“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I was in my early 20’s when someone first asked me “Are you planning on being a youth pastor forever?” My response was typically “Well, I think before it’s all said and done, I’ll end up doing a little bit of everything.” I always thought that was an odd question to ask. Not because people don’t stay in student ministry for life, but because following Jesus and belonging to Him means that I didn’t just surrender to an area of ministry, I surrendered to Jesus Christ. At some point He may call us to something that doesn’t look like student ministry. I didn’t realize in my early 20’s how true that would be. I’ve had the privilege of serving in student ministry, church media and a whole lot of different experiences that run the whole gamut of ministry. And now, we’re about to take another turn in the road.
In May of this year, I sat down with Phillip, my pastor, and told him that our season of ministry at Cedar Creek has come to an end. I asked him if he would be willing to work with us through a transition period, and he very graciously agreed. So, that transition period is almost up as my last day as Creative Director at Cedar Creek Church will be August 31st. This wasn’t an easy decision for us, and it came after much prayer, counsel and A LOT of soul searching.
Now, let me just say a few things: Jesus and I are good. My wife and I are good. Cedar Creek and I are good. This has been a process in me that has been developing over the last several years. So, if you’re looking for some juicy details, I got nothing for ya 🙂 While the last several years have been really difficult at times, I think that is the process that God often uses to move us on. If we were always comfortable and content, none of us would change or move.
Here’s what’s up next for us:
Over the last decade plus, I’ve developed 2 businesses that I have operated in addition to my work at Cedar Creek. Alive Media is my web, graphic and video production company that caters to businesses, churches and non profits. 4Thought Media is my company where i develop media (sermon illustrations, video countdowns, motion backgrounds, powerpoint games, and still images) for churches to use in varying ministry settings. I will be launching these businesses into a full time capacity. We will also begin expanding our video production for businesses as well as partnering with churches to serve as a “Creative Team” for churches that may not have that or even to be a creative resource for those that do.
Also, as I’ve been praying over our next steps, the words “leave margin” keep coming to mind. I believe that there is another piece to the puzzle that isn’t fully in focus yet, but as we go along, we are trusting that the Lord will make that clear. I do plan on doing some fill in speaking for pastors and churches that need a break or need a fill in guy, maybe some speaking at student ministry events if that opens up. I’m not sure exactly what that looks like, either, but it sounds fun to me.
I did want to publicly say thanks to some people at Cedar Creek that have been a part of my 13 years of ministry there and have made an impact in my life:
- Richard Swift – I want to thank you for taking a chance on this really young student pastor way back in the day. Thank you for stepping out in faith in starting Cedar Creek and for being a leader that others would want to imitate. You are a giant in my book.
- Phillip Lee – Thank you for your friendship through the years and for working with me as God worked IN me. I’m excited for you as God continues to lead Cedar Creek through you.
- Wes Holbrook – You were a brother to me in some very dark days. In the desert, you were God’s mouthpiece saying, “Don’t setup camp…Keep walking.” Love you bro.
- Danny Neu – You were the first Student Ministry staff that we had in addition to me. Multi-talented and a servant’s heart. I’m so thankful to have you as my friend. Many adventures we’ve had, many more to come I’m sure.
- Kay Stanley aka K-Bird – Still remember those days in the “Old Post Office” downtown where it was Richard, you, Travis and me. I think you will end up outlasting all of us 😉 Thank you for going above and beyond and being the face of Jesus to so many.
- Susan Reck – I’ll never look at a green piece of paper the same way again. Thank you for going to bat for my family and for keeping the church’s books on target all of these years.
- Walter Ray – I leave the creative department at CCC in very capable hands. While I love seeing how God is using you in ministry, the real joy to me is watching you follow Jesus and grow into the man of God you are becoming.
- Kidz Creek and Centerpoint – Thank you for investing in my kids for all of these years. Thank you that you not only shared with my kids the Gospel, but also “your very lives as well”. (1 Thess. 2:8)
- Samantha Thames, Tiffany Stewart, Terry Lee and the GRACE Kidz Staff and Volunteers – I have no evidence of this from Scripture, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in Heaven there is a place of honor for those that minister to and care for children and people with special needs. Thank you that you saw a need, that your heart was broken for that need, that you listened to Jesus and made it possible for my son and other children with special needs to know and experience Christ. I don’t have enough words to thank you.
Here’s how you can help:
Pray – We really would appreciate your prayers for our family, especially over the next several months. This is a HUGE transition, and we’re leaning in to Christ as much as we know how. Here are some things that we’re praying about that we would invite you to join us in:
1. Clients and the right projects – Obviously we need clients on an ongoing basis (business, church and non profit) to pay the bills, so pray that we would make connections with clients that are a good fit. Also, pray that the Lord would bring out the creativity in us as we develop new scripts, projects and ideas.
2. Partnership – I really see working with a group of people (2 or 3…maybe more) with Alive Media and 4Thought Media to move them both toward becoming a studio of sorts. These people would have to be the right mix of talent, heart and we’d have to work well together. Pray that God would help me make those connections and raise up the right people.
3. House to sell – Right now our house is for sale…a tall order in this market. Pray that we would get a good offer, preferably from a pre-approved buyer.
4. Transition – Pray for each of us the next several months will be a lot of transition. Pray that we will all transition well.
Help us get the word out – The most effective marketing in my opinion is word-of-mouth. If you know someone that is looking for a new website, video production, graphics help, etc., pass my name on to them.
While this is a big step of faith for us, we’re definitely excited about the road ahead. Here we go.