Photo courtesy of  Kimberly Vardeman

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Vardeman

Even as I write that headline, it’s hard to believe. So much has happened since I penned the very first post for ChurchTechArts back in early March 2007. We’ve had three Presidents. I’ve been on staff at three churches. I’ve lived in four states. Both my girls have graduated high school and one finished college. I have met hundreds of people, reviewed dozens of products and been blessed to be a part of so many things I never could have imagined back then. This has truly been a journey. 

While there have been plenty of ups and downs over the last ten years, one thing that I’ve always appreciated is hearing your stories. I’ve bumped into you at trade shows and conferences and heard how God is using CTA to help you in your ministry. You’ve sent me emails, tweets and Facebook messages. In fact, I just received an email from someone who in the last few months has gone back and read the entire site! Wow!

I remember being at Seeds a few years ago when a TD from a church in Canada came up to talk with Van and I. He shared his story and ended with, “Your website and podcast have changed the entire tone of our church. Thank you.” I paraphrased, but I’ll never forget that moment. I have heard from readers and listeners in nearly every state and more than a dozen countries around the world. I really don’t know what to say other than it has been an honor to be on this journey with you.

Looking Back

ChurchTechArts has gone from being a labor of love, to a small business and back to a labor of love. You may not have noticed that the sponsors are gone in 2017. This was an intentional decision on my part. I actually had 4-5 sponsors lined up, but I pulled the plug at the last minute. As I neared the end of 2016, I knew I needed a break. My current job keeps me fairly busy and my mind space is less than it was when I was on staff at a church. So, I decided that come the 10 year anniversary, I would take a sabbatical. And I couldn’t do that if I had sponsors to provide value to. 

Speaking of sponsors, I can’t write this post without thanking them. I have enjoyed some wonderful sponsors over the years. So many of them have become good friends and I am truly, truly grateful for the support and encouragement they’ve given over the years. My sponsors not only provided financial support for my family and funded all the travel Van and I did so we could go hang out with you all, but they provided motivation to keep on pushing, growing and developing great content. 

As I said, we’ve had some great sponsors over the years, but I really couldn’t have done it without the original five who signed on, back when we were just getting traction in this space. So, to David Schliep at Horizon Battery; Bruce Meyers formerly of DPA; Rob Read at Roland and Duke DeJong at CCI Solutions, thank you. Thanks for believing in me and what we were trying to accomplish here. And a special thank you to my friend Greg McVeigh at Guesthouse Productions. Greg not only brought Heil on board—thanks, Bob, Sarah and Michelle—but was a huge encouragement and resource as I started putting together ad packages and pricing. I had no idea what I was doing, but Greg was a tremendous sounding board. Thanks man, I appreciate you. 

Looking Forward

So what next? As I said, I’m going to take a little time off from writing. For a while, it has felt like I’ve said all I have to say on this topic. That’s not true of course, as I have a half dozen articles in my “post ideas” folder to my right. But, I need some time off to clear my head and just breathe. The pressure to write anywhere between 7-12 posts a month for the last 6 years has been pretty intense at times, and I’m looking forward to a little time off. 

But I won’t stop writing. I’ve already been in discussions with a publisher about compiling the last ten years of writings into a book. This is something I’ve been working on in my head for 7 years, and I think it’s going to finally happen. Of course I’ll be keeping you posted on those developments. 

I’ve also started another website. I guess I really am a writer at heart… The topic of that site is completely different from this one in every way possible. But it’s something that has become more important to me as a hobby and passion, and I guess I don’t feel like I’m living if I’m not sharing my passion with others. The new site is called Mike on Gun Safety. As you might expect, it revolves around my interest in the shooting sports. However, like this site is partially about production and partially about what drives those who do production, that site will not only be product reviews and match recaps—though we’ll have some of those. I also want to delve into the topics of personal defense, mindset and probably some politics. So, you can go visit if you like. And if that topic offends you, feel free to not click the link. It’s just getting rolling, but I already have more than two dozen posts in progress so it should be a good time. 

Finally, one thing you’ll notice is that at the end of March, there will be no more emails from CTA. Right now that’s costing me about $15/month to maintain that service and as I’m not going to be writing much, it seems like a waste. So I’ll be killing that off in the next few weeks. Save this email—it might be worth something someday…

We’ll keep on doing the ChurchTechWeekly podcast, though it’s not likely to be very weekly. We do it as we can and we’ll keep trying to answer your questions. Speaking of the podcast, I could not have done that without my dear friends and partners in crime, Van and Duke. I appreciate you more than you know. And to all our guests over the years, thanks for providing amazing content that built up the Church. You rock.

I may write a post here once in a while, so check back every so often. Or just follow along on Twitter. Thanks to all of you who have been part of this journey. It’s been an honor.