One week from today, nearly 7000 individuals who serve kids, teenagers and families will gather in Atlanta for the Orange Conference. This conference will be my 11th to Orange Conference, and I can’t wait. I know that for some people, the idea of attending the same conference every year for 10+ years seems redundant or stale. Honestly, that’s never been my experience and I think I know why. I don’t come to Orange for the content. That’s not 100% true. The content is always very good and inspiring. But the content has never been the driving force.

I’ve attended a decade of Orange Conferences because of the people I meet.

Every year, Orange feels like a family reunion (there’s lots of hugging). It’s the one time a year where I get to be with “my people.” Chances are, you’re one of the few people at your church that is fanatical about family ministry. At Orange, you’re at home with 7000 other fanatics. It’s always wonderful to be back with good friends who understand my world. But I love all the new people I get to meet every year. I’ll meet hundreds, but I’ll have a dozen or so phone/zoom appointments scheduled by the time I head home. Content will help you through a moment or a season, but people/relationships stick with you much longer.

That’s why I work really hard to create relational experiences for NextGen Pastors at Orange every year. This year, it’s getting an upgrade and I’m calling it “The NextGen Experience.” Yes, like last year, we have an amazing NextGen track at YouLead Day specifically designed for NextGen leaders. We have incredible NextGen breakouts planned for Thursday as well. However, I’m upping the relational pieces this year. I have 6 NextGen Meetups scheduled during Orange. SIX!

Come to one. Come to all of them. Just plan to come. Attending a meetup can be intimidating for some (hey, introverts). Push past the awkwardness and show up. You’ll be glad you did… I’ll even refrain from hugging you if that helps (that was awkward). Here’s a list of meetups so you can make plans:

  • Tuesday: 8-9 PM | Tin Lizzy’s Cantina (back patio)
  • Wednesday: 6-7 PM | 2nd floor of the arena near the coffee
  • Thursday: 7-8 AM | Panera Bread
  • Thursday: 12-1 PM | Cross Point (across from room 19)
  • Thursday: 9-10 PM | Tin Lizzy’s Cantina (back patio)
  • Friday: 7-8 AM | Panera Bread

Pick one (or more) to attend. Come with questions and ideas, we’ll have great conversations.

For a detailed schedule of all breakouts, main sessions and meetups, click here for the Master NextGen Schedule.

I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, but I’ll share more on that a little later. Can’t wait to see you at Orange.