After over a decade in full time work on a church staff doing media ministry, I’m moving on to something else. God has been working in my life, and I am convinced that now is the time to move forward. I am quitting my job at the church to produce episodic Christian TV/web shows to reach people under 50 years old.
God has been working on me for a couple of years now. It really started when I first got the demographics for the people who watch our church’s TV show. Based on what we can tell, we reach over 100,000 people every week with our 30-minute and 1-hour broadcasts. Over 75% of those are 50+. Most are well over 50 years old. And we are not the only TV ministry facing this.
I can go on and on about the looming crisis for Christian TV, but the bottom line is that those of us in religious broadcasting must do something now. That is what God has been calling me to do.
Many of you know that I am developing a Christian sitcom. We just released the pilot a few weeks ago. I’m not just doing that as a hobby. I will continue to produce Christian TV shows that reach younger viewers.
It will definitely be a change. Not only will I not have office hours, I won’t really have an office, unless you count a desk in my bedroom as an office. Even the subtitle of this blog “Thoughts from a media pastor” will need to change. Oddly the one thing that bothers me about the whole thing is that I’m pretty sure when SWBTS, the seminary I attended, surveys graduates they will clump me into the group who no longer serves in ministry, even though I’m still doing ministry. I just won’t be employed at a church or para-church organization.
My church has been incredibly supportive. In some places if you were to go to your boss and talk about a new direction God is calling you toward, they would say, “That is great. We’ll be praying for you. Now, let’s get some boxes for your office.” My experience has been the opposite of that. I will be transitioning out while they look for someone to replace me. So, while the capacity of my involvement will be immediately reduced, I will still be involved at First Orlando, working with them on broadcast content and weekend service execution. And the church is still committed to letting me use spaces for shoots, and use equipment when it’s available.
When I talk to people, they inevitably look at me like I’m crazy or courageous. I don’t feel that courageous. I do sometimes feel crazy. Yes, I understand that leaving a steady job that pays the bills to pursue what God has called me to do could be considered both crazy and brave.
So, how am I going to make a living?
I have almost five years worth of contacts in Central Florida. Even in a bad economy, I know several people who make a living doing freelance around here. The plan is to pick up freelance work while looking for support for the show. In many ways it’s like the tent making from Acts 18. In fact, my production company is called “Pup Tent Media” specifically because this kind of work will be a means to an end. I have a few ideas on how to use the whole range of skills I developed this past 10 years making “tents” so I can do what God has called me to do. I will put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads.
So if you need video production, social media, promotions, publicity, advertising, communications, event production help, let me know. If you know someone who would want to invest in or sponsor the show, send them my way.
In the mean time, I am moving forward. To be completely transparent, I had a pretty rough day last Sunday. It was time to tell a lot of people about this. Right in the middle of all of that, sharing my heart and passion, talking about the direction God was moving us, I had doubts. From out of nowhere this kind of thing would pop into my head: “Are you an idiot? You are not ready for this.”
If this was something my wife and I took lightly, that might have derailed us. But God has been clear. Scripture, prayer, circumstances and counsel have all been confirming what we know in our hearts we are called to do. I am called to create episodic Christian video content that appeals to viewers under age 50.
It’s not the first time I/we have made major changes because we knew God was telling us to. I quit my dream job to go into ministry. My wife and I moved across the country to attend seminary. We both left good jobs and our families to take a full time media ministry job in Louisiana. We have since moved twice to new ministries because we were led by God to.
Sometimes God asks people to do things that don’t make sense. That’s because he’s God, and we aren’t. Jeremiah 29:11 and Proverbs 3:5-6 come to mind. If I had leaned on my own understanding, I’d still be working in Nashville, wouldn’t have met my wife, had these kids, or been doing things that are are eternally significant in ministry. So, now that we are taking another step, I trust.
Frankly, it’s scary at times. But, I know this is right for us.
So that’s it. Pray for us. Please.