Tag Archives: Orange conference 2013

ability or availability?

Standard

Recently, I had someone tell me how much they loved kids—and in the same breath said they didn’t really have the knowledge or skill they felt was needed to be a small group leader for kids in children’s ministry.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!  The “Orange” emerged from deep within me and I jumped him.  (Orange Conference—children’s ministry, if you didn’t know)  First of all, as soon as I heard “I love kids”—you’ve got me.  In the whole scheme of things, that is really what matters most.  Don’t you think?<image

/p>

We learned as leaders how to be effective in sharing the love of Jesus through the events of the Bible.  We learned how important it is to “do things well” when reaching kids.  We learned that embracing this culture we live in by kicking up worship music a few thousand notches or so is where it’s at.  To relate to kids, you’ve got to be on your game.  Make it fun.  Because kids are DIFFERENT than adults.  We learned that telling kids that “because the bible says so” is not the way to get into kids’ hearts and to develop a lasting personal relationship with Jesus.

When it comes right down to it, it is all about RELATIONSHIPS.  It really is.  And if we are honest?  That’s where it’s at for most of us too.  After the pouring of information about being effective in children’s ministry, they sent us home with this.  To realize it is not about your ability.  It is about your availability.  Being available for kids is really what they are asking for.  In the church, school, community…if you are working with kids, YOU are the hands and feet of Jesus.  They are learning who Jesus is through you.  Not just by what you tell them about Jesus.  But by how much you show you love and care for them.  By how available you are to them.

In 20 years from now, I guarantee the kids are not going to remember how effective I was in telling a story or my ability and knowledge of the bible.  I do know, they will remember love shown to them.  I do know they will remember if I was available for them.  Now, how hard does that sound for any of us?  The good news is that…IT IS SO EASY!!!!

We are beginning to wrap up the school year, youth group meetings, and Sunday school.  And now looking forward to Vacation Bible School, a new Sunday school series, and new classes beginning in the fall.  I just want to encourage EVERYONE who loves kids to make that connection in one way or another.  Maybe you have never been a small group leader before?  Is God tugging at your heart?  When you begin to see from the perspective of your AVAILABILITY versus your ability?  It changes things.  Be the hands of feet of Jesus to kids.  Be available.  And you will imprint the love of Jesus on their hearts forever.

image

legacy countdown.

Standard

Last week I was given the opportunity (or told–ha!) I was going to share about the experience I had at the Orange conference I attended in Atlanta, GA.  THAT, my friends is a mighty big job.  Steve can tell you that I ran my mouth the minute I was reunited with him and the kids at the airport, all the way home from Wichita, the next morning on our walk, during lunch, as I laid my head on the pillow that next night, when I awoke the next morning—-and repeat.  For about 3-4 days.  Get the picture?  Do you feel sorry for him???!!!  Looking back, I do.  That is how much information and inspiration I was filled with.  I even had to make myself hold off for a week on writing this post.  This one thing that I could not wait to share with everyone, because I was on information overload and shouting it in every direction of my life.

I have calmed down.  Really, I have.  No longer am I looking up bios and podcasts of the speakers I heard during any spare minute of my day.  For those who know me well, I have a bit of an “addictive personality” and I get really zoned in on things easily.  So, I made myself be quiet.  Until today.  I have to share.

My friends and parents of Journey Kids have already been told about the Legacy Countdown.  Besides the importance of making church FUN (what???  kids shouldn’t have fun at church, right?) the Legacy Countdown was the basis of my sharing.  I feel as though I am taking a risk in sharing with those parents who may not have a ton of weeks left until a child graduates from high school (which may have happened for some already).  Regardless of where you are at right now—-holding a brand new baby like I was working with last night—-or sending your child off to Kindergarten in the fall—or like us, sending our oldest to high school in a very few short months (yikes.) the concept is still the same…

From the book “Playing for Keeps” by Reggie Joiner and Kristen Ivy

Because over time…YOU are making a permanent imprint on the soul of a child.  You are leaving a legacy.  You are playing for keeps.  It’s time to get serious about what you do with your time.

That is powerful, isn’t it?  Now here is the really cool part.  If you have an iPhone, Droid, iPad or any smart phone for that matter AND if you have kids who are still living with you and have not yet graduated from high school, THIS is the app you need:  Legacy Countdown.  Go…right now.  Please.  Download it.  Don’t wait.  I’m serious.  Legacy Countdown.  Did you find it?  Ok.  Good!  Grandparents…you do it too.

Now, all you have to do is add the names and birthdates of your kids and watch what happens.   I wish this post was live so you could see mine and just how cool it really is.  I’m not sure I convinced you to download it, did I?

image
image

The idea is really very simple and shown through a couple of different tangible illustrations.  First of all, say you are just like my patient last night–soon to have a baby today sometime.  She and her husband have 936 weeks until that baby will graduate from high school.  Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?  936 weeks of what they do as a family, and as parents will influence this child the most.  What they do with their time and how they are “playing for keeps” has begun to countdown the minute that precious baby is born.  If you have your app installed, you will see it countdown before your very eyes.  It’s almost a bit daunting.  I found myself almost desperate to hold onto each moment, and at the same time desperate to do everything and anything I can with the time I have left.

image
image

The other illustration.  A jar of 936 marbles.  Each marble representing the weeks you have left with your child.    And to take a marble away each passing week.
image

 Amazing illustration.  I can’t wait for Hobby Lobby to have their 50% off sale on big, beautiful jars.  I just think what an awesome display and reminder in our home of the time we have left with the gifts we have been given.  Jars that each look so different.  Jars that one day will be empty and ready to be filled for Natalie, Kassidy, Kourtney, and Landon’s own children.

image

OK.  I have to stop.  I am getting teary.  And I shouldn’t.  How awesome to realize this now.  To focus on the time we have left.  Please join me if you have kids.  We are all “playing for keeps” now, aren’t we?

{I am in the process of reading the book “Playing for Keeps” which the whole conference was based around.  I don’t find a lot of time to read, so take a deep breath.  I won’t be able to share too much too quickly…}

a worthwhile investment.

Standard

I have realized as I have made my way back into my laundry-filled life, that going to conferences like the one I just attended, always do a great job of sparking the fire and passion within you.  It’s exactly what they are supposed to do. It fills you.  It fulfills you.  And it gets down to the core of who you are and why you do what you do.  I also realize, that the unbelievable communicators can say just about anything they want.  Because, well…they don’t actually pastor you.  They inspire.  They rock.  And they can get by with saying things leaders in our own respective churches just can’t do, for obvious reasons.  I have wrapped my mind around it.  However, I still wonder when you think about children’s and students ministry…image

image

image

How does this sound to you?  What does this make you feel like when you hear it?  Wondering if it made the same impact on you when you hear it as it does me…

If your church, or ministry is REALLY invested in kids, there would never be another carwash or bake sale.”—-Perry Noble  {click on his name or click HERE to know more about him}

I am about ready to suggest South Carolina as our vacation destination so we can visit Perry Noble’s church.  No, really.  I am serious.  Guess that tells you what I felt and how I was impacted by that quote, huh.  In fact, I think I may have shouted a VERY LOUD AMEN when I heard that.

gearing up…

Standard

If you know me at all, the fact that I jumped on buying these Orange TOMS at the Orange Conference probably will not surprise you…at all.  In fact, I know it will not surprise Steve.  Still, I think I will break the news to him via this blog post.  Thanks Steve for your credit card!!  {smile, honey—all of the girls will be able to wear them too}. I have a mild obsession with TOMS right now, sorry.<
image

/p>

 

I have gained so much from this conference already (besides the adorable TOMS!). In fact, I am almost on information overload.  All so good!  I’ve even learned to take notes on the iPad.  And that is huge for this paper and pen type of gal!  Today will be a big day.  Our last here and we are gearing up for some incredible worship and challenging inspiration, I am sure.  I wish Steve was here.  Besides children and youth ministry, there is so much centered on the family.  In fact, that is what the significance of the color ORANGE is.  That red and yellow representing church/ministry and family.  It takes both combined together in raising a child up in the Lord.  Cool, huh?

My friend, mentor, and children’s pastor at Journey went to different breakout sessions than I yesterday.  It has made for some great conversation when coming back together.  One thing she came back to me with was just one of those powerful nuggets.  It impressed on my heart because it is something Steve and I had already been doing with asking the kids around the dinner table about their high and their low for the day.  We tell them ours too.  There have been times I’ve used my low as a teaching moment where I would discuss their certain behavior that day that was my low.  Is that bad?  Ha!<
image

/p>

 

Anyway, as a Christian family this speaker challenged us to instead of using highs and lows, use how did you see God today? And what mistakes did you make today?  

image

Of course, that would be something all of us would answer. What an awesome way to weave faith into conversation! I can hardly wait for family dinner…

blown away…

Standard

There are some experiences that are unforgettable.  And some experiences you just can not describe or put into words. But these powerful words spoken tonight at the Orange Conference are impact full and life changing and I need to share.  If nothing more than to document for myself.  Also, to remember a night that will change how I parent and hopefully how I lead in children’s ministry.

When you see the time you have left—you get more serious about the time you have now.

Really take some time to let that soak in.  As it relates to your own life as a parent.  Or your own life as it relates to your faith.  Or your work in the church.  Or children’s lives.  I need to let it soak in.  And there is just so, so much more.  But I thought this was a nugget worth sharing.

And that darn lump?  Yeah, it went away.  Until sharing communion with 6000 other people tonight.  Powerful.