by Darren Kizer
Just over 10 years ago, as a new family ministries pastor, a fellow staff member asked me to attend Orange Conference with her. It was there I met Reggie and his team, and looking back, I can see how OC served as a catalyst for many of my close relationships and ministry endeavors. Most of you are probably already planning on attending The Orange Conference, which is a great thing! But maybe there is a way to leverage the experience for even more than the awesomeness planned for you by the Orange team. Here are some ways I have learned to gain the most out of any conference:
- Invite a friend or colleague: I have learned that having a partner always increases the value of the experience. If another team member doesn’t exist or is unavailable, then consider inviting a friend or volunteer to join you. The questions and conversations that surface about your unique ministry setting will be invaluable.
- Plan your own schedule: Sure, the conference has a schedule that is designed to work best for most, but do not become enslaved by it. Set up meetings with colleagues, friends, and others to ensure that the questions and challenges that you have are being addressed.
- Be bold and ask: During the four weeks leading up to a conference, I begin requesting appointments with key individuals with whom I might benefit from interacting. Often I would reach out to a leader who was one step ahead of me in their ministry or leadership journey. I find it highly valuable to have conversations with those who have successfully pushed through the challenges I am currently facing.
- Eat Strategically: I firmly believe that the best stuff happens at meals. Be intentional about inviting others to join you and requesting opportunities to sit down and talk with others.
- Scribble, Write, and Doodle: Do not attempt to take detailed notes of every session. Instead, focus on recording scribbles, doodles and prompts that will trigger your thinking a few weeks later. You can almost always purchase an audio replay, but you can’t refabricate your first impressions and thoughts. Focus on capturing the information triggering within you so you can process it at a later time.
- Seize the extras: If there is a pre or post experience, grab it. If you are already making arrangements for travel and lodging, why not stay an extra day and get the most from your time.
We certainly hope to see you at Orange Conference in April, and hope that some of these ideas will make your experience even better. (Hard to believe that is possible, right!?) Don’t forget to sign up for the YOULEAD Day preconference. As a focused and smaller setting, it is the perfect place to put into practice these networking strategies and tips for engaging with others.