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.


Ask Me Anything!



Most of you probably know this by now, but in case you missed it, in about a week, I will be leaving Sunny California and moving to Nashville. Now that our girls are out on their own, my wife and I decided to head back east, a bit closer to home. We're very excited about the change and can't wait to see what God has for us on this next adventure. 

Van offered to drive out there with me and as we considered the possibilities of 22 hours in the car, it occurred to us that we should do something fun. Besides a road trip together. Something fun for all of you. So what we have for you is a chance for audience participation. 

You've probably heard of Ask Me Anything, something Reddit does with famous people. We thought it would be fun to do an AMA, or in this case a AMaVA (Ask Mike and Van Anything). Not only are we going to do an AMA, we're going to record it while we're driving. 

This is your chance to ask us questions. Collectively, Van and I have about 60 years of live production experience and 25 years on church staffs. It's safe to say we have learned a thing or two. Moreover, we know a lot of people, so we may even phone a friend, just to make it even more fun. 

Now here is where you come in. Go to our ask me anything page and submit your question(s). We already have quite a few, but remember we have 22 hours in the car. 

This is time-sensitive; we leave on May 28, so you're going to want to have those questions in by the 27th. Depending on how many questions we have and how long we talk, you'll be hearing the answers on ChurchTechWeekly in June. Maybe even into July... 

Thanks for reading, and don't forget, www.churchtecharts.org/ama

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Mike Has a New Job!

Image courtesy of Mike Licht

Image courtesy of Mike Licht

Last Friday I told you I was about to make a pretty significant change in my work status. A year ago, I left the church staff job I had been working for five years and signed on with Flexstage, a small AVL integrator owned by Visioneering Studios (an architect firm). That year was everything rolled into one; good, challenging, educational, hard, long and exciting. And while I wasn’t looking to leave, when a great opportunity presents itself, I’ve learned to at least have the conversation. Or several.

The Big News

As of today, I’m excited to announce that I am now a Project Lead for CCI Solutions of Olympia, WA. If you’ve never heard of CCI, you clearly haven’t been reading this blog or listening to the podcast very long. I’ve worked with CCI as a client for many years, and they were an early sponsor of this website. Duke DeJong, a regular co-host on ChurchTechWeekly, has been crisscrossing the country for the last four years spreading the word about CCI. Duke and I have been friends for several years and have talked and dreamed about working together for almost that whole time. The stars have all aligned and we’re excited to see what is in store. 

My Role

As Project Lead, my role will be to own the project from the time it’s sold to the time it’s commissioned. That means system design, product specification, drawings, coordinating with the install and construction crews, commissioning the systems and training. Along the way, we have some great ideas for creating additional video content for both this and the CCI website, as well as covering trade shows just like we always have—and are doing this week at NAB. 

Not much will change here at CTA; I will still be posting on my usual schedule, and expect to have even better access to new products for testing and review. CCI has great vendor relationships and I hope to leverage that to help you make even more informed decisions on gear. 

My Location

While CCI is located in the Pacific Northwest, I will live in Nashville come June. We have so many projects throughout the midwest that it makes sense to have someone stationed there for better client service. So, come the end of May, we’ll be packing up the truck and moving to our new home just outside of Nashville. Once in the new house, I’ll be setting up the Palatial Studio 3.0; and it will actually be palatial this time. It will also include an espresso machine. 

The Upshot

So, if you have a project or equipment purchase need, feel free to reach out and I will do everything I can to help you out. If you need advice or a shoulder to cry on, I remain available to help as much as I can. My hope is that in this new role I will have even greater capacity to help churches better serve their congregations and communities. And, I want to continue to serve the technical community which has really become like an extended family to me. 

Again, I thank you for reading and look forward to another eight years of CTA. Oh yeah, CTA turned 8 last month. I sort of blew right by that as I was busy buying a new house. But yeah, 8 years. Wow!