Last week, we asked you to tell us about your first Orange (or Orange Conference or Grow Up, etc.) experience. Over the past 15 years, we’ve had the privilege of meeting so many of you along the way, but we hear so few of your stories. So, we wanted to know how we first met. We took that stroll down Memory Lane with you, and it was all warm and fuzzy and like a big social media hug (or high five for you macho types).
There were some incredible and touching stories. Thank you soooooo much for sharing! Unfortunately, there were way too many to include below, but we’ll give you excerpts from just a few. It made our day better, and hopefully it’ll do the same for you.
“JOY, LAUGHTER, AMAZEMENT, WONDER, TEARS, SELF-REFLECTION are just a few emotions that I experienced at my first ORANGE conference in 2013. The theme was FOCUS and yes, I have to admit, I was not as focused as I should have been.
One of my first memories was the ball pit in the registration room and I thought, ‘Whoa! This is not going to be a traditional church/ministry conference.’
“Orange reignited my passion to return home and change the world around me. From the marbles presentation—in which I realized how valuable my time is with my kids—to the song ‘My Life’ by Steve Fee which spoke volumes to me. It was a personal life song for the year as I re-surrendered my life to God and got back on track to fulfilling my purpose on this Earth. Each time that song was sung, tears flowed from my face and I could hear God speaking to me. I am forever thankful to The Orange Conference for providing a venue for God to speak to me in this way. It was life changing.
Orange did not just help me to learn how to interact with kids but equipped me to lead others including my preschool group (Thank GOD for First Look Curriculum!) and adults in a growing relationship with Jesus.
“I left OC13 inspired and determined in faith to return home and change the world around me by leading others to JESUS!
“The two ladies that I want to bring to the Orange Conference, Naomi and Breonna, have heard me rave about Orange for two years and how they need to go so that their world can be rocked for the better. I remember sharing that if it had not been for Orange then I do not believe I would be investing in the lives of those that I currently do. Orange strengthened my personal relationship with Christ and that has flowed into how I interact with others in leading them to Christ.
“Also my name, Valencia which means Sweet Orange—sweet oranges are produced in Valencia, Spain! Orange is truly a part of my very being!”
– Valencia from Virginia, WINNER OF THREE OC15 TICKETS AND AIRFARE (They also made this video!)
“My first experience with Orange was at my church, Brownsville Community Fellowship Church, and it was amazing. As a new believer, I began serving with our elementary kids, and I was so worried that I would not be able to teach them anything because I didn’t really know anything about the Bible. When I read the lesson for the first time, I was so excited to be a part of the classroom on Sunday.
“Growing up, I remember church being boring, and what I would be teaching was anything but boring. I was excited, encouraged, and motivated to begin serving. Over the years, I’ve taken on more responsibility in our children’s ministry and am now overseeing our elementary classroom. On the leadership side, using Orange Curriculum is definitely one of our strengths in our children’s ministry. You all give us EVERYTHING we need to reach our kids. Your curriculum reaches so many children all over our city, and they love it!” – Henry from Texas, WINNER OF TWO OC15 TICKETS AND AIRFARE
“While I have never been to an Orange Conference, I have been to Camp KidJam a few times and to the Orange Tour.
“I first when to Camp KidJam as a chaperon when I was a senior in high school. I had just recently had an ‘ah ha!’ moment from God that I was supposed to work with children in some capacity, but wasn’t sure what direction that would take—whether that was as a teacher, a children’s minister, or as a missionary. But God reveals His will to us in His perfect time!
“When I went to Camp KidJam and was able to sit through the tracks for leaders I was just blown away! Here was a concentrated form of information about what God was calling me to do! It was at that moment that I fell in love with more than just the curriculum of Orange, but rather with the strategy behind it. In my own life, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 was played out for me by my parents, and as a result I have had a rich legacy of the Word being taught to me since I was a little child. And here was a strategy that taught that process to others!
“As a Children’s Director now, it is so encouraging to have such a great resource to come along side me in an effort to champion parents to grow with their children in ‘wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and men.’” – Michelle in Florida
“I first went to Orange Tour back in 2011 or 2012. WOW.
“Our church has used the curriculum long before I joined the staff and I thought it was good stuff. BUT then I attended OC12.
“Honestly, I was discouraged. I was a young leader and I had BIG dreams. But the problem was that they were ‘my’ dreams. Carey Nieuwhof’s breakout session was a turning point. I was CHALLENGED to put down my ideas of ‘perfect’ ministry and yet ENCOURAGED to work as hard as I could to make the best ministry happen RIGHT NOW.
“The theme that year was MOVE. And I was moved to get myself out of the way and JUST LEAD like Jesus—serve! Serve wholeheartedly and sacrificially. I don’t get it right all of the time but I was inspired to live a bigger dream, a God-sized dream that’s bigger than ANYTHING I could come up with.” – Ethan from Indiana
To read all of the submissions, please click here.
The Orange Conference 2015 will take place in Atlanta from April 29–May 1. Register by March 19 to save $20 off conference and $20 off YOULEAD Day. This is your last chance to save money! For more information and to register, please visit TheOrangeConference.com.