I want to say to all of you that this was by far the most difficult, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching decision we've ever had to make. We've been at The Chapel since May of 1997 and really have loved it here. I've grown so much because of all of the staff I've worked with over the years and also because of the great volunteers who have become such dear friends. Only the Lord's leading could possibly convince us to uproot our family, sever our ties with so many, leave everything we know and everything we're comfortable with to go to a "great unknown." Just the other day Janet and I sat in our family room and asked each other "Why are we doing this again?"
I think people who work together in music have it harder. I think people who work together in church music have it harder yet. There's something transcending about putting a bunch of people in a room and making sweet music together. It's invigorating! I love it! It's been so much fun to create with my friends at The Chapel over the years, and I'm going to miss that tie. But larger than that is the worship leading aspect of what we do. This sweet community that is so strong because of the music is drawn even closer because of the unity found in Christ. When we're of one musical mind and one mind in purpose and vision--to lead in worship, the depth grows even greater--and this is what we get week after week, year after year. The layers are great-- but they're very hard to willingly divorce oneself from. A significant byproduct of all this is the rich friendship that develops. When I was in college, I remember how the music people did everything together. I think part of the reason for that were the connections that we all shared musically in all our required ensemble work. We connected on many levels, and musicians who are reading this understand exactly what I'm writing about.
That which seems so abstract as I write this is so tangible in the moment. It was so real at our concert last night when we hit some nice musical grooves. (This is our God, espeically, Rick!) It was great this morning as well as we connected with the congregation and led together. Good musicians can make music anywhere, but making music and leading with all of The Chapel volunteers is what I will miss so much.
The staff is another very important aspect of my Chapel experience. Emily and Kenton are so great to work with and we have been recently hitting our stride together as a team, each functioning well in our own roll. The whole music staff is great at The Chapel. Anyone coming in to fill my spot will be so spoiled with such great talent and competence, such great creativity and passion for what they do. Just as Derrak now knows, it is hard to replace that camaraderie. It's been such a privilege to go "into battle" with you guys! I'll miss you all so much.
I have so many great things I'll take with me. Of course, just having had the privilege to work with each of you, volunteer and staff, has left it's mark on my life. I know that the Lord used each one of you to prepare me for my "new assignment," as Rich called it. I have improved as a musician, church staff member, and person because of the impact each of you dear friends have had on my life and you are all cherished and will be sorely missed.