I was thrilled when I heard the news that my friend Gary Molander was writing a book. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Gary a number of times on the phone as well as admire his work for several years now. From those experiences I’ve learned that Gary has so much insight and wisdom for creatives that are on church staffs and/or are involved in creative media production and design. His book Pursuing Christ, Creating Art is one of those books that I find hard to put down. Honestly, I think for any church staffing a new creative position, they should be given a mac pro, Final Cut, Adobe Creative Suite and a copy of Gary’s book.
Here’s an update on things from the world of Jones:
- I’m about to enter my 4th full week of being on my own in my businesses. I’ve had several people ask me “how’s it going?” It’s going well as we’re still adapting to the new setup. I’ve been spending the first several weeks beginning to network more and do a lot of laying the ground work for business down the road. Still a ways to go on that, but I think that it will pay off. Not huge on the cash flow end of things but a necessity in building for the future.
- The rest of the time has been spent on finishing up on some existing projects that got put on the backburner because of the time demands in transitioning out of Cedar Creek. In other words, I’ve been playing catchup on those items. We’ve wrapped several projects this week so I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be posting about those here and on my facebook/twitter accounts.
- We’re also starting to piece together our video production equipment for shoots. The next step after that is to develop some script ideas and begin to move them from ideas to execution.
- I know it’s early on and there will be times where it will be difficult, but as I’ve been working for myself over the past month, I have no doubt that we made the right decision. I’ve been putting in a lot of hours (some late), trying to network more, dreaming a lot, working to meet deadlines….. and I’m really loving what I’m doing. It’s been a long time since I could honestly say that. I’m very thankful for that.
- The housing market in Aiken, like most places I believe, is REALLY slow right now so not a whole lot of action on our home selling. October offers a little more promise so we’ll see how things go. Really looking forward to selling our home and moving into that next phase of our ongoing transition 🙂
- Totally random: we’ve been doing the song below at church for the last month or so. Has really spoken to me and where we are. Good stuff.
- Excited for the days ahead.
As I’ve been thinking, praying and living through the last 9 or so months of making the jump to be full time self employed, probably the biggest hurdle in my mind is fear of failure. It’s the mental exercise you and I do where you go through in your mind all of the “what if” scenarios. What if we can’t pay the mortgage? What if we don’t have food? What if nobody likes this post I’m typing? What if, what if, WHAT IF?! As I look at my two kids’ faces, this reality of “What if” gets real. This fear can become paralyzing, but it’s not isolated to those wanting to make career moves.
We face this fear in all areas of our lives. There have been times as a creative that I’ve been afraid to try a new design or to bring an idea to fruition. What if others don’t like it? Fear. It fleshes itself out in all areas of our lives. What if I get honest with people about some things I’ve been dealing with? Fear. What if put myself out there for someone and am rejected? Fear. What if no one notices what I do and it seems to matter to no one? Fear.
So how do you move past that fear barrier? How do you deal with the reality of fear of failure? Continue reading
“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.
So it’s been a little bit since my previous post. Wanted to give you a quick update in the world of Jones:
- As you can see in the post below, our house is on the market. It has now been listed for a little over a month. We’ve had a good bit of traffic, especially over the last several weeks. Selling a house is WORK! Here’s hoping that July is our month.
- Kim started a job working for the Aiken County Government last month. She’s really enjoying what she’s doing so that is a plus! While it’s been an adjustment for everyone, the family seems to be doing well with it.
- We took our family vacation earlier than usual this summer. It was really kind of an odd one in that Kim was only able to be there for about 3 days before having to head back to work. So, for much of the week it was me, my kids and my parents. It was good to get away, and I’m already wanting to hit the beach again soon…maybe a day trip to Kiawah Island in July?
- This is about the time of year I start seriously craving some college football…and the cooler temps with it! Don’t know how my DAWGS are going to do this year. Tons of potential there, but you have to get it done on the field. Another year like last year and there will be some changes at the top. Just the nature of things.
- Really excited about the direction that Alive Media and 4Thought Media are going. Got some cool projects that I’m working on right now and some exciting things coming down the road.
- Speaking of projects, one of the things I’m wanting to do more of is videography for events and weddings. If you know of someone that is getting hitched in July or August, let me know. I’m looking for a couple of weddings that I can video and edit to expand the portfolio, and it won’t cost them a dime. Hit the contact me for details or message me on Twitter/Facebook.
- Kim and I were talking today and she said, “Can you believe that in two years Spencer will be in middle school?” I about fell out.
- Well, that’s all for now. l8r
warning: totally shameless plug about to follow.
If you’re looking for a powerpoint game to use at Super Bowl parties, events or student ministry services, we’ve created one over at our 4ThoughtMedia.com site. Check it.
Put together a quick Christmas countdown freebie for our 4ThoughtMedia site. Uploaded a MPEG1 and a QuickTime version. Merry Christmas and enjoy 🙂
Been a busy few weeks here on the 4Thought Media front. I’ve been developing some new resources including a salute to our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. It is called To Those Who Served. You can check it out here.
Okay, for all the non-technical people out there, you may not want to read this post… I must warn you, boring tech talk ahead.
I edit in Final Cut Pro and often output to a Sorenson 3 Compression. Pretty common practice. I was editing one day here recent, went to export my project using quicktime conversion. Went to my options to chose Sorenson 3 and I about had a cow. My dearly loved Sorenson 3 compression setting was no where to be found. So were a few other settings. After digging around, I discovered the issue.
Apparently in one of updates for Quicktime, Apple thought it would be a good idea to not include some “older” compression settings in Quicktime. Apple is notorious for doing this time to time…I still love my macs :). Fortunately, they also included a solution if you need these archaic settings.
Solution: Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences. Chose QuickTime. Click on the Advanced tab. Check the checkbox “Show legacy encoders – Allows exporting using older codecs” and voila…..Sorenson is back baby!