Tag Archives: conferences

It’s Live!

If you missed it, the STORY 2011 website went live earlier this week. I’ve already started counting down to September 15th. (133 days if you’re wondering :)) The team got together last Friday in Chicago & it’s full steam ahead from here on out. I’m excited to be working with a such a great group again this year.

Here’s a little sneak peak at the website, but I highly recommend checking out www.storychicago.com for a taste of STORY 2011. If you are part of the creative class, would you consider joining us in Chicago? We’d love to see you there!

Moments in the STORY

I left Nashville last Tuesday headed to Chicago for STORY. Wednesday was set-up with the sponsors and getting last minute details ironed out. The event started on Thursday and my expectations were high, but what I actually experienced blew me away. It was truly an experience, not just a conference. Helping out with this year’s event meant I didn’t catch a lot of what happened in the auditorium but I did catch some and all of it was incredible.

I’ve been trying to find words that seem sufficient in describing the experience but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just not possible and maybe that’s okay. So, I decided I would share some of my favorite moments in hopes that they paint a small picture for you of what STORY is all about.

#1 (Favorite program moment): Letting in the Light
It was late Friday afternoon, clean-up had begun, and I was racing around looking for someone to get a question answered. I stepped into the auditorium at Park to look for that person and Princess Zulu was just finishing her talk. I stopped to listen as she challenged me to think about when my story and her story would intertwine. After she prayed in her native language (one of many spoken in Africa) Sons & Daughters went into their last set. If you haven’t heard their song “All the Poor & Powerless” go to their website and check it out. A couple of minutes into the song the music swells. At that moment the curtains behind the stage in Park’s worship center opened up and light flooded the room. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it now. 500+ people singing “Shout it, Go on and tell it to the masses” with their whole hearts as we were all looking at the Chicago skyline that had just been unveiled behind the curtains…powerful!

As someone who has a passion for the visual aspects of worship it was incredible to see the power that simply opening up the windows can have…it far exceeded anything that could have been put up on a screen at that moment in time. I’ve been struggling lately with the fact that I find it hard to worship with complete abandon in corporate worship settings. That often isn’t the place where I’m moved to tears and my heart feels like it’s going to explode in awe, wonder, and worship of my God. At that moment I was worshipping with complete abandon with 500 other people and it was incredible. God was glorified.

#2: Friday Clean-Up
The volunteers that gave their time to help with STORY were incredible!
The event ended at 5:00pm on Friday afternoon. I was fully anticipating being at Park cleaning up until at least 9:00. By 6:15 we had three fourths of what needed to be done done. It’s always powerful to see a group of people united by a common vision and focus come together to make something happen and the STORY volunteers did just that! If you were one of them, THANK YOU!!

#3: Working with the STORY team
The team that Ben Arment put together for this event was stellar. Not only were they all extremely talented but we had a ton of fun working together. Sitting around dinner Friday night and sharing highlights from the week along with lots of laughs was a great moment. I am truly blessed to know each of them. At the end of the day, a team is only as good as it’s leader and I was honored to follow Ben this week. He embodies the heart of a servant leader. Check out his recap here.

Beyond the amazing program moments of STORY the people are what took it over the top. It felt a bit like a large family retreat of creatives from all over the Church. I left Chicago with deeper friendships, new friendships, and a very full heart. I also left encouraged as an artist and with a deep sense of hope for the Church. For that I am incredibly grateful.

Were you at STORY? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. – Check out the STORY photostream on Flickr to see what went down at STORY.

In One Month You’ll Hear the Echo

I really cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am that one month from today I’ll be in Dallas, TX with countless friends on the eve of the Echo Conference. Stephen Proctor described Echo as a pilgrimage to Mecca. And that’s exactly what it is for many of us in the church.

Beyond the fact that the brains behind this conference strive to push us all to better understand the heart and the WHY behind what we do (which I’m a big fan of) there really are countless great reasons to go. If you want to read some check out Proctor’s post, or perhaps this one from Tim Schraeder, or the Echo website. But, I’m only going to give you one reason: community. Yes there will be great speakers and and breakout sessions and I’m looking forward to learning a lot, but more than that I am looking forward to connecting and re-connecting with other creative/tech types in the church, members of my tribe. Echo is an opportunity to take the online community offline and have face to face conversations which is so important. Not only will you foster existing relationships but you’ll develop new ones.

If you aren’t registered yet, do it…today. And, if you head on over to worshipvj.com and check out his post you may even be able to save yourself some money on registration before July 1st. If you’re going to be there, let me know! I’d love to connect!

P.S. -For all you visual worship tribe folks, we’ll be hosting a late night Visual Worship Roundtable. Community bonus!

A STORY You Don’t Want to Miss

I am a huge proponent of taking online community offline. I believe it’s vital to fostering dialogue and relationships among tribes in the church. And if you are part of the creative tribe in the church, then STORY is an opportunity to take the online offline that you’re going to want to check out.

What is STORY?

I’m glad you asked. It’s a conference for the creative class in ministry. For those of you who hear the word “conference” and immediately stop reading, please don’t! STORY will be different. If you are an artist, writer, or producer in the church STORY is designed to fuel your creativity and inspire you as you strive to communicate the greatest story ever told. Check out some of the great creative voices both in ministry and the marketplace that you will have a chance to hear from at STORY:

Dan Allender – best-selling author, professor at Mars Hill Graduate School

Charlie Todd – creator of Improv Everywhere in New York City

Princess Zulu – AIDS victim from infancy, advocate for the oppressed

Jason Fried – founder of 37Signals, creator of Basecamp, author of Rework

John Sowers – president of Donald Miller’s The Mentoring Project

Shauna Niequist – former creative director at Mars Hill, author of Bittersweet

David Hodges – formerly of the band Evanescence, award-winning songwriter

Leonard Sweet – futurist, author of 40 books, professor at Drew University

David McFadzean – creator of Home Improvement, producer of Roseanne

Richard Walter – accomplished screenwriter and professor of film at UCLA

Sean Gladding – member of Communality, a new monastic community

Andrew Klavan – author of True Crime (Clint Eastwood) and numerous novels

Gary Dorsey – founder of Pixel Peach Studio in Austin, TX

Music by Vicky Beeching, Kari Jobe and Carlos Whittaker

When & Where is STORY?

STORY will be held September 23-24, 2010 at Park Community Church in downtown Chicago. Come for STORY and stay to experience life in the city for the weekend.

What is the Format?

STORY will be a two-day, main-stage event. While there won’t be any breakouts or workshops, there will be time for questions and dialogue both during and after the event.

Interested? Click here to register. Seating is limited to just 500 attendees and half of the seats have already been sold, so don’t wait!


I have been living in the world of visual worship for six years now. God has taught me a thing or two along the way. I’ve used a variety of tools, changed my “best practices” countless times, and my philosophy probably as many. But through all of that I had one question I couldn’t get a good answer for: why use simple colored backgrounds, backgrounds that are visually less saturated?

I mean, I have visited several churches and by far the majority of them use colors 90% of the time. Sure, they look neat and can be all flashy, but for me they do very little to enhance worship. Not only do churches use them but video companies have produced them in mass and continue to do so. I couldn’t help but think there was something magical abut these backgrounds that I was missing.

Well today, I had a brief conversation with Mr WorshipVJ himself, Stephen Proctor, and the lightbulb came on. His answer to that question made complete sense and made me think “aha, I get it!” In short, his answer was not only can we use colors to create certain moods, but perhaps more importantly we can use less visually saturated backgrounds to great an ebb an flow that is necessary in visual worship. You see we need highs and lows in order to have either. You can’t get to the mountaintop unless you start from the bottom. And the mountaintop isn’t nearly as sweet if you stay there all of the time. In visual worship terms: you use visual simplicity to create space where you prepare people for something more. But if it’s more all of the time it becomes too much. The opposite is also true however. If it’s all colors all of the time you are missing out on the essence and power of visual worship.

Seems so simple, doesn’t it? But then, I guess most “lightbulb moments” do. What was the last “lightbulb moment” you had?

P.S. – If you want to learn a thing or two yourself from Stephen, check him out atwww.worshipvj.com