We arrived for Orange Conference a day early. Everything has been good so far. Checked into hotel, had a great dinner and then woke up this morning to all you can eat omelette bar! This is my first time to attend Orange Conference. I have been going to National Youth Workers convention for many years, but decided it was time to try something different. In approximately 12 hours the first general session will begin. As I sit staring out the window with coffee in hand I have to think. Why did I come. What is the reason I took 5 days away from my family, paid for hotel and conference, and took time away from work?
Here are 4 things I hope to get at orange conference…
1 – Equipped –
I have been in student ministry for 28 years. I have seen ideas come and go, new fads and trends come through and pass. It would be easy for me to slip into the “This is the way we always did it” or “it was good enough back in my day so it’s good enough now” mindset. I want to know what’s next. What is a the new technique, the new way, the new model. I might not buy in at first, or even at all but I want to learn how I can reach this generation of students, and I’m pretty sure it will have to be with something I’m not thinking about now.
2 – Renewed –
I refer back to the part where I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years. That is a long time to be pouring out of yourself. I have learned over the years that if it’s all my energy, my love, my heart that I’m giving to students, I will run out quickly. I will never be enough. My hope this week is first that I will be renewed in my faith and trust in God. Through my conversations, my devotional time, worship and sessions that God will reveal himself in new ways and in old that I may have overlooked.
I also pray that I am renewed in my desire to do ministry with students. As I am equipped through workshops, talk with our staff and glean ideas from other conference attendees, I hope that my heart is one renewed for ministry.
3 – Uncomfortable –
I want to be challenged. I want for someone to tell me the way I do things is wrong. I want someone to suggest an idea that goes against my way of thinking. I want to read a book by someone I disagree with. I do not need to surround myself with ideas and suggestions, that are easy and that I always agree with. I want to have to think through, and wrestle with new ideas in a way that either strengthens my mindset, or changes it for greater understanding.
4 – Unified –
For the first time I have come with a team of staff and laity to this conference. I had attended youth specialties many times by myself and come back with great ideas, but no one to help implement and share those ideas with. My hope is that our team of 6 will be inspired, renewed and even uncomfortable in ways that allow us to come back as a team more unified, committed to work together in ministry at our church.
So there it is. I’m sure I’ll get much much more as theirs week progresses. I also hope that I can give all of these things to someone else as well. I hope that I can share an idea that equips, or speak a word that renews, ask a question that challenges and find ways to unify and strengthen our team.
Are you going to Orange Conference? What are you hoping to get?