“Orange you glad” for Church leaders!

Hey friends,

It’s been good to be down here in Atlanta for the Orange Conference.  I had the privilege of talking with literally hundreds of church leaders about the stuff I’ve learned over the last number of years being portable and doing this whole multisite thing.  I’m glad for Connexus’ value of working to serve other church leaders.  It’s always great to talk with so leaders about what God is doing in their context.  Here a couple things that stuck out with me from the conference . . .

Small Groups Leaders are doing a Huge Job! 
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To put it simply . . . Small Group Leaders are the backbone of effective local churches.  Whether they are serving the smallest kids in Waumbaland or leading an adult group through multiplication.  This picture was my favourite moment of the conference.  These fine gentleman (ages 14-25) are being interviewed by Reggie Joiner (The Orange King) about the impact that small group leaders have had on their life.  Each story was profound as they talked about the effect that each of their small group leaders had on them.  Only after they told their stories did we learn that they were talking about the same small group leader!  Then Reggie called their leader to the stage to give him an "Orange" award.  As there SGL took the stage the entire crowd stood on their feet for a standing ovation for this small group leader.  It was a fantastic moment.  Small Group Leaders are the heart beat of what we are doing.  I wish everyone of our SGL’s could have been there to see this moment.  Thank you for what you do!

God is a big God up to Big Stuff!
I know it might come as a surprise to you . . . but I usually just think about our church.  I know that God is doing stuff in other churches but I don’t spend much time thinking about it.  It’s not that I am not interested in knowing what God is doing in other places . . . there is just so much right in front of us at Connexus that I don’t have much bandwidth to consider it.  It was great to hear many great stories of churches doing all kinds of really cool stuff.  A couple stories that serve as examples of the sort of stories I kept hearing . . . the good guys at Sagebrush Community Church in New Mexico.  They were portable for years and growing quickly.  The moved into their building and have gone from 1500 people to something like 4500 people in a very short period of time.  They are are setting out to open another campus to reach more people in another part of Albuquerque.  Fantastic!    Or Tim DuBois in Clearwater, FLA and this really cool monthly event he is doing for teens and parents together.  Imagine that!  Teens and Parents attending something together and talking about spirituality!  Amazing!

Christian Leadership Community
It’s great to bump into so many leaders within the broader Christian community.  It was nice to reconnect with people from my past from various parts of our broader faith family.  It’s always good to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a couple years.  It’s also very good to be challenged by new people that you’ve never met before but have this unspoken "family" relationship as a part of the world wide family of Jesus.

I’m sure there is other stuff that I could write about . . . but I wanted to capture a couple of my initial thoughts on being at Orange 2008.  As a parting idea I was glad to see so many people respecting Carey.  He’s a little bit of a rock star in these circles.  It was fun to see people lining up to talk with him after sessions.  In so many ways we are privileged to have him leading Connexus.  I know that might sound kinda weird because I think we live in a culture that doesn’t like speaking well of leaders.  But Carey is a smart dude, a clear thinker and a great communicator.  It’s great to have him leading this team!  Give him a huge when you seem him next – I’m sure he’d love a couple hundred people hugging him when he gets home from ATL!

Have a great night!  They are boarding my flight . . . I should get going!  I’m missing my community group tonight . . . bummer . . . but maybe there will be people still hanging around when I get there . . . I think people left close to midnight last week!

Rich Birch
rich.birch@connexuscommunity.com
Executive Director of Operations
Connexus Community Church

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