March 20 will be my last day as the Executive Director for Communication for the Free Methodist Church USA. As I prepare for the next step in my professional life, I’m finding myself extremely thankful for where I’ve been in the past four years. My life is completely different. Better. Richer. Fuller. A few people have been key to making this happen.
I want to thank the Board of Bishops for your invitation four years ago and belief in me that I could lead and succeed. I remember when we began conversations I was sure you had the wrong guy. Thanks for believing in me when i didn’t believe in myself yet. I owe you big time, Bishops David Roller & Yvonne, David Kendall & Lavonne and Matt Thomas & Marlene. I love you.
Thanks also to the people I have had the distinct privilege to work with during this season: The Light & Life Communications team. I appreciate you and will miss dinners out, Starbucks runs, road trips to Indy, watching Top Gun on Netflix while we work on the yearbook, seeing dreams become reality, Jeff Finley’s self-depricating humor, retail therapy at TJ Maxx, GC11, The Indy First Town Hall, and the victory of getting to some tough finish lines without avoiding scars. Team members past and present, thank you.
Thank you to the pastors and superintendents I’ve had the privilege of serving. As I have heard your stories and listened to your needs, I hope we’ve been successful in sharing your heart with the denomination as well as provide some tools and help along the way. You have enriched my life more than I have yours. I know we didn’t always get it right. But we sure did try hard. You’re the engine. I admire you and thank you for saying yes to this great calling which requires great sacrifice.
Thanks also to our missionaries. Getting to know many of you has been truly a gift. I feel like you are responsible in part for me finding my heart and calling. I never knew what you go through and the sacrifices you make for Kingdom. I’m in awe of you.
I also want to thank my surrogate family in Michigan. You yahoos have been my compass many times in navigating this crazy life. I’m so thankful I have people in my life that truly know me – warts and all. Thanks for helping carry the load with us. Without you all, I’m not the person i am today. I love you all deeply. You know that you’re one of the major reasons for stepping out of this role. You’re that important to us.
Finally, I want to thank my family, specifically my wife Micki and my daughter Grace. You ladies are the most incredible people on the planet. Gracie Lou, I love you. Do you know how fantastic you are? I hope this season has been one where you’ve been able to watch your father and understand that there’s more to life than a job. There’s calling for Kingdom. And you have one. Keep nurturing it, sweetie. I wonder sometimes if that was the real reason I was in this position. If so, I’m so glad. I’m proud of the young lady you are and the one you are becoming. Micki, I hit the lottery with you. Thanks for understanding that you married a dreamer. Your gift to me always is allowing me freedom to fly. It’s one of the greatest gifts aside from believing in me. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Thank you for making sacrifices for our family so I could do this crazy stuff. I’m so lucky to partner in this life with you. I’m for you.
As I close this chapter, my heart is full of thankfulness for the many things we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time. We’ve literally transformed how a denomination communicates. It’s been fun. And hard. But so rewarding. And fruitful. Here are a few of the big deal changes:
- Implementation of a unified encrypted email system
- Implementation of a Global VoIP phone system
- Creation of FMCUSA WordPress network with over 36 sites. This gave FMCUSA a unified brand and platform. It also saved every department both time and money for updating their sites and content.
- Production of eight vision casts with the first event a live town hall meeting at the Indy First FMC. The Vision Cast concept provided the board of bishops a whole new platform to speak directly to churches as well as listen.
- Celebrated an increase in web traffic of 420% in page views and 200% visitors
- Reformatted and rebranded Light & Life Magazine to become a monthly bi-lingual magazine distributed to local churches in paper as well as published online for an increase of nearly 200% in overall readership
- Released FMCUSA iOS, Windows and Android apps to publish content to mobile devices
- Released FM Connect, a platform for the future of FMCUSA productivity and connection.
So now that you’re reading this, the next question is probably: What’s next? I’ll begin serving at the Head of Ministry Relations & Strategic Programs for Upper Room Technologies [URT]. Upper Room is a San Antonio-based media company which exists to provide churches and organizations with tools to be more fruitful for the Kingdom. I’ll write more about the story of how this transpired a different time. For now, I want to reflect, and celebrate being part of what God was able to do in the past four years under my leadership for Free Methodist Church USA.