2017: By The Numbers

Here’s my annual end-of-the-year By The Numbers. A friend summarized this whirlwind year very well for me. He commented, “It’s December and I’m still getting used to writing 2017 on my checks.”

This year has indeed been a whirlwind of transitions and activities, most of which were challenging and some of which were fun. Lots of meaningful moments with friends, both new and old. Lots of changes which carry monumental significance. And lots of dream chasing. Overall it’s been a good year. As always, 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.

Number of Blog Entries: 14

I’ve slowed my blogging over the last few years, and as a result, my hits are down as well (only around 25K for the year, not that numbers matter). The most popular posts this year were “How To Compliment an Artist” and “The Issue of Age in Modern Worship,” which both had a steady stream of hits throughout the year. As always, I’m grateful to you all for your readership.

With the release of my new book (see more below), I assume that the blogging will pick up in the next year, but with an additional focus on worship, both personal and corporate. Looking to share more with my online community!

Number of Missions Trips: 1

I try to go on one major missions trip per year, and this was no exception. This year, I traveled to Budapest, Hungary, in support of Proclaim! International for their annual Gathering. I was tasked to lead worship for five days with missionaries from around the world, although it was much more—making good music with talented musicians, connecting conversations with people with quite expanded world views, listening to exceptional teaching and participating in heartfelt prayer, and of course, going on the occasional sightseeing adventure.

This was my ninth short-term overseas missions trip. And I can’t begin to tell you how important and meaningful and life-changing it is to be a part of what God is doing in the world. More details here on this Budapest Missions Report link.

Next year, look for me to head out to Legazpi, Philippines again in support of the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership. I’m also scheduled for additional speaking engagements around the country. Let me know if you are interested in having me.

Number of New Companies Started: 1

Wow, what a ride! After a year of acquiring financing, setting up partnership agreements, securing suppliers, developing product, recruiting endorsers, and enacting a marketing plan, INNOVA Music officially opened the doors to our online store in November. Please check out our WalkaBout, a brand new musical instrument that we hope will change the way we make music!

I can’t tell you how exciting, terrifying, humbling, and challenging this has been (and continues to be). I’ve been a published advocate for artists of faith for almost a decade now, encouraging others to go out there and do art. Well, now I find myself on the bleeding edge of what that means. Creating a new instrument is difficult enough (consider manufacturing something that has never been made before, or creating a price point for something that has never been sold before). But the creative process has many implications, not the least of which is risk.

We’ll be promoting the WalkaBout throughout this year, and I’m sure you’ll see me blog about it tangentially as we learn how to run a company. Thanks for your support!

Honest Worship coverNumber of Books Written: 1

As I’ve stated previously, I signed a contract with InterVarsity Press to write a book for their Formatio label on worship. The book is now in the copyediting process and I expect it to be released in the late summer of 2018. Now titled Honest Worship: From False Self to True Praise, it is an attempt to tie the very important but often overlooked aspects of spiritual formation with the essential aspects of corporate and individual worship. The birthing of this manuscript has been quite arduous and challenging—I’ve had three completely different rewrites. But I am quite happy with it at this point, and I hope that I will have contributed to the conversation of modern worship.

Number of worship services: 101.

I did a rough estimate of the number of services I’ve led over the past 27 years of full-time ministry, and this brings the total to over 4,500. 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 life.

Personal Stuff

As I stated, there have been a lot of momentous changes in our lives personally in this last year. Number of grandchildren: 1 (and one on the way!). Number of children graduating from high school: 2. Number of parents who have graduated to heaven: 1. Number of years married: 30. This year, our family has celebrated and mourned, shared joy and sadness. We are thankful that we have such a gracious and loving God, who cares for us and walks with us in the good and the bad.

What Does 2018 Bring?

Next year promises to be a year of opportunity creatively. From Honest Worship to the WalkaBout to more ministry and art opportunities—I am excited for the possibilities. In all of these things, I am grateful to God for the ability to live an artful life. And I am grateful to all of you, for the ability to share that part of my life with you all.

[Photos: (1) Sitting in with the house band at a jazz club in Vancouver, British Columbia; (2) Posing in front of the very blue Danube River in Budapest, Hungary; (3) Playing in the band with WalkaBout endorsing artist, Zoro the Drummer, at Bethel Church, Redding, California; (4) the completed book cover design for Honest Worship.]

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