3 Helpful Questions To Improve Your Workday

Of the 31,102 verses found in the Bible, which verse comes to your mind more than any other?

For some people, it might be John 3:16 as a reminder that God loves us and has a plan. For others, it might be Psalm 23 as they look to God as their shepherd and provider. Or maybe it’s Philippians 4:13 as you lean into God as your strength.

For me, Colossians 3:23 seems to be a constant reminder that I live and work for God:

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

This verse impacts not only my workweek but also reminds me to offer the little daily tasks up to the Lord.

A similar is found in 2 Timothy 2:15-16 where Paul writes

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.


Here are three practical challenges from these truths.

1. Work for your True Boss. You probably have a boss or board to which you are held accountable. Ultimately, our authority is not our employer who gave us a job but the One who gave us life. If we work hard and gain the approval of our boss at the expense of our True Boss, then we have missed the mark completely. Ask yourself, “Am I more worried about the approval of my boss or my Savior?”

2. Be an approved worker. Do work you would be proud to show off to God with an attitude to match. Work on projects that are rooted in what is true and find ways to give God glory through your tasks. Be a positive light in a world full of darkness. Lift others up, don’t look for credit, and be humble. Don’t complain and finish mundane tasks with joy. Ask yourself this question, “Is God proud of my work?”

3. Work on what’s right. If you are given a task that goes against God, remember who your True Boss is and do what is right. Work in such a way that people see you are made in the image of God. Work hard and diligently and be known as someone who avoids worthless and foolish talk; someone who actually gets the job done. Ask yourself, “Am I working on what’s right or just engaged in mindless talk?”

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord!

3 Easy Tips to Prepare for #OC18 like an Expert

orange blog

Are you ready for The Orange Conference? I’m not just asking if you’ve purchased your ticket. I’m checking to see if you are really ready for all this conference has to offer. Do some work today so you are prepared to leave, learn, and return with all that God has in store for you. 

Prepare to Take Off: Make a List 

Open up your phone or pull out a notepad and begin your Orange Conference list. Write down everything you need to do to be away. Items might include:

  • select breakouts
  • download the OC18 app
  • read the welcome pack
  • follow speakers and bloggers on social media
  • create your shopping list for the Orange Store. 

These are great items to prepare for the conference, but also add items to the list that help you prepare to be away. Include things like:

  • schedule a date with your spouse before leaving town
  • prepare all materials and volunteers for the following Sunday
  • book hotel
  • turn on an autoresponder for your email
  • find someone to feed the cat 

You could also add fun items to your Orange Conference list such as:

  • purchase orange shoes
  • schedule some networking meetings
  • select restaurants nearby
  • create specific questions you could ask to see what’s working for other leaders across the world.  

Prepare to Take In: Write Notes 

We have all been there before where we hear a great idea but two seconds later the idea is lost forever. Don’t allow this to happen to you by figuring out today how you will write notes at the conference. Maybe you buy a new Moleskin, bring your laptop, or swing by CFA and grab a handful of napkins. Take notes that fit your style and can be referred to after you get home. Write down quotes that impact your thinking. Take pictures to help you remember. Follow #OC18 and see what those around you are writing. Consider sharing your notes online to help others hear what you are learning. And if you write down a next step for you then make sure you circle it, highlight it, or email it to yourself for later. 

Prepare to Take Home: Schedule Time 

If you want to prepare for The Orange Conference like a true expert, you need to schedule a time to digest the materials once you arrive home. Look at your calendar and schedule a few blocks of time where you can review your notes and determine the areas where God is speaking to you. Also, mark a few calendar appointments to actually read the books you purchased while visiting the Orange Store.

There are many amazing ideas shared at the conference and you will need time and discernment to listen for your next steps. After you have decided what your top priorities are and what ideas you will shelf for later, bring these ideas to your team and create a strategy to move forward. You could even schedule this team meeting now to take place in the weeks following the conference. 

Make sure you plan ahead to get the most out of this year’s conference. What would you add? How do you prepare? 

(Originally posted to Orange Leaders at: http://orangeblogs.org/orangeleaders/2018/03/08/3-easy-tips-prepare-orange-conference-like-expert)

Creating a Parent & KidMin Connection

Creating a parent kidmin connection

6 Ways you benefit when parents serve in their children’s kidmin

So you’re struggling to find enough volunteers for your kids ministry (it’s OK—you’re not alone!). You’ve created job descriptions and added titles to the flowchart. Now you’ve begun asking anyone standing around in the church lobby who doesn’t look busy if they’d like to volunteer. But you’re still coming up short. Let me ask you this: Have you ever considered a strong recruitment push toward the parents of kids in your ministry? 

No, I’m not talking about making another Sunday morning announcement, writing a newsletter article or adding a post to social media. I’m talking about actually sitting down face to face with parents and talking with them about the mutual benefit of serving in the very place where their kids learn.

There are great advantages for both the church and the family when parents serve in kids ministry. Unfortunately, they are hidden benefits, so doing our part to communicate them is vital to getting the word out. But when you do, you’ll find that your church will be healthier when parents serve alongside their kids.

Here are six great reasons that having parents serve in your kidmin is an advantage for you—and them:

1. Direct Access to Your Child’s Pastor

Most children’s pastors are busy. Each week they act as teacher, event planner, financier, stage designer and counselor, so it might be difficult for the average parent to simply sit down and hear the heart of their child’s pastor. When serving on the children’s pastor’s team, parents become part of his flock and the pastor will begin more intentionally to shepherd them directly. For example, instead of a dad awkwardly trying to find a way to let the children’s pastor know about his son’s surgery, he could—as a parent serving on the children’s pastors team—simply mention the prayer request in a preservice huddle.

2. Increased Family Time

With the growing pressure for kids to excel in school, the popularity of traveling sports teams and ever-changing family dynamics, it’s an understatement to say that families today are busy. In most churches, when a family arrives at church they immediately split up to attend church in their separate environments. But when a parent is serving in the kids ministry, the parent gets more time with his or her child. Parents who serve in their kids’ ministry are building memories that most other families will never get to experience.

What’s more, no longer will a kidmin event or outing pull the family apart. Because the parent servers as a volunteer who attends the outing, kidmin gatherings become a family event. That means the kids ministry in hour church actually can be a catalyst to bring families together.

3. Overflow of Sunday’s Lesson Into Weekday Life

When parents pick up their children after church, they usually ask them if they had fun and if they learned something. Unfortunately, the lesson often ends there. It’s not that parents don’t care about their children’s experience. But the conversation goes no further because of the parents’ lack of familiarity with the kidmin and the fact that most of them don’t personally experience the lesson.

This all changes when parents begin preparing for the lesson at the beginning of the week, when they laugh out loud during the skit, when they see firsthand the illustration the teacher presents, when they teach the lesson for themselves. During the week, parents will begin asking their kids if they are applying the Bible lesson they learned at church. This simple engagement leads to a learning opportunity by pointing them back to something they both experienced on Sunday morning.

4. Improved Ministry Effectiveness ]

Instead of creating a parent panel for feedback, simply recruit parents who can give you insight about your ministry’s effectiveness. Ask parents how the lessons are connecting with their kids and which illustrations are making the gospel presentation come to life. Ask the parents who are serving in your ministry to give you feedback on the first-time visitor process—and then empower them to improve the experience. The more diverse a group of parents you have, the more varied their backgrounds and experiences, and the more collective wisdom you’ll have to draw from.

5. Children Connected to Spiritual Mentors

When parents are part of a team of kidmin workers, they get to know the other small-group leaders. This allows them to strategically pursue ones who can help them speak truth into their children. Through consistently serving, parents will see that their kids are developing strong Christ-centered relationships that benefit the family.

It’s weird, but often parents can tell their child a hundred times to do something, without it sticking, but when another adult suggests they do something, it sticks the first time. Through relationships made with other leaders on their team, parents can comfortably find a mentor they trust to speak truth into their child.

6. Through-the-Roof Buy-In

Most people never become a raving fan or even an advocate for an organization until it makes a difference in their lives. Sure, the children’s ministry in your church is impacting the kids, but many parents don’t realize the difference it truly makes until they see it firsthand. And when they see it, their buy-in goes through the roof.

They begin recruiting other parents to serve just because they are talking about it in their small groups. Serving parents are in-the-know, and they naturally begin to ask other parents if their kids will be attending events. Some parents might even begin contributing financially to the mission of the church because of the impact your kidmin has had on their family.

Overall, your families and your church will be healthier when parents serve in their kids’ ministry. It might be your responsibility to communicate the benefits. But when you do, God will open the door to these conversations and create a parent-kidmin connection. So take some time today to craft a compelling vision that will reveal the hidden benefits of parents serving in your kidmin.

How the Orange Conference Changes My Perspective Every Year



Did you walk away from your last conference changed? Every year, the Orange Conference has a theme where speakers look at the same topic from different angles to help attendees gain a changed perspective. Over the years we have been taught to “Say yes to the next generation,” “It’s just a phase, don’t miss it,” “Monday is coming,” and “To be for our neighbors.” These themes have radically impacted my life and ministry.

In addition to these themes, each year God has spoken a word to my heart that shifts my outlook.

an173-9b2456b8-47b0-41a1-bddb-a952c92327f3-v2In 2014, I walked away knowing that I needed to work on myself. In order for me to say yes to the next generation, I needed to be a better example and leader.

“The biggest leadership challenge I have is me.” – Jeff Henderson

“Every book you read is worth 2 years of life experience.” – Mark Batterson

“Competency isn’t the issue. Character is.” – Carey Nieuwhof

“Leaders, ask yourself, ‘What is it like to be on the other side of me?’ ‘How are you to work for?’” – Jeff Henderson

“You replace yourself by developing others, not by replicating yourself.” – Jeff Henderson

“It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.” Parry Noble


In 2015, I was challenged to know and act like every week matters. It’s just a phase, don’t miss it, helped me see not only the development of each of the kids but that I was missing opportunities to make an impact with each Sunday.

“100 years from now, the only thing that will matter is a kid’s relationship with God.” – Reggie Joiner

“If you’re the parent of a 9th grader, you only have about 200 weeks left before graduation. Make it count.” – Reggie Joiner

“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” – Josh Shipp

“Children’s leaders, you aren’t keeping kids so that adults can go to church. You’re discipling children who will be the Church.” – Reggie Joiner

“Small Group Leaders, there is great power that comes with showing up every week.” – Reggie Joiner


In 2016, I realized that I was so worried about filling the kids with the head knowledge that I missed what mattered most. Monday is coming helped me see that I was teaching in a way that kids forgot the moment they left the room. I must connect Sunday to Monday.

“It’s not a question of: Will Sunday impact Monday? It already does. The question is: Will we be part of that conversation?“—Jon Acuff

“It’s not: How to we get them to come to us on Sunday? It’s: How do we go to them on Monday?“—Jon Acuff

“On Sunday, grace is expected. On Monday, grace is a surprise.”—Jon Acuff

“Following Jesus will make your life better and will make you better at life.”—Andy Stanley

“When it comes to my personal connection to the local church, it’s simple: the Church saved my life.”—Andy Stanley


And last year, 2017, I walked away realizing that I allowed busyness to get in the way of loving my neighbor. I must be like Jesus and invest my time in those who are different than me.

“Instead of seeing busyness as a badge of honor, maybe we should see it as a brokenness.” — Doug Fields.

“Some of your neighbors feel like you don’t love them because you act like you don’t like them.” —Reggie Joiner

“If there’s any entity that should lead the way in treating everyone like they’re invited to the party, it should be the church.” —Reggie Joiner

“Young people can download thoughtful preaching but they can’t download thoughtful mentoring.” —Kara Powell

“You can’t dismiss people and be in love with God.” — Andy Stanley

“Your love for God is demonstrated and authenticated by how we treat those around us.” — Andy Stanley

“We’ve got to stop acting like discipleship is about information, and realize discipleship is about relationship.” —Reggie Joiner

“Busy is the enemy of neighborly.” — Doug Fields


Now is the time to register for the next Orange Conference. I really hope to see you there!

Sign up and begin praying today to not only be move through the theme but also open yourself up for God to speak to your soul. REGISTER BY FEBRUARY 15 TO SAVE $50!

35+ Game Ideas from the Kidmin Nation Christmas Party


At this year’s Kidmin Nation Christmas Party Ryan asked us to share what our favorite Christmas game is to play with kids. Everyone chatted in their favorite games and I organized a list of a few of my favorites. Here are a few game ideas that you can use for your next Christmas Party!

Corey’s Picks!

Haley Forrest : Gingerbread House on your Face! We give four to five different groups a collection of graham crackers, m&m’s, icing, etc. They are to create the best house possible!

Kerry Cressey : Wrapping paper game – teams have a time limit to wrap one person up in paper and decorate, and then a winner is chosen.

Becky Loughridge : Wrap leaders in Christmas paper and other decorations to simulate a Christmas tree.

Ashley Medina : Deck the Tree-Leader:  Kids have 60 seconds green streamers and bows to decorate their small group leader as Christmas tree.  It is super fun!

Susan Rutledge : One Hoof-Two Hoof – online game.  Kids hold up one, two or no hands (hoofs) and if it matches where the video lands – they stay standing.  Others sit. Whoever is left standing is the winner.

Laurie Alvarez : Snowball Fight with Pom Poms or crumpled up paper. Divide the kids into two and give them two minutes to throw them at each other over a dividing line. At the end of two minutes, the team with the least amount on their side wins!

Nativity Games

Jennifer Westering : Hide and Seek the Nativity. Hide all nativity characters. Tell Christmas story when each character is found. Characters are ornaments that kids can put on their trees to take home

Anette Shanks : From Anette Shanks to Everyone – Nativity Game…You share the Nativity story with the kids with the characters.  Then you have the kids close their eyes and you take a couple of the characters away.  They have to tell which people are missing and what part they have in the story.

Donna Osborne : Put the babe in the manger (like pin tail on donkey)

Melody McGuire : Nativity Bingo.

Gift Games

Amber Pike : The Syran Wrap Game. Kids roll dice and unwrap that many layers to get the candy

Rachel Nuckels : left, right game!!! read a story with left and right throughout. when each word is said, kids pass gifts to right or left!

Connie Lawyer : Guess the present! Wrap presents and the kids have to feel the present and try to guess what is in it! Then remind them the greatest gift of all – Jesus!

Nicole Strine : pass the present, roll a dice and pass left/right etc

Cazi Murvine : Musical Presents! We wrap gifts for the classroom. Each gift gets wrapped 4-8 times in different wrapping paper for each layer. We play music and when the music stops whoever is holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer.

Jerry Wages : We play All I Want For Christmas Whoever comes up with the best gift wins a prize.

Lorraine Hart : Unwrap the gift with kitchen mittens. If you roll doubles you get to start opening the gift. The kids continue to pass dice and when the next person rolls dice they can steal gift and begin to open. Continue till gift is opened by someone. I wrap the gift several times.

Dan Jenkins : A power point game called name that gift. We have items wrapped on the screen and they guess what it is based on the shape.

Minute To Win It

Sherri Gaskill : Candy Cane Drop. Tie a string onto two chairs placed about 3 feet apart. Give a kid a bunch of candy canes. Have them drop a candy cane from their chin. The object is to see how many candy canes they can get on to the string in 1 minute.

Amy Harder : Candy Cane Hook — Pour out candy canes on the table. Players take a candy cane in their mouths, hook side out. The players have to use the hook from the candy cane to pick up other candy canes and fill a bucket. The player with the most canes in their bucket at the end of time wins.

Mary Beavers : Wrap the Gift. Teams of 4 work together to wrap a box using only one hand each.

Sharon Alexander : kids like throwing candy canes in a Santa Stocking. they have 1 minute.

Sara Hlava : Snowman Face Race – vaseline, cotton balls & scooters – Go!

Mary Smith : Gift Wrap Scramble- kids work in teams wrapping gift with one hand behind their back

Christy Zentz : Candy cane relay.  Kids put a candy cane in their mouths, pick up red & green hardware nuts without using their hands and carry them up on the candy canes to a table.

Music Games

Ronnie Fernandez Lee : Christmas Song Scramble

Andy Penney : Christmas Carol Karaoke – We let the kids pick out a Christmas song and do karaoke

Ronnie Fernandez Lee : Christmas Song Scramble   Print large lyrics to Christmas songs on heavy paper,  cut them up in phrases, create teams and time the teams who build them in correct order on the floor, they have to sing it

Games with a Christmas Twist

Jennifer Nier : Reverse Christmas Charades-2 people up front-clue on screen behind them-everyone in the crowd act out the clue

Emily Hill : Steal the Bacon with jingle bells. Kids line up in 2 teams and a leader sits blindfolded in a chair with jingle bells under his chair.  Kids try to steal the jingle bells without getting hit with a pool noodle the leader is swinging.

Rick Moody : J-E-S-U-S instead of B-I-N-G-O and each square has something to do with the Christmas story.

Matt Cannon : Candy Cane/Ornament Cup Pong…. Use candy canes and Christmas ornaments. We use the ping pong table and red solo cups. We use candy canes and Christmas Ornaments to ring the cup and every time you ring it the opposite team has to chug milk

Vicki Ejibe : Hungry Hungry Hippos. Scooters, baskets, and marshmallows. Kid rides scooter and other kids holds legs and pushes scooter holding basket into the center of the circle to catch marshmallow.

Dan Jenkins : Santa, reindeer, sleigh – two kids partner up against two other kids and call out each of these things. They have to act out the one I give them and if their team guesses they win.

Jame Vallejo : Christmas Jeopardy.  Split into 2 teams and answer questions from 4 categories. At the end is a final question. Kids have to bet points and most points at the end win.

Judy Hiebert : Review Game: Christmas Acrostic, the answers are filling in letters.

Rhonda Bischoff : Signs – everyone makes up a sign, someone in center tries to see who is passing their sign to another person.

What game is missing from this list? Write your suggestion in the comments to be added!

Waiting with Great Anticipation For The Savior


Can you remember the anticipation and excitement you felt as a child waiting for Christmas? You saw Christmas lights popping up around town, you heard parents whispering about gifts to come, and you counted down the days until Christmas morning would finally arrive. This nervous anticipation caused you to be on your best behavior as you yearned for Christmas day.

Before the birth of Jesus, mankind was waiting for the Messiah or promised anointed one to come and save them from their sins. Prophecies were written 200 to 1000 years before Jesus was born and the people anxiously anticipated His arrival.

They knew prophecies such as Isaiah 7:14, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Because of Micah 5:2, they knew the Christ would come from Bethlehem; “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” And they understood that Jesus would come through the bloodline of David from Isaiah 9:7, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”

There are over fifty predictions specifically about the Messiah’s birth which Jesus fulfilled.Peter Stoner, a professor of mathematics, helps illustrate the improbability of one man fulfilling these predictions by looking at the odds of one simply fulfilling eight prophecies. Stoner’s conservative estimate is one in 10^28. That’s 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! To make an even more conservative number, if you were to divide it by the estimated number of people who have lived since the time of these prophecies (88 billion) the odds decrease to “only” one in 10^17, or 1 in one hundred quadrillion.

Peter Stoner helps us understand the magnitude of this number by writing:

Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up the one silver dollar that has the special mark on it. What chance would he have of getting the right one?” – Science Speaks: An Evaluation of Certain Christian Evidences

And that’s just eight prophesies!

These prophecies all came true through one man, Jesus. God’s plan for mankind was to send His son to save the world. As you anticipate this coming Christmas, remember the anticipation people felt for a thousand years before the coming Messiah. Set aside time to read through Luke chapters 1 and 2 to remember the coming of the promised Messiah.

Register Now for #OC18 – We Can Do More Together


“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa

Momentum is never an accident. It happens when everyone on the team is moving together in ONE direction. If you want momentum you have to stay focused, clear, and synchronized about what matters most.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…What matters most matters more.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…Parent and volunteers move in the same direction.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…Your core message becomes clearer and louder.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…What you do every week makes a greater impact.

When you lead as a team with ONE VOICE…The next generation wins!

There is a unique kind of momentum that happens when everyone in a church leads together as ONE VOICE. OC18 will be an opportunity to re-imagine the potential you can have as ONE VOICE

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Romans 12:4-5 (NLT)

Register today to join me at this year’s Orange Conference in Atlanta, April 25-27. 



Bonus: Enjoy a #OC18 phone backdrop!
Click for Blue
Click for Orange