Editor’s note: Things have changed since this blog post was originally posted—namely, a global pandemic known as coronavirus. Because of that, the Orange Conference 2020 has shifted to an online conference format. That obviously has an impact on some of the content in this blog post. We just wanted to make sure you were aware!
Conferences are amazing opportunities for church leaders. Not only are they great experiences for you to learn new insights and be reminded of why you do what you do, but you get to connect with a variety of different people and be inspired by the stories of what can be for your ministry.
While main group sessions at the Orange Conference are fun, worshipful, and encouraging, a hidden gem each year are the breakout sessions.
Every year at the Orange Conference there are a variety of different breakout sessions offered. Breakouts are practical workshops that will help you improve your leadership and ministry.
These breakout tracks and topics are announced well before the conference starts. So you can pick and choose which ones seem right for you.
What makes breakouts so great
Breakouts are a great way to learn from ministry leaders around the world. What separates breakouts from main sessions is two-fold.
For starters, you get to choose which sessions you go to. There are over 70 breakouts to choose from, taught by leaders in the trenches of ministry or who’ve had a lot of ministry experience.
Secondly, they’re very interactive and engaging. When a speaker is sharing at the main session, they’re sharing powerful insights. While it’s super-informative to hear from them, there’s really no interaction between the speaker and the audience.
At a breakout, you often get notes before the presenter shares them, and there’s usually time for the people listening to engage with the people around them, or to ask the speaker a question.
So how can you make sure you make the most out of the breakout sessions? What can you do to make sure you benefit?
1. Do your research
Make sure you look at all the topics and read the descriptions. Don’t pick a breakout based on its title alone. Titles don’t always tell the whole story of what the session is about.
You don’t want to get into a breakout and then realize when it starts that it’s about something completely different than you thought. So make sure you read the description of each topic you’re interested in.
2. Come prepared
Bring a notebook and pen, a tablet, or computer to take notes. Breakouts cover a lot of material and you won’t be able to remember all of it without taking some notes.
The good news is that a lot of sessions will either have note papers ready for you to jot down notes or the main points will appear on the screen. Be ready to learn by taking notes, but make sure your tablet or computer is fully charged.
3. Ask questions
Whether it’s a small session or bigger one, breakout session leaders will either leave time during or right after the session to answer questions you may have.
Use that as an opportunity to learn more. If you have a question, ask it!
4. Connect with others
You’ll likely sit next to people you don’t know. Instead of keeping to yourself, get there a few minutes early, and take some time to introduce yourself and get to know who they are as well. You might be able to make a new friend or two.
5. Debrief and come up with applications
Getting great content is wonderful, but if you don’t apply it to your context, you’ll have missed a huge opportunity to learn and grow your ministry.
Take time to debrief the session and decide what applications you can draw from it.
See you at the OC breakouts!
The Orange Conference is an amazing experience and provides a wealth of knowledge for ministry leaders to return home with. While the main sessions are powerful, breakout sessions tend to be where you go home with real, practical applications that will help you and your ministry.
The more prepared you are beforehand, the greater the impact the session will have on you and your ministry afterwards.