The Orange Conference 2015

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I am so excited for The Orange Conference 2015!! #OC15 is a conference for Family Ministry Teams. It is right around the corner, April 29 -May 1. Last year was my first year attending and I am hooked!

The Orange Conference does a great job of holding the tension between deep thinking and creativity. I walked away challenged, inspired, energized, and full of vision for the passions in my heart.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from last year:

“Smart parents don’t want more to do, they want to do a few things better” Mike Clear

“Your awkward prayers as a parent are more impactful to your child than a perfectly constructed prayer from the pastor”

“Preschool – Embrace – Help them embrace God’s love

Elementary – Engage – help them trust God’s character and live out God’s story

Middle School – Shift – Help them own their own faith, never let them do faith alone.

High School – Mobilize – Help them deepen their discipleship and lean into their greater mission” Kristen Ivy

“Brave their [kids and teenagers] mess: diapers and drool to divorce//learning to making bad choices. Speak life into the messy places. Mess is not final or fatal” Heather Zempel  

“Church isn’t about you, it’s about what God can do through you, not for you” Jeff Henderson

“Unexpressed doubt is toxic in the life of a teenager. Silence is toxic” Kara Powell

“What to say to a teenager . . .’I don’t know but Jesus is bigger than our biggest question” Kara Powell

“It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way” Perry Nobel

“Say YES to finding your story in His-story”

These are just some of the nuggets I took away from The Orange Conference 2014. If you can join thousands of other in Georgia, it will be worth every penny. If you have not registered you can do so here.

Let me know if you are going! I would love to connect with you.

500 feet = Perspective

Fontanel2

On a recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee I had the opportunity to tour Fontanel, the former home of Barbara Madrell. Depending on your age you are either thinking “Who is she?” or “Can I eat Crackers in my bed?”  She was a country singer, song writer, musician – a very talented lady! When I was a little girl, six or seven, I remember sitting with my mom watching Barbara Madrell and the Madrell sisters on TV. It was a variety type show. My mom loved it.

Fontanel, is a 27,000 square foot log cabin nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Whites Creek Valley, just outside of Nashville! It has 20 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, an indoor pool, a large great room, an indoor shooting range, and much more.

While taking the tour we heard about how Barbara’s husband, who was also the builder of the cabin, found the land they called Fontanel while flying his helicopter. He viewed the land they fell in love with from the air. Now, I have only been in a helicopter once (another story for another time) and let me tell you, you can see for miles. Being up in the air in a helicopter is a different feeling than an airplane. It is slower, moves differently, and the view of the ground is fantastic. I can only imagine how beautiful the Fontanel property would have looked like from 500-1000 feet about the ground.

After the tour I was sitting around with other ministry leaders and we began to discuss what we noticed and learned on our tour. This point stuck out to me . . .what if we looked at our situations (in ministry and life) from an areal view, 500 feet in the air looking down? What would we see? I’m not sure if the Mandrell’s had walked up the hills on that property they would have seen all its possible.

In ministry and in family life we can be so busy, focused, or even overwhelmed that we often look at many situations from the ground level. Sunday to Sunday. One sports season to the next sports season. What would happen if we stepped back and looked at life, our calendar, our passions, different types of situations, from a more broad perspective? Would we make different decisions? Would it give us a new perspective?

The way I have best lived this out in my life is with the passing of my parents. As I walked through the pain of loss and grief, I often felt like I was walking through the forest. I was looking at everything from a ground level perspective. I was walking right by the refreshing waters or a place to rest, I was lost, I could not see those needed places through the trees. Once I could navigate life from a 500 foot perspective, I could see where I could rest, where the healing waters ran, and found a place to plant. It didn’t change my pain, it just changed how I processed it.

I would encourage you today to get above the trees. Find sometime to look at your ministry, family, and life from 500 feet. My prayer is that as you get above the situations in life, the Lord would show you his perspective and he would lead you to those perfect places.

10 Ways to Lead and Invest in Your Team

IMG_4996Over the last six months I have journeyed with a group of children and youth pastors through a mentoring/leadership coaching program called Infuse. Jim Wideman leads this group with a desire to see leaders grow in their abilities. I have learned so much from Brother Jim and this awesome group of people!

Recently on our Infuse retreat we all shared five things we do to Lead and Invest in our Team. For some of us in the Infuse group, team means 10 volunteers, for others it means 5 paid staff and 200 volunteers. What I love about the list below is that the you can lead and invest in your team no matter the size.

This is what I have learned from my Infuse group on how to lead and invest in teams. I tagged each of the people who shared their idea. Go follow them. They are great leaders!

10 Ways to Lead and Invest in Your Team

1 – Spiritual Care of your team is important. When a volunteer says, “Will you pray for me?” Stop and do it right then! (Spencer Click)

2 – Resource your team using DropBox: When coming across great articles or video resources, put them in your dropbox and share the link with your leaders. It is a digital resource cabinet to aid in developing your team. (JC Thompson)

3 – When evaluating situations or process ask these questions:

What’s right? – Then amplify it

What’s wrong? – Then fix it

What’s missing? – Then add it

What’s confusing? – Then make it clear  (Jim Wickenkamp)

4 – When meeting with you teams try to give them 3 things:

Something for their heads  – This can be leadership principles or teaching a new skill

Something for their hearts – This can be encouragement, refocusing on Jesus, something to uplift their hearts.

Something for their hands – Give them a tool to use, some type of resource that will help them in their position. (Lisa Walker)

5 – Praise them publicly for a job well done on their Facebook or Twitter account! Who doesn’t enjoy getting a little social media love? (Helen Fuller)

6 – Bless your volunteers more by blessing their kids. Show up at games, treat them to ice cream, genuinely show care for the kids of your team. (Helen Fuller)

7 – Get your team before your Pastor. We are all here to serve our Pastor. Find a time for them to spend time together. (Adrienne Blauvelt)

8 – Shift our language from Volunteer to Ministry Partner. We truly are co-laboring together. (Greg Ferguson)

9 – Know the difference between being a bird dog or a bull dog for your team. A bird dog gets on the point and sticks with it until it is done. A bull dog holds on to what is important and won’t let go. Be decisive and focused like a bird dog and be tenacious as a bull dog for your team. (Jim Wickenkamp)

10 – Invest Money in who you believe they will be. Let’s help our team grow by believing that they can too grow. (Joshua Simpson)

Which one of these do you like? Do you have any to add to this list? I would love to hear how you lead and invest in your team.

Shower Wall Dreaming

The New Year fosters a wide range of emotions for me. The excitement for a new beginning, blank pages, endless possibilities …

It also provokes moments of panic (what if I don’t measure up), overwhelming dreams (that is too big, someone might laugh at that one) . . .

I joined Jon Acuff’s #DoOverBook Challenge. It is a ten-day hustle and work your dream type of program. Part of the challenge is joining a Facebook group. It has been awesome to read through the thousands of post from people starting the year with purpose, accountability, and dreaming. I love it. It excites me. It helps me dream.

So my first day of this challenge was to choose a dream I would like to chase. I was struggling to come up with my hustle (the focus of my ten days).

I was in the shower and I started to dream and pray {don’t you do your best work in the shower?} I took one the boy’s soap crayons and wrote my vision for the year using words, putting them on the shower wall.

I didn’t wipe them off when I got out. Later in the day the boys showered and noticed my writing. When I helped them get out of the shower I noticed they had taken the initiative to dream a little on their own. Now, I’m not sure they really were dreaming or just wanted to participate in the writing on the wall. It didn’t matter to me!

I was blown away by some of their thoughts. With no prompting of mine they were able to write down things they thought were important. I love seeing into the minds of my kids. I must say, I was very proud of their dream wall. This is what their wall said …

#DoOverBook

So this year I start my #DoOverBook challenge inspired by three little boys who can dream without any fear of being told they can’t. I am praying you can dream too! Want to dream with me?

Here’s to 2015!