18 Feb Orange Conference 2020!
Wanna Get Away?
It’s the trademark of Southwest Airlines. I have no affiliation with that organization except that I fly on their planes from time to time, but I do love the idea of a get away! I love my job and I love being at my church every Sunday. As a matter of fact, I miss it when I’m not home for the weekend, but I also love when I can step away for a few days and unplug. The Orange Conference is an opportunity for me to do that each year and I am so excited to head to Atlanta at the end of April for OC20!
A Retreat Like No Other
In many ways, Orange is a retreat for me each year. A time to unplug, reset, and refocus my heart.
I realize that most of the time, when we think of a retreat – we picture quiet moments, walks alone in a field, time to read, reflect, process – maybe a spa day? I love that kind of retreat- I really do, but the Orange Conference is nothing like that.
- It’s hardly quiet – 8000 other ministry leaders in one place.
- There are no spa days – but there are some amazing food trucks!
- There is rarely time to be alone – you go from morning to night in main sessions and breakouts.
- There is not a quiet field for walking, but you will get your steps in as you travel from the arena to the annex each day!
- And reading a book? Well, your conference guide is a possibility and they have a ton of awesome books by phenomenal authors that are available to purchase!
I know what you’re thinking – that hardly sounds like a retreat. But remember, I captioned this section “A Retreat Like No Other.” You see, the Orange Conference is not a quiet, get alone, kind of retreat – but oddly enough – it offers some of the same benefits.
Benefits of an Orange Conference-Kind of Retreat
For me, the Orange Conference allows me the opportunity to get away from my daily regimen. It gives me the chance to step out of my routine and step into a few days where I am not responsible for anything… well, except making sure I get to the free coffee line early enough to make it to the main session on time.
Somedays, carrying the weight of ministry and all that comes with it is taxing. Having a few days at an event that I am not responsible for is glorious. Knowing that I don’t have to worry about if the tech is working, or if a volunteer didn’t show up, or if I’m prepared enough to tell the Bible story, is a reset in and of itself. But there is so much more that happens for me at the Orange Conference each year. Here are a just a few of the things that help me retreat from my regular world and prepare me to come back refreshed and ready to hit the ground running:
The main sessions are filled with speakers who remind us of why we do, what we do each week. They help me remember that there is a generation that needs us to help them know and follow Jesus. They do this in a way that encourages me, reminds me of my why, and helps me get excited about new dreams and opportunities.
The worship in the main sessions is absolutely beautiful. Singing and praising our great God with 8000 other ministry leaders gives me a peak at what I think heaven might look like. It’s a reset for my mind, body, and soul that no spa day could ever provide.
Breakout sessions and main sessions alike leave me with pages and pages of notes. Things I want to remember. Things I’m dreaming about. Things I want to change. Things I want to make sure I share with my team. I learn so much each year at the Orange Conference. The lessons and take aways are things that have helped shift my ministry and my thinking. Orange Conference topics always challenge me in the best way. They help me see the world in a different light and remind me that our God is a big God who can do anything… yet He chooses us, to help pass the baton of faith to the next generation.
The Orange Conference is like a big huge, 8000-person family reunion. Each year I get to reconnect with friends I’ve made across the miles and I get to meet new friends. It’s an amazing thing to be surrounded by people who “get it.” People in my same situation who understand the pressures and the joys of working in ministry. Getting to connect, share, and talk with others who understand this – oh so wonderful, but oh so unusual – work that we do, is life giving! Knowing I am not alone and sharing with people who are like minded is a huge blessing!
The Orange Conference is always a place where there is a lot of laughter. While the work we do is serious and what is at stake matters – the faith of the next generation is not something to take lightly – the Orange Conference is intentional about bringing humor, laughter, big smiles, and a whole lot of fun to the room. You’ll find everything from speakers who tell some hilarious jokes and stories, to large group games played with 1000’s of people (one year the world’s largest rubber duckies were passed around the arena). There are funny skits, prizes, great music (that makes you want to dance), and an atmosphere of fun that creates moments where you can just rest, laugh, and enjoy.
A New Revolution
This year’s theme for the Orange Conference is “Every Generation Needs a New Revolution.” I wonder if maybe our hearts need that too? Are you tired? Weary? In need of rest? You may not be sitting on a quiet dock or strolling through the woods on a prayer walk, but I believe the Orange Conference is a place where you can “retreat” for a few days and find some refreshment for your soul. It may be just what you need, to come back ready to start a new revolution – in your home… your church… your community… your life. Orange Conference might just be the place where God can speak to you and move your heart toward all that He has for you.
I hope to see you there!