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Lessons from Orange

This week we had the privilege of attending the Orange Tour here in Nashville.  This one day conference gives you some great insight into family ministry and how to develop a strong philosophy of discipleship for the next generation.  Below are some of the takeaways I received from the conference.

1.  Every discipleship ministry must have an end in mind.  What do you want your students to value when they leave for college?  What do their lives look like?  Can they point out key insights gained through your ministry?  Once you have an end in sight, you will hopefully be able to determine whether what you are doing will lead to that end.

2.There is great value in crafting particular messages within your ministry.  Orange uses the words Wonder, Discovery, and Passion, as central themes for all of their teaching.  In our own ministries, we would do well to have some central lessons that we want our students to have mastery over.  Sometimes we can present so many lessons that the larger themes get lost in the details.  We are now working to determine what are the three main things that we want our students to deeply understand.  I am realistic in my understanding that the students will not remember many of the talks that I give or the lessons from Bible study, but I want to be sure that they leave our student ministry knowing what it really means to be a disciple.

3.  Every program must be working towards our big goals.  Just because a program is popular or tradition does not mean that it is what we need to be doing if we want to maximize our ministry efforts.  Truthfully, we have a couple of programs that could be reworked or replaced with more effective ones.  This would be difficult and perhaps unpopular, but if our goal is to truly make disciples, we must be willing to go with what we feel will accomplish that goal.

4.  We must be good stewards of technology.  As we seek to serve our community and reach the people around us, we must realize that technology is a major point of connection.  Technology allows us to spread our message and communicate to the people who have invested in our ministry.  I also learned that it is a little exhausting to try to keep up with all of the emerging tech pieces.  I was convinced, however, that it is worth it.

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