Posts Tagged ‘passion’

A New Season

March 12, 2012 9 comments

For the last decade of my young life, I have been employed in some way by a church. That season of our lives is coming to an end. This morning, I had the unpleasant task of telling our church (in all 3 services) that I was resigning and we would be moving in two months time. For some this was shocking. Many others have mentioned to me that they sensed this coming. We leave on good terms, in fact, saying goodbye in two months will be very hard. We’ve spent the last 6 1/2 years in Brownsville. Two of our four kids were born here. Everyone has been understanding of our decision and happy for us, so for that I am very grateful.

The question is as to what we will be doing? We’ll be doing a lot of different things. I’m certainly not the first to leave full-time located church ministry to pursue other areas of ministry. That is what I am doing. I’m focusing my time and energy on my passion, which is video and Christian media.

There are several pieces of the pie that together will be the equivalent of a full-time job. This has been a long time coming. My response was always, “I’m not ready to jump yet. Not ready yet.” Or put another way it was “ready, aim, aim, aim, aim…” As long as that is my attitude, I would never step out in faith. ┬áSo we have prayed long and hard about it, and feel that God is leading us to shift our direction and ministry focus in this way.

I have read Jon Acuff’s book “Quitter- closing the gap between you day job & your dream job”. Chapter one is called “Don’t quit your day job”. For a while, now, I’ve been wanting to throw myself into the world of Christian media and focus long hours (not just spare time or days off) on the craft and learn a ton of new things to help me get better in this area. That would be a dream. Well, the time to do it is now.

I will leave a full-time ministry, and in essence take on 3 part-time ministries:

I have accepted the role of Editor-in-Chief of Christian Video Magazine- a free online publication that currently serves 70,000 subscribers. I will work from home on the magazine, of which I have been a columnist since it started a couple of years ago, and take my passion and run with it.

We will also be working more intensely with Motive Matters ( I guess you could say I’ll be the Director of Marketing. What’s that have to do with video or design? We’ll be responsible for all commercials, brochures, exhibits, etc. It is our passion to get this training into as many churches as would have us, and we will work to that end, creating promotional materials and spreading the word online and at conventions and ministerial alliance meetings, arranging pastors retreats, etc. Emily and I are also both certified motive trainers, so we’ll be doing some training as well, which we love to do. Motive Matters and the Color Code has truly helped us a lot in our own lives, in marriage and parenting, and life in general.

Finally, I will continue to develop my own platform- FishXpressions, which I began shortly after our move to Brownsville. I have spent my own time on this endeavor (days off, early mornings, late nights, etc.). It has been very part-time, and has not been on church time. Any more time that I can focus on this ministry will be a great benefit. There are a lot of ideas that I have. What I haven’t had is the time to execute them. I also may do some freelance video work with other churches or ministries as time allows. I’m confident that this change of pace will spur on a fresh wave of creativity. I’m looking forward to setting a day of Sabbath (once a week), in which I create nothing except for memories with family. For a while now, the only time I’ve had to work on this area of developing skills in video has been those times when I should have been resting or playing.

Are there still some unanswered questions? Well, yeah. However, I believe this is what God wants me to do.

I’ve always been a big fan of “The Choir”. A while back I invited Steve Hindalong and Derri Daughtery to play a concert in Brownsville. They are coming out with a new album, and since I pre-ordered it, I got a sneak peak in the form of an advanced rough cut of the song “The Forest”. That day was the day I was going to tell the staff about our decision. The song really spoke to me. And I told Steve that. He replied something to the effect of the fact that at times it’s good to take risks and that this would be a great adventure for our family. Coming to Brownsville was a great adventure. Going back to Missouri and focusing energy on a dream will be one too. So here are the lyrics to that song that ministered to be soul:

The sun will shine, the sun will shine on you

I believe the sun will shine on you and me my friend

I have learned to trust the turning of the seasons

Even now, the sun is breaking through clouds again

But I still don’t know the causes or the reasons

And I still can’t see the forest for the trees

Categories: personal Tags: , , ,

Can church capture the concert experience?

March 16, 2011 2 comments

What’s the appeal in going to a concert? I guess I should define what type of concert in order to better answer the question. There are lots of different types of concerts that appeal to different people for obvious reasons. I could enjoy most any concert, when there is a good performer of any genre (minus a few). Let’s just narrow the playing field a little and say pop/rock. For a big ticket group, it will be a sellout crowd who stops what they’re doing and has made arrangements and purchased a sometimes very expensive ticket to gain access to a certain venue. They have bought a seat, but they will not sit in it. They will stand and be engaged with what happening on the stage. Whether it’s a sci-fi looking light show or an intimate moment with one instrument. Not only this, they have memorized the songs pertaining to this concert and are ever-ready to chime in when the lead singer points the mic their way. They are absorbed in the moment and not just them, but rather everyone around. They’ve all come for the same. It’s a shared experience…a common exuberance. It’s a beautiful sound when countless people raise their voices in one accord. Yes, birds sing, but no other creature can come together and create such a moving and awesome sound as singing in unison. Single-minded and one in purpose.

I was listening to a live album the other day and these thoughts came in flooding my mind. That fact proves they were already there, just filed away for future thinking. I guess they can be summed up in the question “Why can’t church be like a concert?” Granted, there are major differences and for good reason, but couldn’t we take the best of the concert-going experience and apply it in our corporate worship gatherings? I realize our local praise band isn’t a international sensation and our light setup is not the flashy type and probably shouldn’t be. But, often the most moving time in a concert is when all that pizazz is stripped down anyway. I know worship is much more than singing, and I know there are examples where what I’m describing takes place in the local church, but allow me to make some unfortunate observations.

While I agree that church should not be like a concert the church-going crowd could learn something from the concert-going multitude. (At the same time concert attenders could learn from church! That’s not the point.) I’m just going to throw these points out at random and you can add to the discussion as well. As I mentioned in the description, concert-goers have dropped a pretty penny to get a seat. Church has no cover charge. Sure, there’s an offering plate that is passed. Is the amount given the same? More? Less???

Let’s move on. The concert-goer stands and does not complain about not being told to sit. Nor do they complain about the music being too loud. They sing out loud and strong, not caring about who is around them. They are not distracted by much of anything but are fully engaged. They are enthusiastic and make a joyful noise. They are prepared and dressed for the occasion. They have studied and done their homework on the subject. They don’t need the lyrics on the screen because they know the songs already. They don’t need to see the set list in a printed bulletin so they can plan their early exit to the nearest restaurant. They are open and uninhibited. They share a common interest and will remember fondly and cherish this mutual experience with others who were there. They go home happy and content having fellowshiped with their fellow man.

I recognize that Church can’t always be a high like a concert. And things must be done in order. I get that. But we could glean from some of these attributes. When I lead worship, it’s never my goal to perform like in a concert. In fact, I would pray, “Lord, make us invisible, let them see you.” That goes against the grain of the concert experience. That would never be a performer’s goal. People get fired up to sing about anything. And at church we have something great to sing about! When we come to God’s house to worship the only one who is truly worthy of praise and adoration, I sure wish we could corporately duplicate in a sincere way the passion that’s in a concert crowd.

This whole thought-process is dependent upon a modern worship music perspective. I’m not trying to get into the worship wars of traditional vs. contemporary. That’s for another post, and I for one can worship in a traditional setting or any other. Worship is to God. It’s not about our preferences. There are multiple expressions. Like I said, that’s not what this post is about. What can you add to this comparison or contrast?

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