After a full day of travel and the soft onramp of some initial breakout sessions, it was finally time for the kick off session at the Orange Conference. With 8,000 fellow ministry professionals and volunteers in attendance, the place was full of anticipation for the night to begin.
In classic Orange style, the opening skit was fun and set the stage for the week to come.
The theme of this year's conference is "Monday is Coming." For all the prep work of getting ready to get here, I have to admit, I was not that excited about this theme or where I thought it was going. But, like always, the people at orange went above and beyond to make clear that Sunday is not the center of our ministry universe, rather, Monday is Coming.
It was obvious that the people at Orange are leaning hard into making sure their voice is relevant to our context. From the talent on stage, to the hosts, singers, and story tellers, we heard from people from many different socio-economic, racial, and gender backgrounds. Besides the beautiful mosaic of people who were on stage, there was a clear directive that this curriculum company, and even more so, the church, must be speaking a language that is relevant for the "real people" who spend 40-60 hours a week for 40 years of their life at work.
After four different people shared about how Mondays can be uncertain, loud, and chaotic, Reggie dropped the hammer hard on us.
There was a lot that was said, but here are a few take aways I had:
- If we are going to do our Sunday job well, we must keep in mind where will people will be on Monday.
- Instead of self serving our programs, our programs and ministries must serve and launch people into their Mondays.
- We will have no idea how to do this well unless we actually know these people and their world.
- We must have empathy and walk in their shoes.
- In fact, Jesus modeled this for us when he became human to sit with us in our world.
- Now He stands at the door and knocks, longing to be invited in.
- We, as the church, are the body of Christ and must go and be with people, sit with people, be Christ for people, and open the doors of our hearts and churches for other people.
- Children's and Student ministry are the most amazing ministries ever and we must get our crap together to we can be generous with our hearts and we love and care for students right into the Kingdom of God.
This isn't exactly what Reggie said, but this the basic gist.
All of this is just day one. I am pumped for another day of sessions, seminars, time with my team, and time with friends and colleagues. I love Orange and love the way they are sold out to bring Jesus to the next generation.
I have a couple more updates coming, plus you can follow the hashtag #OC16 to see what everyone is saying about this conference on twitter.
While night one is in the bag, but there are 6 more main sessions to go. If you would like to watch from home and experience some of this incredible and inspirational content, you can check out the live stream.