The Bible’s Big New Home

I will never forget attending The Orange Conference for the first time. You know you are going to hear dynamic speakers. You expect to demo engaging content. What I was not prepared for? How MASSIVE the conference was. People were everywhere. Not only did it make for...
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The Important Role Self-Awareness Plays In Leadership

What is the toughest question you’ve ever had to answer, and who asked it? Given that somehow you made your way to this exceptional community called Orange Leaders, I automatically know a few things about you: I know that you study leadership. More than likely you...
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Top Leaders Remain Teachable

We have all had the volunteer or parent over the years who seemingly pushed against every little thing we would want to do, right? In my early ministry years, I had a lot of pushback from a particular volunteer. It would frustrate me that she acted as if she knew more...
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Tuning Up The Band: Using the summer to cast vision

Have you ever noticed that as soon as the last bell rings, classes are dismissed, and the hallways in your local schools are empty for summer break, that your ministry spaces may not be as full as they were for the previous season? Welcome to summer. Welcome to...
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Students

Stuart Hall’s Strategy to Develop Students of Influence

Stuart Hall’s Strategy to Develop Students of Influence

Who do you want your students to be when they leave your ministry? How do you want your students to influence others after they graduate from middle school or from high school? When we begin with the end in mind, it informs what our strategy should be right now. It informs how we should be guiding and developing our teenagers today. When it comes to developing students that influence their own generation, we all probably have room to improve. And for many of us the area to improve is clarity....

CJ Palmer

Orange Leaders
Elementary

Comparison Is the Thief of Contentment

Comparison Is the Thief of Contentment

“Gracie gets super excited when her big brother comes into the room and calls out ‘bubba!’ Plus she says ‘doggy’ and ‘book’ and ‘ball’ and ‘milk.’ She’s just so bright and never stops chattering!” My Facebook friend was enthusing about her 9-month-old. My 15-month-old son was currently stuck on “dada” for everything. Even “mama,” which had shown up for awhile, had dropped out of the rotation. I gritted my teeth and scrolled down past another friend’s professional family photo shoot in a sunset...

Elementary

Stage Design for Shared Spaces

Stage Design for Shared Spaces

About the author: David Clark is the Technical Arts + Production Coordinator at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church in Bloomington, Indiana. He loves running, social media, and Chipotle.   Some days I sit and dream about what it would be like to have a ministry space that is specifically dedicated to our elementary worship experiences—A big, beautiful room that’s truly ours, and no one else’s. But I’m quickly brought back to reality, reminded that we do ministry each weekend in a gym—a shared...

Orange Leaders

Volunteer, You Are The Awesome Secret Sauce

Volunteer, You Are The Awesome Secret Sauce

by Misty Phillips Dear Volunteer, Thank you. Thank you for being on the frontlines of ministry each week. You play a unique role to help shape the future of a child’s life. There are not enough thank-you cards to say how grateful we are. Week by week, you plant and share God’s Truth in a relational way kids can put into practice. You prepare before you arrive on Sunday. You meet kids in their world to help them talk through and embrace faith. Thank you for choosing to develop relationships...

Misty Phillips

Orange Specialist
Students

This Summer Doesn’t Have To Be “Just Another Summer”

This Summer Doesn’t Have To Be “Just Another Summer”

Summer is right around the corner. School will be out soon and all of us will be spending a little more time working on our tan lines. But the warmer weather brings with it an unwanted side effect on every ministry: low attendance. Have you noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between warm weather and church attendance? The temperature goes up, the attendance goes down. If you’re like most student pastors, you have a love-hate relationship with the summer. It’s great...

CJ Palmer

Orange Leaders
Elementary

It’s Not a Show

It’s Not a Show

I just returned from the Orange Conference 2016 where I was fortunate enough to have dinner with some FX leaders. One man in particular stands out for me. We were having a quick dinner together (quick because we were on a conference schedule), and he told me that his entire view of FX changed at Orange conference four years ago. I stopped eating and leaned in, wondering what he would say next. Did he realize FX was a great outreach tool for families in his community?   Did he understand that...

Elementary

4 Tips for Welcoming Parents to Your Environment

4 Tips for Welcoming Parents to Your Environment

Partnering with parents is a key factor of the Orange Strategy. We recognize what happens at home is more important than what happens at church. So, as ministry leaders, we want to build a relationship with parents to help influence what happens at home. Parents initiate the relationship when they bring their kiddos to our churches. Our churches are given an opportunity to demonstrate how much we value their family by welcoming them into the elementary ministry environment. How can we make...

Jessica

Orange Leaders
Students

Defining the Small Win for Your Small Group Leaders

Defining the Small Win for Your Small Group Leaders

Most small group leaders have big wins in mind for their small group. They anticipate the big, pivotal, fulfilling moments that remind them why they’re leading a group in the first place – moments like leading a student to Christ or watching a student get baptized. But if big moments are the only wins your leaders are shooting for, they’re going to be disappointed on most Sundays. That’s why it’s so important to help your SGL’s identify the smaller wins along the...

CJ Palmer

Orange Leaders
Orange Leaders

Developing Volunteers Into Leaders

Developing Volunteers Into Leaders

by Joe McAlpine “A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.” ― Mollie Marti I remember way back when I thought I could do it all myself. Sure, there was a ton of work leading my first children’s ministry. We had about 75 kids and 20 volunteers. I was busy but it was manageable. When we grew to 100 kids and still only had 20 volunteers I felt pretty stretched though. It was then that I learned that if I wanted to lead a successful...

Joe McAlpine

Orange Blogger
Preschool

It’s Not Babysitting! It’s a Foundation!

It’s Not Babysitting! It’s a Foundation!

Baby sitting, child care, day care, watching kids…. If you’ve been in the world of early childhood ministry very long, you’ve heard all of these, not very complimentary tags applied to what you know is actually creating a generation of kids that will know that God loves them, God made them and Jesus wants to be their Friend forever. You may have heard it from parents, other pastors, but the most discouraging is to hear it from volunteers, or potential volunteers. How do we move our volunteers...

Gay Tucciarone

Orange Specialist
Elementary

6 Tips for Organizing and Storing Supplies

6 Tips for Organizing and Storing Supplies

“We have stuff EVERYWHERE!” “I know I bought a multi-pack of masking tape rolls last week … now where ARE they?” After opening a door and everything falls out: “Maybe we should organize this closet …” If any of that sounds familiar, then this post is for you! We know you have 14,683 things to do each week and organizing the supply closet is on the list, but keeps getting bumped for more immediate tasks. But we did some thinking, visited with one of our awesome partner churches, and came up...

Students

Nose Picking, Mobilizing Students, and the Wowzer Awards

Nose Picking, Mobilizing Students, and the Wowzer Awards

The XP3 blog is all about community. We are a community of student pastors and leaders sharing ideas, strategies, victories, and struggles. That’s why we’re starting a new blog post series focusing on you, the student ministry leader. Once a month we’re asking you questions about student ministry and sharing your answers with the XP3 community. If you would like to contribute in a future post, send us an email. By Kelly Edmiston What’s one win you’ve had recently...

Preschool

Surviving a Baby Boom

Surviving a Baby Boom

Do you ever feel like babies are being born so fast there really MUST be something in the water at your church? Recruiting and staffing your nursery and toddler ministries can be a full time job in itself ! I saw a sweet Instagram post by Samantha (Sam) Edwards, from Oak City Church in Raleigh, holding a precious little newborn from her church. In my next email to her, I mentioned how sweet it is when new babies are born to our church family. Her reply made me gasp: We’ll close the year...

Barbara Graves

Orange Specialist
Students

How to Keep Your SGL’s Going when the Going Gets Tough

How to Keep Your SGL’s Going when the Going Gets Tough

How do you prepare for a tough workout at the gym? Any athlete will tell you that the best way to prepare is to eat well and get a great night’s sleep. Why? Because when you’re in the moment – when you’re halfway through a set of 50 burpees – the desire to keep going diminishes significantly. And if you haven’t prepared well beforehand – if you haven’t filled up first – it’s tempting to half-heartedly push yourself and coast to the end of the workout. Maybe...

CJ Palmer

Orange Leaders
Preschool

Teaming Up with Parents

Teaming Up with Parents

“Partnering with Parents” seems to have a big question mark around it for a lot of our First Look partners. Quite a few of you have been asking really good questions around this, “what does this really mean and what can we do to make this a reality in our church? “ We actually LOVE these questions, and we want to help you unpack some strategy around this important strategy! The Orange strategy is the main reason I am so passionate about what I get to do every day! Orange is what connects...

Terri Jones

Orange Specialist
Preschool

They’re Just Playing

They’re Just Playing

“Children learn through play” is an accepted principle of child development. Or, maybe not. In our world of technology, internet access and software aimed at 2-year-olds, structured sport leagues for preschoolers and LOTS of screen time, do we still believe this to be undeniably true? My first and still favorite textbook as an early childhood education major is titled When I Do, I Learn. The title is based on a saying from Confucius – “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I...

Deb Springer

Orange Specialist
Preschool

Setting the Table

Setting the Table

by Kathy White Recently, I made an impromptu decision to go visit my mom and spend the night. I just wanted to spend some uninterrupted time with my mom. It was a chilly, rainy evening, and I was craving soup. I stopped on the way at a little family restaurant and picked up two bowls of warm vegetable soup. When I arrived at my childhood home, I found my mom had set a lovely table for just the two of us. Placemats with matching stoneware were already set out. Mom had gone to much effort to...

Orange Leaders

Five Steps To Connecting And Training New Volunteers

Five Steps To Connecting And Training New Volunteers

by Nick Blevins  I remember what it was like the year our first child was born. I remember the joy and the stress that came from preparing to embark on this new journey that would change our lives forever. I remember all the fears we had. The fear of us not being ready. The fear of him not being healthy. The fear of parenting him poorly. The fear of him peeing on us during a diaper change. Some of those were certainly realized. Regardless of what fears we had, we were in. We were all in. No...

Nick Blevins

Orange Blogger
Orange Leaders

Casting Vision To Volunteers

Casting Vision To Volunteers

by Powell Grisham As I’ve been putting my thoughts together around the idea of casting vision to volunteers, my mental Rolodex can’t stop pulling up incredible events where passionate leaders creatively shared their compelling vision. How about you? Is your mind racing around from event to event stopping on the most memorable highlights? Do you have that one really funny, maybe even quasi-embarrassing memory that immediately popped into your head? For me, the one that’s forever affixed in my...

Powell Grisham

Orange Guest