As some of you may or may not know, I have a new job.
From January 2008 through October 2011 I have been the graphic designer (and assistant technical director) at Blue Ridge Community Church in Forest, Virginia. Looking back, it feels like it was a quick run, but in that time I’ve gotten opportunity to learn, attempt, experiment, fail, succeed, burn out, be on fire, and gain experience that has proved truly invaluable. I can say with complete confidence that God had me there for that time. No doubt in my mind.
A lot of the time I was working solo in the graphics department, though in the later year I was able to get a couple of very talented interns (one of whom was eventually hired). In the times when it felt like the work and projects were flowing in a seemingly unceasing manner, I learned a lot about time management and focus. I learned how valuable it is to know your software as best you can so you don’t have to waste (as much) time figuring out how to do carry out an idea using the software. Learning the tools was crucial, and I definitely had trial by fire.
I learned a lot of other lessons, like when to say no, how to keep margins in my life, the value of downtime and vacation, building friendships, and not buring myself out. I am always intrigued by new challenges, but the challenge of having to turn what once was a yes from me into a no was tough. I loved getting to say yes, because it meant I was getting another chance to meet someone’s graphical or creative need in a way that would help them promote their event/environment. However, saying yes too much created a recipe for an overwhelming monster. I let that happen. I did. Me.
So I had to learn. Quickly. I had to learn what actually mattered, what could be simplified, what could be done by someone else, what could quit altogether because it just wasn’t necessary. I began to work towards doing fewer things with “greatness and excellence”, rather than trying to do everything “good enough”. Good enough was a lose for everyone. I wasn’t happy with the work I was putting out because it all felt rushed, they weren’t happy because it often looked rushed, and I was working way too many hours, yet only to just be “good enough”. Not healthy. But, I learned it the hardway and I’m wiser for it. In the last 9 months or so I’ve been able to live a more realistically stable life. I’ve gotten traction on when saying no is wise, and when you just need to buckle down and put in some extra time for a season of life. A season. Working like that for a long period of time just wasn’t sustainable. I realize that now, I didn’t then.
I loved getting to be a part of building, shaping, creating, and adjusting systems of communication and trying to figure out how best to manage all of our projects, sometimes from the ground up. We first tried Microsoft Excel, then Action Method, BasecampHQ, and eventually ApolloHQ which was the best for the needs in the end. Being a chronic early adopter, the hunt for the right solutions for things problems was a blast, but that is not always the mindset of those who would rather not have to constantly be living in a state of change. In the end the systems made things easier, more clear, and more efficient. They work.
I cannot speak highly enough about the opportunities I had to colaborate with Andrew Hunt, Tim Gosnell, and Clay Powers. Three ridiculously talented fools that were a huge part of the growth I experienced during my time at The Ridge. We were/are able to do things together that we just couldn’t do as individuals. Memories of doing more together and building strong friendships throughout those projects are what I loved and needed in that stage of my life.
God knows me so well, it’s embarrassing. I love it.
So now I start a new chapter in life as the art director at North Point Ministries. Moving my wife Maria and I to a state we’ve never lived in where we know next to no one, but with the faith that God is going before us in a big way. This whole deal is an opportunity that I never would have seen coming, but shows me how much God cares for me in ways that I know I’ve short-changed Him. This new endeavor (already has and) will require me to depend on Him for guidance in ways I realize that I haven’t, but I am excited for that continued growth. I still have a lot to learn about processes, myself, people, collaboration, workflow, systems, and creative expression, but I know that God can do through me what He is doing in me.
I know I would not be here if the leadership at The Ridge hadn’t given me a chance to make mistakes, and to learn with and from them. I am so grateful for their investment in me, my life, and the mission that God has called us to. I am forever grateful.
So here’s to the new, to the uncharted, to the challenges, and to the excitement of the unkown of that lies ahead. I could not be more excited about what is to come.
ProTip: For best results, re-read this post while listening to “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men