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Orange ’11: My Initial Thoughts Pre-Orange Conference

The Orange Conference will be happening this week:  Wednesday, April 27 – Friday, April 29th.  For the past several weeks I have really been reflecting about what this year’s Orange Conference 2011 will be like for a youth pastor to experience.  My thoughts about The Orange Conference experience from a student pastor’s perspective:

The increased interest of family ministry in youth ministry.  Seemingly, over the past 7 years in youth ministry, the family ministry conversation has gained a lot of momentum and attention both in practice and in research.  More and more student pastors are valuing the insane importance to partner with parents and are wanting to know how to do it.  Many of us have been convinced parents are primary. So how do we better equip, partner, educate, inform, and encourage our parents?

But like anything, there are barriers that get in the way  when youth ministries partner with the family.  For example:  disengaged parents, technology, unconventional families, rookie youth pastors, busy parent schedules, and family finances.  I am just excited to be in the same room and have many conversations with other youth pastors who are doing everything to better partner with families.  It will be a blast to brainstorm some new practices and be reminded of the deep theological conviction of why parents are primary.

The Orange Conference Bloggers.  Obviously, I love blogging and bloggers.  So I am amped that Orange was able to invite some youth ministry bloggers.  The Orange Conference bloggers will be doing their social media thing all through out the conference so make sure to check out their site.  Here are some of the youth ministry bloggers:

–  Getting youth pastors and other church leaders in the same room.  Honestly I just think it is sooo good for us (youth workers – who are too cool for school, conferences, and other church leaders) to be in the same room with other ministry leaders.  It forces us to get out of our youth ministry isolation and observe, learn, and listen to senior pastors, associate pastors, family pastors, and children’s pastors.

Study on technology and family. The peeps at Barna conducted a study exploring how technology impacts family.  This year at The Orange Conference the findings will be public.  I am really interested in what the data indicates.  It is pretty clear teens are using technology– alot, but so are parents.  So how does technology (for better or worse) play apart in family life?  How much technology should youth ministries use?  Can technology be leveraged for the good?  Is it the job of the youth pastor to educate parents on how to use and monitor technology?  Needless to say, I have a lot of questions and I think this study will begin to speak to how youth pastors treat technology in relation to informing and training parents.  I think the future of youth ministry will have to clearly address the role of technology in family life and in their youth ministry even when it is changing so frequently.

Hanging with old friends and making new friends.  I love the many breeds of youth pastors.  I enjoy learning about their youth ministry experience and how God is using them regardless of their youth group size.  I am always excited to meet new youth pastors and reunite with my friends as we tell youth ministry war stories.  I just strongly believe there is a real power in listening to the youth workers who are on the ground sacrificing so much to impact the next generation of teenagers.

If you are coming to The Orange Conference and want to meet up contact me or come to our Student Pastor Networking Event on Thursday night at Dave & Buster’s at 7pm.  Chad Swanzy has a killer post on how to bowl a strike here.

Also if you are not coming to The Orange Conference feel free to tune in on the live stream.  For more info click here

 

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

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One comment

  1. Bravo for Orange 11! I think it was a super great conference and I know many people walked away with information, inspiration and some great tools to go back home and walk with families, children, students for the glory of GOD!

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