Last week was my second time at Orange, and I really enjoyed it. Here are a few of the most important take-aways for me.
- The Gospel is Messy. So, I need to get into the mess. (Reggie Joiner). Reggie Joiner's opening message at Orange was really thought-provoking for me. Joiner challenged us to remember that Jesus left us here to take his gospel into a messy world. It struck me when Reggie said, "Jesus didn't live a sinless life to set a good example. He lived a sinless life so that he could die for us." Jesus couldn't have done what he did without getting messy.I'm thankful that Sojourn is a church where people take the gospel into the mess, but I was convicted that I often insulate myself from messiness. It's possible to do that even when you are part of a larger church community that regularly gets messy. Reggie's sermon reminded me of a video that the Jeff Street Baptist Center recently posted of Pastor Daniel serving alongside his family:Every family's dynamics are different. My family serving will look different from Daniel's, but, while at Orange, the Lord placed on my heart a couple of ways that I need to step out of my insulated life. Maybe I'll share more on that in the future.
- What are you leading for? Speaking of conviction... Megan and I attended a workshop led by Linda Martin, Special Needs Ministry Director at The Rock Church in San Diego, CA. These two comments at the end of her session on recruiting and training volunteers for special needs ministry were really convicting to me:
"Nothing teaches me more about trusting God than staffing our ministry with volunteers each week."
"Don't micro-manage volunteers because ministry is about God's glory, not your vision of the perfect classroom."
- 2 Questions for Special Needs Team. One of the leaders of the special needs breakouts was Meaghan Wall from Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX. Megan and I were really blessed to be able to meet her and hear her teach. This video of Meaghan talking about how she recruits volunteers posted during the conference. It's super encouraging to me: (HT: Tony Kummer)
- Resources I brought home that I'm excited about pouring over. I saw Kenny Conley in the bookstore, so I decided that I'd better purchase a copy of the Eric Trap. I'm excited about learning from Kenny, Sam, and Jim Wideman's leadership fable. We also got Amy Fenton Lee's DVD on special needs ministry, Surviving to Thriving. And I'm excited about pouring over Zombies, Football, and the Gospel by Reggie Joiner, one of the free give-aways at the conference.
- We had Vietnamese food with Jon Hessel. Jon is Family Pastor at the West County campus of The Journey Church in St. Louis. I've been good friends with Jon's colleague, Jeff Hutchings, for quite a while. I am super thankful to have gotten to meet Jon, to have shared great food, and to have prayed together for one another. Churches need pastors, and Jon is the real deal. Thankful for you, bro.