I think it’s incredibly important for artists of faith to have dreams. And not just wish-filled dreams. Dreams that translate into a vision that manifest into goals and milestones and eventually incarnate into reality.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been doing some dream-chasing over the past few years. As dreams go, there is anticipation, determination, a certain degree of toilsome slogging, and some small triumphs. And in 2018, there have been a few dreams that have translated into an incarnated reality.
So here’s my annual end-of-the-year By The Numbers. Generally speaking, it’s been a good and satisfying year. As always, I am grateful 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 WalkaBout Drum Models: 2
We inaugurated the WalkaBout Drum at the all-important NAMM Show in Anaheim in January. Since that first show, we’ve moved into production, firmed up our marketing and other company functions, and are now selling through both the Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend websites. We’re also selling direct through our own e-commerce site. We also introduced a second, mid-priced model, called the Venture at the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville.
Yeah, a lot has happened in a year.
Running INNOVA Music, the company which makes the WalkaBout drum, with my partners has pretty much swallowed all my spare time, so gigging hasn’t been a priority for me this last year. It’s funny how, just a few short years ago, I was playing piano bar twice a week. I find myself being more of a business owner these days (which is an art form unto itself!). But I’ve played a few local wineries and non-profit events this year with some good friends and players, so it’s been fun. On the other hand, due to our growing business, I’m finding myself “performing” at convention booths like the NAMM Show, Winters GuitarFest, and the Christian Musician Summit, and I’ll be doing that even more in the following year.
Number of Speaking Engagements: 9
InterVarsity Press launched Honest Worship in August. I’ve had a few speaking opportunities to share this book, which seems to be well-received.
Nine might not sound like a lot, but many of these were multiple day conferences, including the three-day Apprentice Gathering in Wichita, the six-day Proclaim! Gathering in Orlando, and the weekend Christian Musician Summit in Tacoma. There was also the BE Conference in the bay area, Intersections Conference in Sacramento, and others. While most of this teaching is related to Honest Worship, I continue to be an advocate for artists of faith as well. (Note: Check out the link for Amazon discount pricing.)
Because of my busyness, I had to defer my bi-annual missions trip to the Philippines to 2019. But I’m happy to say that I’ll be speaking and teaching at the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership (BCCL) in Legazpi, Philippines, next June.
If you would like a speaker at your church, conference, or event, please let me know. Also, I’ve been doing a number of podcasts lately, so if you do a podcast (or know someone who does), I’m always up for that!
Number of Worship Services: 96
Most of these services were at my home church, Oak Hills, and this brings the total number of services I’ve been a part of to well over 4,600 over 28 years of ministry. This year has been consequential, as a number of these services were weddings I officiated or memorial services I ministered at. And I guess that is the way of life, really.
One of the most meaningful things I get to do is lead worship with my church family. We have lived life together, in the trials and and triumphs and tragedies. To be able to worship in intimate community—not only vertically with God, but horizontally with God’s children—is a very special thing.
Both my wife and I are entering into that wondrous but sometimes confusing season of empty-nesting. We are greatly enjoying the evolving adult relationships we have with our children, and totally digging having grandchildren (we greeted our second grandson into the world last spring). And the idea of stopping at a happy hour in lieu of making dinner at home is revelatory. But this year also had a solemn ending as we said goodbye to a number of people who have gone to be with the Lord. We have celebrated and grieved in 2018.
A Look to 2019…
This coming year is still shaping up, but there are already a few things on the schedule. In terms of the WalkaBout, we’ll be making appearances again at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim in January and the Summer NAMM Show in Nashville in July. As I mentioned, there’s another missions trip to the Philippines slated this summer. And I am currently booking for 2019.
I’ve also been thinking about doing another album. I haven’t released any new material since 2013, and perhaps I’m due. Stay tuned for that!
[Photos: (1) The first of many crowds gather around the WalkaBout Drum booth at the Anaheim NAMM Show; (2) Playing jazz drums on the WalkaBout with the Nate Poehlke Trio; (3) My IVP editor snapped a photo of Honest Worship at the Urbana Conference in St. Louis; (4) Leading worship at The Apprentice Gathering, Wichita, Kansas; (5) A newborn photo of our beautiful second grandchild, Jackson; (6) Hanging out at BelleAir Beach near St. Petersburg, Florida. Deb and I had the opportunity to visit my college roommate, who I hadn’t seen in over 25 years.]