Exodus: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

January 31, 2013 by

I started with the Center for Church Communication (CFCC) in 2008 as a newly-married, mostly clueless, questionably-dressed 27-year-old, working at one of the largest Lutheran churches in the country.

I mostly had no idea what I was doing as a church communicator, but I knew CFCC could help. And boy, did they ever.

Specifically, Cynthia Ware helped. As the standing executive director, Cynthia saw something in me that, frankly, I didn’t see in myself. She reached out, helped to shape me as a leader, and gave me an opportunity which would change my life.

Living in Des Moines, Iowa, we realize we aren’t the epicenter of church culture innovation. We’re not really the epicenter of anything, except maybe training Olympic athletes (Shawn Johnson, Gabby Douglas and Lolo Jones, to name a few) and sculpting life-sized replicas of bovines made of butter (yes, I’m serious).

But this didn’t stop Cynthia from reaching out and giving me a chance. I joined the CFCC team as the project lead for Firestarter, an initiative to help honor churches excelling at communication.

The project went so well, I was given more opportunities within the organization, until finally I teamed up with dear friend, Tim Schraeder, to lead CFCC. Tim left the organization in August of 2012 and now, dear ones, it is time for me to go as well.

Today is my last day as the executive director for the Center for Church Communication.

It’s been a two-year thrill ride, but it’s time to go. It’s time to let someone with fresh vision and energy take the reigns and build on the foundation so many others have labored to build. While I can’t reveal anything “official” yet, know the board is actively pursuing folks who will make a difference at CFCC. Trust me.

As for me, I’ll be concentrating on writing my book, The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication, due out February 2014 through Moody. Additionally, I will still be serving the church communication community through my work at Monk Development.

A few things you need to know before I go:

Brad Abare is a ninja. The best ninjas are the ones who sneak in, do their “work” (aka slicing off appendages! Drop kicking faces into oblivion! Throwing ninja stars at cats!), and slip out unnoticed. Brad is the driving force behind this entire organization, and still, many of you might be asking, “who’s Brad?” Exactly. He has never made CFCC about himself, which, if you’ve never started something from scratch, is incredibly hard to do. Thank you, Brad, for pioneering something special.

Kevin Hendricks is a machine. Not like a Terminator, “I’ll be back!”, programmed-to-kill type of machine. More like a gracious, cuddly Furby programmed to write 10,000 impeccable words per minute (and be eternally patient when I stuff him on deadlines). Anything good that comes from Church Marketing Sucks is because of him. He is kind, intelligent and incredibly gifted. You should hire him. Now.

Drew Goodmanson is setting CFCC up for success. You may not see the direct influence of Drew yet, but you will. Oh, you will. The projects he is putting into motion will secure the communal and financial future of CFCC for years to come. When these projects get off the ground, know that Drew’s fingerprints are all over them.

Cynthia Ware gave me a shot. She exemplifies what a true leader is and should be: quick to deflect credit, gracious, kind, investing in the next generation, and always there when you need her. I would not be doing what I am today had it not been for Cynthia. This cannot be overstated.

Katie Strandlund kept me sane. Katie has only been on the team for a few short months, but her impact has been felt. Not being one to gravitate towards details, Katie has virtually held my hand through scary things like spreadsheets, backed-logged emails, and granular, mind-numbing details. Thank you x 1000. You should also hire her immediately.

To the dozens of board members, team members, volunteers, bloggers and sorted sundry who have helped make CFCC what it is today, I say “thanks.” We’ll just leave it at that.

I’ll leave you with a blessing I speak over my son when tucking him into bed for the night:

May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord look upon you with favor,
and give you peace.

Post By:

Justin Wise

Justin Wise lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife and son. He likes coffee, reading, running and blogging.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

13 Responses to “Exodus: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been”

  • Kevin D. Hendricks
    January 31, 2013

    Thanks for the kind words, Justin. It’s been a good run. Thanks for all you did for CFCC and Church Marketing Sucks.

    • Justin Wise
      February 4, 2013

      I will miss you, Mr. Monkey Outta Nowhere.

  • Drew Goodmanson
    January 31, 2013

    We will miss you! Thank you for all your hard work in service to the Church!

  • Steven Fogg
    January 31, 2013

    Wow Justin!

    You’ve been a great servant of the wider church and have helped us over here down-under.

    All the best for your next steps mate.


    • Justin Wise
      February 4, 2013

      Thanks, Steve. Love your stuff…move to the U.S.A.!

  • Chuck Scoggins
    February 1, 2013

    I appreciate who you are and how you’ve stretched me. Really proud to call you a friend and really stoked about all that is next for you – including how God uses you through your book!
    Thanks for inviting me to join the team! You will be missed around here!

    • Justin Wise
      February 4, 2013

      Sir Chuck

      You are too kind!

  • ryan guard
    February 1, 2013

    This is a great resignation letter. I love that you’re leaving well.

    • Justin Wise
      February 4, 2013

      I do what I can =)

  • Meredith Gould, PhD
    February 2, 2013

    Many blessings, Justin. Love that you closed your post with the priestly benediction from Numbers. I heard it in Hebrew at the end of synagogue services throughout my childhood and adolescence. Love hearing it in English from church folk.

    • Justin Wise
      February 4, 2013

      That’s how we do! =)

  • Adam Legg
    February 7, 2013

    When I first considered taking a position in church communications Justin’s site that was one of the first I came across that really encouraged me and from that day on I have watched from afar (not in a creeper sort of way) as he has inspired and challenged me in this crazy church comm world.

    Thanks for all that you have, are, and will continue to do.

Leave a Reply