The Orange Conference – It’s Personal #OC19

OC18_social-media_OrangeStoreImage

What is your all-time favorite movie scene? Is there a scene that instantly comes to your mind that includes both inspiration and a man on a horse? 

One of my favorite scenes is found in the classic movie Braveheart. Specifically the scene with William Wallace’s speech to his army right before he leads the Scottish countrymen to fight. The Scotland men, coming from all sorts of backgrounds are united under the one voice of William Wallace. William makes this battle personal for Scotland fighting against their enemy England. There is a spur of action, passion, strategy, and precision. 

If you have ever been to Orange Conference, you have felt this exact same emotion. With energetic worship, passionate speakers, dynamic breakouts, and Seriously Night you will be ready to go to battle for your students, church, preteen, or junior higher. 

Orange Conference is the speech before the fight that William Wallace (Reggie Joiner) gives to the Scottish (attendees) and that is the amazing thing about Orange Conference. This gathering of 7,000+ people makes the fight personal. The Orange Conference is not the fight for Scotland (the church) this is our pep rally before the fight. Let’s make it personal. (Insert William Wallace voice here) Jesus made a difference because Jesus made it personal! Let’s do the same!

Registration opens on October 18th! Don’t miss this gathering. Don’t stay on the fence. Instead, come and find the inspiration you need to fight the good fight and finish the race.

5 Things to Look Forward to at Kidmin Nation Mega-Con

Untitled design-2

Hundreds of kids ministry leaders are making there way to Nashville for the Kidmin Nation Mega-Con! This year is going to be better than ever and I’m excited for what’s in store. Here are the top five things to look forward to at this year’s conference.

5. Learning to Color Outside the Lines

This year we will be challenged to remember Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece.” Speakers will share how to color outside the lines in your life, giving you a fresh perspective and new ideas to build up yourself and your ministry as His masterpiece! I’m sure God is going to use this theme to do something big in our lives.

4. The 2018 Chevy Malibu Giveaway!

It’s not every day a kid’s pastor walks away with a brand new car! I’m so excited to witness the blessing God has lined up for an attendee. The winner from last year gave God so much glory and it was awesome to watch the whole story unfold.

3. 160+ Sessions

With so many options and awesome speakers, you really can cater the conference to hear specific content to what you are working through in your ministry. I’m excited to hear from some of my heroes and friends and I’m honored to lead a creative teaching techniques class Friday morning. If you’re in Nashville and want to learn in a creative and fun environment, check out “Gamification!”

2. The Day of Awesome

The Day of Awesome will be such a memorable and fun experience. Ryan’s Favorite Things Party is sure to include a few giveaways and the Night of Worship is the perfect way to wrap up the day. And did I mention, the Jim Wideman Bobblehead Hunt? How cool is that!?!

1. New and Old Friends!

At this 3-day children’s ministry conference, friends from around the country will gather together and then head back home with their cups overflowing. There will be scheduled networking opportunities built into the conference and there will also be so much connection taking place online through the hashtag #KidminNation. 

If you’re in Nashville find me and say hey! If you’re unable to make it this year, pick up your ticket now for $99 and I’ll see you next year.

#D62018 Conference Day 1 Notes

Untitled design-4

Ron Hunter – @ronhunter

Planning for X – Backward Planning 

“Leadership and discipleship are two siblings in the same family.” 

We all have an “x”…the place where we are going to die. If you knew where it was, how would you live differently? How about the kids in your church? What would you do between now and then? With an end spot, how would you begin now to get there? 

As families, we have taken our kids to church and said…you do it, you’re the expert, you disciple my family. 

That one hour a week is nothing when it comes to a relationship with Jesus Christ. The hour a week at church is not enough for discipling our children. 

The Characteristic of a Healthy Church: Keep Refining Discipleship. Learning to be Christ-like and as a result, making disciple-makers. 

“Discipleship is at the heart of a healthy church.”

Biblical Foundation for Discipleship
Gen. 1:28
Deut. 6:4-7
Josh.24:15
Eph. 4:12-13
Ps. 78:6
Matt. 28:18-20

Like Little Green Army Men…

Realize your kids are different. 

Start as a newly enlisted private never stops. 

The General/Captain does not do all the training. 

We must prepare for life’s battles (defending their faith)

If you wait until the battle to prepare your kids, the odds are against them. 

“Discipleship reaches across generational lines. I know plenty of Millennials who would love to have people in the Boomer generation mentor their marriages.”

Toy Box Leadership: Leadership Lessons from the Toys You Loved as a Child by Ron Hunter

D6 Story-5

Rob Rienow – @visionaryfam

“Are you passionate in the church but passive in your house?” 

“I had been putting my spiritual opportunities in front of my spiritual responsibilities.”

“The Great Commission begins at home.”

“Family worship is the engine that powers the Christian family.” 

“We have Christian families, with well-fed children, who are starving spiritually.”

“The essential program for family ministry is family worship in the home.”

It’s never too late to start. 

“Family ministry is about equipping and accelerating the home for Gospel impact.”

At the end of the day, we want to see Jesus high and lifted up…not just at church on Sunday mornings but in every Christian home all over the world. 

Visionary Parenting: Capture a God-Sized Vision for Your Family by Rob Rienow Amy Rienow 

D6 Square-2

Lee Strobel – @LeeStrobel

“The virus of doubt is infecting too many of our young people.” 

1/3 Americans under the age of 35 have no religious affiliation. 

62% of millennial are certain that God exists. 

4 in 10 millennials say religion is important in their lives. 

Teens today are twice as likely as adults to say that they are atheists. 

The problem is we can not become complacent. 

They are leaving the church.

They are getting married later.

We have never seen such an effort to turn Christians into atheists. 

Young people are leaving the church at 5-6x the historic rate.

Most young people are sighting “intellectual doubts” for leaving the church. 

There is a pride in skepticism within this next generation. 

What can we do in our churches to rescue skeptics? 

Let young people know it’s okay to answer questions. Jesus answered people with sincere questions. 

Cultivate environments where it’s okay for people to express questions and doubt because there are people waiting in line to answer those questions. 

Help young people see that studying history and science can bring them closer to God. 

We need to give kids the confidence that we have truth on our side. 

“We have an unfair advantage on the marketplace of ideas. We have truth on our side.”

Doubt is like a nightmare. If you hold it in, it will erode your soul. But if you let it out and talk about it, it seems to lose the emotional hold it has on us. 

One of the 6 reasons young people are leaving the church is because they don’t feel the church is a safe place to ask questions. 

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel 

D6 Square-3

Breakout 1 – Family Ministry that Connects

Jeffrey Wallace – @IamJeffWallace

Students have a single story perspective driven by how they are raised. 

Was attending church an option or a mandate? 

What is the surrounding culture of your church? What are the surrounding demographics of the families in your church? Understand your demographics. 

  1. God desires for parents, guardians, and caregivers to love Him deeply and to love their kids deeply. 
  2. God desires for intentional discipleship to take place in both the home and the church.
  3. God desires the home and church to partner together to influence culture with the hopes of shaping the faith formation of a generation. 

Note: Together, the home and church exist to demonstrate God’s love to a broken world. 

What percentage of the kids in your youth group have parents who attend the church? 

What goes on in the connection points or bridges between ministries and family life stages? 

How many of you have an intentional transition strategy in your family ministry? 

How are you engaging in these particular subgroups?

  1. Parents, Guardians, Caregivers
  2. School
  3. Church Programming (internal/external)
  4. PTA/PCA

“Build relational equity with non-tradition parents so that they can experience the love of God.”

Family Ministry Strategy Chart

Where are you missing the mark? What’s missing in the strategy? 

“None and done until the 911”

And Jesus Grew…

Know: Upward development. Jesus grew in favor of God. Lordship/Disciples

Own: Inward development. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. Character/Discernment. 

Known: Outward Development. Jesus grew in favor with man. Relationships/Influence. 

-LifeWay Christian Resources, KNOWN Strategy. 

Family-Ministry Perspectives

Family-Integrated Ministry (family driven faith all worship together)

Family-Based Ministry (separate contexts, shared focus: Children’s Church and Teen Church)

Family-Equipping Ministry (Church and Home co-champions: A combination of the two)

The family-equipping ministry model retains some age-organized ministries but restructures the congregation to partner with parents at every level of ministry so that parents are acknowledged, equipped, and held accountable for the discipleship of their children.

Family-Equipping is a Both/And model. 

Why not have a family service? Why not have family-focused events? Have some of group 1 as well as group 2 in your family ministry model. 

Mobilize parents to be all things for their kids. Be mentally and emotionally engaged in the life of their kids. We should want parents to be a good parent. 

Let’s Talk About It

  1. What’s the family dynamics percentages in your context? Traditional? Non-traditional? Blended? Adoption? Foster? 
  2. Which of the 3 family ministry perspectives best fits your context today? Where do you want to be tomorrow?
  3. What activities, events, or programs are you doing to promote healthy family ministry strategy? 

D6 Story-3

15 Scriptures for Your Kids When Dealing with Racism

race

If you are like me, you wish by now we would have decided as humans to treat others the way we want to be treated. You wish the next generation would be further along than we are and that racism would be a thing of the past. I wish we would have overcome the need for a post like this, but maybe the reason racism is still an issue is due to a lack of action and counting on wishful thinking to fix a human rights issue. 

The reality is kids today are still battling this issue. If your kids have come home in tears after being bullied for their race, here are 15 truths to talk about as a family.

Jesus said the most important things are to love God and to love others. Real love does not judge someone based on their skin color or language. Real love treats others right. God doesn’t want anyone to be mistreated. Matthew 22:37-40 says, “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Everything that is written in the Law and the Prophets is based on these two commandments.”

You were made in the image of God, and this is a beautiful truth. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created human beings in his own likeness. He created them to be like himself. He created them as male and female.

You are God’s masterpiece. God has made you who you are on purpose and with a purpose in mind! Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

We are better together and we need each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 says, “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.”

God cares for you and loves everyone. He treats everyone the same. Deuteronomy 10:17-19a, “The Lord your God is the greatest God of all. He is the greatest Lord of all. He is the great God. He is mighty and wonderful. He treats everyone the same. He doesn’t accept any money from those who want special favors. He stands up for widows and for children whose fathers have died. He loves outsiders living among you. He gives them food and clothes. So you also must love outsiders.”

Racism is sinful. We are disobeying God when we treat others disrespectfully. James 2:8-9, “The royal law is found in Scripture. It says, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ If you really keep this law, you are doing what is right. But you sin if you don’t treat everyone the same. The law judges you because you have broken it.”

When someone sins against us, it hurts. We can take comfort in knowing God is close by. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to those whose hearts have been broken. He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.

We first sinned against God and hurt Him, yet He forgave us. Even when it’s hard, we must forgive, because He first forgave us. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “You are God’s chosen people. You are holy and dearly loved. So put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes. Don’t be proud. Be gentle and patient. Put up with one another. Forgive one another if you are holding something against someone. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you. And over all these good things put on love. Love holds them all together perfectly as if they were one.”

God is for everyone. He is Lord over everyone and He desires to save everyone, even those who sin against us. Romans 10:10-12, “With your heart you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth you say what you believe. And so you are saved. Scripture says, ‘The one who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ There is no difference between those who are Jews and those who are not. The same Lord is Lord of all. He richly blesses everyone who calls on him.”

Our mission is to share Jesus with all people. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”

It’s hard to keep doing the right thing, but don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up.”

Our future home, Heaven, has no room for racism. Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I looked, and there in front of me was a huge crowd of people. They stood in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. There were so many that no one could count them. They came from every nation, tribe and people. That’s true no matter what language they spoke. They were wearing white robes. In their hands they were holding palm branches.”

As followers of Jesus, we must never give up on love. We can hope for a better future and we must love, even when it’s hard. 1 Corinthians says 13:4-7, “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. It does not dishonor other people. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people’s wrongs. Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up.”

Love is an action. 1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, don’t just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.”

This is what love in action looks like. Romans 12:9-21 says, “Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love one another deeply. Honor others more than yourselves. Stay excited about your faith as you serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes. Bless those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not curse them. Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad. Agree with one another. Don’t be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren’t considered important. Don’t think that you are better than others. Don’t pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can. My dear friends, don’t try to get even. Leave room for God to show his anger. It is written, ‘I am the God who judges people. I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Do just the opposite. Scripture says, ‘If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. By doing those things, you will pile up burning coals on their heads.’ Don’t let evil overcome you. Overcome evil by doing good.” How do you think the world would look if everyone lived like Paul talks about in these verses?

I’m praying for you and your family. If you found hope or encouragement in another scripture, leave it in the comments! Other families might find it useful as well.

An Exciting Battle to Quickly Strengthen Small Groups

turf

Do you host an event built on small groups where both the students and the leaders are excited to be there? Do you leverage this event to build the weekend services and draw small groups closer, or is your event one and done? Each year we host a Turf War, which is a sure-fire event to quickly strengthen the small groups in our ministry. If you want to create a competitive event the students will become obsessed with there are a few things you need to consider. 

Before Launching Determine Your Battle

You are going to want to create a game or activity where small groups can compete against each other. This should be something that will be attractive to both the boys and the girls in your ministry. We have played game like “Capture the Hair Product” which is a mashup between multi-team Capture the Flag and a hairstyle contest, “Funnoodles” which is an Olympics style battle using pool noodles in each competition, and “Triangulation” which is an innovative game of 18 simultaneous activities to earn points for your small group. Before launching and advertising your Turf War determine which game you will be playing but keep the actual game confidential to build excitement.  

As You Introduce Turf War Build Energy

Don’t make the announcements informative but rather use your stage time to build competition. We place a graphic on the screen that reveals that important information and team colors and our host will rile up the competition by talking about how the blue team will annihilate the red team. The host reminds the kids that the bigger teams will have an advantage and to start bringing their friends each Sunday to grow their team. We never reveal the actual battle between the small groups but we might give clues to build excitement. 

Leading Up To The Event

There are so many opportunities to take advantage of prior to the day of the event. You can begin rewarding bonus points towards the turf war. Maybe you see students helping with putting away chairs and want to reward them, just give their small group Turf War Points. Or when students compete in an on-stage game instead of giving them a physical prize you could give their small group bonus points. The week before the event you could even tell the kids to come dressed in their small group color and award points for those who participated. To track our points and display them live in services we used the “Color Wars” presentation from DYM’s Sidekick App. 

turf2

Bottom Line – Small Groups have something to look forward to together and the event builds such a strong community. Take my advice and look for an innovative way to build and strengthen your small groups. If you have an idea for a future game that could be used for a Turf War, leave it in the comments!

The Orange Tour Is Now A Huge Gift to Parents

PCL

You probably heard about the Orange Tour, but do you know about Parent Cue Live and Lead Small Night? Orange Tour is a one-day event in 17 cities across the country and the night before, parents and small group leaders have the opportunity to engage in practical and fun training.

Parent Cue Live is a two-hour experience where Orange will help parents become more connected to your community of faith and more intentional at home. Every parent desires to better understand their kids, engage with them more intentionally, and learn how to dialogue with them about critical issues.

For less than the cost of dinner and a movie, Parent Cue Live will help you…
REDISCOVER what your kids need most in every phase
REPRIORITIZE how you engage with your kids every week
REIMAGINE how to dialogue with your kids about critical issues
RETHINK ways to partner with a church to impact your kid’s future

At Lead Small Night, we’ll talk leader-to-leader about practical ways to impact the lives of kids and students at every phase. Small Group Leaders will rally around a common language that helps them win in leading the next generation.

Your Orange Tour ticket includes registration to not only this event but also to the night before! Make sure to mark your calendar to attend either Parent Cue Live or Lead Small Night!

pcl2

What If Your Team was Challenged to All Move Towards the Same Goal?

Ever notice how your team is working exceedingly hard, but pulling in different directions? How would your job feel if your team was challenged to all move to the same goal?

When your entire ministry team comes to one conference to learn, dream, and grow together you can be sure the office will feel the impact for years to come.

d6

At the D6 Conference, you will hear over 50 of the top family ministry speakers. Robby Gallaty will challenge you to rediscover your discipleship model. Brian Haynes will bring the clarity you need to build bridges between the church and the home. And Jim Wideman will help you think differently when it comes to successfully parenting over the long haul!

Instead of walking away from a conference feeling overwhelmed, the D6 Conference will inspire your team to get on the same page when it comes to equipping church leaders and empowering parents. Your ministry will be blessed as you incorporate Deuteronomy Chapter 6 into every day of the week. You will be encouraged as you network with other people building God’s Kingdom. And your soul will feel refreshed as you spent time worshiping, studying and learning how to intentionally impact every generation.

Over the years, I have been personally challenged with many impactful takeaways. Ron Hunter taught “The Slinky Dog is about leadership. Point the way, stretch and let the back catch up.” Robby Gallaty taught the KISS Method of evaluating: Keep, Increase, Start, Stop. And Christina Embree helped us all understand, “Brushing your teeth can become discipleship. Parking far away can be discipleship. Hearing sirens can be discipleship.”

If you are looking to grow as a Christ follower, spouse, parent, and pastor then I encourage you to join us in Greensboro, NC for the 2018 D6 Conference!

31946328_10216656206463786_6093455035537031168_o

Book Review & 2 Book Giveaway- Caught In Between by Dan Scott

IMG_3568

Are your preteens getting lost in the transition from childhood to adolescence? What if you could stop losing kids and instead engage them through a preteen environment intentionally designed to help them own their faith? What if your environment offered preteens the tools they need to move forward with their faith into adulthood? 

In Caught In Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out, Dan Scott shows readers how preteens think. Their brains are changing, they face school stress, extracurriculars are demanding their time, and all the while they are being bombarded by digital media. In the midst of this chaos, the church can be either a place that feels irrelevant or a place that adapts to fit their needs. 

This book is a practical resource to help you rethink preteen ministry. In our teaching, Dan challenges us to think, “How does what we share impact the rest of their week?” He shows us, “Our job is to move preteens from learning facts about the Bible to finding themselves in the Bible.” And he explains, “Our goal is to emphasize how the Bible relates to today while honoring why the passage was written in the first place. 

After giving us insight into the world of a preteen, Dan shows readers how to plan, prepare, and launch a preteen ministry and then he offers worksheets and checklists to keep you on track. Caught in Between is a resource for pastors and volunteers who desire to build a strong preteen ministry in their church. 

To buy your copy, just click the link: Caught In Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out.

To be entered to win a copy, just share this blog post and tag me (@coreyrayjones) and I’ll be mailing out two copies within the next 10 days. 

Does Your Team Have Momentum? #OT18

OT18Artboard 19FB_851x315

Is your team all working towards the same goal? What would happen if everyone began moving together in one direction? At this year’s Orange Tour you can bring your team and begin seeing what would happen if you began speaking with One Voice. 

Parents and small group leaders are working toward common goals . . .

Staff and volunteers are compelled by a common vision . . .

Those who have influence are speaking a common language . . .

The church and the home are connected by a common strategy . . .

An entire community is inspired to champion common values . . .

#OT18 will be an opportunity to re-imagine the potential you can have as One Voice. 

Check out this video and then go sign your team up!

 

High Voltage Curriculum Review and Giveaway

Do you love your midweek curriculum? Do your kids? About three and a half years ago, we evaluated our midweek children’s program and realized we needed to make a change. One big change came through our choice of curriculum. We wanted something that captured the attention of our kids, could easily be taught by volunteers, and apply to both the first timer as well as every time the doors are open kids.

After thorough research, we gave High Voltage a try and have been using it ever since. Like all curriculum, we make some edits to fit our culture but over the years our students have both fallen in love with Skittles as we learned Biblical throughs.

“Jesus is for Everyone” taught our kids to be evangelists. Jesus spent His time ministering to the hurting, the sick, the lost, and the poor. Jesus was willing to spend time with ANYONE who would listen to His message.

“Joseph: Living the Dream” helped out kids understand how God can work through even life’s toughest circumstances. Though a 10-week view of the life of Joseph, we learned how to respond to failure, success, and even temptation.

And in “Questions, Questions, Questions” we were learning from six of the questions Jesus asked. Jesus used questions as a powerful tool and the kids, as well as the leaders, were challenged by these teachings.

If you’re looking for an easy to use curriculum packed with practical application, then give High Voltage Kids a try!

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be giving away some of our pasts High Voltage series. Sign up to follow my blog via email or share this post and you will be entered to win!