Did you realize that there are literally thousands of children’s ministry leaders who do their very best every week to give our little ones their first impressions of their heavenly Father and the wonder of His love for them? You are not alone!

So, how do you connect with these other leaders? How do you share what you know with those around you and how do you learn from them as well as those around the world? How can you benefit from what they have learned makes ministry better and, just as important, how can you avoid what they have learned may not work so well?

You network!
You connect!
You share!
You give your best ideas and you get the best ideas from others.
But how?
How do you find other Orange leaders and then connect?

If you don’t know other Orange leaders in ministry near you, check out the Church Finder page on the Orange Parents website here: http://www.OrangeParents.org/church-finder/ . It will give you a list of churches near you that are using First Look!

Many communities have local gatherings of children’s leaders monthly or quarterly. If you aren’t aware of one ongoing in your area, congratulations! God may have just given you the nudge to start one for your community! You don’t have to know it all to start a community group. You don’t even have to know a lot. You just have to know a good place to meet (I always suggest a place with coffee) and a time. The idea is to facilitate a time for people to meet, share, encourage and pray for each other.

Local networking groups can be a great support system for any leader, no matter the size of your church. Every church has struggles and every church has victories. Networking lets you share both.

Another amazing place to network with Orange leaders is The Orange Conference, of course! And there are ways to connect prior to conference, while attending and when you go back home.

 To connect before you come:
Check out the new First Look Facebook page! Here, you can “meet” other First Look leaders and share ideas, pictures, questions and encouragement. And if you want to get a head start on meeting people at OC13, post on the wall that you will be there and check out all the others who will be posting there, too. That way, there’s no ice to break at the conference. You’ll already be Facebook friends!

Once you are at the conference:
1. Meet and Greet:
We are making connecting with other leaders easy for you! If you are in town Tuesday evening, register for the FREE “Meet and Greet” that will take place at the Gwinnett Arena from 7-9 p.m. Admission is free, but you must be registered to get in the door. This will be a fun time of meeting with your Orange Specialist and other First Look leaders. It’s very likely that others deal with the very same issues you do; volunteer shortages, budget restraints and space issues. Enjoy an evening to sit and talk prior to the full-force launch of OC13.

2. The Gatherings:
Thursday evening following the last main session of the day, there will be a “gathering” at the conference center for all the preschooler leaders to meet, share, network, connect and laugh with Sue Miller leading the laughter. If you are at OC13, you don’t want to miss this time. You will walk away with ideas and inspiration—guaranteed!

And after OC13, when you go home you stay connected:
Follow up with the people you meet and stay connected through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. The conversation doesn’t stop when the conference ends. Keep it going and keep us in the loop. We love to share hear your stories and share your wins!

We love that we are not alone!