The following story was submitted by Troy Marrs of Christ Family Church in Cyprus, TX. Troy was an attendee at this year’s Orange Conference 2019.
With airfare, hotel, rental car, and conference fees, it cost our church about $2000 to send my wife and me to Orange Conference. I personally thought the cost was too high, but it got me out of another pastor’s conference later in the year and I thought it couldn’t hurt.
First off, OC19 was like a mini-sabbatical for us, and it was unlike any “church” conference we have ever been to. The training was top notch, in fact, many of the speakers in the breakouts really did “write the book” on the subject!
More important than being refreshed and renewed, I learned more than I ever would have imagined. My expectations were way too low. I thought I would come home with some good talking points and a few new tools—because after all, I’m a pretty smart guy, raised 3 awesome kids (now 14,16,& 18), and have been doing Children’s Ministry for a long time. I am the type of Children’s Pastor that could put on my own conference and write a book right? Well, I never would have imagined that what I actually brought home with me would transform our entire church!
I came home with a new vision, purpose, and goal of our children’s ministry. I realized we are a FAMILY ministry, and how important outreach and shared family events are. I learned more about how and why each phase of a kids life has very different needs for the way we teach and the environment they learn in, and how to create those environments and meet those needs. I learned that after years of children’s ministry, I could do it better…. a lot better. There are five critical questions someone in my ministry must know about every child…and we failed. Not because we were doing anything wrong, but because we didn’t have the knowledge of how to do it better in today’s world with today’s kids.
One of my breakout classes was on getting people to listen to you and act on your ideas. I learned the public speaking and communication classes I took in college many years ago may not be the best way to communicate to new generation adults, just like the computer classes I took about how to be an expert at MS-DOS with my 1980’s IBM AT computer is no longer effective or relevant to my 2018 MacBook Pro. God’s Word is the only thing that doesn’t change. Times change, people change, society changes, we must keep updated and sensitive to these changes as well.
What I learned at OC19 was amazing. I came home with knowledge, but also new books, products, and physical tools to help me share the vision back home. In about 30 minutes during a staff meeting when I returned, I shared this new vision to our senior leadership and it caught fire!
When I was done talking and spilling my guts about OC19 and what I learned and what I thought we must do, there was a moment of silence, broken by our Sr. Pastor who said his new mission was to support me and our youth pastor on ours. That very week we mapped out a new strategy, including a NEW BUILDING for youth that also expanded our children’s wing. This summer some adult space is becoming dedicated middle school space and I am getting their old space for elementary small groups. Our new Children and Youth building bids are coming in and construction is planned for this summer. Moving fast!
Never underestimate what the power of God can do through a strategic conference or what can happen when men & women of God hear His voice and vision. I thought $2000 was too much to spend on a conference. Boy was I wrong, as not going would have cost us much more but we would have never realized it.
If you haven’t been to Orange Conference, no matter how experienced and on top of children’s ministry you are, don’t miss OC20.
April 29-May 1
REGISTER BY JULY 30
PAY ONLY $245!
Save $104 off the regular price