I’m finally catching my breath from Orange last week. Looking back, one word easily describes my take on the 2011 Orange Conference. DIFFERENT.

It was my fourth to attend, but it certainly stood apart from the rest. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t what I expected. I think that it exceeded my expectations. I’ve actually been telling people that it is by far the BEST Orange Conference I’ve attended. Was it better speakers? Beter topics? Maybe, I’m not sure if it was or wasn’t. That’s not what made it better… at least for me.

Bottom line, I only sat in 1-2 sessions in the arena and 1-2 breakouts in addition to the ones I taught/co-taught. What was I doing with all my extra time? Having rich and meaningful conversations with people about all things ministry, life and the Orange Strategy. I came home full to the brim with ideas, encouragement and with new friendships. The breakouts and sessions I did attend were amazing (as always). However, some of the most meaningful breakouts were those that happened at Chipotle, IHOP, the Arena Tavern and in the back of the Bloggers Suite during one of the general sessions.

I think that what was different for me was my willingness to miss a breakout or a session. It’s hard to purposely miss because they’re so good, but I kept reminding myself, “I can just pick up the recordings later.” I truly believe that it is the mindset that we should all have when attending the conference. These breakouts and sessions are recorded and will be available later, but the time when hundreds and thousands of incredible leaders are all gathered in one place is so short.

So, over the years I would have posted 18-20 posts from Orange Week. This year I posted 5. Ha! Don’t worry, this week is the overflow of the Orange Conference for me. I hope to share some of the things that I did learn from Sessions and Breakouts as well as some of the things I learned outside the normal conference hours.