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A New Song

Orange Opening Session

Rewind a few hours to our drive to Atlanta. We were welcomed to Georgia by the biggest rainbow I have ever seen. I knew at this point that God had something special in store.

DISCLAIMER:  The following paragraph may seem rushed and fragmented.  While it is important, it merely details the events leading up to the meat of this post.  The opening session of orange began with a man posing as a random conference attendee preaching about the importance of colliding rather than comparing. Then, Reggie and Lanny shared their usual banter. (If you are not familiar with their banter, don't worry...). Reggie then began to "plug" his book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity (which by the way, I will plug now for anyone who is a parent, works with parents, has a parent, or ever wants to be a parent.)  Reggie interviewed a stat man and his co-writer before introducing the first speaker of the evening, Mark Batterson.

Mark's thesis statement was this: "We must be careful not to begin doing ministry out of memory instead of imagination."  He used a biblical and practical example to prove his point.  First of all, the psalmist can be quoted nine times saying, "sing a new song."  Batterson also stated that if you sing a song 30 times, you will no longer think about the lyrics.  (He did not, however, give any scientific reference for this fact, to be clear.)  His rather obvious point was that the church must change to stay relevant.  There is no blueprint for church in the Bible because the world needs different kinds of churches.

Before the session even began, I was flipping through my nifty Orange Journal.  I was a little disappointed that this one was not hardback like the one last year, but I soon got over it and began to read the quotes at the bottom of each page.  John Ortberg writes in The ME I want to Be,

Because you have been created by God as a unique person, His plan to grow you will not look the same as His plan to grow anyone else.  What would grow and orchid would drown a cactus.  What would feed a mouse, would starve an elephant.

I was taken aback by these words before Mark Batterson had ever graced the stage.  Little did I know that he would affirm and reaffirm the fact that there is no prescription.  He challenged that we as churches cannot ask ourselves, "How do we get these people to become part of our congregation?," but that we should be asking, "How can we become a part of THEIR calling?"  Whoa!

I'll leave you with this final Batterson quote to chew on.  "We are educated way beyond the level of our obedience."  (Ouch...As I did, you may need to get some ice for that sting.)

P.S.  The quote from John Ortberg has acquired additional significance to me because I have recently witnessed the death of an orchid.

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