But before I talk about Orange 2014, I want to talk about Andy Stanley’s main stage talk from Orange Conference 2013.
Here’s a disclaimer. I kind of have a man crush on Andy Stanley. When I was called into student ministry back in 2001, one of my friends gave me his book: Visioneering. Visioneering was the book that laid the ground work for me to pursue my call into student ministry. When I got into youth ministry his two books of: 7 Practices of Highly Effective Ministry and Communicating For Change radically changed my method on how I led students and how I communicated to students.
At Orange Conference 2013 — session 2 — Andy Stanley talked about how student pastors should talk about the Scriptures to students. Andy is not challenging anyone’s view about the Scriptures rather he is challenging one’s approach in how to teach the Bible to students.
The problem is — in today’s American culture — the Church does not have the majority nor much authority. The phrase of the “Bible says” is meaningless to a 21st century student who doesn’t see the Bible and Church as the authority. Andy’s sense is that student pastors have inherited an approach that assumes consensus around Biblical authority. Engaging students with the Biblical text has to do more with approach than content. So youth pastors must adapt their approach to connect with their students (1 Corinthians 9.20 – 9.22).
Andy Stanley gives 6 guidelines for communicating the Scriptures to a Biblical illiterate, skeptical student:
(6) Choose a passage of Scripture and stay there
(5) Give students permission not to believe or obey the Scriptures
(4) Teach in a manner that emphasizes the identity of Jesus over the authority of Scripture
(3) Cite authors, not “the Bible”
(2) Acknowledge the odd as odd
(1) Don’t create the impression that a student must choose between faith and science
I talked to so many student pastors who absolutely loved Andy’s talk from OC13. The great new is that Andy Stanley will be back at The Orange Conference in 2014. And I know Andy will give another challenging message that will invite student pastors to rethink what they are doing in their youth ministry.
Andy was a student pastor so he knows how to talk about student ministry from a senior pastor perspective. It’s my belief that the best senior pastors were student pastors. Ex-student pastor now senior pastor can really help today’s student pastors navigate student ministry.
Part of the overall Orange strategy is to synchronize the efforts of all leaders and establish consistency in the lives of students. The Orange Conference creates a place and space for senior pastors to be talking to student pastors and student pastors be talking to college pastors, family pastors, kid’s pastors and even senior pastors. Student pastors have a lot to learn from other ministry leaders. This’s one of the greatest strengths and uniquenesses about The Orange Conference.
So I would like to personally invite you to come to The Orange Conference 2014.