When you attend a large, national conference such as the Orange Conference there are certain things you expect. Great speakers, great music, informative breakouts, vendors, free swag, you get the idea. All this stuff is great, but there is something that is far more valuable, people. There were many people that I met at last years Orange Conference. Some I have frequent contact with, others not so much. But, there is one person that has become a very close friend, Tom Bump.
The truth is I only met Tom in passing. He and I just happened to be part of the same large group that was hanging out in a hallway talking. I can’t even say for sure that we spoke directly. However, through online sites like CMConnect.org and Twitter we stayed in contact. In the months since that conference we have become friends. Now, we have a weekly video chat for encouragement and accountability. We have come to realize that our journeys in ministry are very alike. To put it plainly, we have become friends.
In the job I did prior to being called to ministry I attended a few conferences. With this experience I knew that one of the most valuable parts of a conference was networking. So I went to Orange planning to meet people. I expected to come away from there with a list of people that could help me take my ministry to were I believed God wanted it to go. However, I didn’t expect to make friends. I didn’t expect that God would bring me in contact with someone that could not only help me move my minstry forward, but could also help me personally.
There are many things to be learned and experienced at the Orange Conference. For me the most valuable thing I took away from last years was a couple of friendships that I believe will last the rest of my life. If you get to go to Orange, enjoy the music, enjoy the speakers, but ABOVE ALL that time to meet people. This will be the thing, more than anything else, that will last the longest and be of the most value.
PS. Are you interested in winning a FREE subscription to Orange’s Leadership resource, YouLead? Leave a comment below and you will be entered. I will draw a name at random Saturday morning. Leave a comment in each of this week’s posts for up to 5 chances to win.