Where I Get Inspired

I have a confession.  I’m not much of an original thinker.  Gasp!  I know.  Recently, our church leadership team took part in a 3 day strategic off-site.  One of exercises we went through was something called the Thinking Wavelength.  This revealed that I’m not an “theorist.”  I don’t invent ideas.  Rather, I’m a “finder”, which means I’m good at discovering brilliant ideas and well…stealing them.  If the Thinking Wavelength sounds interesting, check out this link.

So, why am I telling you this?  Good question!  I think a lot of ministry leaders are “finders.”  We know a good idea when we run into it.  We easily understand what will work in our context and what won’t.  But, we probably aren’t going to invent the ideas ourselves.  This means we need places where we can find the great ideas.  We need environments where we can collaborate and explore new ideas and fresh perspectives.  For me, the best place to do this has been the Orange Conference.

Every year that I attend the Orange Conference, I come away with a fresh ideas.  Honestly, this conference, and the organization behind it, reThink, have probably influenced me as a ministry leader more than anything else.  If you haven’t been to the Orange Conference, this is the year!  You should totally check it out!  Registration begins this week and the price is greatly reduced.  If you’re still not convinced, check out this video:

OC16 Promo video for OC17 site from Orange on Vimeo.

If you want to hear more about the Orange Conference, send me an email or leave a comment.   I’d love to tell you all about it.  And, if you want to give it a shot, I’ll be there!  We should totally hang out!.

Highlights from the Orange Conference

Last week was a great week because I spent it at the Orange Conference in Atlanta.  If you are involved in student ministry or children’s ministry and you haven’t been, you really should come next year.  Here are a few highlights from last week:



One of my favorite things about the Orange Conference is hanging out with people who are passionate about the next generation and think like me.  Over the last few years, I’ve made a few great friendships through networking at Orange.  These people are invaluable when I’m feeling exhausted in ministry or when I have a crazy idea that needs perspective.


It might not sound terribly spiritual but I did enjoy making Jon Acuff laugh.  I was attending a bloggers breakfast where they served (of all things) cups of ice cream with those worthless wooden spoon thingies.  Holding one of the spoons, I turned to Acuff and said, “Hey, don’t you have a comedy bit about these things?”  He looked at me like I was a delusional fan.  I came back with, “Oh, that must be Gaffigan.”  He continued to stare.  And I clinched with, “I mean, it must at least make you feel good that I mixed you up with Gaffigan.”  He laughed heartily, sputtering, “That’s good!”  It’s the little things really.  I assure you I’m not actually a stalker.


Perhaps the best thing about the Orange Conference is that the speakers and experiences inevitably make me cry, cheer and generally get pumped.  Every year, I bank on the Orange Conference experience as an injection of inspiration.  I walk away with more passion, more focus, more drive, and more tools.  Here’s to you Orange for reminding me of my calling and for filling up my tank so I can keep running after it.


I am a reader.  It’s my primary method of learning.  The Orange staff was kind enough to give a few of us bloggers a sneak peak at their new resources.  I’m pretty stoked.  Here are a few that piqued my interest:


I mean, Tripp and Tyler, all the music, laughs for days.  I just love it.


If you missed the conference this year, FEAR NOT because the Orange Tour is coming this fall!  Check out dates and locations here.  And, if you’re thinking of attending the Detroit tour stop, DO IT!  because I’ll be there and we can hang out and stuff.

My OC16 Breakout

Hey Friends!

Perhaps you found yourself so riveted that you couldn’t take notes?  Maybe you were bored out of your skull and fell asleep?  Or, you thought: “That guy sounds hideous, I’m picking a different breakout.” Whatever happened, I’m sharing my content.

Here are the slides, handouts and documents from my Coaching the Best out of Your High School Volunteers breakout at the Orange Conference.  If you’d like to continue the conversation, send me an email.  I’d love to connect.

Here’s the handout:  Aaron Buer Breakout

The slides:  Aaron Buer Breakout Slides

Our leader blog:  lifelineparents.org

And, the expectations docs:  Resource Docs

Stay tuned.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging about these concepts, including all the genius stuff I was forced to cut out.

Don’t Become “That” Youth Pastor

It’s Orange Conference Eve!!!  I’m so pumped for this year’s Orange Conference. I’ll be there with a few members of my team if you want to hang out.  You’ll be able to find me at the food trucks.

In honor of the Orange Conference, I’m linking to a post I wrote for the Orange Leaders blog last month.  Check it out…

Last night I had a nightmare. I was at my church campus, leading a ministry event for students but everything was wrong . . . way wrong. My hair was bleached blond, I was wearing a seashell necklace and carpenter jeans. Petra was blasting out of the PA and I was unwrapping marshmallows for an epic game of pudgy bunny. Did I mention there was no one there? Zilch! The only person there was my mom, and even she looked bored. The event was a tragic hodgepodge of irrelevance. Then I woke up…

You can read the rest of the post here.

I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn and experience at the Orange Conference with all of you very soon!

The Conference I’ve Been Waiting For!

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of reThink and the Orange Conference.  I think it’s the best conference out there for family ministry and student ministry.  I’m particularly excited about this year because of the focus of the conference.  The theme is “It’s Just a Phase.”  I’m talking about matching our content, environments and practices to the developmental stages our kids and students are experiencing.  These are strategies that my student ministry mentor, Brian has been instrumental in pioneering.  I’m pumped to see and hear how Orange expands and develops these ideas.

The thing is, many of us in the student ministry world are considered experts in our field and we love students but let’s be real, many of us are, well…old.  At the very least, we are a lot older than the students we lead and serve.  I don’t know about you, but these days I feel like I’m engaging in cross-cultural ministry.

In addition, so much research has come out in the last few years that enlightens us to the developmental process of children and teenagers.  I know the Orangesperts have been working hard, mining the best of this research.  I feel like this year’s conference is going to be a fire hose of important and incredibly relevant information.

I have it on good authority that the crew at reThink wanted OC14 to be all about contextualizing ministry to the developmental stages of children and students but they didn’t quite feel ready, which means that the content for this year’s conference is a couple years in the making.  In other words, it’s going to be awesome!

Just a heads up, if you register by February 19, you can score a $40 price break and receive a $50 credit at the Orange Store.  Hopefully I’ll see you there!