Stoked for SALT

It’s SALT week, and that means it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. I have enjoyed this conference for the last two years and am even more excited to be part of it this year. If you’re coming this year, I hope to be able to meet you.

Two years, Van and I simply attended, and it was great. Last year, I was there as a sponsor, and this year, I’m there as the head of the audio track. Yes, there is an audio track at a visual worship conference! Luke and the team saw the need for a few classes on the sound side of life, and asked me to help pull some things together. 

Wednesday at 4:30, I’ll be teaching a class on how to get better audio for your video projects. Audio is every bit as important as the video, especially for story videos that so powerfully demonstrate God’s working in the Church. Sadly, audio is often forgotten, or relegated to a “fix it in post” mentality. We’re going to dispel that concept and I’ll demonstrate the power of good audio. 

Thursday at 1:30, Brad Duryea will be teaching a class that will attempt to dispel many myths of live sound. This will be a little bit like Bill Nye the Science Guy meets a really good FOH engineer. I know Brad has some fun stuff planned, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. 

Thursday at 3:00, Van, Andrew Stone and I will be presenting a panel on how to effectively work together. Often times, we hear stories of the technical, media and musical teams not really getting along. All three of us have had plenty of experience with working alongside others who are kind of, but not quite, the same as u. We’re all very passionate about this topic, and I’m sure we’ll be able to encourage you if you’re part of a team not getting along.

Thursday at 4:30, Andrew Stone, the king of Rock will talk about his process for creating an amazing broadcast or streaming mix for your church service. He does this without a dedicated broadcast mixer, and incorporates some pretty clever tricks. I’ve used and adapted his process myself, and it does indeed rock. 

Finally, Friday at 9:00, Otto Price will be teaching a great class on how to use tracks and stems in a worship setting. More and more churches are going this way, but there are some key things you should do before you just drop a laptop running Logic on the drum platform. 

Of course, we also have several cool meet ups planed around various topics that Duke will be heading up. From Stage Design, to Helping Your Pastor Understand Your Role, to Volunteers, to Multi-Campus to a behind the scenes tour of the main session room, we have something for everyone. Those are sponsored by CCI Solutions, and we’re grateful to be part of SALT this year. 

If you’re at SALT, please stop by our audio track classes, the CCI Solutions booth or just catch Van, Duke and I in the hall. We’d love to say hi and chat. 

Learn more at

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SALT Special for CTA Readers

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Ok, so you guys know that Van and I are big fans of the SALT conference. Not only is it’s organizer and leader, Luke McElroy, a good friend of mine, it’s one of those special conferences that truly seeks to inspire and refresh technical and visual artists in the church. I love the sense of community that happens each year, and I have met many of you at the previous two conferences. This year for me, it has the added bonus of being 20 minutes from my house. I’m digging living in Nashville!

SALT is Coming!

We’re at the end of September, and SALT is just a few weeks away. The conference is almost sold out for the year, but we have a deal for you. Luke has generously made available a special discount code that will save you $20 off each and every ticket you buy. Use the code AUDIOROCKS to save $20. 

What Can You Expect?

If you’ve never been to SALT and you’re on the fence about coming, here are some things you can look forward to:

• There will be over 45 classes on topics such as ideation, creative leadership, audio and technical planning. The lineup of people teaching these classes is amazing. Luke and his team have done an incredible job of bringing in people who are not only great at what they do, but have a genuine passion for helping others get better. Hanging out with the instructors is one of the highlights for me. 

• Keynotes include Erwin McManus (Mosaic in LA), Blaine Hogan (Willow Creek) and Alex Seeley (former Planet Shakers). These are creative, passionate people. I don’t know about you, but I need to be inspired frequently. This is a great way to be encouraged and inspired.

• Hear from the brand new Art of Audio track including Andrew Stone, Brad Duryea, Van, me and more! This year Luke asked me to help coordinate an audio track of classes. I called in some favors of some of our favorite audio gurus to make sure you’ll learn something new. 

• Community groups. One thing we talk about over and over again is how much we need community among technical artists. SALT is about the only conference that I know of that not only encourages community, but schedules it. You’ll get to meet and talk with others who are just like you, offering encouragement and the opportunity to encourage. This is one of the highlights of the week.

You Need to Be There

Of course, you also have the chance to hang out with Van, me, Duke and many other CTW regulars. We love meeting you guys and always look forward to the conversations we have. Basically, it’s a few days of refreshment, encouragement, inspiration and fun. Plus, you get to hang out in the greatest city in the world, Nashville. 

So here’s what you need to do; go to and register. Use the code AUDIOROCKS to save $20. Then figure out how to get here and where to stay. The website offers suggestions on both. Then get ready for a few great days that will keep you going for a long time. And do make sure to say hi to Van, Duke and me while you’re here. And come to our classes, or we’ll be sad.

Fall Conference Update

After a week of budget posts, I figured we could lighten it up a little today. Duke suggested we give you a quick recap of where we’ll be this fall. There are a bunch of shows and conferences that you might well run into us if you’re attending, so this is your chance to plan.

Lead Lab—Sept. 21, Tulsa, OK

I’ve been able to get to two Lead Labs so far, and the response has always been great. Some of the top TD’s from churches all over the country come out to share their knowledge and insight. Duke and I will both be at that one, so if you’re around, make sure you say hi. I’m flying home the next day, but Duke will be heading to the Lead Lab in Denver the next day (Sept. 22), so for all you Mountain Time Zone folks, you can say hi to the Duke. 

SALT—Oct. 21-23, Nashville TN

SALT has been one of my favorite conferences the last two years and this year will be even better. I have the privilege of heading up the audio track (that’s right, an audio track at a visual conference!), and we have some great things planned. Duke, Van and I will be there, as will our pals, Brad Duryea and Andrew Stone. There’s no better time to visit Nashville than the fall, and there is no other conference that encourages such community and restoration. You really want to come to this one. 

WFX—Nov. 17-21, Nashville, TN

Though it’s at a weird time this year (the week before Thanksgiving?), we’ll all be at WFX. I’ll be hanging out in the CCI booth along with Duke and most likely Van, so be sure to stop by. It’s also likely that we’ll do a podcast while we’re there, so make sure you follow Twitter to see when and where we’ll be doing that. 

Bonus Supplement—Where’s Duke?

CMS Northwest—November 13-14, Seattle, WA

I’ll be commissioning a system in Omaha that week, but Duke will be hanging out with the Christian Musicians up in Seattle. Make sure you swing by and say hi. 

LDI—Nov. 23-25, Las Vegas, NV

LEDI, as we like to call it is the annual celebration of all things lighting. As our resident trade show hound, Duke will represent there as well. I’ll be sleeping off all the extrovert time from SALT, but you can say hi to him.

So there you go. Now you know where to find us this fall. As we always say, if you see us at a conference or show, please come say hi. We love to meet readers and listeners (unless I’m on an hour of sleep and already drove 4 hours, then I might be a bit out of it…). Happy conferencing!

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Leaving Los Angeles

That's the last view I had of my former state of residence.

That's the last view I had of my former state of residence.

Well, technically, Southern California. I never actually lived in LA, though many people thought we were close enough. As you probably know by now, we have loaded up the truck and moved away from Beverly and all the way to Nashville, TN. This is an exciting new adventure for us and while I don’t often share too many personal stories and posts, I thought I would let you into our decision making process for this one. 

For Everything a Season

About 3 1/2 years ago, I started getting an inkling that my season at Coast Hills would be wrapping up around the spring of 2014. I didn’t know how I knew that, or what the next thing would look like. I just knew that at some point around that timeframe, I would again be in transition. 

As we processed that, I started sensing a call to go to Nashville. Again, it’s hard to describe how I knew that’s where I was supposed to be, or why, but I felt pretty strongly about it. Of course, I had no job lined up, and no real idea what I would be doing. As my wife and I talked about it, we began to make tentative plans to move to Nashville in the summer of 2014. This was late 2013, but we really sensed this was what we were supposed to do. At that time, our oldest would be in here senior year of college and our youngest would be starting college. So it seemed logical.

Logic Doesn’t Always Prevail

It all seemed like a good plan, but then a few things happened. We had a bit if a family crisis that caused us to re-think our timing. The more we looked at it, the more it seemed like we should delay by a year. I prayed a lot about it, and remember telling God that if He wanted me to stay at Coast for another year, I would happily do that. 

Then the offer to go work for Flexstage came about. Turns out, my season at Coast Hills wrapped up pretty much when I thought it would. God still called that one spot on. We decided to stay in SoCal for another year. This was to help my youngest daughter through some things and allowed my oldest to stay with us for her senior year. 

It all worked quite well. I spent a great year at Flexstage, and it wasn’t until late winter that we started talking about me joining the staff at CCI Solutions. My daughter finished college, and my younger one struck out on her own adventure. But the times they are a changing.

Change Quotient Off The Charts!

In the last two months, I’ve changed jobs, my daughter graduated college and turned 22, my wife finished up her job, we bought a house, moved my oldest out to her new place and moved my wife and I across the country to Nashville. When it comes to the life change score, I think we’re pretty high up there right now!

Thankfully, it’s all good change. We’re very excited to be here in Nashville, and to be in our own house. God provided us an amazing house which will be just perfect for us. We already have a great group of friends here in town, and we’re excited to see what He will do with us here. I’m settling into my new role at CCI and am loving the support and team setting. We will miss our girls, who for now anyway, have elected to stay in California. But, with all the traveling I’m doing, I should have enough miles to fly them out this way every so often. 

Father Knows Best

As Van and I were driving the Palatial Jetta out of California last week, and I took one last glance at my former home in the mirror, I thought about all the things that happened in those six years. So much was good, some was hard and it all worked to shape me into a better person. God provided so many stretching and growing experiences it’s hard to even summarize them. I met and became great friends with so many people, I grew personally and professionally, and my girls grew into women. 

Sometimes, we go through seasons in life and find ourselves really glad when one ends. In this case, I am excited about what is to come, and I look back on the last season with a grateful heart. Like I said, it wasn’t all good, but it all worked together to set me up for what is to come. Sounds vaguely like a Scripture verse I memorized years ago…

So there you go. That’s a glimpse into my life right now. If you’ve noticed that I’ve been a little less regular with the posts and the podcasts, now you know why. But we’re getting things back under control and our regularly scheduled programming should resume soon. And, Van & I recorded five episodes of CTW: Ask Me Anything on the road last week, so look for that this month. 

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to continuing this journey together.