 12th grade will be sexually active.

> Suicides peak in the 10th grade. 10th grade is critical. The potential of suicides drops in half in 11th grade. The pressure is piled on. Think in terms of the bigger picture.

The point is, we need a strategy. Sometimes we are fighting a battle on the wrong front, the wrong things.

Why are we fighting against same sex marriage instead of fighting against bullying (and help the kids that are struggling with same sex attraction and killing themselves).

Our job is not to change people. The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that we are to change our neighbor as ourselves. We are to love them.

Strategy is key. God has a strategy. God had a strategy to reclaim us to redeem us. When you show up for kids in the different phases, you are part of God’s strategy for them.

Preschool: When you EMBRACE kids at this age, you are doing exactly what Jesus showed up on the planet to do.

Elementary: When you sit in a circle and ENGAGE them you are doing what Jesus did, you make them a big deal like Jesus did. You are connecting dots and take time to craft it in a way that they will get it and a light bulb will come on. You are shaping their identity.

Middle School: You are the church; you understand grace, forgiveness, the gospel. They need leaders who will show up in their life and forgive them. They need to know that they can start again when they fail, that they matter. When you AFFIRM them you are doing exactly what Jesus did.

High School: They don’t need more Bible studies, better worship, and bigger speakers. They need someone who believes in their potential and is 100% committed to them, helping them find their potential. When you MOBILIZE them you are doing what Jesus did when he died on the cross.

Jesus came to fix what the first Adam messed up. He treated everyone like they mattered, because they do. He demonstrated with his death that image of God is worth living for. God loves them (us). We are a part of this strategy, don’t forget it.

 

ORANGE TOUR 2015 NOTES – MAIN SESSION #3

Reggie Joiner

Reggie Joiner

The Compounding Benefits Of Relationship Over Time – Reggie Joiner

When you see how much time you have left you tend to get serious about the time you have now. What would we do if we were really thinking strategically about these 200 weeks? When you see how much time you left you tend to value what happens over time. Every week matters. Collective momentum in a kid’s life. Small group leaders that are in a kid’s life for multiple seasons, have a different impact on them.

Love Over Time: With every kid at every phase, they need love, stories, fun, a place to belong, etc. over time. Reinforce love over time. We know God loves us because he kept pursuing us over time. He wanted to use time as his platform to prove that He loves us unconditionally.

As a parent or leader of a 9th grader, you have to learn how to let go and how to hold on. Keep showing up and allow them to fail. Don’t be afraid of failure happening, leverage those moments to show them how much they have value and worth.

Myth: Teenagers don’t need you as much as they did when they were kids.

Small group leader: Keep showing up every week. (I am carving out time every week to be with you, because you are that important).

Parents: Keep showing up every day.

2015-09-17 18.53.55

Phases of a kid’s life… from car seat, to stroller, to wagon, to bike… to car.

Stories Over Time: God’s story at this point has to become my story and His story together.

The worst thing you can do as a parent of a high school student is to try to make them think you’re perfect. Don’t pretend you are something you are not. The best thing you can do is let them see that you need grace and forgiveness too. The most important story you can hand them is the story of God’s redemption in your life. Isn’t God great? He even let me be a parent.

Myth: God’s story is not relevant to a student’s every day life.

Small group leader: Engage your group in stories that are bigger than your church.

Parents: Engage your family in stories that are bigger than your family.

You are not limited because of your life or what has happened in your life. He is bigger than that.

Work Over Time: God wired us, God made us to contribute to something bigger. They will forget what you say, what you program, but they will not forget what God does through them to help someone else.

Myth: Teenagers are not ready to lead. Give them something significant to do. You want to do something in the heart of a teen.

Small group leader: Enlist students to serve every week.

Parents: Encourage your students to serve every week.

Please don’t miss this phase. Do everything you can to give them opportunities to serve. Teach them to be the church.

Work over time gives them significance.

Words Over Time: What you stay still matters. The average teen will get seven words of criticism for every one word of praise. What you don’t say may matter more. Develop the skill of listening to them. (Even if it’s after 10pm). What others say may matter even more. You are giving them a relational vocabulary and a spiritual vocabulary. Words over time give direction.

Small group leader: Create safe places for conversations.

Parents: Create strategic places for conversations.

2015-09-18 14.35.55Fun Over Time = Connection: Joy & Forgiveness are the two things that will determine whether a kid comes back to your house or not, whether they come back to our church or not.

Small Group Leader: Schedule fun with an agenda.

Parents: Schedule fun without an agenda. (Fight for your friendship).

Tribes Over Time = Belonging: They will care more about what their friends think than what you think, they will care more about what other adults think than what you think, and they will care more about what you think more than anything else, all at the same time. You want them to grow up and value community for the rest of their life.

Small Group Leader: Cue parents to participate with what’s happening at church.

Parents: Cue your small group leader to be aware of what is happening at home.

You will never really feel forgiven by someone who doesn’t know you. Don’t just show up for a few months or a year. Build trust, have opportunities to show them forgiveness, demonstrate who God is to them by forgiving them.

We are responsible for being other adults in the life of a student. Rally around teenagers. See the teenager in a different way so we are protecting our investment in them before they walk away. Keep investing, keep engaging, keep affirming, launch them!

 

ORANGE TOUR 2015 – BREAKOUT NOTES

Breakout A – “Do Over” Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff at the Atlanta Orange Conference 2015.

Jon Acuff

There are many changes in your life and work. Some are voluntary and some are involuntary. All work changes fall into one of four categories:

Voluntary Negative Moment: Work Ceiling
You willingly get stuck. Maybe you’re at work disengaged. There is risk in innovation, but when it goes well you go into protection mode and you or your ministry get stuck.

Negative Involuntary Moment: Work Bump
Maybe you lost your best volunteer or your most popular student graduates.

Positive Voluntary Moment: Work Jump
Dared to do something new.

Positive Involuntary Moment: Work Opportunity
When something happens that you can’t predict or plan for, but they are positive opportunities.

You will go through all four of those moments some days.

It’s not about avoiding the negative side, it’s about navigating it.

Successful people have a career savings account. Relationships + skills + character + hustle = career savings account. (Career is anything we are passionate about). You need all four in your ministry and your life.

Skills (Ceiling): It’s impossible to get stuck somewhere old if you learn something new. Are there places where you’ve let your skills go dull?

Relationships (Bump): You either break out or break up. People you didn’t even know existed will be there for you in a difficult moment and some people you expected to be there won’t.

Character (Jump)

Opportunity (Hustle)

Focus on relationships. Lead like everyone is smarter than you. Don’t wait until you have consensus to make a decision. Make the best decision as a leader. Be a multiplier, someone that increases the potential of everyone they work with.

It’s impossible to lead this way if you put your identity in your work. Your identity needs to be rooted in Christ.

1. Humility
There is an expectation that you have all the answers and if you’re not careful, it’s really easy to pretend that you do and people will see through that, it won’t work. Admit your weaknesses.

Fixed Mindset (If you succeed, I feel threatened) vs. Growth Mindset (I can learn every day).

Beware leaders who can’t say:

> I don’t know.
> I was wrong.
> I’m sorry.

If you wall yourself up from feedback from others, you become a leader who no one can talk to. Leaders who can’t be questioned, end up doing questionable things.

2. Time
You’ll never be done with ministry, you’ll never finish social media for the day, etc. Your projects need space and time to change. Great relationships take great time. Create space for people to share ideas. What would it look like to build time to ask the people you work with questions, your volunteers, parents?

3. Clarity
If you have a church that has tradition, get together and strip it down to the studs, the roots. If you got rid of everything, what are the five most important things? Put them on the wall. Then make a list of what the kids/students/families in the community need and put that on the wall. Look at the gap and see where you are actually trying to go.

If you lead people, you should go back and ask them if they can tell you the truth.

Clarity is not easy. It’s a shift, it’s a change.

It’s easy to share new ideas in a secular business community than in a Christian community. Secular businesses criticize the idea if they don’t like it. Christians criticize your soul, not the idea.

The parent who hates you the most often has the kid who needs you the most. (That kid hears the parent’s criticism every day).

The work you’re doing matters. Lead with humility, add time to the work you’re doing, and fight for clarity.

 

ORANGE TOUR 2015 – BREAKOUT NOTES

Orange Tour 2015Breakout B – Leveraging Phases to Build Faith in Students
Speaker: Joseph Sojourner

It’s just a phase so teach like love matters. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself.

LOVE

What do we want to make sure that students know the most?

It’s just a phase so play to your audience.

It’s making sure that we do everything in our power to go the extra mile to speak to them in their language.

Your job is not to redefine God at every phase, but your job is to help kids rediscover God in a new way at each phase.

As adults we can make the mistake of connecting kids and teenagers to a God who seems irrelevant. How do we find a way to make sure it’s relevant to everyone in the room, but especially to a student who is there for the first time?

Instant connectors make God relevant to students.

We make the mistake of connecting kids and teenagers to a God who seems small. They need to understand that God is fighting for them every day.

Don’t forget to mention that this is one step on your journey with God, He is so much bigger, you will forever continue to learn more about God and you will be shaken up every year if you are really pressing into Him.

2015-09-18 08.43.37Middle School- AFFIRM: The phase in their journey where they are looking for affirmation.

God’s story redeems my story.

We want them to start asking questions… and get comfortable with finding answers and asking questions. You are teaching them how to love others appropriately, showing them that group is safe.

3 Things to do to help Middle Schoolers:

Connect the dots. When it comes to God, you have this huge vision of who God is and then you have me… how do I connect to God? The goal is to equip small group leaders with as much as possible early to help them help their few connect the dots. Oh, so that’s how that story relates to me.

Expect a crisis: Keep a poker face/straight face, don’t freak out. Expect it so you are able to react appropriately. If we over-react we look shaken up. If we under-react, it will impact them. Sometimes you can address it in group, and sometimes you need to address it with them separately. If they are hurting themselves, hurting someone else, or being abused; please inform a staff member. Staff members need to be involved.

Be consistent: You get questions every single week. The simplest thing you can do as a small group leader is being consistently there. Camp is the perfect opportunity to have the small group leader bond with their small groups.

High School- MOBILIZE: God’s story empowers my story.

3 Things to do to help High Schoolers:

Orange Tour Photo BoothGive an application. They want to know what they can do, don’t just give them a big picture, they want to wrap their hands on it and do something. You gave me something to do and it actually happened.

Ask Questions: They are old enough to start processing things for themselves. Questions are a great tool. Sometimes it’s better to have a HS small group leader that doesn’t know their middle school history. A reset is good. Talk to them in a brand new way, asking a lot more questions. Questions is one of the greatest tool a small group leader has. Why do you think that? Why do you think this? Master the art of asking questions.

Make it experiential: Let them see and show them that the church can be fun.
Here’s how we can talk about this, but what can we do to help them connect to this? We can push students to be leaders in way they weren’t able to grasp as a middle school student. Student impact- Let them serve in a variety of areas around the church every single Sunday. Students that are able to serve and live out their faith, will generally hang onto their faith better.

It’s just a phase so recycle what is most important.

The reality is that your middle schoolers will use their smartphone more in one week than they will attend your church in one year. We want to teach them how to use the Bible. How are you going to influence the spiritual direction of the average child or teenager when you only have a few minutes every other week?

It’s not really your job to teach every kid everything that’s in the Bible to every kid at every phase. Just because everything in the Bible is true doesn’t mean everything in the Bible is equally important.

ORANGE TOUR 2015 – BREAKOUT NOTES

Lead Small Kids – Speakers: Sue Miller, Afton Manny, & Kellen

2015-09-17 22.06.10Kids get stuck. Stuck academically, stuck emotionally. What causes them to get stuck? Kids get stuck when they don’t know what it feels like to win. Move them to do something significant.

A win for a two year old is: Serving by cleaning up, Showing up, Sharing toys.

A win for a third grader is: Canned food drive for the homeless, let each child feel significant by letting them share in small group.

Processing with kids is very important too. Tell the older kids why, help them see the process behind what your doing.

Kids get stuck when they don’t know what they can do. Move them to discover their voices. A good coach will take each player on the team and figure out what they’re good at. As coaches we try to unlock the potential inside each one of our kids. Ask really specific questions. Get to know them better, faster.

Safe Environment: Open up a new level of trust by the way you react to their weird or bizarre stories. Creating Best Friend Roles- Asking your kids to get to know everybody and partner up with new kids (not just for a week or two, but always).

2015-09-17 18.51.25Kids get stuck because they don’t know what God can do. The bigger we can make God seem, the more into it they’ll get. At the same time, you can make them see God is intimate to. It’s OK to say “I don’t know.” Help them process. It’s OK that God is bigger than “I don’t know” Sometimes we don’t have the answer, we just show up consistently and let them know that God is big enough to handle our anger, to handle our fears, our doubt. Safety is huge. Process is huge. Coaches are huge so that kids don’t get stuck. We help them figure out what to do with all the information about God that they are getting.

“If we want to keep them moving in a better direction… church cannot be the only place where a child experiences God… getting to know God and experience what He can do – is something that kids can intentionally do throughout the week.”

Model what we want to the kids to do with them. Read your Bible in front of them, pray with them, show them & tell them about the opportunities you had to help others this week and see God in action. Live out your faith in front of them.

Kids get stuck because they don’t know how to take the next step. Move them to what’s next. Sometimes we forget how long it takes to get to the next step, the transitions are so important. I can do something significant, I do have worth, I am able,…they start to believe it. Tell them “You can do this.” We need to help them, we need to prepare them, and help them successfully move to the next step. Our kids want to rise to the occasion, but we need to set them up to win. Setting up their expectations ahead of time. If you’re going to be out of town, tell them ahead of time that you won’t be there the next week and give them a heads up. Prepare them for the sub.

 

ORANGE TOUR 2015 – BREAKOUT NOTES

Lead Small- Move Them Out

Speaker: Joseph Sojourner, @jamsojourner

2015-09-17 19.12.52A small group leader is a person who can sit in a group week in and week out and be a consistent voice in their life. It’s a beautiful role. As a youth pastor, you know the idea of moving out and what’s it like to not want to loose the passion and energy as students move out from 5th grade, 8th grade, 12th grade. Move them to someone else. The wisest thing we can do as small group leaders is moving them (directing them) to other adult voices in their life.

Move them to be the church. It’s as simple as buying a friend a piece of pizza or asking a kid to hand out the goldfish. Put the task on the students to move to be the church. Go down to the homeless shelter to through a wkly pancake party for the people. Throw a senior prom for senior citizens. You can make a huge impact on the people who feel forgotten, feel like they don’t matter.

Move them to what’s next. What do you think you can’t do? Why do you think you can’t do it? “I think you can and I want to be a voice to help you navigate what’s next.” There is potential that lies within every student. No matter how large your program gets, every student is known in a small group, every student has a person that cares.

Every 12 students get 2 leaders (that would be awesome!!) What if we changed people’s views to help the people around you feel like you’re fighting for them, not against them. (Fight Club). Show students they are always welcome to walk back into our church, our lives, our homes, etc. Challenge students to move out, be the church, and love the students around them.

Fight Club: Fight for one, fight for all. Some battles you can’t fight alone, you need others. The fight FOR is much greater than the fight AGAINST. If we can fight for one, we really can fight for all. Club cards, give your membership card to someone else, by doing an act of kindness and give them a card to welcome them to the club; they are welcome any time.

The Orange Tour is coming to 14 cities this fall. Click here for more information.

 

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VIDEO – ORANGE TOUR PREVIEW

 

VIDEO – WHAT IT’S LIKE TO ATTEND ORANGE ATLANTA

 

VIDEO – WHAT IS ORANGE?

 

 

“It’s Just A Phase” – Reggie Joiner’s New Orange Focus

Reggie Joiner

Reggie Joiner at the Orange Conference 2015.

Orange is an organization that promotes quality leadership in children’s and student ministry. This year they announced a new focus: “It’s Just A Phase.” If we understand that the phases of a child’s life are short seasons, we can make the most of them. Below are notes from @ReggieJoiner’s main keynote session in which he outlined the new direction for Orange. Thanks to my friend @CherylKneeland for putting these together!

If you would like to see video of Reggie Joiner explaining these key concepts, click here for part one, here for part two and here for part three.

 

OC15 ORANGE CONFERENCE OPENING SESSION – REGGIE JOINER

IT’S JUST A PHASE, SO DON’T MISS IT.

We don’t want your 3rd graders and 6th graders and 12th graders to miss out because you don’t get it. Reasons it’s easy to miss:

1. We don’t see what we don’t see.

PRESCHOOL: EMBRACE- Am I able?

ELEMENTARY: ENGAGE- Do I have what it takes?

MIDDLE SCHOOL: AFFIRM- Who do I like?

1. Help them own their own faith.

2. Help them begin to value community.

HIGH SCHOOL: MOBILIZE- Why should I believe (you)?

We need a common language as leaders.

2. We don’t remember what we don’t remember. 

One thing ties us all together: Every kid is made in the image of God.

Every kid has the divine capacity to…love, care…

“Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me.” -Jesus

Jesus made kids a pretty big deal.

When I welcome you (a child), it’s like I’m welcoming God.

I don’t think the problem is we forget kids are sinners, I think the problem is we forget kids are made in the image of God.

God has created and designed us in such a way that we can do what we do even when we don’t know who He is.

Treat every kid who breathes like they are made in the image of God.

3. We don’t anticipate what we don’t anticipate.

Lean into each other and teach each other what this looks like in every phase.

Preschool: 4 out of every 10 kids live without a father.

Elementary: 2 out of every 10 girls are sexually abused.

Middle School: 1 out of every 10 kids start cutting.

1 out of of every 10 kids will be sexually active by the time they finish 8th grade.

High School:

2% of kids will be sexually active by the end of 7th grade.

30% of kids will be sexually active by the end of 9th grade.

41% by the end of 10th grade

54% by the end of 11th grade

64% by the end of 12th grade

How can we do this better?

Don’t let anyone tell you what you do is not important.

Think about your role and what God has called you to do.

Orange Blog Rob CizekComments by Jim Burns:

So love every kid like they are wired to show love.

Even with that depth of pain, with so many kids struggling, those issues don’t define them. Love does.

Reach children not by creating barriers but by loving them.

“Jesus wept.” Our God cares that deeply for children.

Mark 9:42 He cares deeply for children.

Best shot at helping kids is when the church and home come together (Think Orange).

Most kids don’t get good, healthy, positive sex education growing up.

“Don’t do it.” Then silence is a mixed message.

25% of women who have sexual intercourse (before marriage) experience depression within 3 months.

65% of kids leave the church right after High School.

SEXUALITY

Preschool- Embrace 

God made their body. He made boys, girls, different shapes, sizes… God made you. God made boys with penises and girls with vaginas. Help them get comfortable with their bodies.

Elementary- Engage

Answer questions, ask questions. They are curious how God makes babies. Ask: Do they know someone expecting a baby?

Teach kids to put a hand out and tell anyone (peers or adults) to STOP then tell a trusted adult if someone tries to touch their private parts.

Sharing your private parts is something you save for your future marriage.

Middle School/High School- Mobilize

Talk about sexuality.

Start talking about pornography. The average age in the US that a kid first views pornography is 11 years old.

Purity Code: In honor of God, my family, and my future spouse…

Experimental phase- Keep your standard high but shower them with Grace.

Genesis 1 & 2, Exodus 20:14, 1 Thessalonians 1:3,…

Teach them one flesh, not just as a sexual thing but as a spiritual thing.

No such thing as casual sex.

God’s love knows no limits.

So love every kid like they are wired to love. Believe in them, bless them, and watch them thrive.

Jon Acuff at the Atlanta Orange Conference 2015.

Jon Acuff at the Atlanta Orange Conference 2015.

Comments by @JonAcuff

Childhood feels shorter than it’s ever been.

You can fast-forward childhood but you can’t rewind it.

Sometimes it starts with a phone.

There’s not a 3rd grader on the planet that’s emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually able to handle the internet and everyone on it.

It’s not a question of whether they’ll talk about their identity, it’s who they’ll talk about it with.

We’ve forgotten that we’re wired with the image of God.

The hardest part of what you do is you often don’t get to see the results.

Stories get stuck, unless leaders get brave.

There’s a world of kids out there waiting for those four words (Embrace, Engage, Affirm, Mobilize).

Additional comments by @reggiejoiner

When you EMBRACE the physical needs of preschoolers, you are being Jesus to them.

When you lean into kids and try to keep their attention, you ENGAGE them; you are doing what Jesus stepped onto this planet to do.

When a kid shifts into the world you have them in and starts to wonder if they’re worth it, you AFFIRM them. You are doing what Jesus stepped onto this planet to do. They need to know what it’s like to be forgiven.

The Countdown clock is spinning as fast as it can. You have the opportunity to disciple high schoolers, be with them. Encourage them in a mission that only they can do. MOBILIZE them and understand that they will outgrow your programs, but they will not outgrow personal ministry.

Every kid is created in the image of God and we need to understand that and tell them that.

The people who abandon you don’t get to decide who you become.

So treat every kid like they are created in the image of God.

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Orange Atlanta 2015

Reggie Joiner video explaining why time is so crucial:

 

Orange Tour Notes 2014

Orange Tour Notes 2014 – summaries from various sessions.

Orange is one of the best resources I recommend to churches. Orange curriculum, books and conferences help leaders in executive, children and youth ministries. This April, 5000 people (including me) will descend on Atlanta for the Orange Conference 2015. Registration begins this week.

Orange also does regional one-day conferences. Those events present much of what is taught in the main conference in Atlanta. To get a feel for what Orange is all about, here are notes (courtesy Cheryl Kneeland) from this year’s Orange Tour Seattle.

Orange TourOPENING SESSION: ORANGE TOUR – SAY ‘YES’ TO THE NEXT GENERATION

Speaker: Jon Acuff @JonAcuff

YES feels like a small word, but there is no such thing as a small YES to our big God. YES is a comma, it starts adventures. There is no period after YES

Things are always changing in ministry, you have to say YES to change, YES to bravery…

Not the movie version of bravery; the real stuff. Bravery feels like wanting to cry, wanting to throw up, not sleeping. Revival of fear is not failure. You have to be brave in the hard moments.

God, what you’ve given me is what I need to say YES to. God is not surprised or disappointed by the size of your ministry.

Sometimes it’s hard to find funny things to write about, and other times a woman sitting next to me brings a tambourine to church. At some point during the morning she thought, “This church is missing tambourine and I’m the person to bring it.: 🙂

You said YES to community. We care about kids, were not alone in that. You came to this space and said YES to community.

You said YES to the future. You believe that this child matters; you pour into them even if you don’t know if it’s sticking. People like YOU, love a child before they love themselves. You believe in them before they believe in themselves.

You said YES to being present, YES to being with kids, YES to all the things that you do, but ultimately YES to the next generation. THANK YOU for saying YES to Students, YES to children, YES to the next generation.

OPENING SESSION CONTINUED

Speaker: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner

When you say YES to the next generation, you say YES to drama.

You can KNOW God
You can become a Christian in a MOMENT
The BIBLE is all true
TRUST leads to stronger faith
You should ENJOY going to church
Your BELIEFS matter
God has an IDEAL
GOD is good

It’s possible that how we handle those truths, it will affect the next generation. We have to think about how we hand off those truths to them.

It wasn’t because what we told kids wasn’t true, because it is… or that we didn’t teach them the gospel, because we did. What we do can give kids a concept of God that is bigger or smaller. If we’re not careful we can cause a child to have a shallow faith.

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.

When we take the tension out, we remove the energy, the influence, the power we’re supposed to have as leaders. Does mercy water down justice or vice-verse? No, it highlights it. The lack of tension diminishes the truth. Somehow along the way truth can loose it’s potency.

Sometimes a truth can lose clarity when it’s divorced from the reality of the other truths that amplify it.

Tension doesn’t make a truth less true, it makes it more real.

If you don’t say yes to the tension, kids will start thinking God is a lot smaller than he really is.

YES you can KNOW God AND YES God is a MYSTERY. Decide that God is bigger than your perspective.

YES you can become a Christian in a MOMENT… and YES it will take FOREVER to figure out what that means. At the end of the day, this is hard, it’s not a quick fix. God is bigger than your experience.

YES the BIBLE is all true… and YES everything true about LIFE is not in the Bible.

YES TRUST leads to stronger faith… and YES DOUBT can lead to stronger faith. If you don’t let your kids process their own doubt, they’ll never own their own faith. At the end of the day don’t worry if you’re kids express doubt, be worried if they don’t.

YES you should enjoy going to CHURCH… and YES you can enjoy living in the WORLD. I think God made the quarterback and God made the country singer. Don’t make things of the world the enemy. God is so much bigger than just your church.

YES your BELIEFS matter… and YES PEOPLE matter more. Take your cues from Jesus.

YES God has an IDEAL… and YES God uses BROKEN people. It’s not about us, it’s about God and what God can do through us.

YES GOD is good… and YES YOU should do good. At the end of the day, you are the best way that kids will learn how to do good. God is in YOU doing what you can’t do without Him. We don’t have an excuse not to do good in the world around us.

If you don’t say YES to the tension, kids could grow up to become “that” Christian.

Don’t be irresponsible.
Don’t get stuck.
Don’t be a jerk.
Don’t be weird.
Don’t be threatened.
Don’t be an idiot.
Don’t be shallow.
Don’t be arrogant.

—-

Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian ChurchORANGE TOUR: SESSION TWO – SAY ‘YES’ TO CHANGE

Speaker: Carey Nieuwhof @cnieuwhof

Say YES to changing how you think about change. Anytime you hear the word change, you have an emotional reaction. As a leader, you think change is awesome, but to everyone else it’s awful.

We want to do everything we can to impact the next generation. Sometimes you have to sacrifice what is for the sake of what could be.

The greatest enemy to your future success is your current success.

Are you defeating what could end up being your transformation?

If you are really going to say YES to the next generation, you have to change your approach to change.

SESSION TWO CONTINUED

Speaker: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner

When you say YES to the next generation, you say YES to messy.

As ministry leaders, you’re saving lives simply because you are doing life with them.

Say YES to the tension that exists between what is true and what is real if you want to have influence in the next generation.

We have to be intentional if we want to keep the momentum. You need to fight to get the tension that you need in your ministry.

Say YES to the tension that exists between what is core and what is dynamic if you want momentum in your ministry. It’s all connected to the great commission Jesus gave us. You will not be successful as a church simply because you have a mission. You will be successful because you have a strategy. You are driven by a mission but you succeed because of a strategy.

You are called to Pastor but you are required to lead. You should invest in insiders but you should prioritize for outsiders. You have to intentional about seeking out those on the outside.

What happens at church matters but what happens at home matters more. Effective ministries attract a crowd but effective ministries lead to community. Are you so wired to attract a crowd that you don’t know how to do community? Do you understand the power of a circle and the power of community?

You will never be able to out-produce what the culture produces. You can’t compete with that. But they can’t out-community you. They can’t create a safe place for a kid to show up and have a dialogue with someone who knows their name and knows them.

Teachers expand how you think but Coaches empower what you do. As long as you only teach in your church, your ministry will be limited to you. But when you coach and
empower leaders to take on a role in ministry, something fundamentally changes.
It’s just as important for you to lean into adults as it is for you to teach kids on a platform. You need to influence those who influence kids and teenagers (adults & parents).

The scope of your influence is determined by the success of your leaders. If you can help the small group leader and the parent, then you win. You all win. If you want every small group leader (SGL) and parent to win every week, then you have to coach them every week.

Think about how you can become a coach in the lives of the parents and SGL. Parents and SGL’s don’t need more content they need better cues.

Somewhere along the way, you need to think about there are not a lot of good things that happen monthly, they happen weekly. You can’t build relationships monthly. You can’t date monthly, it doesn’t work. You can’t disciple someone monthly.

3 Questions Coaches should answer every week to empower SGLs and parents:
What do they need to know?
Why do they need to know it?
When do they need to know it?

Less is more, it’s a matter of timing and relevance. It matters when it matters, it doesn’t matter if it’s true.

What if you take 2 hours of your week and you invest in parents and SGLs every week. Your mission is not to influence the next generation, it’s to influence those that influence the next generation. We have opportunity today because of social media to connect with parents and kids in ways we’ve never connected before. You have the ability with a couple hours a week to make some incredible investments in parents and small group leaders. You have to shift from being a teacher to being a coach.

If you want your ministry to grow you should surround yourself with voices that value what is dynamic as much as they value what is core. Surround yourself by people who are passionate enough to keep you on mission, but also willing to fight for tension.

When it comes to coaching, don’t just coach adult SGL and parents to do ministry, coach your teenagers to do ministry. Make sure there is a space and a place for teens. When they serve, they experience something they can’t experience any other way. You can tell a teen that they’re significant, but until you give them something significant to do, they won’t fully get it.

Check out the Lead Small app (free) to help you coach parents and small group leaders. (Note: this looks very promising. A great tool for small group leaders.)

—-

Orange Tour - Reggie JoinerORANGE TOUR – SESSION THREE

Speaker: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner

No one leaves the church because someone said the Bible isn’t true. It’s about the people and the way they are treated or not treated.

Blog to read: Jessica Misener. She started questioning and hit a wall in church, so she walked away from Christianity as a whole. There is something there we can discover about how we need to talk to people.

Don’t say what you believe in such a way that it forces those who can’t agree with you to feel like they have to reject who Jesus said He was. We have literally put our faith and trust in a very real man, Jesus who lived on this earth and died for us.

BIBLE: Your primary calling is not to teach kids the Bible, but to lead them into a growing relationship with Jesus. God showed up. It gave the people a context for who God was.

Shift from Christianity is just a set of rules, doctrine, but is a relationship with God and others.

Say YES to tension that exists between content and context if you want to be relevant in your message.

Truth helps someone believe AND application helps someone win.
All scripture is equally inspired, but it is not equally important.
We have a job to figure out what are the most important pieces to share.
All scripture is not equally applicable for every stage of life. What are the pieces that a preschooler needs to hear? etc.
Look at what Jesus did… he stepped onto the planet so they could see, touch, hear who He is.
There is nothing about the Bible that is irrelevant, but we are the stewards to determine how and when to share it.

Understanding theology helps you teach what is true AND understanding reality helps you translate what is true. Don’t let your theology become more important than the people you are trying to get to know and build relationship with. People matter! You need to know your audience.

Orange Blog Rob CizekSESSION THREE CONTINUED

Speakers: Reggie Joiner @ReggieJoiner and Kristen Ivy @Kristen_Ivy

The reality is that so many of us work with kids and teens that have a changing reality and it’s different than yours.

Preschoolers are like artists: They blend reality and imagination. Most preschoolers have probably learned more since breakfast than you & I have learned in the last month. They are so smart.

Children are like scientists: They want to learn how things work, but they are concrete thinkers. They are very literal. Where does Jesus sleep in my heart? When they ask why… what they really mean is how? They want to master one idea at a time.

Teenagers are like philosophers: They want to put the pieces together, see how the stories fit together. They discover that things don’t fit together really easily… they come to us with challenging questions.

Paul when he went to the gentile world, knew how to leverage what they knew in terms of a world view.

A well-crafted statement can make truth memorable AND a well-reasoned question can make truth real.

Questions create space. It can be a little scary and intimidating at times, but it’s good.
It lets someone process their faith and personalize it.

Fear that I need to be in control and not let God be in control. God will have influence in their life long after we’re out of their life. Questions allow us to make our faith our own.

Questions: Make it their answer, make faith a journey, and make God bigger than just your understanding

Principles build Understanding AND Stories build hope.

PRINCIPLES:                                             STORIES:
Content                                                        Context
Idea                                                              History
God’s Thoughts                                          God’s Character
How to Live Life                                           How to Love Life
Reason                                                         Empathy
Discern                                                         Imagine
Wisdom                                                        Faith

Better presentations can amplify what matters AND deeper relationships can solidify what matters.

Too many times we neatly tie the bow and wrap up the presentation and we don’t leave a little tension for conversation in small group. Tension can create a SGL win.

What you say matters more when people know they really matter to you.

Fight harder for the church you’re in to give teens an opportunity to serve. Recruit leaders that will work with teens for an extended period of time. Get leaders that will be present in their life for a season in time beyond high school. Kids don’t run away from relationships.

Do we know what happens to kids after they leave our church? (Go to school) Are we building relationships that continue in life-long community?

When you decide your going to have history with them, it gives you a right to have future with them.

I will do for few what I can’t do for many. I will not let the ones I know become unknown to me.

Figure out how to stay engaged with them as the move into new stages of life. The 20-year-olds in your church probably need you as much now as they did when they were 10.

Engage with your small group at least through the first year of college.

What you do is the most important job on the planet. Thank you.

Orange Tour - Say Yes To The Next GenerationORANGE TOUR SESSION – PARTNERING WITH PARENTS

Speaker: Mike Clear

Be careful what you think about when you think about the parents of your few. That mom, dad, grandparent, foster parent, step parent has been with that child for a long time… they have seen more, loved more, hoped more, cried more with that child than you ever will. Regardless of their issues, every parent deep down inside wants to be a better parent.

The reality is they (the parents) have far more influence in the life of that child than you do. They drive that child around, they feed that child, they tuck them in at night. Who is in the better position to have far more influence on that child?

Let’s say YOU are an exceptional small group leader and you meet every possible week that you have and you make the most of it and you go beyond that and follow your few up through elementary school and you keep in touch with them through the years and maybe even get an invite to their wedding one day. But at your best, your influence in the life of your few is temporary whereas parents it’s lifelong.

For the sake of the few that we work with, we can try to figure out how exactly we can partner with their parents. How can we nurture an authentic daily faith in the life of your few?

Partner with Parents… Parents are looking for answers, they are constantly looking and processing how to be a better parent.

At Orange we believe every parent wants to be a better parent. Even when they complain and they discard all the paper work before they leave your ministry area. Parents just don’t realize or begin to fathom the impact that they have on the spiritual life of their child. Parents tend to avoid subjects that are hard or controversial, faith and spiritual stuff Every parent wants to do something more.

Whether or not they do something more in the life of their child spiritually, is really up to you the small group leader. Even if they go to a spiritual parenting class, they walk away highly motivated, but not highly equipped. As a small group leader you have the opportunity to paint a picture for them of what they can do and what it can look like for their child. Your belief influences your character and your character characterizes your belief.

6 Ways to Partner with Parents in Kids Ministry

There is always a variety of things you’ll need to try and some will stick and some won’t, it’s a constantly changing thing. They are not set in stone.

1. Make an Initial Connection:
If you are asking parents to partner with you and be a part of your strategy, you need to have some sort of initial connection with them. Using the drop-off and pick-up time typcially does not happen every Sunday, working perfectly.

Another option for you is to leverage social media: Text, Email, Facebook message…. tell them a little more about who you are as their child’s small group leader. We want to help them win as a parent. (Define your role as SGL and give them a little information about who you are).

Do a back to school night (don’t call it that)… drop-in night for about 45 minutes. They get to meet the leader, see some of the other parents and kids in the group, get the leader’s contact info. Get to see how the leader engages the child, the parent, the family. Invite parents to bring their kids into your elementary environment. Ask parents what they think you should know about their child…favorite color, hobbies, interests, allergies, etc. Ask them tell you a story about their child that you need to know. It shows them that you really care about their child.

2. Give Them Access to You:
Sometimes we fear giving away all our contact information, but by giving it to them it gives the parent a sense of peace. They may not go to you when they need someone, but they know they could. You could make a business card for your leaders

Small Group Leader noun
1. one consistent person in the life a child.
2. (Write what it is to your church…2 or 3 things total)
3. (Write what it is to your church…2 or 3 things total)
Back side of card has info about the Parent Cue, Parent Cue App, 252 Basics website
FB and Social Media: If you are an idiot on Facebook and social media, parents will see this and pay attention to this. If you want to partner with parents, don’t be an idiot.
Clean up your social footprint!

3. Leverage Technology to Cue Parents Regularly:
Get the Lead Small App. You can send a group text to all the parents of your group regularly, doesn’t have to be every week. Let them know what is going on in your ministry…what are you talking about in your small group. Give them a 40,000 foot view of what you’re talking about so they can continue the conversation at home.

What if we could set parents up and cue parents to start with a deeper question than just what did you learn about today? Don’t give them the whole lesson, just
give them a little. Example: So I heard you learned about Jonah today, what did you learn about him? Or what did you learn about being a good friend today

Let them know what is going on in your group. Let them know if their child had a little tension with another child today. Or let them know if you weren’t able to finish a conversation with the group. Let them know some information that will help them… give them some resources (not necessarily church written info or something you’ve written), but something that is relavent to pop culture like a parenting/stage blog.

4. Show Up Where Parents Show Up:
Show up at church. Give them a “hi”, a smile, an encouragement. If there is a special event, make a point to stop by and talk to them. Make events with small group
leaders and kids a priority. These events are done for a reason to connect parents and leaders in the church. When you put parents and small group leaders in the same room to connect, some powerful things happen.

Show up outside church. Never underestimate the power of physical mail (a postcard is an amazing thing). The great thing about a postcard is as a parent you can read before they do and they don’t even know you did. A birthday card, an occasional letter to the parent (just want you to know I’m praying for you, etc.) If you are going to show up physically, just give them a heads up first so it eliminates the awkward moment.

5. Help Parents Find an Answer:
Give them a resource. Recommend a book (Parenting Beyond your capacity, etc.), a devotional, a blog, etc.
Give them an ally. There will be a time when they ask a question you don’t know the answer to (don’t try to be an expert when you’re not in that area…just let
them know you don’t know, but I am here for you and I want to walk alongside you and help you find the answer/walk through this.
Give them a support group. Know what your church and the church down the street offer (CR, DivorceCare, etc.)

6. Say Something Positive:
We live in a culture, where there is a lot of negativity, a lot of things that are going bad or poorly…say something positive to them. Say something positive to parents about their kid. You don’t know the whole story of that kid, that parent, they may only hear negative things about their child. Give them something positive.

Also say something to kids about their parents. It’s a way to partner with parents when they don’t even know you’re doing it. Did you know that some kids struggle
with authority? There will be times when the kids unload everything to you about how bad things are at home or with their parent; look for ways to honor the parent and say something positive about them.

Say something positive to parents about them. Sometimes parents need to hear something positive about themselves, and sometimes it will be hard to do (to the
parent that seems disengaged, etc.) Getting to church is a win. Sometime the most positive thing you can say to the parent is thank you for being here today, for bringing your child, it was great to connect with them, to talk about xyz.

There will be times when it is complicated, messy, hard,…keep saying we’re here for you, we want to help you win, when the time comes that they need someone to talk to you, when a tragedy happens, they will come to you. Don’t give up on your few, please don’t give up on the parents.

—-

Thank you Cheryl Kneeland for sharing these excellent notes! Click here to follow her on Twitter.


 

Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian Church

Top 10 Leadership Quotes From The Orange Tour 2014

Here are the top leadership quotes and ministry quotes from this year’s Orange Tour. Each year the good folks at Orange tour several cities teaching leadership and family ministry. Our church hosts the Seattle stop. Here are highlights:

TOP LEADERSHIP QUOTES

Orange Tour#10. Being afraid isn’t failure, staying afraid is. – @JonAcuff

#9. Just because something is true doesn’t mean that it will be embraced. – @ReggieJoiner

#8. Sometimes you need to risk and sacrifice what you are currently doing for the sake of what could be. – @CNieuwhof

#7. Stop thinking like a teacher… act like a coach. – @ReggieJoiner

#6. When you raise bar, high capacity people show up. – @CNieuwhof

#5. Surround yourself with voices that value what is dynamic as much as what is core. – @ReggieJoiner

#4. You’ve got to do character on the front end, not the back end. – @CNieuwhof

#3. As a leader, you are driven by mission, but you succeed because of strategy. – @ReggieJoiner

#2. The scope of your influence is determined by the success of your leaders. – @ReggieJoiner

#1. People admire your strengths, but they resonate with your weaknesses. – @CNieuwhof

TOP 12 MINISTRY QUOTES

Orange Tour - Reggie Joiner#12. People aren’t looking for friendliness, they are looking for friends. – @ReggieJoiner

#11. Trust leads to stronger faith, but doubt can also lead to stronger faith. – @ReggieJoiner

#10. Jesus never started with theology. He started with ministry. Where you start with someone is important. – @CNieuwhof

#9. God is not surprised or disappointed by the size of your ministry. – @JonAcuff

#8. If you never let your kids process their own doubts, they’ll never own their own faith. – @ReggieJoiner

#7. Don’t make the things in the world the enemy. – @ReggieJoiner

#6. Maturity takes time… we have to be willing to give people time. @CNieuwhof

#5. The greatest apologetic is a transformed life, not a full mind. – @ReggieJoiner

#4. One day when parents and kids think about your church, YOU will be what they remember. – @CNieuwhof

#3. The production at your churches doesn’t change lives. Relationships do. – @CNieuwhof

#2. You should invest in insiders. You should prioritize for outsiders. – @ReggieJoiner

#1. In the future, dialog will trump monolog.- @CNieuwhof

BONUS QUOTES

Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian ChurchThe church should be the safest place to ask questions. – @ReggieJoiner

As leaders, our mission is to influence those who influence the next generation. – @ReggieJoiner

If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. What are you aiming at? – @JimWideman

When you start with a self-depreciating story as a leader, it works… because they all can relate to you. – @CNieuwhof

Kids may be leaving the church because there it is not a safe place to ask their tough questions. – @CNieuwhof

Tension doesn’t make a truth less true, it makes it more real. – @ReggieJoiner

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. – @ReggieJoiner

Sometimes a truth can lose clarity when it’s divorced from the reality of the other truths that amplify it. – @ReggieJoiner

When there’s tension, there’s opportunity. Tension creates a platform for conversation. – @ReggieJoiner

“You can’t tell kids to be the church one day if you haven’t given them the opportunity to be the church now.” – @ReggieJoiner

Kids will not believe they are signficant until you give them something significant to do. – @ReggieJoiner

You should enjoy going to church. We should create church as a place people want to be. – @ReggieJoiner

You may become a Christian in a moment, but it takes forever to figure out what that means. – @ReggieJoiner

Working with children is like planting an orchard. You might not see results until years later. – @ReggieJoiner

What God has given me is what I need to say yes to. – @JonAcuff

You will never be able to out-produce what’s available in culture. Culture can’t out-“community” your church. – @ReggieJoiner

Beliefs matter. Start wrestling with doctrine & principles & ask hard questions-it’s important! – @ReggieJoiner

What do you need to do differently today… to reach the people you want to reach tomorrow? – @CNieuwhof

Orange Blog Rob CizekCONFERENCE NOTES

Tweet From Elle Campbell: For more notes from @ellllllllllle and @kennnnnnnnny on creating a safe space for students, visit http://ellecampbell.org/orangetour

Tweet from Jim Wideman: #Orangetour Seattle here are my notes and worker app enjoy http://ow.ly/BIe80

The Orange Tour stops in cities around the country each fall. I find it a great resource for our children’s ministry, student ministry, family ministry and senior leadership teams. Click here for more information.

 


 

Orange Tour - Seattle Northshore Christian Church

 

Main Session Notes From The Orange Conference #OC14

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!

 

Orange ConferenceBrooklyn Lindsey – Say YES to being uncomfortable.

Chaos is our love language (in middle school ministry).

Luke 11:46

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.

Romans 1:20

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.

Matthew 18:18

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.

—-

SESSION #4

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.

Acts 17:22-23

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.

#FORGWINETT

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.

Galatians 2:20

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?

Acts 4:29

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 —

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Pre-conference Session #1

Orange ConferenceStephen “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.

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PRE-CONFERENCE SESSION #4

FX Interactive with Adam Duckworth in Fort Launderdale:
@adam_duckworth

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.

FX Priorities:

> 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

Say This:

> 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

Hurtful:

> 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.

Daniel 12:3

Say YES to be the first responder and being helped by the first responders.

—-

HELPFUL LINKS:

Orange Conference 2014 Notes – From Nick Blevins

#OC14 Orange Conference Notes – From Jim Wideman

Orange Conference 2014 Notes – From Brian Dodd

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This information was presented at the national Orange Conference #OC14. Click here for more information on Orange.

Orange Conference 2014


 

 

Key Takeaways From The Orange Tour

Some of today’s best leadership thinking comes from a group called Orange. They are primarily known for working with children’s and student ministries, but Orange thinking is easily transposed for leaders in any kind of organization.

Orange tours the country. I highly recommend taking your church’s children’s, student and small group teams to see the Orange Tour. Check here to see cities and dates.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – ORANGE TOUR 2013-14

Orange Tour SignOur church had the honor of hosting the Seattle tour stop. Here are some key takeaways from what they presented.

Lead small: We have gone too far buying-in to “bigger is better” (more friends in real life and in social media). Our greatest influence happens when we invite a small number of people around us and focus our energies on them. What we do for a few will always have more potential than what we do for many. Regular availability to a small number of people creates trust, the building block of relationships. We provide healthy influence to our small group of people, who in turn model and pass those healthy influences to the people around them.

Time matters: It’s wise to consider the ramifications of time. Calculate how much time you have left (with your kids, in your job or with your life). This makes you more serious about the time you have left and encourages you to find ways to use time better. It helps you properly prioritize. There is additional benefit to healthy behaviors done consistently over time.

Detailed notes on these conference themes can be found below.

ORANGE TOUR NOTES

Lead Small – Main Session – Mike Clear

Mike Clear - Orange TourOver half our kids walk away from faith in college because they have a weak faith. . . one that is not tested and not ready for the real world. It’s not just that they encounter professors or other students who challenge their faith. This is our challenge. A small group leader growing an authentic faith in the student is the answer.

Lead small. We get too infatuated with “big”. We like having hundreds of Facebook friends or followers on Twitter.

What if big things are actually accomplished by doing things small?  What you do for a FEW will always have more potential than what you do for MANY.

If you are a small group leader, it’s just as important that you know what you ARE NOT as it is that you know what you ARE.

When you lead small you choose to be present. Being present connects people to authentic faith.

1. Show up predictably. You can’t gain trust without it.

2. Show up mentally. Get off phone and text. Be engaged with people face to face.

3. Show up randomly. Surprise people from time to time by showing up randomly in their life. Never underestimate the value of a phone call, text or birthday card.

Create a safe place. Clarify people’s faith as they grow.

1. Lead the group. Let them know that what we talk about in here is safe . . . it’s confidential. Manage the tensions, don’t solve the problems. Show them love.

2. Respect the process. Your group is made up of different people at different levels of belief. Your job is not to change your group members. There is nothing we can do to change them. Love them (don’t change them).  The bible doesn’t say change your neighbor as yourself.

3. Guard the heart. Set up boundaries and policies that help you lead the small group time. It protects the leader.

Partner with parents. This is how you nurture everyday faith.

1. Cue the parent. Say to them, “Here are a few of the things were talking about this month.”

2. Honor the parent.

3. Reinforce the family. Family time is important time, protect it (humorously extreme example: no group sleepover on Christmas Eve.) Don’t have “the talk” (about any subject the parents should appropriately have) with kids before the parents do.

Make it personal. You inspire their faith by your example.

1. Live in community. What you do for your few, you also need to do for yourself. You need to be in community, too.

2. Set priorities. Let them see that your time with your spouse is important to you. Set priorities. Be authentic. Be who you are.

3. Be real. You don’t have to be cool to influence kids and students. Kids aren’t looking for coolness; they want people to show up in their lives.

Move them out.

1. Move them to someone else – the next small group leader.

2. Move them to BE the church. Be the church of tomorrow, not today. Let them have responsibilities.

3. Move them to what’s next. Set up good transitions between elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college. Give them lots of information that will help them transition well.

Your people are not problems to be solved; they are your people to be loved. Give them a place to belong and someone who believes in them.

 

TIME MATTERS – MAIN SESSION – REGGIE JOINER AND JEFF HENDERSON

Reggie Joiner Teaching1. Time matters. When you see how much time you have left, you tend to get serious about the time you have now. Wisdom is connected to knowing how many days you have left. This is a biblical principle.

2. When you see how much time you have left, you tend to make what matters matter more.

3. When you see how much time you have left, you tend to value what happens over time.

What you do this week matters. At the same time, you can’t do it all in a week. There is something special about the collective momentum when you are there every week. (This is why long term leaders have a different kind of influence). You make history when you consistently repeat your presence in people’s lives.

Words have power. Words over time can change the direction of someone’s life.

Words over time create an influence direction. The words you say can ultimately impact someone’s direction and destiny.

Words over time = direction. This includes positive and negative words.

Encouragement. Each of us has a ratio of words of encouragement to words of criticism. The average person experiences one word of encouragement for every seven words of criticism. This explains why there are so many dysfunctional workplaces, poor marriages, insecure children, and poor churches.

We can change this ratio.

He who refreshes will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

If we will breathe refreshment into others, we will be refreshed. Encourage people more than criticize them.

We live in a world where people are suffocating from self-doubt. As a church, no one is better positioned to help with this.

Every man wonders: Do I have the right stuff to be a leader? Ladies, don’t underestimate the value positive words can have on your husband.

Ladies ask: Do they notice me? Do they think I’m pretty? Men, tell your daughters and wives how beautiful they are (over and over and over and over again).

We get it right at funerals. We say all positive things about a person and nothing negative. Don’t wait until the day of the funeral to gives words of roses.

Ask your employees/volunteers “How are you doing?” at least twice as much as “What are you doing?” This will give you permission to speak positive things into them.

Are you a feared leader or a followed leader? In the business world the feared leader has been respected for years. This is a joke.

A followed leader knows how their staff is doing.

Write three thank you notes a day. Send it by snail mail. Use these lines to start a thank you note: I remember when . . . (you started you were nervous, look at you now) . . . I have noticed . . . I hope you know . . . I’m really glad . . . I’ve been thinking . . .

Write a note of encouragement to your kids/wife every week.

Many people don’t feel good enough about themselves to let you feel good about yourself. You have to go first when encouraging people. Replenish others and you will be replenished.

You can encourage someone so many times that when you are gone your voice is still in their head.

 

REVISITING THE IDEA OF LOVE – REGGIE JOINER – MAIN SESSION

Reggie Joiner Orange TourWhat do you want someone to BECOME? You can begin teaching with that end in mind.

If the kids who grow up in your ministry get baptized but don’t get the concept of love, they won’t have anything more than religion. Sometimes we, as leaders, don’t think through this lens.

Love has been talked about so much that it has lost its zing. Love really is the one thing that matters most.

Your theology without love is religion.

Your teaching must connect back to a love relationship with the Father.

Kids don’t walk away from relationships. They walk away from religion (religion is teaching without love).

It’s sad that some of the harshest critics are those who claim to know Jesus.

Do you think you would have liked hanging out with the Pharisees? Today kids feel judged and guilty. Kids think things like, “The church discriminated against my friends.” Some see the church as being run by a bunch of Pharisees. But when love is in the mix it changes everything.

Are you operating out of love or as a Pharisee? Do you teach kids the bible or teach the bible to kids? If I have a relationship with you, I will take an interest in making sure you understand the meaning of the bible.

Do you fight to win an argument or do you fight to win a heart? You can win an argument and lose the heart.

Since when has God called us not to be messy? Jesus was so engaged in humanity that it caused the Pharisees to have a crisis. If you look at how God changes, it’s by love.

If we don’t talk about love enough it discredits the truth. People don’t believe because we don’t care. If Jesus maximized it (love) and you minimize it, you are probably wrong.

Jesus answered the question, “What do I want kids to become?” with the great commandment.

God proved to us that He loves us through time. He proved it over and over and over again. People kept messing up and God keeps trying to redeem us. God created time as a platform so his consistency and predictability proves that He loves us. You prove to a kid you love them over time.

Love over time equals worth. When you love a kid over time you instill in them a sense of worth and of value.

The way you love kids while they’re kids can dramatically affect their future.

Orange Tour - Parking Lot GuyYou may be the best chance a kid has at knowing they are valuable to God. The best way for kids to know they are loved by God, is for them to be loved by someone who loves God.

Maybe the best way for kids to learn how to love God is for them to learn how to love the people who God loves.

This is the reason why love over time is so important. God says, “I am going to demonstrate who I am through the people I created in my image.”

Tribes. The power of organizing your ministry around relationships.

Tribes matter. They give everyone a sense of belonging.

There are TWO TRIBES that are strategically positioned to help kids know they belong: the family and the Church.

If kids or teenagers only show up one time, experience one environment, or participate in one activity every week in your church where would you tell them to go? Many churches say it’s in a small group. Make sure your church answers this question seriously. If your church is about small groups, make sure it is happening. All age groups should be experiencing relationship like this. Does your church act like relational small groups are important?

Answering these questions changes how you do programming (programming should be a step to get people into small groups).

Should I stop doing something so other things can work better?  We have got to prune some branches (even non-dead branches) so the strength can go to the important areas.

Create a stop doing list.

You will never have to work as a team at getting misaligned. (You have to work on being aligned).

Small groups change how you recruit volunteers.

Small groups change the way you see teenagers. Put them in small groups together and have them lead a group.

Small groups change how you create environments. What happens in the small group after the sermon is more important than the sermon.

Small groups change how you partner with families. Other adult voices becoming increasingly important to kids as they grow up . . . the church can provide those voices through small groups.

Remember it’s harder, not easier to create a small group culture. It will always be messy (because you are inviting leaders to be in relationship with kids.)

Some will probably get mad. Anytime you change something someone is going to get mad.

Changing to a small group culture will take you longer than you think. You will never be done. It will be worth it.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE FUN – REGGIE JOINER – FINAL MAIN SESSION

It’s ok to have fun with kids, just for fun.

The joy level measures how strong your home and church is.

There is a spiritual issue at a church where there isn’t fun and celebration. Maybe it’s a sin not to have fun.

When you have fun over time something unique happens. Fun over time = connection.

Orange Tour FunFun over time convinces kids you actually like them; it is one of the first steps in showing you love them.

When they know you like them they will better listen to what you have to say. Having fun connects what has been disconnected. Don’t underestimate the power for fun.

We Christians have a rap for not having fun.

Fun fosters resilience.

Kids will encounter a degree of pain (divorce, break up, etc.). A merry heart does good like a medicine. There is a healing quality when around people who love life.

Fun authenticates forgiveness. Have you ever had fun with someone you haven’t forgiven? If you say you have forgiven me and you still won’t hang out, I think you haven’t forgiven me.

Fun over time makes friendship grow deeper.

What you do every week in a kid or student’s life will matter more than you think it does. You can’t see the spiritual growth in a seven year old . . . because it’s spiritual. You can’t predict which moments are going to be big moments. You can’t measure progress because it’s gradual.

Marble Jar - Orange Tour

Each marble in the jar represents one week remaining with your kids until they leave home. When the jar is empty, your kids are gone.

If you start imagining the future of a child, you will start investing more in them now.

What you do every week in a kid’s life now will matter more than what you do (for them) as adults. The earlier you begin making investments, the more return you will have (like compounding interest over time).

Your greatest work, your most important investment, should be in kids and teenagers.

What you do every week in a student’s life will keep your church from dying. Creating environments for kids will force you to learn, as a church, and keep you up to date.

It matters because it will last longer than you will. You are going to die, sooner than you want to. You will be forgotten. You are only about 100-200 years away from being forgotten.

Time over time leaves a legacy. You aren’t trying to make a name for yourself. You are trying to give kids a relationship with God. Let the next generation know that God loves them and they will pass that on to future generations.

You will only be remembered by those who are with you now.

One day your kids will be packing their bags to leave home. What things do you want to be in those bags? Put them in while you can. Don’t underestimate the power of the weeks you have.

 

RE-IMAGINING CHURCH – REGGIE JOINER AND JEFF HENDERSON – BREAKOUT

Jeff Henderson & Reggie JoinerThe two ways you improve yourself are the books you read and the people you interact with.

Create an annual reading list for yourself.

Create a personal advisory board for yourself.

Read all kinds of books from all kinds of areas, including non-Christian books. All truth is God’s truth.

Don’t let the church outgrow you.

Only compare yourself to your own potential.
What we do is important. We must improve ourselves to lead. Learn and grow (the other guys are).

Humor shrinks the gap and draws us closer. Thoughtful audio interview on this: Jerry Seinfeld on Comedy.

The average person thinks a sermon should be 24 minutes. They would rather do yard work than listen to a sermon. (It’s worth the work to do an engaging, short sermon.)

Tip: Practice your sermon or presentation out loud. Video record it on your iPhone and watch yourself give the talk BEFORE you present it in public. This isn’t fun, but it will improve your presentation dramatically. I have preached some really bad sermons in front of nobody (only my iPhone).

Our crowds can tell when we are prepared and when we are not.

If we were to go out of business, would the community even know?

Many people know what the church is against but not what it’s for.

We worry that if we embrace it, the messiness of culture will hurt us. It’s better to have a conversation than to make a statement.

The children will decide what they think of your church based on how you treat their parents.

We will sabotage the discipleship of a generation if we don’t give young people a chance to serve.

You aren’t discipled by sermons, you are discipled by doing ministry. The younger generation wants to serve. Re-imagine your church using teens to serve.

If a teen has 3-5 adult Christian’s active in their life, they will be 10 times more likely to keep their faith.

 

SMALL GROUP BLUNDERS – KRISTEN IVY – BREAKOUT GROUP

Northshore Christian Church - Orange TourThe most important things when leading a small group are to be present regularly and to create a safe place. Ten mistakes leaders make:

Mistake #1. Lead every kid the way you’d want to be led. THEY AREN’T ALL LIKE YOU. They don’t like the same things you do. Give them permission to not be like us. Preschoolers think you are amazing and will imitate you. Middle/High don’t idolize you like that, but you can have a lot of influence. Give them permission to connect to God in their own way. God has wired us as unique and we relate to God differently. The Naturalist sees God through nature. Some people like rituals and symbols and traditions. Some feel that activities draw them near to God and they love to serve. The Enthusiast . . . they love worship. The Intellectuals like to ask the deep questions. The way that you connect with God is okay . . . same with others. This doesn’t minimize what you do as a leader. Be comfortable with who you are and give them permission to be different.

Mistake #2. Create a group you would want to attend – right now. YOU AREN’T THEIR AGE. Be aware of where they are developmentally. Preschoolers . . . if it is not happening in this present moment it is not real. They can’t relate to something last week or something a week from now. Elementary school students ask questions and want the right answer. They are in “concrete” mode. 5th grade and higher students are into more abstract thinking. They ask questions just to throw it out there (testing the waters). When you take care of preschoolers physical needs you are teaching them that they can trust The Lord. It’s spiritual. Children want adult approval, then peer approval. Affirm them. Peer to peer comparisons are important to them. They are concerned about how they look in comparison to someone else. Be sensitive to where they are emotionally. Where they are at emotionally this week is not where they are next week. Every week become a student of where they are emotionally. Be open to where they are spiritually. They are on a journey. It’s okay that they don’t lead or accept Jesus or become a missionary. It’s okay if they don’t get there. You are together for a season. God will use this and the future leaders to form students. Celebrate the growth steps they take. They are on a long journey. Whatever you are doing in their life now is okay

Mistake #3. Lead the group as if they are all alike. THEY AREN’T ALL LIKE EACH OTHER. Find what they have in common. Don’t be too fast to throw out what they have in common. Desperate people can have a lot of people in common. Be interested in what makes them different (we are all parts of one body).

Mistake #4. Always give an answer. YOUR EXPERTISE IS IRRELEVANT. You shouldn’t always be the expert that you are. Encourage them. Have them answer their own questions. Recognize that some questions don’t have answers. It’s completely fair to ask why your dad died. You can say that you don’t have the answer . . . but I can tell you that God is good. God is going to see you through this. You can still trust him despite this. We are still going to be the body of Christ and support you through it. When you respect the process you ask more questions than you answer. Invite them into a relationship with a God that is bigger than your own understanding.

Mistake #5. Have a personal agenda. THEIR WORTH OUTWEIGHS YOUR AGENDA. Love them through their mistakes. The church is critical because it gives kids adults that will forgive them. Love them through their mistakes. Point them to the truths they need. Speak the truth in love. Trust that God will move in their life regardless of the sin or of their circumstance.

Mistake #6. Let them lead. KIDS ARE STILL KIDS. If you let them lead completely you will end up with chaos. Guide the conversation. Sit next to the talker and sit across from the one who never speaks. You can then put your hand on the talker’s knee and stop them while drawing out the person across the circle. Provide structure and purpose.

Mistake #7. Never chase a rabbit. YOU CAN GO OFF SCRIPT.

Mistake #8. Be really popular. THEY AREN’T YOUR SOURCE OF SECURITY

Mistake #9. Never interrupt them. YOUR GROUP IS PUBLIC. What is said in group will get repeated out of group . . . even if you say it is a safe place.

Mistake #10. Fix the mistakes the speaker made. THEIR ATTENTION IS LIMITED. Give them a chance to process what the speaker said. Don’t waste time fixing.

 

REFINING ENVIRONMENTS – MIKE CLEAR – BREAKOUT
Notes by Cheryl Kneeland, @CherylKneeland on Twitter

“We can create weekly environments where kids can trust in God’s character and live out God’s story.”

Prelude – Setting the tone for the experience.
> “It’s about controlling the things that we can control.”
> How does it look? Is it clean/not clean? Sound? Feel?
> Think about it through fresh eyes.
> “Your environment will start to tell your story before you even start to tell your story.”
> Social- Providing time for fun & interaction.
> Great opportunity for small group leaders to connect with their few.
> Who is welcoming the kids?

> Engage the kids, connect them to their small group leader right away.
> Create the tension, the interaction.

Transitions-Moving smoothly from one thing to another.
> “Variety can be distracting if we haven’t spent the time to make sure we transition and take them on a journey.”
> Engaging Media- Music, Video, Countdown
> Strategic Leaders
> Host – Helps with transitions. Get the group hyped up, excited, be strategic to go into storyteller’s time to tell the story, and announcements.
> Needs to be someone who is lively, engaging, and not afraid of the microphone, the right personality.
> Carefully crafted words – Be strategic.

Stories over time give us Perspective.
> Story – Communicate God’s truth in engaging ways.
> Stories help us SEE
> Stories make us CARE
> Stories give us HOPE
> We have the greatest story ever told; our story is true.
> We need to communicate the story to the kids in an engaging way.
> Capture their imagination.
> Learn how to become master storytellers.
> “The worst thing you could do as a leader is to make the Bible boring and irrelevant.”
> What did it help a kid see?
> How did it help a kid care?
> How did it give a kid hope?
> How will you retell the story so a kid will remember it?

Worship – Helps the kids see what’s true about God.
> Worship lets kids see other adults respond to God.
> They need to see YOU worshipping.
> One of the most powerful things you can do as a small group leader is to be right there with them, worshipping.
> Group – Creating a safe place to connect.
> You can’t have a video small group leader.

 

FAMILY MINISTRY – MIKE CLEAR – BREAKOUT
Notes by Cheryl Kneeland, @CherylKneeland on Twitter

•    The whole idea of Family Ministry is getting the people in charge of each area in the same room, on the same page. Strategy.
•    If everyone has their own strategy, it can become confusing.
•    Ask yourself . . . What is our strategy? What do we want to focus on?
•    Get together to talk about the message, the curriculum.
•    Make sure you have a comprehensive plan to go from cradle to college.
•    Refine the message, what do we want to elevate?
•    Jesus told us the greatest commandment.
•    Elevate your message/strategy.
•    Be careful that you don’t spend so much time on talking about and writing curriculum that you forget about the environment and the people.
•    Partnering with parents will look different in each ministry area – preschool, student ministries, etc.
•    Tell each other wins/stories; what’s going on in each area. How can we help each other (in terms of Family Ministry)?
•    The first step is meeting regularly with your team. Weekly is best if you can, or bi-weekly.
•    Integration with big church (How do you lead up?)

 

CUEING PARENTS – MIKE CLEAR – BREAKOUT
Notes by Trevor Lee, @TrevorMcLee on Twitter

Orange Tour FunMost parents don’t want more information, they want better information.
Sometimes we push too much on our parents . . . focus on equipping parents with resources that align with your strategy. Most parents don’t want more activity; they want their activity to matter more. Smart parents don’t want more to do, they want to do a few things better.

3 Key Influences for Parents
– Someone who can inspire (family pastor, lead pastor, etc.)
– Someone who knows their kid (small group leader)
– Someone who is in their life (support parents)
How can you cue parents?
– Use social media (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc)
– Implement a strategic curriculum (leverage your strategy)
– Create family experiences
– Host an open house
– Do a family sermon series
– Schedule a family vision Sunday
Develop a SEASONAL plan.
– Fall season (back to school . . . cast vision, host an open house, etc.)
– Winter season (family experience, parenting group studies, etc.)
– Summer season (more family experiences, VBS, etc.)
Develop a WEEKLY plan.
– Sunday (give out physical resources)
– Monday-Saturday (use digital resources, encouragements & reminders)
What do you cue parents?
– Cue them to know what’s most important
– Cue them to known what is happening
– Cue them to know what they can do this week

 

A PERSONAL WORD ABOUT ORANGE

Orange umbrellas.Very few times in life do you come across an organization that you feel just “right” about. You know the kind . . . they’re well run, they have impact and you look forward to your association with them. But what really makes an organization special is what’s behind. There’s a special odor that permeates the organization’s people and the projects. For me, Orange is one of those rare and very special organizations.

Reggie Joiner and his team are leaders of leaders. They lead with infectious passion, intelligence and authenticity. It would have been easy for the Orange folks to simply keep to themselves. . . running a very successful mega-church ministry to children. Instead they created a mechanism to share what they’ve learned with the Kingdom.

The Orange team travels much of the year. They endure travel hassles and time away from their families. They do it only because they are sold out to God and to doing their part to strengthen churches. And in the end they will. Their legacy will be handed down by the children they influence. We will all be the richer for it.

Marbles

Has Orange had an influence in your life? Leave your story below.

A special thank you to Cheryl Kneeland and Trevor Lee for sharing their breakout session notes with me.


 

 

Top 10 Orange Conference Quotes

Orange Blog Rob CizekEach year thousands of children’s and student ministers gather in Atlanta for the Orange Conference. Orange is the idea that parents and the church work in partnership with each other to develop kids spiritually.

Below you will find top quotes from this year’s conference (as seen in the #OC13 Twitter feed). Pay special attention to the resource section, where you will find Orange Conference notes:

TOP 10 ORANGE CONFERENCE QUOTES

10. @cnieuwhof: “When you see the time you have left you value the time you have now.” @reggiejoiner

9. @mattmckee: “Don’t hold each other accountable. Hold each other close.” – @bobgoff

8. @amochrie: “Look how they love one another, is more powerful than “look how right they are

7. @gina_mcclain: U don’t have 2 make everyone else’s problem your problem. @DougFields

6. @sarahinman: “Let kids create their own faith, not inherit it.” @JonAcuff

5. @iamkylenelson: If God has called you into ministry, he has also called you into facing obstacles – Jeanne Stevens

4. @toddclark: Loving your family is the greatest sermon you will ever preach. – @jimwideman

3. @ninaschmidgall: “Laughter fast forwards friendships.” – @JonAcuff

2. @mattmckee: “Busyness is the enemy of the abundant life and hurry is the enemy of rest.” – @DougFields

1. @katiehlnstnr: The foundation of our faith is an event in HISTORY, not a story from a storybook. @AndyStanley

RESOURCES SHARED ON TWITTER DURING THE ORANGE CONFERENCE

@nickblevins: Orange Conference: Session 1 Notes http://t.co/JoCjQvkXVT

@nickblevins: Orange Conference: Session 7 Notes http://t.co/mqTbhulPs0

@cnieuwhof: Speaking notes for my talk “Gaining Ground: Leading Change Amidst Opposition”from #oc13: http://t.co/qfVtyuWlmb

@tapounder: My notes from the “Clarifying the Win” Session at #oc13 http://t.co/jqSZg7w9W1

@BrianKDodd: 47 Leadership Lessons On Social Media From @JonAcuff – Notes From The Orange Conference ’13 http://t.co/bubJqYhBNN

@jimwideman: Going over my notes for #OC13 do you want them? Download here http://t.co/nOat2kcpE0

@CraigJutila: Download The Notes for “5 Reasons Why People Won’t Volunteer For You.” http://t.co/DfmLOUGnXf

@BrianKDodd: 41 Leadership Quotes From @AndyStanley – Live Notes From Orange Conference ’13 http://t.co/cQVR1wuFjO

@erinhanson2000: How many weeks do you have left to influence your kids and leave your legacy?  Download Countdown app

@trevormclee: Follow These Blogs During Orange 2013 – http://t.co/psRyJe8Piy

@Brent_Dumler: If you aren’t yet, you need to be reading this blog. http://t.co/VRoQaJYtr9 @cnieuwhof http://t.co/fXCTbel0Bo

@cnieuwhof: For your team at #OC13 or #exponential: how to avoid 5 conference traps almost every team falls into: http://t.co/ooHBfPyo86

@KidMin360: 7 Great Books For Parents http://t.co/YmtX87BzDo

@RichardsonJohnD: Free for all #OC13 participants – Parent Shift: How to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children. http://t.co/vWyRPBu86g

@BrentMcQuay: Shoot Christians Say. Greatest video ever  http://t.co/ZxqsTr86un

@NorthshoreCC: Northwest & BC churches-The Orange Tour is in Seattle  9/16-17! @ReggieJoiner & @OrangeLeaders are at @NorthshoreCC: http://www.whatisorange.org/orangeleaders/blog/?p=7519

MORE TOP QUOTES FROM THE ORANGE CONFERENCE

@mattmckee: “Kids don’t care about your ability. They care about your availability.” – @PerryNoble

@michael_bayne: Same actions lead to same results. – @jimwideman

@yancynotnancy: Your brain was wired to connect with stories. Jesus taught with stories. @reggiejoiner

@SecondChairLead: God deals with us over-time. He pursues us over-time, loves us over-time, provides over-time. @reggiejoiner

@angelaBedwards: What you do this week matters. What you do for a kid matters. Time matters.

@pastorpdub: Please cherish the time you have with your children because it will not be like this for long!

@ajasonhart: When we love kids over time we give them a sense of worth. @reggiejoiner

@mattmckee: “One kind act is better than 1000 good intentions.” – @ninaschmidgall

@hekirtle: The moment you prioritize the approach over the goal, you’re out of business. – @AndyStanley

@radicalparents: “This culture uses humor as a vehicle for truth.” @jonacuff

@Barbaragraves: You were created to have fun! – @ReggieJoiner

@jeffbrodie: Until you are having fun with a child, they are not sure you like them. @reggiejoiner

@WilliamAttaway: Eliminate all competing programming to the main strategy – do less to accomplish more.

Orange has excellent resources and conferences. We use Orange at our church and I highly recommend it. More information on Orange: http://www.whatisorange.org/