Friday Favorites Orange Edition

For this weeks edition of Friday Favorites I thought I would share some of my favorite things from this years Orange Conference.

  • People: This is definately my favorite thing. Even if the rest of the conference was a bust, it would have worth it simply for the people that I was able to meet, spend time with, or finally connect with in person. Here are a few of the highlights.
    • Joe McAlpine: Through a set of circumstances that only God could have set up, I ended up sharing a room with Joe. This lead to a friendship that I am certain will last a lifetime. Not to mention conversations that have changed my life and my ministry forever. Click on Joe’s name to check out his blog.
    • Amy Fenton Lee: Prior to attending Orange I was familiar with Amy as a specialist in Special Needs Ministry. While at Orange we became friends. I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with Amy and two of her special needs ministry friends. Since then we have stayed in contact and I was lucky enough to get to see her again last week at the Orange Tour stop in Tampa. If you have any interest at all in special needs then you need to check click on Amy’s name to check out here blog. Also I would HIGHLY recommend that you take advantage of any opportunity to hear her speak or to meet her.
    • Wendy Douglas: I knew Wendy prior to Orange because we both wrote for However, this was the first time I had actually met her. Wendy has a huge heart for ministry to children, especially in the context of small groups. While she would never say it herself, I consider her to be a specialist in the area of children’s small groups. Click on her name to check out her blog.
    • Mark Stuart: Some of my readers may not immediately recognize this name, but for I INSTANTLY recognized him. Mark was the lead singer of Audio Adrenaline, one of my favorite bands EVER. It was cool to meet him and spend a few minutes talking about the ministry that he was representing that ministering to orphans in Haiti.
  • Main Sessions: The main sessions featured some of the biggest names in church ministry. I’m not just talking about big names in children’s or youth ministry, but big names in church. Names like Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel. It wasn’t just the names that were exiting, each of these speakers shared thoughts that I am still working through all these months later. The greatness didn’t end there. The main sessions were also VERY entertaining. From satirical remakes of popular songs to Zombies overtaking the main stage. Oh, and don’t forget the AMAZING praise and worship.
  • Breakout sessions: Great lessons from great teachers. There were enough different sessions to meet just about any need that you or your ministry might have.
  • Vendors, etc.: There were a variety of vendors and ministries represented. From ministries aimed at ending human trafficking to ministries that meet the needs of orphans.

There was so much more that I can’t even begin to list it all. Let me just end by saying, if there is anyway that you can make to the Orange Conference, then I HIGHLY recommend that you do. You will not be disappointed.

Registration starts in Just on week, September 27th. Click HERE for details.

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

Orange Bloggers Week – Day 4: Lead Small

Last week I attended the Orange Tour stop in Tampa, FL and it was GREAT. I share my thoughts on the experience HERE. Reggie Joiner was the main speaker for the day and let me say if you get a chance to hear him speak, do it. In the afternoon session Reggie spoke on the concept Lead Small. Much of what he shared was from the book Lead Small. Here are some of the highlights from that session. Check back soon for a full review on the Lead Small book.

  • “If every teenager had a place to belong and someone to believe in them it could radically chance their faith and life.”
  • “What you do for a few will always have more potential than what you do for many.”
  • “You’ve made a choice to invest, strategically in a few, overtime so you can help them build an authentic faith.”
  • “We don’t want to talk kids into believing something. We want to lead them in a process that leads to authentic faith.”

These are just a few of the highlights from Reggie’s afternoon talk on Lead Small. This is just a hint of the content within the Reggie’s talk and the book. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, If the Orange Tour is coming to a city near you, do what you can to attend. If at all possible take your team with you as well.

Matt N.

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

5 Catalysts of Spiritual Growth – Orange Conference 2012

Fro those of us that lead in ministry, and those that work in ministry alike, the thing we long for is Spiritual growth. We long to experience it in our own lives, in our families and in the children, youth and adults we serve. At this years Orange Conference Taka Iguchi shared his thoughts of five things spur spiritual growth.  So, what are these?

  • Life changing truth? This looks different for each of us.
    • For me, it was when in 2007 I traveled to Atlanta with some of the young adults in our church to attend the Passion Conference. While at this conference Beth Moore spoke on PRIDE. With over 20,000 people there I felt that she was speaking directly to me. I didn’t know it at the time, but this talk started a spiritual journey that paved the way for my entry into ministry.
    • For Taka it was the first time he REALLY understood grace.
  • Spiritual Disciplines. This one may seem like a no brainer, but it is something that we sometimes miss. We long for spiritual growth, but wont do this most simple thing.
    • Prayer:
      • Not just being asked to pray at meals because you go to church or are a pastor (how true is that), but that you actually talk to the creator.
      • Beyond asking for what you want or need, but talking WITH Him.
    • Worship:
      • Not just singing songs on Sunday, but that moment when you look at a sunset or heard a certain song or had some expereince that left you awed at God and left you with no choice but to worship.
    • Bible reading:
      • That moment when reading moved from something you do because you know you should, to something you enjoy.
  • Ministry responsibility:
    • That moment when a leader in the church asks you to do/lead something.
    • For me this was another BIG catalyst in my life.
  • Pivotal Circumstances:
    • Life is painful
    • Marriage
    • Child Birth
  • Significant Relationships
    • For me this was a friend of my dad that I looked up to. He was preaching in my dad’s church on the day that I got saved.

If these are the things that help to spur someone on to spiritual growth, then it brings up a few questions:

  • How do we create environments that allow/help/cause these things to happen?
  • How do we identify these catalysts in the lives of the people we serve?
  • How do you help these people grow through these circumstances?

I’d love for you to share your answers to these questions.


Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

Orange Conference 2012 – Doug Fields

In April of this year I had the privilege of attending the Orange Conference. In my next post for Orange Week I wanted to share some thoughts from one of the Main Session speakers, Doug Fields. If you are in ministry to youth, then you probably already know who Doug Fields is. For those that don’t know, Doug is one of the biggest names in youth ministry. He has been in youth ministry for more thatn 30 years, many of those years at Saddleback Church.

So, what did Mr. Fields have to say?

“My vision got burned when I worked in a church for 30 years!”

Have you ever stared into the sun? Or maybe just looked a little too closely at a bright light? Do it long enough and it would effect your vision. This is what Doug was talking about. Now he wasn’t refering to actual eye site. Rather he was talking about ministry vision. Here are the things that he sid burned his vision:

  • Focusing on numbers
  • Pace of life
    • Thinking of ministry as a Sprint, not a marathon.
    • The thing about ministry is that there is always more to do.
    • The of the side effects of this was al onging for isolation. Everywhere I went people wanted something from me.
    • Another side effect was that I ran from relationships.
    • “Everybody knew me, but nobody KNEW me.”
  • The constant comparison
    • numbers, progamming, environments, and on and on…

 I think that anyone that serves in ministry, especially in leadership, are prone to these issues. Doug went on to give some suggestions as to, as he put it, “regain our vision and really begin to live.”

  • Numbers:
    • “bigger isn’t better, better is better.”
    • People don’t want to be a number.
    • numbers feed our insecurity.
  • Pace of Life
    • Hurry is the enemy of depth.
    • There is a price to pay for business.
    • You can’t hurry loving people.
    • Pursue “slow” more intently. You can’t rush relationships, discippleship, and loving people the way they need to be loved.
  • Comparison
    • “As my healed vision became clearer, I replaced comparison with effectiveness.”
    • stop compaint and start abiding in Him – apart from Him you can do NOTHING.
    • When people ask us how our family is doing we don’t say, “4”.

In my notes I wrote down this thought from my own reflection on Doug’s talk:

  • Numbers are important. However, when I think of weeks like Easter do I think more about the number of kids we had or do I think about the interactions between kids and leaders.

None of the things listed here are inherantly evil. However, they can take a toll on us and eventually hurt the very thing that we hope to help by focusing on them. I encourage anyone in ministry to look at this list and then seriously evaluate your ministry and your life.

Doug had so much more to say, but there is only so much that I can share in this space. At the end of the day there is so much more that I wish I could share with you. I could write posts every day from now till the Orange conference in April and still not cover everything that I experienced. Take my word for it, if you can attend the Orange conference when it comes up next April, DO IT. Registration opens September 27th. Check out the details HERE.

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.

Welcome to Orange Blogger Week

Well, this week throughout the internet there will be posts talking about Orange. Now I am not talking about the fruit, or the color although there may be a fair amout of that on the internet as well. What I am talking about is a movement that is happening in minsitry to children and youth. This movement is known as Orange.

So, what is Orange? Well, Orange is based on the notion that two influences working together can have a greater impact than either can when working seperately.  The church is called to be the light of the world. This is YELLOW. The family is called to love each other, and their kids. This is RED. When combined yellow and red become ORANGE.

The parents CAN impact the spiritual formation of their kids.

The church CAN impact the spiritual formation of kids.

 Seperate each of these has the potential to have an impact on kids. However, when added together the impact is much more that simply the sum of their parts. This is one of those times when 1+1=3.  That’s Orange. The church and the family working together to have a greater impact than either could have on their own.

Stay tuned to this blog all week as I share my thoughts/experiences from the 2012 Orange Conference and misc. other Orange related thoughts as well.

You should also check out the Orange Leaders blog HERE for all the Orange Bloggers week posts.

How are you working WITH parents to have an even greater impact on the children and youth in your church?

Matt N.


Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.