Archive for April, 2008

Orange Overload!

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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I’m wiped. Really, totally wiped.

It’s 12:45 AM and I’m pooped. I still need to blog two breakouts and another session… but I don’t have it in me. Tomorrow I’m attending the Orange facebook party. Should be fun. Hoping to network and meet some people I couldn’t in the crowd of 4500.

Tomorrow I’m heading out to Jackson, MS (my journey to Austin, TX). So, while I’m taking a break and my wife is driving, I’ll blog the rest of the Orange conference and hopefully post it by the end of the day. You never know what kind of Internet access you’ll get while on the road.

BTW, did I say that Orange was awesome?… Read the rest

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Orange 2008: Session Four

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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Session four was a discussion/interview with Andy Stanley. Not sure if it’s just me, but it seemed like it wasn’t planned… almost like Andy was a fill-in. I only say this because this was the only session that there wasn’t a speaker who delivered a message. In addition, it ended about 30 minutes early.

Don’t get me wrong… it was awesome though. I think anytime you can get Andy Stanley and Reggie Joiner to engage in a conversation, we should take notes!

Andy spoke about how they attract people to North Point. Basically he said it boils down to this: “If you create irresistible environments, people will come.”

Andy then went on to talk about the process of discipleship at North Point. Here is how it happens:

  • Practical Teaching
  • Providential Relationships
  • Private Disciplines
  • Pivotal Circumstances
  • Personal Ministry

Basically they would hit these things over and over again by different methods.

Andy also took some time to talk about the idea of choosing to cheat. He talked about how they created an atmosphere where family was valued. He explained that “there are hundreds of people who can do your job, but you kids only have one dad… and your wife (or husband) only has one spouse.”… Read the rest

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Reggie Joiner… I apologize.

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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Okay, probably one of the most embarrassing things happened tonight. I’ve been hanging out at Orange with an old friend… a youth pastor I served with several years ago. Like many youth pastors, he’s a little crazy and not afraid to make a little noise.

Well, for the first two sessions we sat up high and in the back. For the third session I sat with my youth pastor friend and some others in the front on the far left-hand side of the stage. So, were were pretty close to those on the stage. They were good seats.

Well, Reggie was making some general announcements and then he threw a t-shirt out to the crowd directly in front of him. At that very moment, the YP friend sitting right next to me yelled as loud as he could “Hey Reggie!” He was trying to get his attention to get a freebie thrown in his direction. Since we were so close, he heard, turned to us and said “Yes?” I don’t think he immediately understood. At that moment, the band started playing the old batman theme. Reggie turned around to the band and signaled for them to stop… it wasn’t time for that.

Yeah. My friend yelling at Reggie and him responding confused the band into thinking it was their signal to start the song for a segment that wasn’t supposed to happen for another 10 minutes or so. I think I turned 10 shades of red and shrunk down in my seat.

So, on behalf of my friend, I’m so sorry. Next time my friend has a urge to yell at the person on stage, I’ll knock him in the back of the head!… Read the rest

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Orange Meet-ups (continued)

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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I had so much fun connecting with people today. I was actually having so much fun, I ended up skipping one of the breakouts. Actually, it was because the restaurant was slow, but the company was really fun.

The Kidology folks organized a lunch gathering. I feel really bad as I didn’t get everyone’s name. I brought two people with me (a children’s pastor friend and a youth pastor friend). I sat right next to Alan and talked with him quite a bit. Rob Bradbury was there along with Jim Wideman. It was a blast meeting with everyone and chatting away. I hadn’t met Rob yet and he’s such a great and funny guy. He had a great story about a giant “employee of the month” badge and the CPC several years ago. If you bump into him, be sure to ask him about it.

Later tonight I was stopping by the Hampton Inn to drop off some friends when I ran into Andrew Weiler and Michael Haun of The Big Deal. They came in and just started talking to us and we had a blast. They are two really great guys. Be sure to visit their sites and check out what they are doing. I’m going to blog more about them and their ministry in a few days.

Well, I wonder who I’m going to meet tomorrow???… Read the rest

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Orange 2008: Session Three

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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Donald Miller spoke to us tonight about leadership. It was a very interesting talk. He had a very interesting, dry humor… the type that people would laugh at several seconds after he made the remark when people figured out what he meant.

He spoke about leadership as someone who did not consider himself a leader… but a follower. So, he unpacked his thoughts on leadership by talking about the people he follows.

He referenced the definition of leadership as being influence… but he didn’t quite agree with that. Jesus influenced many, but he led 12.

He defined a leader as someone who wants to get to know me well enough that I want to take ownership of their vision.

  • A leader gets to know people
  • A leader invites people into their vision
  • A leader is always getting people involved in the process
  • Great leaders are following other leaders

He talked about how a leader speaks something into the void… he speaks something into existence.

Sorry I don’t have more notes on this session. Donald was more of a story teller crafting his talk in a very entertaining and intriguing way.… Read the rest

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Orange 2008: Rethinking Children’s Ministry

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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I’ve really been looking forward to this breakout. It was a panel discussion of Children’s Ministry by Sue Miller, Jim Wideman, Craig Jutila and Norv Brown. What an incredible opportunity, huh?

I tell you, each person added so much. I do feel though that if anyone could spend a day with Jim Wideman and Craig Jutila, shut up and just listen, you’d advance many years in ministry in just that one day!!!

Here are some main things that were said that impacted me:

  • Things are caught, not taught (Craig in reference to the importance of leaders who model faith to the kids)
  • Buy curriculum, you can’t buy leadership (Craig in reference to CP’s who love spending time writing their own curriculum at the expense of developing leaders)
  • Work on your Children’s Ministry, not in your Children’s Ministry! Stop subbing! You’re robbing when you do this.
  • Build depth to your volunteer teams. Develop your second string.

The panel discussed what was the most difficult thing you encountered in ministry.

Craig spoke very candidly about his departure from Saddleback. He spoke about how he had allowed ministry to become more important than his wife and family. He spoke about how he almost lost them… how he almost crossed lines that he couldn’t take back. If asked if he would do it the same way again he said, “NO WAY.” He said he’d go much slower, be less driven and lead more with compassion.

Sue then shared her most difficult thing and silenced the room. You could have heard a pin drop. She shared how difficult it is to be a woman in leadership. She told of the times she questioned why God put her as a leader in a female body. She shared how she felt she had to work twice as hard to get recognized.… Read the rest

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Orange 2008: Session Two

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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Man, I was dragging this morning! Not enough though to keep me from the morning session.

Francis Chan was the speaker for this session. Hardcore. That’s about all I can say to describe this guy. He gets it in a way that so many others don’t. I’m not sure that I’m even at a point where I can relate to what he had to say. It by far gave me a lot to think about.

Here’s what I know about him. He’s a pastor of a church in California. At some point he was getting ready to build a new building and became disgusted with how much they were about to spend on a new building. He couldn’t get his mind around spending that much money on a building when there were people around the world who don’t even have any food. Yeah… we’ve all heard this before. What kind of difference could we really make? Well, I heard that they trashed their building plan and decided to build an outdoor amphitheater so they could give all the extra money to the poor. Hmmm.

He said something very startling. Actually, he said one thing that probably offended many people.

He said “If Jesus was in my town and started a church, I have no doubt that I’d have more people in my church.” WOW! Did he just say that? (I’ll explain in a second) He then went on to say that giving the right team, he could grow a Mormon church… or even a Jehovah Witness hall. Francis went on to explain that something was wrong when we are using our gifts and abilities to build our ministry instead of relying on the Holy Spirit.

He explained how what it says in the Bible and what we do in the church are pretty far removed.… Read the rest

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I feel like I’m sooooo behind!

Posted on 30. Apr, 2008 by .

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I’m having a blast at Orange. Day two was incredible. However, I’ve been sooooo busy. I don’t have Internet at the conference, so I’m having to catch up with everything once I get back to the hotel. I had 40 emails by the end of the day (ha, and I’m not officially working yet). I also have several sessions to blog. In addition to all of that, I’ve got a few things for Gateway to work on (I start on Sunday) and other logistics to work out for our move. In addition, I’ve been connecting with so many old and new friends at the confernece… there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I haven’t even looked at my Google reader yet… I’m afraid of how many blog posts are sitting there waiting for me….… Read the rest

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Orange Meet-ups

Posted on 29. Apr, 2008 by .

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I went to my first Children’s Ministry conference 5 years ago. It was the Children’s Pastors Conference in Atlanta, GA. I went with two of my staff. Other than them, I didn’t know anyone. Actually, I did know Ryan Frank (I spoke at his church’s camp the summer before).

Orange is my 4th conference since that first one and just the first day has been characterized by meeting new and old friends. At the very start, I met up with the youth pastor from the first church I worked with in Texas (he’s actually my room mate for this week). Then this morning, I met up with the Children’s Pastors I served with at Cross Timbers for the last two years. A few hours later I met spotted Allan Phillips in the hallway and chatted with him for a few minutes. Then, totally randomly, I ran into someone I knew from much further back (actually he spotted me… and I’m glad he did). I ran into Tim Lawrence, the Children’s Pastor from New Hope Family Church in SD. I actually met Tim nearly 8 years ago when I first became a full-time children’s pastor in IN. He moved away shortly after I got there, but he was a volunteer for the elementary ministry. Now he’s in full time ministry.

I’m looking forward to connecting with Jim Wideman, the Kidology group (I heard they’re all getting together for lunch tomorrow) and several others tomorrow.

This is fun!… Read the rest

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Orange 2008: Session One

Posted on 28. Apr, 2008 by .

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The opening session for Orange 2008 was nothing short of amazing. The music was incredible… amazingly incredible. The band Fee (I think it was them) opened with the song “We Shine.” I’ve heard this song before and they did this song at KidStuf on Sunday. I love it. It’s a great song.

Sue Miller spoke for a little bit about how God’s been working in her life through her journey with cancer. She had some powerfully encouraging words to those who volunteer in ministry. Go Sue!

Reggie delivered an incredibly relevant message about what it is going to take to make a difference in this generation… and the generation that we’re leading. He eloquently told the story of the prodigal son. He built his message around comparing the response of the son’s return from the father and from the older brother.

Ultimately, Reggie asked the question: “What if we treated every prodigal like the father treated his returning son?”

He made the following points:

  • The loving father is preoccupied with who is missing… the older brother is preoccupied with himself.
  • The loving father operates from the context of forgiveness… the older brother operates from the context of shame.
  • Loving fathers throw parties… older sons throw fits.
  • Loving fathers confront older brother thinking… older brothers criticize loving fathers.
  • Loving fathers keep the lights on as long as it takes… older brothers close the door and turn the lights off.

What kind of church are we going to be… one like the loving father or one like the older brother?… Read the rest

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