Why Should a Family Ministry Pastor Attend Orange Conference?
by Brian VanderArk
I love The Orange Conference! I do believe attending with my staff is one of the best investments I can make as Pastor of Family Ministries. If you need a nudge to move you to attend, I offer three reasons why Orange Conference is a must:
1. Whatever Reggie has to say
I bring my staff to Orange Conference because I know that Reggie and his team will articulate the mission and strategy of reaching the next generation in a way we need to hear it and in a way we can then better articulate it to our church, volunteers and parents. He says what I want to say only better. Further, Reggie has a unique way of “dialing up” our passion for serving kids and students. We return wanting to be better, to be more clear, and to be more strategic. I find it essential to bring new staff and/or key volunteers so that they can “catch up” quickly in understanding the vision and mission and strategy of family ministries. They are able to capture the big picture in a way that propels them in their work when they return to the trenches. Orange has become crucial for our ministry to fast track leader development.
2. Focused content that hits both the mind and the heart
My team has come away from the conference each year with specific content that has changed our ministry or brought us to the next level. Volunteer strategy and training ideas, multi-site development, a parent strategy, FX production, these are just a few concepts that have changed our ministry for the better. The team has implemented some specific action each year that has moved our ministry in a positive direction. Because our team has “specialists,” some are preschool, others are student ministry, it is difficult to put them in a consistent learning environment. Orange offers specific breakouts and sessions that can challenge each of them according to their role and yet maintain a common philosophical cohesiveness that is imperative for a team that is thinking strategically across the age-span of birth to college. Furthermore, Orange gathers innovative practitioners that both relate well to my staff and offer not just knowledge but passion as well. Orange Conference is one of the best vehicles for moving ministry forward.
Orange Conference is a highlight for my staff as we get to hang out together for an extended time. We have way too much fun! (Think Lanny.) One of our favorite things to do is dinner at Cheesecake Factory or P.F. Chang’s and of course we will eat at a Chick-fil-A—a must for Michigan people! The conference is also a place to meet friends from other ministries in our area as well as from around the country. We have always returned from Orange Conference with new friends that both teach and encourage us, and I hope we do the same to them as well. Orange offers excellent networking opportunities with people who share our same values and mission.
Can you tell I love The Orange Conference? I can’t wait to see you there, come join us!
Brian VanderArk is the senior pastor of family ministries at Ada Bible Church near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brian has developed a comprehensive ministry strategy that coordinates parent resources and family celebrations with a curriculum for children and students. Brian is passionate about helping churches strengthen their strategy that allows families to better follow Jesus. He leads a great team who is energized by Orange thinking. Brian enjoys spending time with his wife, Ruby, and Will, his 13-year-old son, who is nicknamed by his football team, “Wildebeast” and “Will Power.”