EVANGEL UNIVERSITY boldly christian. unquestionably academic.
MEET SOME OF OUR 2012 GRADUATES…where do you want to be in four years?
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES Biopsychology* Criminal Justice Psychology Social Work Sociology*
Accounting Finance Human Resource Management* International Business* Management Marketing Nonprofit Business & Social Enterprise
w w w. e v a n g e l . e d u
West Memphis, Arkansas Major: Music “Silver Shield Award Recipient” • Music & Creative Arts Director Evangel Temple, Springfield, Mo.
Menasha, Wisconsin Majors: Chemistry & Biology “Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry” • Ph.D. graduate assistantship Dept. of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
Advertising/Public Relations Applied Communication* (similar to Speech) Broadcasting Communication Studies Digital Arts Electronic Media** Film Journalism Photography* Political Communication
Early Childhood Education Elementary Education Middle School Education Secondary Education Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, French, Health, Math, Music, Phys. Ed., Social Studies, Spanish, Theatre/Speech Special Education*
Horicon, Wisconsin Majors: Accounting & Management “Outstanding Graduate in Accounting” • Project Analyst Deloitte Consulting LLP, Chicago, Ill.
Springfield, Missouri Majors: Theatre/Speech Education “Outstanding Graduate in Theatre/Speech Ed.” • Assistant Theatre Director & Teacher Cornerstone Christian School, San Antonio, Tx.
In addition to rigorous academics and championship athletics, at Evangel, you will make lifelong friends and prepare to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
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1 1 11 N . G LEN S T ON E A VE. • SPR I N G F I EL D , MO 6 5 8 0 2
Church Music Music Music Education Music Industry (Music Business, Recording Tech.) Music Performance Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet, Classical Guitar, Flute, Harp, Horn, Oboe, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Saxophone, String Bass, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Viola, Violin, Voice Worship Leadership
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Biology Biological Chemistry Chemistry Computer Information Systems Computer Science Environmental Science General Science* Mathematics Medical Technology Nursing/Health Care Physical Science* Physics*
Anthropology* Church History* Government/Political Science History International and Multicultural Studies International Relations* Legal Studies Military Science Public Administration Social Sciences
Art (Graphic Design, Fine Arts) English French** Humanities* Spanish Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)* Theatre Arts Theatre/Music Writing* Exercise Science Athletic Training Health* Personal Training* Physical Education Recreation Sports Administration*
Biblical Languages Biblical Studies Greek* Hebrew* Intercultural Studies (Missions)** Jewish Studies* Missions Studies Philosophy**
Pre-Chiropractic • Pre-Dentistry Pre-Engineering • Pre-Law • Pre-Medicine Pre-Occupational Therapy • Pre-Optometry Pre-Pharmacy • Pre-Physician Assistant Pre-Physical Therapy • Pre-Seminary • Pre-Veterinary
Leadership* Leadership Scholar Program
*offered as a minor **offered as a concentration or minor
STUDENT EDITOR: RACHEL COLLINS
NATIONAL YOUTH MINISTRIES TEAM Mark Entzminger, National Youth Director Steve Pulis, Student Outreach Director Rod Whitlock, Student Discipleship Director Chet Caudill, Student Missions Director EDITORIAL TEAM Student Discipleship Director @rodwhitlock Rod Whitlock EDITOR @oncoursegirl Amber Weigand-Buckley STUDENT EDITOR Rachel Collins OCCOLLEGE EDITORS Emily Barney & Matt Smith COPY EDITOR/WEB ASSISTANT Heather Van Allen
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used By permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Vol. 21, Issue #1 Summer 2012 (Issn 10610952) is published quarterly by National Youth Ministries of the Assemblies of God in partnership with the Alliance for AG Higher Education ©2012 by The General Council of the Assemblies Of God (Gospel Publishing House), 1445 N. Boonville Avenue, Springfield, Mo 65802, (417)862-2781. Periodicals postage paid at Springfield, MO. Printed in the USA.
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ADVERTISING Amber Weigand-Buckley DESIGNER Josh Carter WEB MANAGEMENT Chris Gerringer EDITORIAL ADVISORY TEAM Emily Barney, Melanie Bush, Josh Carter, Mary Winslow, Chris Gerringer, Abby Smith, Matt Smith, Jack Trewern, Amber WeigandBuckley & Rod Whitlock. COVER DESIGN: Josh Carter
NATIONAL YOUTH MINISTRIES
SIGNS OF LOVE P
icture yourself sitting in a room filled with people, seemingly happy, yet deep down inside you feel as if the room might as well be empty. The feeling of loneliness sets in; it is inevitable. This feeling of “being alone” is the time when nothing in life seems to make sense, or maybe it does, but you are not quite able to comprehend everything that is taking place. The feeling of loneliness may be unpleasant; however, this feeling can be an opportunity to learn and grow. Henri Nouwen, priest and author, writes about the difference between loneliness, solitude, love and community in his book The Only Necessary Thing. One thing that Nouwen distinguishes is that solitude, unlike loneliness, is purposeful. The beauty in solitude is that it better positions us to receive more of the God’s love because of the limited distractions. This love then flows out to our community, our neighbors. When we view relationships with others as a selfless contribution rather than a selfish act, a certain restoration takes place. It is a restoration of the heart as we are transformed into the image of Christ. Using the life of Jesus as our primary example, we will begin to base our relationships
off of what we can do for others, not the other way around. When this takes place, our activities will be done out of the heart for each other instead of for ourselves. Ultimately, we can come together in community because we do not cling to one another in loneliness. Knowing this, we will finally be able to truly love our neighbor. The love of God transcends all knowledge, as said in Scripture. Humanity may never know just how much they are loved, but understanding that we are loved should instill in us the ability to love ourselves. Once this takes place, we can then love our neighbors. It is impossible to give love if love is not first received. Loving our neighbor is not merely a suggestion; it is a commandment. ““‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ ... Love your neighbor as yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Loving God and loving our neighbor is important because Jesus commanded it, and because these two commandments are the basis of the very word of God (Matthew 22:40). In the end, it’s all about love. RACHEL COLLINS was the Summer 2012 Student Capstone editor for OC. She graduated this Spring from Evangel University and is working for Exodus Cry Ministries (exoduscry.com) to combat human trafficking.
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Rachel Chan BY: RACHEL COLLINS
achel Chan, daughter of Francis Chan, has always loved music. Since age 7, she remembers performing in front of audiences her father spoke to during various conferences and events. Having grown up in a family whose focus is the kingdom of God, Rachel has a strong desire to reach others with the love of Jesus. “My own walk with Christ is wanting to give everything to Him and knowing that my best ability to reach others is through Him,” Rachel says. The teen songstress sees how God naturally inspires creativity. “If I ever try to write a song without praying before I start or thinking of what the Lord has done for me, nothing comes up. Everything is from the Lord.” Rachel says that she relies solely on God to inspire her with the song lyrics she writes. “It’s all of His creativity.” Creativity and ministry seem to go hand-inhand in Rachel’s life. She knows that ministry is not merely speaking and singing, but it is also working together with the Body of Christ and interacting with the world. For her, the body of Christ is an important aspect of ministry, and she emphasizes the importance of working together in unity for the Kingdom of God. “God did not intend for us to live alone, which is why I think the body is so beautiful. This is why I love my family; we’re always on the
same mission, and I think it is really important for us as believers to be unified so that people who aren’t believers can look at us and see our fellowship, see our unity, and say, ‘Wow! I want that,’” Rachel says.
ent gifts, and whether or not they are big or small, at the end of the day all that matters is that whatever gifts we have been given go to the glory of the Lord. “Whether it’s singing on stage or sharing the gospel, we’re always supposed to go back to the Lord.” Rachel
“WE’RE ALL BLESSED WITH DIFFERENT GIFTS, AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE BIG OR SMALL, AT THE END OF THE DAY ALL THAT MATTERS IS THAT WHATEVER GIFTS WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN GO TO THE GLORY OF THE LORD.” Rachel believes that God gives each and every person different qualities that are unique in their creativity. “We’re all blessed with differ-
encourages her peers, in whatever arena they are gifted, to go to the Lord and to glorify Him with their gifts. As Christians, it is important to
remember that all authority on earth has been given by God (See Matthew 28:18). Rachel believes God places people in our lives to lead and direct. “As God is above us, He has appointed leaders over us, and it is so important to treat them with respect. In today’s society, I think [obedience] and respect for authority are lost principles, and it has become so hard for this generation to understand that somebody may actually be above them.” Rachel recently released her first full-length album, Go. Attempting to embody all of the songs on the album, she hopes that it exemplifies the message of Jesus as He tells His disciples to follow Him. “I felt like there were so many different topics that I had touched on, such as the idea that we need to have joy even in suffering and the way that Jesus loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. We are His beautiful creation and the main message was just to encourage people to go after Him with everything they have and to go and make disciples.” Rachel encourages students to live a life of passion and love for God. “Never dilute the passion and love for Him, but go and make disciples. God is a spirit, not of timidity and fear, but of power.” RACHEL COLLINS is the Summer 2012 student editor. Visit her blogspot at lifeoutoflove.wordpress.com.
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BY: JENNIFER TAYLOR 6 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org
a dark dressing room, above loud music, screams of profanity and women performing dances for money, a young woman cries out to God in desperation, asking Him to deliver her from the dark place and help her hopeless situation. Minutes later, women
carrying roses, hope and God’s love enter the building. They kneel with her and ask her how they can help. In the midst of the darkest of places, God heard the cry of his broken daughter and sent willing servants to help her in her time of need. Partnering with the New Orleans Dream Center Midnight Outreach team and Lovely Outreach, Cindy Collins, founder of SpeakHope, ministers to the female dancers employed by 12 New Orleans strip clubs located on Bourbon Street. She and other volunteers begin each outreach with prayer. They ask God to prepare their hearts; help them show unconditional love to women trapped in bondage. It is their prayer to see the women’s broken spirits return to the view of how God sees them. In the dressing rooms, they hand out roses with cards that include a hopeful word and provide information about health outreaches. The women form relationships as they offer to do the dancers’ hair, nails and be listening ears. The SpeakHope team also gives chocolate to the bouncers. As they show God’s unconditional to those labeled “unloved” and “untouchable,” opportunities become available to refer the dancers to addiction recovery programs, pregnancy care and other needed resources. “We understand that there’s a path that these people have walked that has brought them to these places, and we want to show them the path out to the love of Christ,” Cindy says. When Cindy began working in ministry, God showed her that there was a call on this generation. “He was preparing this generation for a mighty move to bring in a harvest of souls, but there was also going to be an attack on this generation through abortion and sex trafficking of women.” She notes that 80 percent of those trafficked are women and 50 percent are under
the age of 15. Cindy believes reaching the unlovable is important because we do not know God’s destiny for those bound in captivity. “God may be saying, ‘That’s my Esther that I’m drawing out for such a time as this. She doesn’t want to be there, but the circumstances of her life have placed her in captivity. Will you go in and be my servant, where I am, and bring her out?’” She encourages young people to start reaching out to the unloved now and notes there are several ways to get involved by doing simple acts. First, pray and seek the heart of God. Jesus showed love and mercy, so ask God to give you compassion for the unloved and words of hope to bring them. Then, ask Him for ways to reach them, whether it is in clubs, homeless shelters or pregnancy centers. It may be as simple as making a bracelet, cooking a meal or gathering toiletry items. Cindy discourages anyone under 21 from entering dark places such as the clubs; however, she notes that prayers go where feet cannot. Second, make preventative decisions. Choose not to be in predatory or manipulative relationships. Cindy says many of the girls got involved in destructive relationships that led them to a dark path. Third, become knowledgeable of the situation, and let your voice be heard in the community, to older people and even to the government. Cindy says that older generations do not know all that is going on with modern-day slavery and trafficking, which makes young people becoming aware and informing others so necessary. You may not be able to go yet, but you can speak with authority on the message. JENNIFER TAYLOR is a freelance writer in Springfield, Missouri. She volunteers with children’s, youth and women’s ministries.
Here are some ways that you may express the love of God to those who may not be the ideal recipients of love:
LOVING THE UNTOUCHABLE This world is full of people who are seemingly unworthy to receive love because of their situation or circumstance. They have been labeled as “untouchable.” In reality, those who are living on the streets and those who are mentally or physically ill are just as capable of receiving love and just as deserving of the love of God. The Lord wants to use you to reach out the the untouchable, whether it be taking some leftover food to the local homeless shelter or visiting a friend at the hospital.
READ MORE ABOUT “LOVING THE UNLOVABLE” AND OTHER STORIES BY SCANNING THIS CODE OR, VISIT ONCOURSE.AG.ORG.
LOVING THE UNLOVABLE We live in a fallen world, no doubt. That being said, we, as humans, are far from perfect. The mistreatment of each other is inevitable. Because of sin, we are all unlovable. However, as Jesus offers us love, grace and forgiveness (Romans 5:8), surely we can love those around us. Throughout the New Testament, He provides us with examples on how to love others, not just tolerate of pretend to love them. He teaches us to serve. Why? Because serving allows us to see how we should love, and serving has a way of changing the way we see them. When we are continually looking for a way to help someone, it is almost impossible to ignore their true worth as one who is made in God’s image. Serving begins with praying, and is then followed by opportunities. Let us serve one another in love (Galations 5:13).
LOVING FAMILY, AND LOVING THOSE YOU LIVE WITH It is so easy to take something that is so common in our lives for granted. Sadly, we often forget about those whom we see on a day-to-day basis. How can we love our family or those you live with? Perform simple acts of kindness throughout the week: offer to take out the trash, do the dishes, or walk the dog.
LOVING THE STRANGER Knowing the fact that humanity is made in the image of God, and as one who love God, it is possible to love humanity. God delights in you, and He delights in the stranger who is standing over on the other side of the room. When we take that into consideration and begin to process this truth that God loves everybody, we may follow His example and love those who may not even know our names.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the song “Loving You Is Easy” were true? Sadly, loving people does not come easy, but there is hope. As Christians, we have ready access to the love of God. As His image-bearers, we were made to carry His love in our hearts. Today, ask God to fill your heart with His love for the untouchable and the unlovable. — RACHEL COLLINS For more information on sexual exploitation and human trafficking, visit exoduscry.com, notforsale.com and salvationarmy.com.
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BY: ELISE WOOD & AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY
ou have advanced from district level. You made it to the National Fine Arts Festival. You prepare in the hopes claiming a pretty hefty scholarship for college, not to mention the possible opportunity to shine your presentation on the main stage. Nothing else matters to you but getting that trophy. You are motivated, cunning and competitive as you size up the other presentations and adjust yours. After all, what’s wrong with getting the edge? You even catch yourself criticizing other students in your category who weren’t as good as you in comparison. Or worse yet, laughing at those mistakes with a group of your closest friends. You mistakenly have it in your head that true meaning behind Fine Arts lands on score sheets and that winning is everything. The time arrives and you are mentally pumped up. You have been preparing this presentation for months. As you walk into the short sermon room, you see only the evaluators. You know your stuff, and that is what you think will carry you. You think, “My head is ready.” Later, the unthinkable happens. You did a great job, but you did not advance to the next round. You wonder what went wrong. You complain to your parents, scream a little, shed some selfish tears. Then, the American Idol behind the scenes confessional moment hits you hard as you think, “What went wrong? I was so ready. Those evaluators have no clue when it comes to seeing real talent right in front of
their faces.” However, words from your baby brother gives your faith a reality check, “I bet God is still proud of you.” You realize what you probably should have all along. You forgot God was in the room with you. You forgot to pray. You forgot to thank God for the opportunity of making it to nationals. You forgot God was the purpose of being here, God specifically wanted to use your gifts for His glory.
That needs to be front and center of our minds even before we participate in Fine Arts. At the end of the day and the end of this life what really matters? The Golden Rule says, “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.” But in the light of reality show “go low” demonstrations, we don’t even what that even looks like anymore. It’s so hazy and confusing, when your eyes get glazed over in the spotlight. But God takes that con-
“THERE IS NO LOSING IN USING YOUR TALENTS FOR GOD. FINE ARTS FESTIVAL IS NOT A COMPETITION. YOU ARE A CHAMPION FOR STEPPING OUT IN BOLDNESS TO DEVELOP A GOD-GIVEN GIFT FOR HIS SERVICE.” What does it mean to truly succeed at the Fine Arts? It’s less about applause and more about having the right attitude about how God is shaping your gifts. It’s less about a trophy and more about how you treat people in the midst of the whatever may come moments. Yes, we want to work to do our best for God but at the end of the day where does a scholarship get us? What happens to our trophies if we don’t earn them with an attitude focused on love in community and a humble spirit that sees others with the bigness of God’s heart.
cept one step further in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs...” The same goes for resolving conflict when you feel you’ve been wronged—or unjustly evaluated. Ephesians 4:26 says plainly, if you are angry, do not sin. Yes, you can go calmly to those in authority to present your case— without yelling or cussing. Without getting everyone in your group worked up to angry
mob status—pounding fists all the way to the conflict resolution desk. But be OK if things don’t go your way. Learn to let go of the end result. After all, there are only 10 top slots in each category and thousands of participants at the festival. God is in the presentation room with you. The talent you have does not belong to you. It belongs to God, and if God has given you so much, for what reason would you not give it back to Him? Fine Arts is about discovering, developing and deploying your gifts. What you have been given is great. Keep your attitude Christcentered. Be a gracious and humble presenter. Your reward will stem from obedience, righteousness and grace. There is no losing in using your talents for God. The real losers are ones who pay because they allow their emotions of what is not fair to ruin the rest of their day, their week of fun and hanging out to encourage each other. Fine Arts is not a competition. You are a champion for stepping out in boldness to develop a God-given gift for His service. Your photo can touch hearts. Your story can change lives. Your human video can further the kingdom of God. Fine Arts is one small testing ground that can give you the edge as you live out your gift in a community of friends journeying with you, all to the glory of God, for the love performance of lifetime. ELISE WOOD is a student at Evangel University as well as a former Fine Arts participant. AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY is editor for ONCOURSE.
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How, as Christians, can we avoid falling into despair, grief and anger when things don’t go our way? To put it lightly, how can we be better “losers”? BY: RACHEL COLLINS
Isaiah Campbell, Conflict Resolution specialist, sheds some light on what not to do when faced with conflict in a competition setting:
Student Discipleship/Fine Arts Director Rod Whitlock sheds some light on what to do when faced with conflict within a competition setting:
• Don’t have the mentality that you have to be the winner or be the best. • Don’t let it become less about the presentation and ministry side and more about what you did. • Don’t lose perspective. Look at the grand scheme of things. • Don’t forget that you’re in a public setting. If you do get upset,that’s not going to help your conflict. • Don’t ignore the steps that lead up to the conflict or the part that you played in it. Be willing to take the blame.
• Do remember that the prize determines how you compete. What is your prize? • Do remember the reality that you did what God asked you to do to the best of your ability, and that is the prize you are really after. Keep it in context. • Do bring glory to God. • Do realize that ultimately you are to bring glory to God. He is your coach and He is helping you through this. • Do remember that every situation is about developing yourself as a person so that you can become more like Christ.
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HOW CAN I SHOW MY GRATITUDE??
We all appreciate it when others work so diligently to help us have a better experience. Here are five simple ideas for showing your appreciation for the Fine Arts volunteers:
BY: DAVID SMITH
o you ever wonder what those people who wear the “Fine Arts Volunteer” shirts do all day? As we begin the Fine Arts season yet again, you might take a moment to think about all those who work so hard to make your Fine Arts experience happen. The thousands of students and families who flood Fine Arts events around the nation probably wouldn’t have any events to go to if it weren’t for the volunteers. From monitoring presentation rooms to running score sheets and setting up equipment, the volunteers are a large part of what makes Fine Arts the experience we all know and love.
A typical volunteer’s day starts with an early meeting with other volunteers to assign tasks. They pray over the day, for the participants and events and that everything will go smoothly. Then, after hunting down a cup
of coffee like a jungle cat, it’s time to go to work. Presentations start at 8 a.m. and go all day for many of the categories. So volunteers are busy most of the day. If they finish one task, they find something else to help with until everything is done. Finally, they cap off the long day by grabbing some dinner—maybe at a fun restaurant—and a bit of free time. Then, it’s off to bed at around midnight or 1 a.m. to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before doing it all over the next day.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. So why do they do it? Because volunteering at Fine Arts Festival is a rewarding experience. The people you have the opportunity to meet, the friends you make, the talent you get to watch and the lives you get to serve make all the hard work worthwhile and fun. Ultimately, volunteers are passionate about helping others.
Here are five simple ideas: • Say “Thank You!” Even something as quick as a “thank you” goes a very long way when it’s genuine. It brings a smile to a volunteer’s face to know he or she is appreciated. • Pray for the volunteers. You may pray at lunch, before or after a practice or presentation or during your daily devotional. We all need someone praying for us. Did you know, at least once every day the volunteers pray for the participants? And if every participant was praying for all the volunteers—how could that not be a God-filled event? • Be Polite. If something is wrong or you need help, remember that you are not the only person there. The volunteers are eager to help in whatever way possible. But they also have hundreds of people coming in and out of their areas all day. So be patient, respectful and understanding when handling any issue or asking any question. • Remember the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Or, “Love your neighbor (or volunteer) as yourself” (Matthew 22: 39). • Set a Godly Example. Even at Fine Arts, there are those who need to see and experience the love of Christ in their lives. We are the conduits for a Christlike experience. Showing love for every person we come in contact with is not always easy, but it is something Christians do. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). To all participants of this and future year’s Fine Arts, I am praying for God to work in
you in amazing wys no mtter the outcome of your presentation. And to past, present, and future volunteers, I salute you! “Never…was so much owed by so many to so few.” ~Winston Churchill
DAVID SMITH is program director for Boys and Girls Club Henderson Unit in Springfield, Missouri. He has volunteered at Fine Arts and participated on both the district and national levels.
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"I believe that love, one smile, one hug, one warm moment at a time, can change our world, and that God designed me to help document that change.â€? â€”Hannah Capps Fine Arts National Award of Merit - digital photography 2009 Saved by Grace - Kappa Tau National Award of Merit 2010.
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Behind the Lens: Hannah Capps, photographer
BY CLAIRE HOEHAMER
annah Capps’ passion for photography began long before she started focusing on it as a possible career path. “I was one of those really nerdy kids in middle school who carried around a disposable camera and took pictures of everything,” Hannah says. A trip to Washington, D.C, in 2003 encouraged her to share her photos with other people. “I took like eight disposable cameras with me and filled them all up in five or six days. I had them all printed and made doubles of all of them. I ended up taking them back to my church and giving people copies and that’s when I realized I liked taking pictures,” Hannah reveals. Hannah began taking more photos and developing her skills. In 2006, she bought her first digital camera. She remembers it as a momentous occasion because it was such a large purchase and investment. Deciding to compete in events was the next big step. Hannah took a lot of photos recre-
ationally and it took some pushing from her friends to enter her work into photography divisions of Fine Arts. The first piece Hannah submitted did not even advance beyond districts. “That was probably one of the most heartbreaking things for me. I just took my score sheets home and remember thinking, ‘I want to make it next year; I want to go to Nationals.’ The following year, I made it in the top 10 at Nationals. That’s when I knew that this is what I want to do.” Not many 22-year-olds know their passions and are fully pursuing them. Hannah was homeschooled and began her secondary education studying photography when she was 17, finishing her degree at 19. Beginning a career in photography led Hannah to Randolph Community College, a school with a strong photography program that was close to her home in North Carolina. Hannah said the transition from being homeschooled was really overwhelming. “I didn’t know at
first what I was getting myself into. My guidance counselor had me get my general stuff done right away. So I ended up taking 21 hours my first semester while holding my first real job. I would drive an hour to school for class at 8:30 a.m., then leave school and go to work until 10:30 p.m.,” says Hannah. After finishing her degree, Hannah began to pursue a career in photography. “Realistically, my heart is to photograph missions work. I’ve really been blessed over the last couple of years to get out of the country,” she says. Hannah has had the opportunity to travel to places like London, France, Mexico and Jordan. One of the most influential trips Hannah took was a missions trip to Columbia, where she focused on taking photographs and video to document the trip. “Since then, it’s been a huge thing for me. I put together a video for my church showing what we did in Columbia. The national office contacted me to see if they could play it at the National Fine Arts Festival,” Hannah.
That trip and exposure opened the door for her to travel to Guatemala City with Caroline’s Promise, an organization that benefits orphans and kids surrounded by poverty. They approached Hannah knowing her heart for missions. “That was a really neat experience. My long term goal is missions photography,” Hannah says. Although she does other photography, Hannah’s real passion comes through capturing the emotion behind the shot. “In any shot, the one thing I really want is the emotion in the picture. Whether I’m doing missions or having a crazy, bad day, I want to represent whatever I’m going through at the time... I want the viewer to feel the emotion behind what I was thinking when I shot it.” For more photography and to contact Hannah, visit mypaperheartphoto.com. CLAIRE HOEHAMER, former OC intern, works for Blessman Ministries
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RO YA L TAILOR TAUREN WELLS OF ROYAL TAILOR: LIVING IN COMMUNITY IN A MAINSTREAM WORLD BY: JACKIE CHAPMAN
hile Tauren Wells was growing up, he was surrounded by musicians, a father with eclectic musical tastes and music studios. He was raised singing and dancing. Today, Tauren employs those elements of fun as the lead singer of Essential Records band Royal Tailor, Grammy-nominated this year for their debut album, Black & White. Tauren grew up in church, singing at summer camps and in choirs and playing keyboard in the youth band (as did his Royal Tailor bandmates, guitarist DJ Cox, bassist Blake Hubbard and drummer Jarrod Ingram). He never put much thought into joining a band, but as he was inspired by black gospel music and as God opened doors, Tauren walked through to a future as saturated in music as his past. The four guys met during Bible college. After forming Royal Tailor, they worked with a church in Illinois. They mentored and taught students music, playing instruments and
leading worship; Saturday mornings included “Making The Band” sessions. “We sowed into this church for one year. We started the music, mentored the students and then turned it over to them,” recalls Tauren. The process fueled a vision for the band, he says, a vision to create a space where students could dream, create and go out and do the ministry. It was a way to give students a fighting chance in a culture where Tauren sees a generation of students with no vision. “It is crazy to meet kids who are visionless and without goals. First, they have no real vision of who Jesus is. From there, they have no vision of who they are in Christ.” Tauren focused his mentoring students on one core issue: showing them Christ and giving them a vision of what they can do in Him. This propelled the band forward, now signed with a major record label, to tackle the hollow messages that pop culture gives young people today. “I see the effects that the messages of
pop culture has on students,” says Tauren, “and we as a band want to see them live above the cycle of dysfunction that pop culture has created. We have nothing against mainstream artists, but some of the messages and values coming out of mainstream music today are poisoning the culture. We hope to be a remedy to that.” As a youth leader, Tauren has also witnessed many students that are disconnected from their families. Close to his parents while growing up, it is not something he sees in kids today. “I see students today that have lost openness in relationships at home. Maybe no one person is to blame, or maybe there are too many distractions, but it’s lost.” He encourages young people to dig into relationships close to home. “Nothing just happens. For relationships to be good and strong, there has to be a concentrated effort. Schedule time to talk to your folks. Make time for your siblings. Take the opportunity to pour into someone close to
you.” Don’t underestimate the value of making memories with them, he says. His words of advice extend to your community of friends as well. “Simply being surrounded by people is not community,” he says. “You live in community when you invest in others.” It is easy to become isolated these days, when communication can easily be done through texts or Facebook, but true community will only come with time, effort and actual conversation. Above all, you need love. “To live in community you have to love, and we can only love one another if we first know God’s love. Once we receive God’s love for us,” he says, “then everything in life becomes a response to that love we received.” JACKIE A. CHAPMAN has over 13 years’ experience as an editor and writer in the Christian music industry. She currently serves as a Missionary Associate with Global Initiative as the editor of Desert Rain that will focus on reaching unreached Muslim people groups domestically and internationally, and as a member of Global Initiative’s mobilization team.
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Amber: Is that where you two first met? Marshal: Yes. In 2001, when I was on staff with “Odyssey,” he was my assignment. Torry: Marshal was given the pleasant task of guiding me when I started writing freelance scripts for “Odyssey.” Marshal: I was in charge of cutting Torry’s 54-page scripts down to 33. Torry: Are you calling me wordy? Marshal: You have a lot to say. Torry: I do. Marshal: About 21 pages too much. Anyway, we realized we had a chemistry in our writing. We had different personalities, styles and strengths, and we were able to use that to write a strong script.
BY: AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY
arshal Younger and Torry Martin are prolific writers, with Marshal having written over 125 episodes of the Focus on the Family audio drama “Adventures in Odyssey” and Torry having produced hundreds of sketches, many of them the “award-winning” variety. As a team, they are approaching prolific status with their numerous full-length screenplays and many in-the-works projects. I caught up with them to discuss collaboration. Amber: First of all, I’ve been a big fan of “Adventures in Odyssey” for a long time. I know it’s been on the air for 25 years now. Marshal: That’s right. Thanks for hanging on so long. Our fans seem to be very loyal that way. Parents who grew up with the show are now teaching their children about “Odyssey.” It’s very fun.
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Amber: How are you different? Torry: I’m the talkative one, he’s the quiet one. Isn’t that right, Marshal? Marshal: (silence) Torry: You’ll have to trust me on this, he’s the quiet one. Marshal: We have very different interests. I like sports. Watch this. Who is Lebron James? Torry: She’s the singer in that group—got overshadowed by her brother— Marshal: That’s Latoya Jackson. Torry: Fine. Watch this. What kind of spice would you use to make curry chicken? Marshal: Parsley— sage— Torry: Uh huh. Marshal: Rosemary. Maybe a dash of thyme. Torry: And can you name any spices that are not part of a Simon and Garfunkel song? Marshal: Of course I can. (Pause) Bac’os. Torry: Not a spice. Next question. Amber: What about in your writing? How are you different there? Torry: My strengths are in creating characters, dialogue and humor. And he’s— Marshal: —the structure guy. My strength is creating a story out of basic ideas.
Torry: The boring stuff. Marshal: Or, as some people call it, “the important stuff.” Torry: I always hear people walking out of theaters saying how much they enjoyed the structure. Amber: How does the process work when you write together? Do you sit in a room and take turns at the keyboard? Torry: No, I don’t like to type. Marshal: We start with an idea. Torry is very good at coming up with the big picture stuff. Then we brainstorm a bit. Torry: We have some basic rules about brainstorming. No idea is bad. Marshal: Well, some ideas are bad, but we don’t criticize any of them because bad ideas can lead to good ideas. Then, we outline it together on index cards, just a basic outline. Then, I take the index cards home and put more flesh to the outline scene by scene. Torry: I give my notes on the outline, we discuss them, then Marshal writes the first draft. I give my notes… Marshal: He always adds great humor, some nice moments, some character things; then I go to second draft. Torry: And we rinse and repeat until we get all the tangles out. Marshal: No less than four drafts, sometimes a lot more. Then, I put the script in Torry’s hands. He’s the one who shops it. Torry: I deal with producers and investors. The people. Marshal doesn’t like people. Marshal: I like people. I’m just not very good with people. Well, adults, at least. I’m good with kids. Torry: But kids don’t produce movies, and they don’t have any money. Marshal: A lesson I learned the hard way. Amber: So what projects have you done together?
Torry: We’ve written five screenplays together. Amber: All comedies? Torry: Yes. Marshal: We’re about to begin work on two scripts that aren’t comedies. A drama called “Shields of Strength,” which is the story of Kenny Vaughn, a national champion water skier whose fight to overcome fear helped a soldier in Iraq experiencing the same struggles. Then, there’s another action-adventure film that involves—wait—am I allowed to talk about this? Torry: Yeah. You’re right. It’s still early. Maybe we should treat the subject matter like buried treasure for the time being. See that? I gave them a hint. Marshal: Yes, and it was almost subtle until you italicized it. Anyway, Triple Horse Studios is producing it. It already has a director too— Ryan Bodie. Torry: Yeah and the last name Bodie sounds like booty as in a pirate’s booty, which is often referred to as a pirate’s treasure. But like Marshal said, we can’t tell you what the movie is about. Marshal: Not that we need to anymore. Torry: Yeah. We don’t need to anymore, and don’t try making us, either, or me hearty here will have ye walkin’ the plank to Davy Jones locker. Marshal: OK, that’s enough. Now you’ve gone from hinting that there might be a reference to pirates in our film to flat-out auditioning to play one. Torry: I’m an accomplished actor. Amber: What roles? Torry: Oh, I don’t really want to talk about that. Marshal, could you? Marshal: He recently appeared in a Taylor Swift video. He was in the “Office” parody that they did for the song “Ours.” He was really good—the funniest actor in it, in my opinion. I always try to write a part for him in
our scripts because he’s amazingly funny. Torry: Thanks! Your pieces o’ eight are in the mail. Amber: When you collaborate, how do you resolve conflicts? Marshal: With us, it sometimes comes down to who has the most passion in an argument. I remember once when Torry really wanted a male character to be a more dominant figure instead of milquetoast, I argued that he wasn’t milquetoast, only shy. We disagreed for a while, but he had so much passion for the issue because he’s tired of seeing wimpy male protagonists in movies. So I deferred to him. He believed in what he was saying. Torry: It’s about trusting each other. If there’s no respect, there’s no relationship. If there’s no relationship, there’s no writing. Amber: Why do you like to collaborate? Torry: Because it keeps me in Marshal’s life for one. He’s a genuine friend and a genius writer, and I know I’d be less of a person and less of a writer without him. Marshal: Thanks. Your pieces o’ eight are in the mail. Torry: There’s this really fun third voice—the voice that we create together. The one we create together is better than either of our individual voices; it feels more complete and layered. As it turns out, that makes it more likely that you’re writing in the voice of the character instead of your own. Marshal: It’s also really fun when you come up with a joke, and then the other guy builds on that joke. Then the joke continues to build until you find the perfect one.
Marshal: Right. Serve the story, not yourself. Torry: Don’t take criticism personally. Marshal: Don’t worry about getting credit. There are so many movie scripts that never get made. Just worry about getting something out there that is excellent. Torry: Pray together before you start anything. Marshal: God gave us all unique abilities. Embrace those differences. Find someone you trust, someone who’s smarter than you are in different arenas, and just like the Body of Christ, fulfill the mission of telling God’s story together. Torry: In what arenas am I smarter than you? Marshal: You seem to know a lot about superheroes. Torry: That really is your weakness. Marshal: It’s my Carbonite. Torry: Kryptonite. Marshal: How did I ever make it without you? Amber: Last question. What movie inspired you to write screenplays? Torry: “Tommy Boy.” Marshal: “Amadeus.” Torry: Same thing. Both geniuses. MARSHAL YOUNGER has written more than 100 episodes of Focus on the Family’s audio drama “Adventures in Odyssey”. He is also the author of a children’s book series and has written two produced screenplays. TORRY MARTIN has written for “Adventures in Odyssey” and is the author of seven comedy sketchbooks for Lillenas Drama Publishers. He is a two-time Gospel Music Association Grand Prize Winner for both his acting and writing abilities. He has a regularly featured humor column in ONCOURSE and Clubhouse for Focus on the Family.
Amber: What advice would you give to writers who want to collaborate? Torry: Check your ego at the door. It’s easy to fight for something just because it’s your idea, even if it’s not the best idea. SUMMER 2012 17
The H Group
BY: HONA AMER BY: HONA AMER
hen we get money, our natural inclination is to spend it. The old expression, “your money is burning a hole in your pocket” indicates that once we get the money, we want to spend it on the latest electronics, trends and fashions. However, if you don’t learn how to handle your finances, money will not just burn a hole in your pocket, it might “burn holes” in your relationships with your friends, parents and future spouse. In our culture of here-and-now, it is easy to forget that the way you handle money today is preparing you for tomorrow.
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USE YOUR MONEY WISELY. Part of the process of using your money wisely is creating a budget. Before you cringe, a budget is not a straightjacket; it simply tells your money what to do and relieves the stress of the unknown. A budget will help you save, spend and give. It is important to save part of your money; don’t spend everything you make. Spend your money on things you need first. When your necessities are met, you can feel free to give to a mission project at your church or sponsor a child on the other side of the world. Giving is a way to sow into something of eternal significance. Since God has entrusted us with financial resources, regardless of the amount, we have the opportunity to honor God by being good stewards of our finances.
LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. It’s easy to lose track of spending. You can buy a $4 latte, a $20 shirt and a $16 lunch in one afternoon. Spending $40 or $50 in just one day is easy. Then, when you need to buy gas and insurance for your car, all of your money is gone. In those moments, it can seem easy to resort to credit cards or to ask your parents for more money. However, if you live within your income, you are only going to spend, save and give up to the amount of income you have instead of resorting to credit cards to make up the difference. One of the best ways to stay debt-free is to not get into debt in the first place.
AVOID FINANCIAL STRESS. People get stressed when they know they don’t
have enough money to meet their needs or when they are unaware of their financial status. Money is often a struggle for students and their parents. Fights and financial stress stem from not having money or using it unwisely, causing a strain in the student-parent relationship. In order to make more money, you might work more or get a second job. However, there must be a balance between work, school and social time. If not addressed early in life, the lack of responsible handling of your money and work will put additional stress and strain on your future marriage. On the other hand, when you work hard, budget and live within your means, you can prioritize the relationships in your life. This both honors God and blesses you, your family and friends. Ultimately, the decisions you are making today will affect you, your family and the way you handle money in the future. Money or the lack of money does not have to control your life. Learning to be responsible with your finances is part of growing up. Hona Amer is the author of Smart Work U, the owner of The H Group creative marketing company and an adjunct professor at Evangel University and Central Bible College. For more information about Smart Work U, visit SmartWorkU. com.
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BY: AUSTIN GUTWEIN
iving. The word “giving” many times is thought of as action that we do once. We think of how we “gave” our tithes or how we are “giving” our time. While all of these things are an action, I believe that giving is much more than just that. Giving is truly a lifestyle. We must live a life of giving. When we do this, we will see us, as followers of Christ, making more of an impact in the world. But, first we must understand what it means to live a life of giving.
What is a life of giving? I believe that Mark 10:45 says it best: 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus, God in the flesh, did not come to be served but to serve. If that was Jesus’ view on a life of service, shouldn’t it be ours? What we also see in this verse is the word “give.” Jesus gave His entire life for us. Jesus’ purpose for coming to this Earth was for us. If Jesus’ reason for coming to this Earth was for us shouldn’t we live a life of service too. A life of giving is a life of service and being focused on serving others. How can we give? When we look at Jesus’ life, we see something right away with who He was with. He was serving and caring for the “least of these.” Jesus was healing the sick, ministering to the oppressed, and letting the little children come to Him.
because a teenage girl in America decided to use her talent to give to others.) Giving is what we are called to do as followers of Christ. We can follow the example of Jesus and truly live a life of giving. We can do this by acting on God’s opportunities and by proactively seeking ways to serve. Let us change the world for Christ. Let us be His hands and feet to the world. Let us start giving. AUSTIN GUTWEIN is a college freshman, author and founder of Hoops of Hope, Austin started what is now known as the worlds largest Free-Throw marathon. Austin’s Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5M to help orphan children in Africa. Austin also serves as Co-Chair of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s Youth Council. As a highly sought after speaker, Austin has spoken and shared his heart in venues around the world. In 2009, Austin was selected into the Caring Hall of Fame as one of the top 10 most caring Americans.
Excerpted with permission from Live to Give by Austin Gutwin (Thomas Nelson) which released August 2012. Download 3 chapters for free at www.austingutwein.com.
A life of giving is a daily act of being willing to let God use you in any and every situation. We need to be ready for those moments when God calls on us to act. Then we need to act. It doesn’t mean everything we do has to be serving, but we always need to be ready for when God gives us the opportunity. We also need to be proactively searching out ways to give towards others. Someone once told me about how all of us can be giving in our time, treasure, and talent. That has stuck with me ever since. Why? We all have those three things, some more than others in areas; but, we can all give of those things. For example, you can give your free Saturday to spend time with the church youth group, or supporting a local charity with your money, or using your talent of knitting to make blankets for Africa. (That last example really happened by the way. Now, 30 moms in Africa have warm blankets to wrap around their children austingutwein.com
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believe that “If Jesus could live anywhere—a place with the most people with the most influence—it would be Hollywood.” Brock’s personality lends itself to striking up conversations with anyone anywhere. He has a way of accepting people where they are and an ability to connect their moment in life to a moment with the Savior. He’s always looking for connections, divine appointments, and ways to point to God. “I was having a onversation with a girl who asked me my ‘sign’ you could tell she was really into astrology and all that and I listened and then I just told her, ‘Look, there could very well be some science behind what you’re talking about, but even if there is, my God made that.’”
BY: BECKY TIDBERG When we picture missionaries we think of slogging through the jungle rain, providing beds to those fighting A.I.D.S. in Africa, or shivering through Siberian nights to translate scripture into native languages. These days, however, missionaries come in some unusual packages. Brock Baker, a 22-year-old life-long member of Phoenix First Assembly of God church where his father is a pastor, has taken the call to bring a message of hope and salvation to a town full of deceived minds, broken dreams, and hard hearts—Hollywood. Turning down an opportunity to say at his church for a career as a worship leader, the former Fine Arts participant said he felt the call to something different. After a year of “near-
misses” and “almosts” on movie and television reads, Brock landed a role on one of television’s most popular teen shows and his current “performed with” list reads like a who’s who of industry greats in both the secular and Christian market: Kristen Chenoweth, Kutless, Third Day, and Barbara Streisand just to name a few.
CULTURE CLASH Confirming that Hollywood really is as bad as all of the stories we’ve heard, Brock acknowledges that it takes a very special Christian to resist worldly temptations while becoming successful enough to have a voice that will be heard by the Hollywood elite. But Brock’s heart for the people of this town leads him to
Unlike the characters he plays which Brock can turn on and off, Brock the Christian is “on” all the time. “I don’t want to be known as ‘Brock the celebrity.’ I want to be ‘Brock the good man,’ ‘Brock the God-fearer.’” Placed in a position to influence the influential, he knows he needs to protect his image and message. He’s at church every Thursday and Sunday serving as worship leader and will be leading worship at the 2012 convention. Music has always occupied a large corner of Brock’s heart and out of those opportunities to worship has grown a band: The Rise. Their self-titled first release dropped November 20th and is unashamedly full of Christ. And while The Rise is happy to join with congregations in worship, you will also find them proclaiming
the word through music in nightclubs reaching out to those who’ve yet to hear. The words of first single say it all: “I will rise up, I will take a stand. Nobody can shake me when I’m in your hands.” Yes, Hollywood is dying, but there are people trying to give it life. Life that is eternal, abundant, and full of hope. All proceeds from this album will go to supporting Food for the Soul, a ministry through Family Church in Whittier, California. BECKY TIDBERG is a freelance writer from Northern Illinois with work appearing in Thriving Family Magazine, Lookout Magazine, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love. She and her husband were honored by Focus on the Family as Courageous Parents for their work with group home and foster kids.
How can we support fellow Christians working to bring Jesus to Hollywood? Click on their YouTube links, put your dollars where your heart is by downloading songs from iTunes or buying an album. Money is what speaks in the entertainment industry and if producers know there are people listening and loving what men and women of value are doing; it will lead to greater exposure, and greater opportunities. If you’d like to connect with Brock to let him know you’re praying for him check out: twitter.com/#!/FCTheRise twitter.com/#!/brockstarbaker facebook.com/brockbakermusic youtube.com/brockstarbaker
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BY: OC STAFF
erious artists understand the importance of sharpening their abilities through rehearsals and classes. If you want to pursue a career, once you’re ready artistically, then you must get ready professionally. If you’re a youth pastor hosting an event, you know the challenge of getting the word out. For either scenario, you have to develop an understanding of the business side of the industry; part of that involves promotion and networking. Three people who understand this are Mike and Paula Parker and Torry Martin. The husband/wife writing team Mike and Paula Parker have interviewed over 1,000 people in all fields, including celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Orlando Bloom, Nicholas Sparks, Steven Curtis Chapman and Phil Keaggy. Torry Martin is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, comedian and author, who also writes for “Adventures in Odyssey.” These three have a combined 55 years of professional experience working in various segments of the Christian and general market entertainment industry. ONCOURSE recently spoke with Paula Parker, Mike Parker and Torry Martin about self-promotion and networking. ONCOURSE: Why should a Christian be concerned with self-promotion?
Mike: Throughout all the interviews that Paula and I have done, we have learned two things. One: everyone has a story. Two: not everyone knows how to tell his or her story. We’ve seen artists at all levels of the industry—both Christian and secular, signed and independent—give horrible interviews, never realizing how this would affect the stories written about them. Paula: Ifasecularartistmessesupaninterview, it might reduce the number of album he sells. If a Christian artist messes up an interview, it might mess up the message she wants to share. OC: Can an artist learn to promote himself? Torry: Absolutely! I started off on 80 acres in Bear Valley, Alaska—not exactly the Entertainment Capital of the World. That’s where I learned that, just as certain tools and skills are needed for survival in the wilderness, there are also certain tools and skills that are vital for survival as an artist. OC: What is the first step? Mike: Basically, promotion is about introductions. Before you pull together a press kit or have a headshot taken, you have to know who you are, so you know how to introduce yourself, your project or your event. Paula: By the way, while, “Because I want to serve the Lord,” might be an honest answer, it’s a boring answer for promotions. Every Christian wants to serve the Lord. Why do you write songs
for the Church as opposed to the lost? Why are you hosting a comedy night at your church? OC: What’s the next step? Torry: The press kit. A press kit is a collection of promotional materials provided to media outlets, performance venues or people of influence. It’s an introduction of the artist and his or her project, or for the event. A good press kit should include a headshot, picture page, bio, resume, endorsements and a fact sheet. OC: Can you get a friend to take photos or write a bio? Paula: It’s best if you get a professional headshot or bio. While this can be expensive, don’t let that keep you from checking with a professional first. Some bio writers or photographers will work within your budget. If that is out of your range, check with the public relations, mass communications or photography departments at local colleges. The professors should be able to refer students they feel can take a headshot or write a bio. OC: What else does someone need for promotions? Mike: A Web site. In this digital age, this is a must-have. But don’t clutter it up with a lot of bells and whistles that will make it difficult for people to navigate. Choose a domain name that is easy for people to remember. Provide information about you, your project or the event. Include pictures or videos. And don’t forget the contact information.
OC: Explain networking. Torry: In a nutshell, networking is about community, even if that community is stretched across the city or the country. Participating in competitions, attending industry events and conferences or getting together over coffee with other industry people are all forms of networking. Networking helps you meet and develop relationships with people in your industry, keep current on trends, stretch your support base, exchange your resources and expand your opportunities. OC: Last words? Torry: To borrow from Scripture, “Study to show yourself approved, promote to show yourself professional.” Paula, Mike and Torry expand upon these topics in their book, Shameless Self Promotion and Networking for Christian Creatives. http://wordcrafts.net/shameless-self-promotion/
photo by allen clark photography SUMMER 2012 25
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meditation, prayer and journaling, songwriters can make the message of God’s word into music. Even the simplest of ideas can have profound implications when they are expanded into a song. Those simple ideas, which Shane calls “anchors,” are the launching pads of lyric writing. As you think about the song anchor, different phrases may come to you. Writing those phrases down gives you the building blocks for the lyrical structure of the song. Once you have brought together everything, you can piece the phrases and words together and create a truly meaningful song.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, KEEP WRITING SONGS
BY: ISAIAH J. CAMPBELL
eaching aspiring songwriters is not a new concept for Shane Barnard, half of the music group Shane & Shane. He teaches songwriters at The Oaks School of Leadership, utilizing experience he gleaned from the first songwriter he taught—himself. “I didn’t really grow up with music,” Shane says. He first felt inspired to write songs when he became a young adult, and then taught himself music to facilitate his inspiration. “There’s a lot of creativity in not knowing,” he says. With several solo albums and nine Shane & Shane albums to his credit, it would seem there was quite a bit of creativity indeed.
WHICH COMES FIRST? One of the first questions aspiring songwriters might ask is, “Which comes first, the lyrics or the music?” Shane’s answer to that is, “Yes.” He compares music and lyrics to the classic chicken and egg scenario; it’s impossible to know which comes first. “There’s probably a hundred on one hand [that started with lyrics]
and a hundred on the other [that started with music]. Really, every song just starts with a thought.” That thought, according to Shane, may be a Scripture, a prayer or just a thematic nugget. It may be found in a unique guitar chord voicing or a bass line. The important element is not how a song is started but simply that you start the song. “We get stuck when we need to write a song. We focus on needing to write and not on the ideas that are already there. We just need to dwell on the dynamics of the idea and let it grow.”
GROWING THE MUSIC Shane says, for beginning songwriters especially, a chord progression can be a good place to start building the music of a song. “It grows as the song develops lyrically,” he says. He advises that you meditate on the message of the song, the lyrics and the ideas, as you play through a basic progression. As you go, you will begin to fashion the music to work with the overall character of the song you are writing.
Listening to other music is key to writing music yourself. “You write what you listen to,” he says. Through listening to music, you develop an ear so you can hear your music’s potential and what overall feel a song should have. The most important dynamic to creativity in music is spending time with the Creator Himself. “If you’re trying to get creative, let the time you spend creating be less than the time you spend with the Lord.”
WORDS THAT SPEAK Shane says the key to writing lyrics is having something to say, which shouldn’t be a problem for Christians. “If you don’t have anything to write about, then we need to have a salvation call.” Spending time in the Word of God and meditating on the Scriptures is essential. “Just be in the Word of God—a lot. If you know Him, you’ll never have a lack of stuff to write.” Shane reminds songwriters to remember their calling, to preach the Word. Through
WHAT IS SUCCESS? Shane admits that not every song written is producible. But he doesn’t see that as a bad thing. “Very few of your hours will be successful hours. You’ll have a lot of misses, but they aren’t ever failed.” Every song is valuable to someone, even if that someone is only you. If the process of writing a song takes the writer deeper into the presence of God, then that song is a success. When Shane was first writing songs for albums, he would write nine songs in a year for an album that needed 10. They would record all nine, plus a song written by someone else. He admits now that they weren’t always the best songs. Now Shane will write 100 songs for an album that needs 10. Although that means 90 songs will not make the cut, all 90 songs are valuable to Shane because they develop him as a songwriter and cultivate his relationship with the Lord. If you have to waste your time, Shane says you should “waste your time as lovers of God and His Word. That’s the most important discipline. We need to spend time with the Lord.” ISAIAH J. CAMPBELL is a songwriter, producer, and novelist based out of Springfield, Missouri. As co-owner of Atom Bomb Records, he seeks to discover and develop creative talent and launch young artists into impactful music careers and ministries.
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THE FINEST ART BY: SARAH KELLY
thought that I was disqualified. I thought I could not have that call. I thought someone else could do it better. I mean, I have a past. I am not perfect. I am not the most talented. I am not the prettiest. And still, here I am living dreams I didn’t even know how to want.
God has plans for us that we can’t even imagine. Let me tell you a slice of my story, and now let my story become your story. I went through the darkest time of my life six years ago. Like one in four girls today, I went through years of physical abuse. The abuse had started much earlier but six years ago I finally admitted it. I stopped denying what was going on. Once you identify and admit abuse to those closest to you, it has to change. That is a tough process to start. I was clothed in shame. I thought I would never lead worship again. I thought I would never raise up future musicians again (my passion). I thought I would never love or trust again. I chose to worship 28 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org
God through that season like Paul and Silas did. Acts 16:25 says, “ About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. …At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” Wow! That verse was my water through that dry season. I worshiped God in front of any audience knowing that He would make sense of my brokenness in time, and that He would set the audience free while I worshiped. What I didn’t realize then was that I was injecting faith into my circumstance. The faith of a mustard seed has the power to move a mountain (Matthew 17:20). And it worked! All I have to say about that in 2012 is, “Seriously? I mean, really, God? You have this for me?” Joel 2:25 tells us that God will restore the years that have been stolen. Everyday His blessings blow me away. I am in the pocket of the beat of His will, and I am loving every moment. I am totally in love with my husband of almost four years, who is a kind soul and so hot. I am one of the worship leaders at one of the largest churches in America (woodlandschurch.tv), and I have 250 songwriting students
and a waiting list. Not to mention I am still a touring artist in my spare time. Are you serious, God? I get to have this life? My newest song says, “You took the scars upon my heart, and turned them into the finest art...my name is redeemed...my name is restored.” Don’t hate your past. Don’t hate your “flaws.” I’ll never forget the girls in junior high making fun of me for my hair and my voice, and now I have been in Glamour magazine for my hair and have two Grammy nominations for my voice. The enemy will always try to make us insecure about our strengths, so next time someone tries to get to you, see it for what it is and shine even brighter. I wouldn’t sing like I sing without my past. I wouldn’t be who I am without my “flaws.” Isn’t it what makes us different that actually makes us originals? My point: your beauty is in your so-called “flaws,” and your past is now just part of what makes you His fine art. So many of you who are participating in Fine
Arts are stepping into a new place of trusting God. Don’t be afraid of your past. Don’t be afraid of your future. Today, make a deal with yourself that the more scared you are, the louder you will sing, the more confidently you will play (even if you don’t feel it, and you are shaking so hard it’s visible and you just want to puke). Don’t do this because you are good enough or want “it” bad enough, but because at the other end of your faith-filled expression to God, He will come through for you. He will set you free, and He will set those watching you free. He will do for you what He did for me. For more about Sarah Kelly, visit sarahkelly.com.
BY: ERIC BRASWELL squint/warner
esus called us to carry crosses. Crosses weren’t just shameful. They weren’t just heavy. They were dangerous. If you were carrying a cross, it meant you were going to die on a cross. Christ didn’t call us to be safe. And Joel and Luke Smallbone—the brothers that are for KING & COUNTRY, know it. They knew it from an early age, when their parents moved their large family from Australia to Nashville. A month after they arrived, their father lost his job. Joel was only 7, but the lessons God taught His family stuck with him. “Those times were really defining because it gave you this perspective of what you can accomplish if you trust God with the outcome, if you take a chance according to His leadership. Even now with for KING & COUNTRY, I still continue to see what I believe is God’s hand on these areas of life when we trust Him and when we take a risk.” Seven years ago, Joel and Luke decided to take a risk together—a two-man band that
would become for KING & COUNTRY. “If you had told us what it would take to get us to this point from that point, we probably would have said, ‘Ah, we’ll do something else,’” says Joel. “We always had these ideas and dreams for what we thought it was going to be, and planned what we thought it was going to be, but what it is now is completely different [than] what our plans were. It’s better. The risk of this last seven years has been continuing to step forward and push forward and press forward, and now, I can’t claim it anymore. I can’t say, ‘Joel did this,’ or ‘Luke did this.’ I can only sit back and say, ‘We went through the doors, we worked hard, but God did this.’” Joel and Luke had hopes that God would use them, and that people would hear them, but they never had a promise that for KING & COUNTRY would be more than two brothers making music in their parents’ barn. What fueled their discipline and determination was the knowledge that they were taking a risk for something greater than themselves. They weren’t two guys who wanted to be famous,
they were two guys who wanted to serve God, and they were willing to risk everything for that purpose. “I made financial sacrifices and even vocational sacrifices, as did Luke,” says Joel. “There were opportunities of work, of earning good money, doing other things, that we both looked at as a team and said, ‘This is not going to work for us.’” Even the name of the band is a reflection of the rejection of what is easy. “For king and country is an old British mantra,” says Joel. “They were going into battle for something greater than themselves, and their chant was, ‘For king and country!’” To those British soldiers and to Joel and Luke, “for king and country” means the same thing: “There is something greater than me, and I am willing to die for it.” It is not a safe motto, but it is a good motto. We are not called to live safe lives; we are called to carry crosses. ERIC BRASWELL writes man blogs for ONCOURSE online. Check it out at oncourse.ag.org.
WHO’S TALKING ABOUT FOR KING & COUNTRY? “This is the can’t-miss album of the year thus far, and for King & Country should be in consideration for new artist of the year when all is said and done.” —Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com “For King & Country is seriously the best new band of 2012 so far. It is not often we give 5/5 ratings on TCMRB, and I do not think we have ever given a 5/5 on a debut album. Crave more than deserves it.” —The Christian Music Review Blog “Australia’s answer to Coldplay.” —American Songwriter “iTunes new artist to watch.”
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VINTAGE OC memorizing one verse a month, 12 verses for the year. Then increase and keep going. He also suggests keeping prayer cards with you at all times. You may not have big chunks of time, but you do have “moments,” Bernie says. Pull the cards out when you’re waiting, between classes, on the bus or any time you have a minute or two. “Get the Word in, get the Word out,” Bernie says. “It’s simple.”
BY: ALYSSA MEDLIN magine you’re on a missions trip to Berlin with a couple of friends. Suddenly you feel God telling you to give a stranger some money. Wait a minute, you think. It’s days before our flight home. If we give her our money, what if something happens and we need it? Sound far-fetched? Not quite. Pastor Bernie Elliot, national Bible Quiz coordinator, had this experience. And he obeyed. God rewarded Bernie and his friends. The next day their travel agent refunded an overcharge in the exact amount they gave to the woman. “Reading God’s Word builds faith. [When] the Holy Spirit tells you to do something, just be obedient. You don’t have to understand,”
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Bernie says. Bernie hasn’t always been obedient to God. He wasn’t raised in church. When he was younger, he drank a lot and was full of anger. His marriage was in trouble. As a police officer, Bernie witnessed horrible crimes, and he became cynical and hated the world. Then his partner on the force got saved. Before long, Bernie accepted Jesus, too. “I was 27 and had never read the Bible. I started reading one to two hours a day, including my lunch breaks. I’d call my pastor and say, ‘Do you know what this Book says?!’ Scripture was literally jumping off the pages at me,” Bernie says. Reading the Bible ignited a passion in Bernie that he had to share — with fellow officers, friends and even people they arrested. “Salvation is the greatest miracle. In every
situation, wherever you go, someone needs the Lord. Christ wants to use us to reach people,” Bernie says. “You have to put God’s Word in before you can minister.” Twenty-eight years later, Bernie is still passionate about sharing the Bible. “The more you know Scripture, the more you know the Lord personally, the more faith you have to believe. There’s a correlation between the amount of Scripture you know and the amount God can use you throughout the day,” Bernie says. Bernie tries to memorize one book of the Bible a year. “When you’re walking along throughout the day, Christ brings Scripture to mind,” Bernie says. “He can minister to others through you. The Lord will give you boldness.” As national Bible Quiz coordinator, Bernie helps hundreds of kids each year memorize God’s Word and use it in their everyday lives. “Quizzers become spiritual leaders. They have faith. They believe,” Bernie says. “Show me someone who’s memorized books of the Bible and I’ll show you someone who is being used by God to reach people.” Bernie says anyone can memorize Scripture: “God will strengthen you and help you. I’ve never met someone who can’t memorize Scripture.” To get started, he suggests setting a goal of
VINTAGE reprint from ONCOURSE magazine archives. For more articles on Bible Quiz 50th anniversary go to oncourse.ag.org and visit biblequiz.ag.org
THINK YOUR MEMORY ISN’T UP TO SOAKING IN SCRIPTURE? THINK AGAIN. HERE ARE FIVE TRIED AND TRUE VERSE MEMORIZING TECHNIQUES. 1. Take a verse and break it down by
phrases. Put commas around every phrase. (For example: Romans 10:17: Consequently, faith comes, from hearing, the message, and the message, is heard, through the, word of, Christ.)
2. Always say the reference with the verse. (Romans 10:17)
3. Read the verse slowly in phrases. (Ro-
mans 10:17: Consequently. Consequently, faith comes. Consequently, faith comes from hearing. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message …)
4. Read the whole verse five times. (Ro-
mans 10:17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.)
5. Look away and say the verse five times. Then look back and check yourself.
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CONTENTS 03 04 06 08 11 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 29 30 32 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE | oncourse.ag.org
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR RACHEL CHAN HARDEST & DARKEST : LOVE BYTES CONFLICT RESOLUTION FA VOLUNTEER HANNAH CAPPS ROYAL TAILOR COLLABORATIVE WRITING HONA AMER LIVE TO GIVE BROCK BAKER SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION SHANE AND SHANE TRUTH: SARAH KELLY SOUNDCHECK: FOR KING AND COUNTRY VINTAGE OC: WORD POWER