So Much More Than I Expected - An Orange Conference Review

The following is a review of Orange Conference by Karyn Petric, a 2023 attendee. We are already planning to attend the 2024 conference. Learn more about how you can attend for free HERE.
When I was asked if I wanted to attend the Orange Conference in Atlanta with our Youth Director, Julie, I was excited. I have volunteered in Youth and Children’s Ministry for the past 15+ years at Pilgrim Church in some capacity. From youth group, teaching Sunday School, and even directing Vacation Bible School, multiple times. This is one of those years that I am on the Director Team for VBS. I had just purchased Orange’s VBS curriculum when Julie asked me to join the group going from the CLB. I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I started looking at the array of main sessions and breakout sessions that Orange was offering, I was amazed.

I am currently finishing up my degree in Social Work and my husband is a remote student at Lutheran Brethren Seminary. I have been praying about how my faith could be intertwined with my degree and the new path my husband and I will soon be taking. God showed me a glimpse of what it could look like over the two days at the conference.

Two of the breakouts that I choose to attend specifically showed me how I can bring my training and use it while servicing wherever God sends us. The first session I attended was “What Youth Leaders Need to Know Today about Mental Health.” The speakers talked about what our youth are facing today and what we can do as a church to support them. The speakers are on staff with Orange, and they answered questions, and were very approachable. Not being licensed mental health professionals, they also gave suggestions and strategies on how to help students without going out of our scope as youth leaders.

The second session I chose was “Marriage Ministry: The State of Marriage and What the Church Can Do About it.” After youth and children’s ministry, marriage ministry is my next passion. I was excited that a youth conference was bringing the topic of marriage to the table. Marriages and the parents are the center of families. The state of a marriage can directly affect the youth that we are working with. Everything is connected, and it’s exciting that Orange recognized this.

The Main sessions were just as diverse and dynamic as the breakouts. The topics ranged from Jesus putting His hope in a crew of humans just like us to being intentional about innovation since change is inevitable. With 18 main session speakers, they were as diverse as the topics. Along with the speakers, each session included worship, games, and even comedy. The presence of God was palpable as we listened to and participated in everything that the Orange Conference had to offer.

I highly recommend Orange Conference to anyone in church leadership, not just youth and children’s ministry. This conference has so much more than youth and children's ministry to offer. The conference helped volunteers (like me), youth pastors, and other ministry leaders look at real issues facing our churches today. In the short time we spent at Orange Conference, it made me stop, think, and reflect on what God had to say to each of us.

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