North Alabama leaders learn to help church and family work together at Orange Conference


On April 28-30, 2010, children's coordinators, senior pastors and other church leaders from North Alabama joined others from across the country at The Orange Conference in Atlanta. The focus of the Conference was on how the church and family can work together.

The Conference featured a variety of speakers including author Donald Miller; Rev Run of the rap group Run-D.M.C; author of Think Orange: Imagine the Impact When Church and Family Collid Reggie Joiner; lead pastor of National Community Church Mark Batterson; pastor to teenagers and ministry leader at Saddleback Church Doug Fields; founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church Perry Noble; senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church John Ortberg; founding partner of Teamworx2 Nancy Ortberg; President of Barna Group David Kinnaman; lead pastor of Westside King's Church Chris Wiersma ; plus additional speakers and workshop leaders.

Those attendees from the North Alabama Conference took opportunities to meet together during the conference to share their thoughts and impressions.

North Alabama Conference Children’s Coordinator Rev. Elizabeth Nall shares “just a few favorite ORANGE SLICES that children’s coordinators picked up at the Orange Conference.”

Jeanne Baswell - Trinity UMC, Homewood

  • "Disciples of Christ are handcrafted, not mass produced." - John Ortberg

  • From my "family first" breakout session there was a large concentration on Celebrating Spiritual Milestones: Infant Baptism and baby recognition & Confirmation...these involve the whole family.

  • "Absence makes the heart grow FARTHER."; "Once you serve, you get what you deserve."; "Since you don't know what you don't know, you gotta know the one who does." - - Rev. Run of Run DMC

  • Family ministry has more potential than any other ministry in the church. It's the ripest mission field in the church. A healthy family ministry has to be supported by the Sr. Minister.

Carroll Andrews  - Aldersgate UMC, Birmingham

  • In selecting volunteers, stop making pleas for anyone available. Select according to the volunteer's gifts and graces.

  • Start new ideas while things are going good.

  • Repackage and reshape old biblical teachings to reflect today's culture and comprehension.

Sherri Hooven - Friendship UMC – Athens, Alabama

  • “Our job is not to give parents what they want, but what their child needs.” Todd Clark, Discovery Church

  • “Don’t worry, be crappy! It’s better to do something imperfectly than nothing perfectly.” Todd Clark

  • “If your program is unimaginative, no one will come. If your program is not relational, no one will stick.” Clay Scroggins, North Point

  • Great website that I have found:  - They share all of their strategy for reaching parents and children and a lot of their resources, love it!

  • Reade - Collaborate, I think it is going to be full of great ideas for bringing church and home together!

Beth Sanford – Mountain Lakes District Staff, Centre First UMC

  • ”Delegation is Good, Duplication is Better!”

  • Two borrow a song lyric “One is the Loneliest Number ….two can be as sad as one!”

  • Starting putting YOUR HEART into people. And allow them to lead. Make gentle corrections.

  • Where do you need to have someone duplicate you?

  • What people do you have now that you see potential in? Invest in them.

  • What key positions in your ministry do you need depth in?

  • How can I start spending time with the candidates for the duplication process to begin?

John Mount, Aldersgate UMC Birmingham

  • Which do we first emphasize...belonging or believing?

  • Partner with parents...teach them how to disciple their to get their children to listen to them...amid the many voices that are screaming for their allegiance.

  • Our culture can always "out display" us...don't o-v-e-r spend...thinking that we can win approval by out-dazzling people.

  • "If I never become a Christian, will you still be my friend?"

Elizabeth Nall - North Alabama Connectional Ministries Office

  • Set your team up to win! – Nancy Ortberg

  • Your strategy for communication should not be a tool like facebook, because your tools change your strategy should be strategic no matter the tool - John Saddington

  • Have the tough conversations: address the tension and conflict or you will have a room full of angry people later. Sue Miller

Melissa Betts Cullman UMC

  • Have to be on your game every week, and put your best foot forward. You want people to want to be with you and notice that you have something they need and can connect their family to the life of the church.

  • If you get things right in your ministry it changes the game. Perry Noble

  • Where are you going, where are you now, how are you going to get from point A to point B. - Jim Wideman

  • Knowing what others are doing around you? Don’t be afraid to network with other ministries in your town. You are working together for the Kingdom. – Jim Wideman

  • Don’t ever think you know it all. Have a mentor, talk with others, and stay current. Jim Wideman

  • Don’t run off the sheep – move them in the right direction. Don’t run them over the cliff. Jim Wideman

  • If you want to start something new in order to help introduce it to your congregation set it up as a pilot test. You think it will be a good thing for them you are open to other options. It has got to be this way for you. Bring them in and let them pilot the program with you and catch the vision. – Cara Martenf and Julie Peirce.

  • When you ask people for feedback, truly follow through and close the loop or they will go underground with their complaints. – Cara Martenf and Julie Pierce

  • Create a volunteer virus, 1/3 of volunteers drop out by the end of each year. Help people take ownership in a volunteer opportunity. - Craig Jutila

  • Not do ministry out of memory but out of imagination. Be imaginative – Mark Batterson

Angelita Lewis - Jasper First UMC

  • When I collide with God, it changes the way I see the world. – Reggie Joiner

  • Many stop leading ministry out of imagination and start doing it from memory. – Mark Batterson

  • We are called, as a generation, to love people because that’s what God did. - Reggie Joiner

  • We don’t need to just help kids…we need to be amazed by them. – Chris Weirsma

  • Our teams become stronger when we acknowledge our brokenness. - Nancy Ortberg

  • Sin is not just a failure to do right things, but the failure to be who God created you to be. - John Ortberg

  • Every parent is secretly overwhelmed by their own inadequacies. -John Ortberg

  • I believe that senior pastors need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. - Perry Noble

  • No one ever died from second hand dancing. - Perry Noble

For more information about The Orange Conference go to

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