This week is Orange 10.  It is the week where 4000 children’s leaders, student leaders, and senior pastors venture to Atlanta for one of the best ministry conferences available.  Sadly, and this is why I am blue, I will not be one of them.

I suspect that many in my position are in the same boat.  Conferences are a luxury item and it fits neither in my church’s budget nor my personal one.  Also, it’s a big time commitment and there just isn’t enough vacation accrued at my other job.  Some of you may not have even heard of Orange.  (I know my pastor has no clue who Andy Stanley or Reggie Joiner are.)  That’s just the way it goes in rural America, unless you’re connected online through the various kidmin blogs that are available.  This year, Orange is making available Orange backstage for those who cannot attend.  While this is nice, it still doesn’t help me because I am at work during the day.

I’m going to be real honest.  It’s easy to be jealous, it’s easy to feel cheated, and it’s hard because I want to give my kids the best, but sometimes I feel so restrained by time and finances.  Should I?  No.  Do I?  Yes.  But, remember the guy with the one coin who just watched his friend get ten?  He let fear and jealousy stand in the way of His purpose.  Jesus said if we are faithful with a little, He will entrust us with more, but if He can’t trust us with a little, than how can He trust us with more.  Here is how I plan on increasing my one coin and I hope those of you who are not at Orange will do the same.

1) I have put out a few requests to some of my colleagues who will be at Orange.  I have asked them to send me their notes when it is over.  Even if I cannot hear the speakers, I can read some of their key points, which is better than nothing.  If anyone reading this is at Orange and taking notes, please send them to me.

2) I have already committed myself to read voraciously this week.  There are certain blogs I plan on checking as often as possible.  The blogs I will be following like a hawk are Kenny Conley, Sam Luce, Henry Zonio, Jonathan Cliff, and Amy Dolan because I know they are going to be putting out some great stuff and they are going to be blogging regularly.  Amy even has a spreadsheet of blog posts 🙂

3) I will be commenting on blogs.  I can’t be there in person to network and share ideas, but the Internet puts me near the action.  I can still be a part of this if I make an effort.  I can still do some networking, it just looks a little different.

4) The last thing I will be doing is remembering Jamie Doyle’s latest post, I Don’t Have to Care.  God brought me to my current church for a reason and I’m not going anywhere any time soon.  If He wants me at Orange11, He’ll make a way.  Otherwise, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing and that is bringing the big city quality to the small town church (now if only I could bring the big city conference to the small town church).