New Day - Resigning from The Worship Studio

Gandhi  said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

I’ve experienced a lot of transition in the last year and my thoughts often have been about this little word “change,” which when it comes, can mean monumental shifts in your life. Over the past year, I’ve ended a 22 year marriage that had been dysfunctional for many years and in the process learned that I do not have to live with abuse in my life. Over this year, I’ve grown up and into a knowledge that even when love is present and people do the best they can, staying in an unhealthy situation is not acceptable. I’ve learned that loving God, others, and yourself well with sincerity is the only way to go.  “Change” is so often the key to open the door to a healthy balance of being able to love well - God, others, and yourself. 

I’ve been recently climbing waterfalls and mountains and centering close to the land and spending time with sincere friends and loving my children well. I’ve learned so much in those simple things. Nature keeps teaching me of the unchanging love of God and his ability to hold all things together, while yet, as I look at the constant transition of things like a fern unfolding in Spring, or Autumn leaves dying yet becoming brilliant, or witnessing the continual cycle of life as I watch a friend’s breath in conversation becoming a vapor that will become eventually a cloud, I’m understanding that change is always happening and there is a season for all things.

I’m writing to announce another more public change that is now coming into season with me. I’ve decided to resign as the Associate Director of The Worship Studio. I have loved working for the past 3 years with The Worship Studio, our team, and alongside Matt Tommey. Matt and I have been, in the past, great friends and ministry partners. We have enjoyed a certain ministry dynamic that has been creative and has actually blown us away at times because of the way the Lord showed up in our working together. We have also faced many hurdles about walking together in ministry, which we have spoken of and joked about with most of you who have been in connection with our ministry endeavors. A friend said to me as I was considering this decision to resign: “Friends are like iron sharpening iron. Sometimes the iron is as sharp as it can get.” Since I believe that ministry should come out of authentic relationships and it is the only way I know to have authentic ministry, it is impossible for me to walk with Matt at The Worship Studio any longer. 

From my estimation, Matt and I have both changed very much in the past year and our focus has become very different. During transitions and separations in ministry, I hate it when leaders sugar-coat things and play the political ministry game of  “spinning” out a false statement in order to make things look nice. Inauthenticity never benefits anyone, so that is something I will not do. I also hate it when people hurt one another and I’ve learned that in difficult transitions, kindness goes a long way. So with that said, I will simply say this... Matt and I are finding it difficult to continue walking together in ministry. There are things that I am not in agreement with concerning the direction of the ministry, so therefore I will not dishonor myself or disrespect others by presenting a dishonest view through our events, videos, classes, the Equipping Center, etc. so I am disengaging from all the Worship Studio structures. Though I feel confident in this decision that I need to be separate from The Worship Studio, I do believe in the vision and I bless Matt in that he has within him many gifts to give to the body of Christ. 

I will be continuing individually in ministry with the things that I have always been about. My Journeyartfully resources, the book, the blog and the creative life-coaching are all still very dear to my heart and will be something that will continue to develop. I will continue to be about encouraging and connecting with artists, providing helpful resources for the development of artists, encouraging authentic community, and ministering and speaking as well as hosting workshops and weekend gatherings, as I did individually before working with and while working with The Worship Studio. This transition will also give me more freedom to collaborate with other ministries in the areas of creativity and the arts, healing, Appalachian culture and being close to the land. 

In this oncoming season, I will be continuing to mentor the many artists I’m honored to walk with through my Journeyartfully Coaching. I’ll be writing and releasing some new books next year, including my Sacred Revolution book I’ve worked on for many years. I will also be blogging more and creating helpful videos and resources for artists in 2015. I will take a bit of a rest from public events and speaking for the rest of the winter and maybe into the Spring in order to spend an intentional focus with my children, close friends, smaller home ministry connections, painting, and writing. I’m putting no expectations upon myself and have no desire to replace a loss with something manufactured. As I try to always do, I will let the rhythm of what I offer as an artist, professionally and in ministry, unfold as it seems to make itself known. 

I've done a lot of soul searching to find my truest truth in this matter - asking God and myself questions about what is most authentic to the real me and what I need in my life. This is how I've realized I need the change. Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Leaving The Worship Studio is a huge sacrifice to me and a very difficult decision. It seemingly affects almost everything in my world. I'm believing though that the things I've created thus far that are the truest parts of me: my art, my Journeyartfully book, family and my sincere friendships and authentic areas of community - these are the things I value most and I want to be about them. This is the change I want to see in the world - that people would know their truest truth and live it even when it means sacrifice.  ”I taught this year at Gathering of Artisans about creatively flying by faith into your new day - that is what I believe we are to be doing in this season as artists, so that is what I am doing. I'm flying into a new day.

I recently climbed a very difficult trail up to a mountain that is so high it is above all the other Appalachian mountain ranges around it. I had to pace myself, stopping to take breaths, focusing on the ever-changing beauty as I would take deep breaths in and out, my legs burned with the push and I would have to stop and rest to wait for more energy to get into my lungs and my legs. As I kept moving, rhythm became very important - simply paying attention to what seemed “right.” I got to the top of that mountain - stood on a huge boulder with my arms stretched out, the wind blowing so strong that it literally felt like it could blow me over and I yelled to a friend as a joke, “I’m flying, Jack... I’m flying!” As I now think about that, I realize how life transitions are just like that... pace, rhythm and the hope of the exhilaration of reaching the top where you will fly (and see beautiful sunsets that connect you deeply with the very heart of God) are important.  

I welcome you to pray for me and my children, The Worship Studio and all of our team, and all of the artists that God is bringing into their destinies. We are all meant to fly!