This last year has been one of those “three blink” years. It’s January, you blink three times, and suddenly it’s almost December. But then, time flies when you’re having fun.
I also hit a milestone of sorts. In November of this year, I quietly celebrated 25 years of full-time vocational ministry. It was 25 years ago that I shook the hand of the VP of Engineering at Aerojet General Corp for the last time, and said goodbye to a very promising career in aerospace to work at a small, new church in the Folsom area. My wife and I have seen a lot of highs and lows during that time, but we have never regretted the plunge into full-time ministry. I’m so very thankful to the many hundreds of artists of faith with whom I’ve had the opportunity to share ministry, art, and life over the years.
Okay, on to the numbers.
Number of Blog Entries: 21
I’ve had another banner year for number of hits and subscribers to the blog, so I’m extremely grateful for the support. Interestingly, this has been the least number of entries I’ve posted since I started this blog in 2008 (I’ve been busy, and I’ll explain why later.) The most popular post this year by far is “How To Compliment an Artist” (not including last year’s, “The Issue of Age in Modern Worship,” which has taken on a life of it’s own). Please hit the links if you haven’t read them yet.
The majority of these gigs have been Solo Piano at different restaurants, and unfortunately, ML3 hasn’t played that much in the last year. But we have had a few opportunities to play for various non-profits (including the Twin Lakes Food Bank, one of our faves), and we’re grateful for that. Also, my friend Kent Peterson and I have started a duo called “Waiting For Sunday” and we’re booking for 2016. Get a hold of us if you have a venue you’d like us to play at.
I didn’t go on any missions trips in 2015, but I’m already scheduled to teach once again at the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership (my third trip) in Legazpi, Philippines in 2016. (Please hit the link for an extended trip report blog post from 2014). And I may possibly have another overseas opportunity as well. Just praying that it all comes together according to His will.
There is a part of me that is always just a little bit incredulous and humbled that people would actually ask me to travel somewhere and talk to them. But then, they don’t know me as well as my wife does! I’ve been blessed to speak at a variety of places this year. Contact me if you’d like me to speak on faith and the arts.
Number of Patents Pending: 2
Wait, what? Yeah, this is one of the things that has filled in the cracks of my days this last year. My friend, Bob Kilpatrick, and I have invented and developed a new musical instrument that we’re calling a WalkaBout, and we are close to the point of going Kickstarter with it. Besides creating the actual instrument, we’ve been developing manufacturing processes, talking to suppliers and distribution people, planning the marketing, filing patents, and just doing a lot of dreaming over lots and lots of coffee. I’ll be talking a lot about this over the coming months, so I won’t bore you now. Suffice it to say, it is a percussion instrument that has the potential to be a real game-changer in terms of how we make music. (How’s that for a teaser?)
Number of worship services: 91.
Probably the highlight of my worship year was leading the many worship teams at the Triennial Conference for my denomination, North American Baptist Conference. We invaded the Sacramento Convention Center for five days with a variety of worship expressions—orchestra, rock band, mass choir, gospel group, drum circle, dance, painting, liturgy, and other expressions—in order to lead church leaders from all over the world to the throne.
Ninety one sounds like a lot of worship services, and maybe it is. I did a rough estimate of the number of services I’ve probably led in the past 25 years of full-time ministry and I came up with over 4,300. That’s a lot of time leading God’s people in worship. Which is to say, I have the best job in the world. As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to mix it up with so many musicians, painters, filmmakers, dancers, writers, actors, and other artists in my church.
[Photos: (1) Speaking at Oak Hills Church Re:Create Summer Workshops, with some of the finest artists of faith on earth. But I might be a little subjective there. (2) Waiting For Sunday plays a summer concert at the McConnel Vineyards. (3) Speaking and leading worship with my friends at New Hope Christian Fellowship. (4) Leading worship at the NAB Triennial Conference.]