You Will Love to Laugh and Learn with Your Team

Don’t you just love quality time with your friends filled with laughter and deep insights? With 15 stops all across the country, Orange Tour is an opportunity you’ll kick yourself if you miss. This one-day event will end with you and your team feeling inspired and equipped to make disciples of the next generation!

At Orange Tour Your Team Will Laugh

It’s so life-giving to relax for a minute and simply laugh with your team. Ministry can be full of deep and difficult conversations and during your programming, it’s hard to step back and just enjoy being present. Take a day to be blessed with shared memories and deeper more personal relationships. 

The Visionary Training Will Stick

You know how you say something a thousand times but it fails to stick until another person says the exact same thing? Well, Orange Tour might be what your team needs to create a common language with intentional vision. With speakers like Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivey, Jon Acuff, Kara Powell, and Kellen Moore, you know your team will walk away with top-notch training. And don’t forget, with this being a regional event, you will also have access to a network of orange thinkers from your part of the country! 

And Best of All, It’s Affordable

This one-day local event means your conference experience is affordable! You can gather your whole team for an opportunity to experience Orange at just a fraction of the cost. And if sending your team even for the tour is out of your price range, consider doing what I did and invite them if they pay their way. 

An Orange Event is coming to a city near you! Registration is now open, pay only $99!

Originally shared on the Orange Leaders Blog at http://orangeblogs.org/orangeleaders/2019/07/12/will-love-laugh-learn-team/

Quick Book Review & Free Giveaway: Stretch by Jim Wideman

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If you’re leading a team of volunteers or oversee a ministry, you celebrate and search after growth. In Jim Wideman’s informative book, Stretch – Structuring Your Ministry For Growth, he asks the questions, “If a hundred new families walked into your church, would you know what do do with them? Would their kids have teachers? Would they even have a classroom? If fifty people who wanted to serve approached you this Sunday, could your system handle it?” These questions will challenge your thinking and throughout the book you will be see how to create a growth structure for your ministry. 

Stretch Teaches The Following Topics:

The Importance of Structure

Making Room to Receive

Beginning Keys to Building Structure in Ministry

Structuring Yourself for Growth

Enlarging the Abilities of Those You Lead

Structuring Your Organization for Growth

Structuring Your Volunteers for Growth

Structuring Your Facilities for Growth

Communicating Your Structure

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you desire to apply Biblical principles of structuring your ministry for growth, then Stretch is for you. Pick up a copy for yourself and then lead your team through each chapter. Take steps today, to move away from a maintenance model and create a strategic plan for the ministry you are stewarding.

If you would like to be entered for a chance to win a physical copy of Stretch, simply share this blog post to social media. 

How to Squeeze Every Drop Out of the Orange Conference

 

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The Orange Conference is a terrific opportunity for big next steps in your ministry, but few consider preparation a fundamental step for a successful experience. Here are five tips to help you squeeze every drop out of the Orange Conference this year!

Prepare Physically 

Registration for The Orange Conference 2017 opens October 13.  If you purchase your ticket opening day, you save money and get Insider First Access to Breakouts. We all love saving money, but what you may not realize is that breakouts fill up fast and with First Access, you get the best deal!

After you purchase your ticket, you’ll want to figure out transportation and which hotel or AirBnB you will use. To continue preparing physically, you may want to consider the purchase of an external battery for your phone, trying on some new orange shoes, and drinking a Crush Soda.

Prepare Mentally  

You will most likely be taking off work to attend this midweek conference, so prepare to be away. Complete your work for the days you’ll be gone as well as get ahead a few days so that once you return you can process what you learned and plan for the future. You need to build in mental margin so that you are ready to both receive and digest new information. If you have a large project you’re working on or a application-heavy book you’re reading, get to a stopping point before you head to Atlanta so your mind can set that aside and focus on why you’re there. Read through the brochures and breakout descriptions now so that you can prepare yourself for the content that will be coming your way.

Prepare Emotionally 

To squeeze every drop out of the Orange Conference you need to be fully present. Schedule quality and quantity time with your family before your departure, even if they will be attending with you. If separated from your family, let your spouse know when you will be available to FaceTime and set those appointments into your calendar. If you find yourself going into the conference emotionally drained then you may want to schedule some down time for yourself and quiet time with God. At the conference you will laugh, cry, and worship, so prepare yourself emotionally for these times.

Prepare Socially

Begin today by following #OC17 on your favorite social media. This will be a great way to connect with speakers, bloggers, and the Orange community! Consider updating your profile and snapping a recent photo so that people will recognize you when they bump into you in the coffee line. Schedule a meal or two with your online community and make sure you prepare quality questions to make the most of these opportunities. You will be surprised at how much you can learn and grow when you prepare socially for the conference.

Prepare Spiritually

One of the most important questions you can ask in preparation is, “Father, what do you want to teach me?” Ask the Spirit to guide your breakout selection and for Him to open your heart to what you need to hear. Know that the conference schedule is packed, but this does not mean that you need to be at everything. Even Jesus withdrew from the crowds to be with His Father.

Whether this is your first Orange Conference or if you’ve been there since the beginning, take some time to fully prepare so that you can squeeze every drop from this year’s Orange Conference!

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A Useful Scripture Memory Tool Endorsed By Me

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Do you wish you had the willpower to memorize Scripture? Do you find it challenging to commit your favorite passages to memory? If you’re like most people who believe in the Bible, you wish you knew more verses by heart but have not taken the time to study. I recently found a scripture memory tool that works for me; membands. 

Membands are silicone wristbands that help the wearer memorize a verse. Embossed on the outside of the bracelet are capital letters, the scripture reference, and the membands logo. For example, I am currently wearing a memband that says, “TIMCBSACDNBAODFTLYGIWYWYG.” Embossed on the inside of the bracelet the verse is written out, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When I first put the bracelet on, it looks like a secret code, but after a few hours, there is a breakthrough where I can easily look at the letters and remember the verse. After a day or so of glancing at my wrist while holding a coffee, driving down the road, or going for a walk I am always surprised that the verse is committed to memory. Then as the week is over, I can delight in knowing a new verse and can give this bracelet to someone who needs to hear the verse.

Membands are one of the many tools out there to help you focus on God’s Word. Over the last month, this method has proven itself to work for me. The company has plans to launch a Smartphone App to track shared bands and they are even looking into a subscription plan. If you’re looking for an easy way to hide God’s word in your heart, check out membands. 

 

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3 Common Mistakes KidMin Make (And How to Avoid Them)

3 Common Mistakes

Hopefully, you are not the same caliber leader you were last year. And hopefully, you are not making the same mistakes today that you made yesterday. At least a dozen times I have heard Jim Wideman say, “Successful leaders make mistakes, and then they learn from those mistakes and keep going.” Today I want to share with you three common mistakes kidmin leaders make and how to avoid them.

1. Self-Reliance

Far too many KidMin leaders are relying on the strengths that God gave them instead of the God who gave them those strengths. Psalm 127:1 clearly states, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” God has also blessed you with a team who He has given specific and intentional gifts. Are you equipping those under your leadership to use their talents for God’s kingdom? If you are making the mistake of self-reliance, take a step in the right direction today by repenting and asking both God and your team for their forgiveness.

2. Not Allowing Outside Voices

One of the greatest catalysts for taking your next step in leadership is allowing someone to speak truth into your life. Find someone further down the road than you and invite them into your life. Ask specific questions that allow the mentor to address personal character issues as well as areas of failure that you might not see. Also, learn from coaches or people who you might not have a relationship with by reading their books and blogs. Learn from others successes as well as their failures. If a coach gives you personal access to them, ask great questions and apply the wisdom they shared with you. There are also local kidmin leaders who you can learn from if you allow the opportunity. If you are not allowing outside voices into your life, take a step in the right direction today by researching a mentoring group or inviting someone to speak truth into your life.

3. Failure To Prioritizing

Kids ministry is never really finished. There are always more prayers to be prayed, more conversations to have, and more people to evangelize. The sad truth is that while many kidmin leaders are busy doing work, very few are getting the important work done. With 168 hours in the week, you need to know and live by your priorities. If God is truly number one, is this reflected in your time and finances? If your family truly comes before your ministry, is this demonstrated in your kid’s attitude towards your job? If you are failing to prioritize, take a step in the right direction today by physically writing out your priorities and creating an action plan to keep them in the right order.

What Mistakes Do You See? 

I have outlined 3 common mistakes KidMin make and how to avoid them. What mistakes would you add to this post and how do you avoid them? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

5 Reasons Why Preteens Answer The Question of the Day

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Questions propel leaders forward. One of the best questions you can ask is simply the question, “Why?” Why did you make that decision? Why did your organization make that change? Why do you do what you do? Recently, I was asked the question, “Why do the preteens answer the question of the day?” I want to give you five reasons and a quick bonus idea about asking your preteens the question of the day.

1. Ensure students check in.
The answer to these questions is written directly on the students name tag. In order for a student to share their answer, they need to first check in. If you ever feel like the bad guy by continually asking students to check in then the question of the day can reframe your situation. Instead of asking if they checked in, ask how they answered today’s question.

2. Foster self-expression.
Preteens are developing their own personalities and are beginning to think for themselves. Asking the question of the day will help students express themselves in a safe and friendly environment. Questions are phrased in such a way where there is no right or wrong answer but simply determining what the students favorite option is in a specific situation.

3. Deepen understanding and preferences.
Do you know if the students in your ministry prefer pepperoni or cheese pizza? If the preteens had an hour to kill, do you know what they would do for fun? What TV shows are they watching and what books do they read? Asking your students these questions can help you gain a deeper understanding of their culture.

4. Easily divide students or set up teams for a game.
If you want to divide your room in half ask a question that will do this for you. Ask if students prefer the toilet paper up and over or down and under then use that answer to divide the room. If you need four teams ask which subject is their favorite in school: Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, or Science.

5. Encourage friendships and connections.
Students love to connect. Two students build a connection when they write the same answer to the question, “If you could only eat ONE food forever, what would it be?” Friendships are developed when preteens get to know each other and talking about the answer to these questions can help.

As you can see the question of the day can be an easy system that you can begin using in your ministry to help both your students and their leaders. These questions can tie into the lesson, worship time, a game you are playing, or even the current season. For a quick bonus idea, you can even ask your students what they would like to ask and then use their questions in the future.

Do you have a question of the day in your ministry? What questions would you like to ask your students? Are there other benefits that you would like to add to this list? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

Why You Need To Listen To These 24 Excellent Podcasts

 

Why You Need To Listen To These 24 Excellent Podcasts

Podcasts continue to break download records year after year. With a growth in popularity and expanding options, it’s good to have an inside scoop to know what podcasts are worth your time. After daily listening to a dozen podcasts for a few years, I want to share some of my absolute favorites. Here are 24 excellent podcasts to subscribe to today!

Southern Hills Christian Church – Sunday morning services from a church making disciples who are making disciples.

Connexus Church Audio Podcast – Whether church has been part of your life or not, these 40-minute messages can help you grow in your relationship with God.

The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – Leadership, change, and personal growth to help you lead like never before.

theClub Leadership Podcast with Jim Wideman – Designed especially for NextGen & children’s ministry as well as any leader who wants to take advantage of over 40 years of children’s and family ministry experience.

Leadership with Ryan Frank – Created to help you lead and communicate with excellence.

Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – A conversation designed to help leaders go further, faster.

Perry Noble Leadership Podcast – For those who are ready to be challenged in their faith and stretched as leaders.

Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast – A conversation designed to help you make the most of your potential as you work to become the leader God created you to be.

The Leadership Momentum Podcast – The world’s top church leaders candidly sharing their inspiration wisdom and bold advice.

Growing Leaders Podcast – Practical advice on leading the next generation.

Chris Brown’s True Stewardship – Biblical advice and expert solutions to callers with questions on managing God’s blessings, God’s way, for God’s glory

This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt – Intentional leadership to help you live with more passion, work with greater focus, and lead with extraordinary influence.

The ChurchLeaders Podcast – Ground-breaking conversations with today’s top ministry leaders designed to help you lead better.

5 Leadership Questions – Five questions of different guests or about different leadership topics.

ChurchMag Podcast – A candid discussion on church tech and creativity.

Youth Ministry Answers – Questions from youth ministry for youth ministers.

FourFiveSix.org – Great ideas to take your preteen ministry to the next level.

Parent Cue Live – Designed to help families do family better; featuring parenting experts.

D6 Podcast – Helping Children’s Ministers and Youth Ministers build an excellence Family Ministry.

Focus on Marriage – Timeless wisdom from Focus on the Family that will challenge and encourage you in your marriage.

Creative Sheep Podcast – Communicating God’s love through excellent content.

TED Talks – Ideas worth sharing to inspire, intrigue and stir the imagination from some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers.

The Social Media Examiner Show – A daily dose of marketing vitamin that will equip you to take your social media to an entirely new level.

The Accidental Creative – Shares how to build practical, everyday practices that will help you stay prolific, brilliant and healthy in life and work.

 

What about you?
What should I add to my list?
Is there a podcast that you listen to regularly and enjoy?

Why You Need To Create A Summer Book Club

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What if summertime was a time of growth and renewal in your family? What if instead of putting in those earbuds and dividing around the house, your family was intentional about coming together with God at the center? I believe creating a family devotion time will not only help kids grow in their faith, but also move the entire family’s faith beyond Sunday mornings.

At Southern Hills Christian Church, we have created a summer book club where families join together in developing a habit that will influence their child’s relationship with God. A summer-long commitment might seem like hard work, but families who join the summer book club see how these daily times together impact kids forever.

The format is simple, families sign up on our church web page and pay for the book for their aged kids. When we deliver their book, we give a general outline and suggestions for their family. Then throughout the summer, we provide accountability and encouragement to the families who are participating. All summer long we share stories of success and cheer families on to a successful summer. At the end of the summer, we provide some next steps for families and thank them for being the primary spiritual influence of their kids.

We look for books that will capture the attention of kids with an easy to read format. Here are some of our favorite books so far:

Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel
Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado
The Action Bible Devotional by Jeremy Jones
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Stand Up – Get in the Story by Dan Scott

Will you consider creating an opportunity for your families to come together during the summer to grow closer to one another and God? Is there a book that you would suggest we look into for next summer? And if you are a SoHills family, have you signed up?!?

A Year With Apple Watch. Now What?

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If you’re like most people, when you see someone wearing an apple watch you have a dozen questions pop into your head. What can it do? Is it worth the expense? Should I get one? After a year of wearing one on my wrist, there are a few things leaders need to know about this tool.

Notifications can easily distract you. When your phone buzzes or a little icon flashes across your screen do you instantly begin clicking? With so many distractions in life, it’s convenient to be able to simply glance at your wrist to stay connected. Being able to instantly receive and respond to messages is important for a leader and I have only the important notifications showing up on my watch. No longer am I being distracted by email or Facebook notifications while trying to complete tasks. With apple watch you can receive important notifications through apps like Slack and reminders.

Customized and personal watch face. With a quick glance, I can see not only the date and time but my upcoming calendar events and my physical health and activity for the day. When planning out your day and setting appointments, it’s easy to stay on task by simply spinning the crown to time travel through your day. On days where I want a change of pace, it’s nice to be able to change the face to something relaxing and less busy. Not only does the watch track steps, but with a quick glance, I can also see my daily exercise and activity goals.

Convenience. When you have dirty hands but want to answer a call, an apple watch is convenient. When you want to pause apple tv but can’t find the remote, it’s just a few swipes away. Lose your phone and want to quickly ping it, swipe up and click the icon. Want to set a discrete timer to end your meeting on time, it’s simple. The apple watch and iPhone are interchangeable and many times throughout the day, it’s just more convenient to do things from your wrist.

Time is the new currency and everyone needs to be tracking how they spend their days. Any watch is a great tool in pushing you forward but back to the original question: should you get one? Yes and No. The apple watch is an amazing tool but like all resources, it’s more important how you use it. Notifications can be set up poorly to be a consistent distraction. A customized watch face is great, but if you don’t keep a calendar then looking at your watch will only tell you that you have no appointments. And while it is super convenient to pause Netflix without searching for the remote if you waste all day on the couch this tool isn’t going to help you reach your goals.

5 Tips To Prepare For A Successful Conference

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The more conferences I attend, the more I see that most people fail to prepare and therefore miss out on great opportunities at conferences. What if I told you there are 5 easy things that you can do today to set yourself up for future success at your next conference?

1. Only attend conferences that fit your mission. With hundreds of new conferences starting each year you need to make sure you attend the ones that fit your goals. Do you believe in the mission of the organization? Why do most people attend this particular event? Who do you know who has already attended this conference and what were their big takeaways?

2. Pay early and register for all activities. It’s no secret that the earlier you pay for a conference the better rate you will find. After you purchase your ticket, line up all airfare and housing arrangements. Make sure you have selected your breakouts and all events taking full advantage of the opportunities to grow.

3. Line up meetings with those who you want to learn from. A quick tweet or email to your favorite conference speakers and bloggers can land you an hour long coffee or dinner for personal coaching. Make a list of those who you want to learn from and see if they can work you into their schedule. Pay for their coffee or take them out to dinner to show appreciation for their time and come prepared with solid questions. These appointments may become the best learning opportunities for you but you need to schedule them ahead of time.

4. Write everything into your calendar. Between the thousands of people moving around and being unfamiliar with the building, conferences can be hectic. Prepare for a successful conference by writing everything into your digital calendar. While everyone else is rushing around and flipping through paperwork to figure out where to go next, you can simply glance at your smartphone or watch and head in the right direction.

5. Pack smart. Dress in layers because you will be freezing in one session and burning up in the next. Know the audience of those who will be attending the conference and dress appropriately. Leave room in your luggage for the books and resources you will be picking up and make sure to bring an external battery for your dying cell phone.

Like most things in life, with a little preparation the outcome will be more successful. Here are 5 of my tips for preparing for your next conference. Let me know in the comments what else you would add or share with me what conference you think every leader should be attending!