The theme for Orange Conference 2012 is Game Changer. We’ll be focusing on those moments in culture and in our lives that changed the way we play the game of life.

In culture these could be an innovation like the printing press or a tragic event like 9/11. Whatever they are, these are moments that have shaped our world view and our approach to how we live our lives.

You and I have faced these as well. People and moments throughout our brief lives that have shaped us into the people we are today. Good or bad, they impact our lives in the same way as the momentous game changers throughout history.

As I’m looking forward to next week, I’m also thinking back on these game changers in my own life, one of which happened last year at the Orange Conference.

Chances are that as we talk about Game Changers next week, you may also experience one of your own. Embrace each moment of the conference and allow the Spirit to move within you. Follow where He leads. And celebrate each milestone on the journey.

It’s what I want to do now. So, in chronological order…

1. My first lead in a school musical: Colby the Computer. Yes, that silly computer who when programmed with a memory verse would spit out a catchy praise and worship tune that would set the kids dancing.

I was in third grade. The costume was made of a cardboard box, but it didn’t matter. The acting bug caught me, and I was hooked. For the rest of my schooling, this was what I loved: being on stage, acting, and singing my heart out.

Nothing has changed. This became more than hobby, but a passion that I bring into my work at Orange  and volunteering at Browns Bridge Community Church.

2. Rod Hosterman and my first high school play: Several teachers throughout my life have impacted me, but none more than Rod. He saw something more in me than I saw in myself and encouraged me to audition for my first high-school play. He taught me a solid foundation of theater and acting. He was always one of my biggest fans.

This play was a game changer because for the first time I realized that this was a viable option for my future. I knew I’d never be the next George Clooney, but I knew that somehow, someway I’d be doing this sort of thing for the rest of my life.

3. Gary Barker and my senior recital. College was the same way. I had a handful of professors that inspired me to various degrees. Gary did this exponentially. He helped me see that one could reconcile faith and the fine arts with integrity. He was also my senior theater recital advisor. While we were planning the event, he kept pushing me to write from my guy, to present something that pushed boundaries, and to communicate my heart on the stage.

Through that process I discovered me. I’m still that person with the same ideals and dreams. The only difference is that they’re no longer just dreams, I get to live them out each day.

4. Brian VanderArk and my first real church job: I remember his two fingers tapping on the table in Bob Evans like it was yesterday. He wanted to know how my heartbeat for ministry. He had his own sneaking suspicion. He wouldn’t offer me the job I’d applied for because he saw a passion in me that I didn’t know was possible: family ministries.

Brian was more than a boss, but a mentor and friend who saw me through some of my worst as young leader. He let me make mistakes but never let me hanging without a net. He shaped me into the leader I am today. He taught me what servant leadership and vision casting is all about.

And while a game changer probably shouldn’t be an entire eight year span of time, working on family ministries at Ada Bible Church with Brian VanderArk changed the way I look at the local church and what it takes to grow the next generation of church leaders.

5. Reggie Joiner and Orange Conference 2011: I don’t need to talk about Reggie. If you read this blog at all, you know who he is and how much I respect him as a person and visionary. Throughout the years, I was an Orange fanboy helping host the Orange Tour at our church and wherever I could at the Orange Conference. But Orange Conference 2011 was a game changer.

The theme was “It’s Your Move.” I felt as if that first session was being spoken directly to me. I was feeling restless and checking out some options for what could be next. Every time Eugene said “It’s Your Move” I knew that, well, it was. I needed to move. Little did I know at the time that the move would be to Atlanta to work for Reggie.

That was a serious game changer.

But really, they all were. Moments of life magnified by their significance on my future.


If you’ve made it through this whole post, first of all, thank you for reading my personal history. Secondly, I’d love to return the favor. I’d love to hear your personal game changer. Comment below!

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