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.


Exploring the SALT Conference

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to attend a wide variety of conferences and trade shows. The connections made, the information gathered and the fun we have is priceless to me. While I thought I was pretty much done with conferences for the year, it looks like we have the chance to try out a brand-new one this fall. 

It’s called SALT and is designated “The Visual Worship Conference.” I’ve been getting to know the organizers over the past few years and months and I’m really impressed with these guys. As this is a new conference I thought it would be good to let you know a little more about it. I sat down with Luke McElroy (OK, did this via e-mail, but I’d like to think we had a conversation…) to get some background on the conference and why it would be worth your time. Here goes:

There are a ton of conferences out there. I think we could attend a conference every week if we wanted to. What makes SALT unique?

That is so true! [Laughs] One of the reasons we sat on this idea for over a year before we announced anything was to make sure this wasn’t “another” conference and that God was actually calling a community to gather. SALT is the visual worship conference. It’s about the look and feel of a Sunday morning or weekday worship service. As you are well aware, there are conferences that focus on pastoral leadership, on worship, musical technique and the ability to lead a worship team and there are tech conferences that tend to have a natural bend toward audio and the “gear” that’s used in church. Yet here aren’t really any conferences that are fully dedicated to the conversation of the visual experience that takes place on Sunday Morning. 

MIT (yes the university) did a study that opened my eyes to how much we need a conference like this... They revealed in their study that we remember 10% of what we read, 30% of what we hear and 80% of what we watch or see!  IF this is even remotely true then why is our entire Sunday morning experience focused on what we read and say?!? How many churches are beginning to ask how we are visually telling the story of God to our communities? If visuals are the “stickiest” form of communication, then wouldn’t we want to pour a lot of attention into creating visual experiences that cause people to remember the word of God? That’s exactly why SALT exists... to encourage, equip and inspire a generation to use art, media, creativity and visuals to help spread the word of Truth and create atmospheres that impact people’s lives. 

Who is the SALT conference for?

Honestly, everyone. I remember sitting in a marketing class when I was at college and the professor said... “Marketing isn’t a role in the company anymore... it needs to be the mindset of every key leader in any organization” and that’s exactly what I would say about visuals and the look & feel of a Sunday morning. Powerful visual worship isn’t just for the technical or creative people to execute, it has to be a team endeavor. So SALT is designed for these key areas.. Technicians, creatives, worship leaders, volunteers and senior pastors. 

Honestly, it’s a great place to bring your entire team and begin having a dialogue about how visuals play into the story we’re all telling on a Sunday morning. Discussing the role of color, texture, lighting and video isn’t for one guy behind the light board or running lyrics—it’s a group effort. Because it’s a “new” topic, the whole team needs to be present. 

My church isn’t into environmental projection; will there be anything for me to learn at SALT?

ABSOLUTELY! [Laughs] There are actually only 2 classes that have anything to do with environmental projection! Environmental projection is just one tool of visual worship. We’re going to talk about cost effective stage design, lighting, color theory, telling story through film, do-it-yourself creative projects, leading creatives, and many many more topics. 

We’ve recently posted the list of workshops we’re going to be covering, so make sure to check that out! You’ll be amazed at how much there is to talk about at SALT. 

Besides learning more about the visual aspects of worship, what else can we expect?

Where do I begin? Our goal is to inspire! We hope you’ll get a chance to engage in great worship, be inspired to go create new things... regardless if you’re an “artist” or not. We’re all creative. I think you’ll have a chance to meet other like-minded people around the nation and begin to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things. There’s a rumor going around that we’ll learn how to make a hovercraft out of a leaf blower... trust me, you don’t want to miss the inaugural year!

So there you go! A brief explanation of SALT 2013! If you can possibly make it, I encourage you to attend. Van & I will be there and we would love to meet you and talk. The conference is in Nashville, October 21-23. You can lear more and register at the SALTNashville.com website. See you there! 

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