Why in the world do 4500-5000 people come to Atlanta at the end of April each year? I could list a slew of reasons like the speakers, the music, the passion to reach the next generation, or simply to see a guy named Lanny do something really stupid and funny. Of course none of those things are the number 1 reason I came to the Orange Conference or eventually moved to Atlanta to be on the creative team that makes the conference happen.
So what’s the big deal? Why come?
When Bill Clinton ran for office his campaign manager kept telling him and the entire staff this phrase: “It’s about the economy, stupid.” This message kept them on point. My mantra for the Orange Conference is, “It’s about relationships, stupid.” Sure Orange is the best conference around when it comes to excellence, strategy, message, family ministry, children’s ministry, student ministry, and I could go on and on. Those things don’t mean much though if you don’t connect with your team and other teams that you can collaborate with.
Some of my best friends in the world get together at Orange each year. No matter if they live in New York, Texas, Michigan, Tennessee, California, Ohio or Georgia. We all come together and spend as much time as we can together. You see, to me, there is as much that happens outside of the conference that happens inside the conference. When I’m asked is it worth it because money is tight or that is a lot of time, I scream, “YES!”
Come on down or over or up for that matter. We would love to have you. Don’t know what I’m talking about when I say Orange conference or need more info? Click here and sign up before Feb.17th. You will save money and have a blast while you are here!
Still need convincing- we asked one of the other bloggers Matt got to know who she’s met at the Orange Conference. Gina McClain says, “That’s a tough question. Primarily b/c it seems near impossible to narrow it down.
Ever since meeting Cathy Harwick at Orange 2 years ago I look forward to times we chat on the phone or see each other at other venues. On the kidmin team at Gateway Church in Austin, TX, Cathy works with Kenny Conley building some NextGen ministry magic. Cathy is always upbeat, always encouraging and full of great ideas that challenge me to think bigger. Love. Her.
I met Dan Scott and his wife a few years ago and enjoyed talking “shop” with them. Dan and I collaborate on kidmin projects occasionally and I value his creative insight.
I hung out with Henry Zonio in the Blogger’s Lounge some at last year’s Orange Conference. Henry’s unconventional approach to kidmin challenges me. And I like to be challenged. Henry isn’t afraid to do things most people aren’t doing. His entrepreneurial spirit is what brought about the project “What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry“. I loved the opportunity to contribute to it.
I was personally stoked when I met Michael Chanley a few years ago. Admittedly I was star struck and thought he was cool. And that would make him uncomfortable. Mostly b/c Chanley is another guy out there following where the Lord directs. He would never deem himself as anything more special than the rest. But Chanley is a connector. He’s all about connecting people in ministry so we don’t drown in isolation. Working together with him on the project “Collaborate: Church + Home” was a personal blessing for me.
Meeting Jim Wideman at Orange was cooler than an icicle in December. (Can you hear him say that?) I admire and respect Jim and the impact he has made on kidmin. I value the fact that he is so willing to simply hang out with people and get to know them. I appreciate the few opportunities I’ve had to sit at the table with him and just listen.
The following guys were people I met “in person” for the first time at an Orange Conference but had known for a year through our blogs. Sam Luce, Kenny Conley, Matt McKee & Jonathan Cliff. These guys are not just my friends, but my husband’s friends, as well. Through time spent online and in person, Kyle and I have been personally blessed by these friendships.
The interesting thing about all these people is that our relationships may have spawned at an Orange Conference but they have developed dramatically in the months following. Certainly I walk away from the Orange Conference renewed, refreshed, full of ideas and notes.
But the greatest value I’ve walked away with always seems to be in the relationships. And it’s worth every penny.”