Busy. That’s probably the word that best describes this last year for me. Two additional large-scale events at my home church, an extended missions trip to Asia, a variety of speaking engagements and gigs, and caring for my best friend who underwent brain surgery at the beginning of the year—there were definitely a few things this year that kept me up at night.
Here’s my annual “By The Numbers” blog, where I take a look at highlights of this last year. As always, I am humbled by both God’s grace-filled hand in my life, and the unwavering support of so many dear friends and family. Here’s a summary of 2014, By The Numbers…
By far, the most popular post of the year was titled, “The Issue of Age in Modern Worship,” which along with the follow-up post, “Age in Modern Worship: Further Reflections,” garnered almost 150,000 hits in 2014. Not only did it go viral, it led to a number of radio interviews around the country where I was able to dialogue with others about this issue. Unfortunately, the alarming number of people who visited my web page and shared their frustrations and sadness underlines the fact that this troubling matter is alive and well in the modern church. I suspect that this issue will only get worse as time goes on.
Theology, philosophy, the breadth of artistic expression, and the heart of the artist. I am grateful to the hundreds of you who are new subscribers to this blog over the past year, as well as the many more who have been faithful readers. It’s been the biggest year for my blog site yet, and I don’t take that for granted. In the big picture, I know I’m just one voice in the conversation. I thank you for the privilege and responsibility of allowing me to dialogue with you.
That’s a lot of playing. 2014 represents the busiest year I’ve ever performed (remember, this is in addition to my many church services), mostly solo piano bar but also some memorable concerts and other performances. Next year also promises to be a busy one as well, so I encourage you to check out my GIGS page if you’d like to see me perform live.
I also had the good fortune to produce an uncommonly gifted artist and good friend, Michaela Nasello, who debuted her first album to the world at the beginning of the year. If you’re looking for some fresh, original music in the vein of Nora Jones, Sara Bareilles, and Zooey Deschanel, order Michaela’s album, Hello, Unexpected, on iTunes or on this cdbaby.com link.
Number of Speaking Engagements: 7
Sometimes, I find myself standing in front of a group of artists of faith, and I feel like my heart is about to explode. I find myself so very passionate about the state of the arts right now—clearly it is an exciting time to be an artist of faith. Memorable moments included speaking at The Creative Church Conference, Intersections: Faith and the Arts Conference, The Write to Inspire Conference, several churches, and other events.
In addition, I participated in an extended missions trip to Legazpi City, Philippines, in partnership with the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership. Tucked beneath the gaze of the Mayon volcano, I taught, preached, performed, and led worship with some amazing people. I am extremely grateful to all my supporters for helping me back for this second trip to Legazpi, which proved to be extremely productive and inspired. I hope to visit them again in 2016. Bang it here if you’d like to read up on my trip reports from this last year.
Number of Worship Services: 96.
One of the highlights of my ministry year was the 30 Year Anniversary Bash that my church celebrated. I’ve been with the precious and extraordinary people of Oak Hills Church for 27 of the 30 years, so there was some significant celebrating going on, including a program, formal dinner, brunch, carnival, and eighties-themed dance. And I got to get goofy and play my keytar (see top photo above!).
I did a rough estimate of the number of services I’ve probably led in the past 23 years of full-time ministry and I came up with over 4,200. That’s a lot of time leading God’s people in worship. Which is to say, I have the best job in the world.
2015 and Beyond…
2015 is still shaping up, but there are already a few things on the books. I’ll be speaking at various upcoming arts and worship conferences, including the Intersections Conference at William Jessup University. I’ve been asked to lead worship at the North American Baptist Conference Triennial Conference (my home denomination) this summer. I have some super-secret projects in the works too, that I’m busting out in excitement over. And personally, I am looking forward to watching my son and daughter-in-law graduate from USC next June. Oh yeah, and there’s that second book I keep wanting to release…
Stay tuned for more in 2015!