Well, not really. Maybe I should say that it is the end of PuddleJoy as it currently functions. Either way, I want to take this opportunity to share some upcoming changes which I am very excited about.
Over a year ago, after much consideration, I decided to launch an independent music and worship ministry through PuddleJoy Music. This venture was intended to be a means of expanding my current ministry at Christ Community Church (CCC) and provide music and ministry resources to other Christians and churches. It was never intended to replace or compete with what I believe God has called me to do at CCC. Before launching the website, I consulted with CCC leadership. I requested their oversight and feedback as I put the pieces in place. I had their full support, which was a blessing and encouragement.
There was a lot of work that went into this process, which included registering copyrights, registering as a publisher with CCLI, creating and maintaining a website, putting together worship ministry resources for the site, starting a weekly blog, and preparing to promote an upcoming CD release. There also came, along with these, a lot of business related activities. Although it was taking a lot of time and focus, I felt I was able to keep a balance between PuddleJoy and CCC.
However, over the past several months, I have become steadily more restless and knew something was not right in my life. I really thought it was caused by a growing conflict between trying to manage two careers – one in the secular work force and the other in ministry related activities. I prayed that God would give me direction. I discussed my situation with my wife. I sought counsel and shared my uneasiness with those I had asked to oversee my ministry. Things did not get better. My situation actually became worse. I was becoming more miserable by the day.
I could go into a lot of details about how I came to this decision and how the light finally came on, but it would end up making this correspondence a lot longer than it will already be (as you have probably figured out, I do not come in the abbreviated version). Needless to say, I believe God provided me with insight and direction. I was able to see and hear more clearly what God would have me to do. When I discussed it with my wife, she completely agreed that it was the right thing to do. However, when I spoke with those in my oversight group, there was not necessarily complete agreement. There were some concerns raised within the group.
One of their primary concerns was that I was giving up some things that they did not think I needed to give up. This included possible opportunities and financial support that may have been available through PuddleJoy. Another concern was that I was changing directions from what I had originally envisioned for PuddleJoy. In the end, though, as we discussed these things, they supported my decision and the direction in which I want to move. And, in my heart and mind, it is where I feel God is leading me.
Even though I had been diligent to keep my activities with PuddleJoy from interfering with my ministry at CCC, in the end, I was not successful. The technical, financial, legal compliance and business aspects were becoming very distracting. More importantly, I was being pulled in two different directions in my ministry focus. Even though I had intended for PuddleJoy to be an extension of my CCC ministry, that is not how it was turning out. So, it was time to make a change.
Therefore, PuddleJoy, is going to fade into the background as a result of this decision. It will still be the publishing name I use for songs that I write, but, for the most part, it will not have a visible presence. The current PuddleJoy website and resources will be transitioned to become resources of Christ Community Worship (CCW), the worship and music ministry of CCC. All activities and resources will be tied to CCC and will, therefore, fall under the authority and oversight of the leadership of CCC. Over the past twenty years, our worship ministry at CCC has developed and grown in purpose and direction. I believe God has put in place something that is very special. My goal is to continue building on what is in place and see what God will continue to do through us.
The primary focus of CCW will be, as it is now, to minister to the congregation of CCC and build the worship and music ministry of CCC. However, as God leads, we will also seek to impact individuals and churches outside of our local congregation. We will offer music and resources for worship to assist other leaders, ministries, and churches that may benefit from them. I would like to share with you what God has placed on my heart regarding the direction of the ministry of Christ Community Worship. I have summarized what I envision below:
- Diligently committed to the pursuit of Christ-centered and Biblically-based worship.
- Writing, performing, and producing songs that are doctrinally sound and impact through the truth of the Word of God.
- Worship and music that is grounded in our historic faith, but also seeks to be relevant to the culture we are called to reach.
- Accountability of personnel and ministry to the leadership of Christ Community Church.
- Commitment to building and supporting the ministry of Christ Community Church.
- Building a ministry which trains musicians and leaders for music and worship related ministry.
- Developing training and teaching materials to assist worship leaders and musicians in the music and worship leading ministry of the church.
- Through our leaders and team members, expand the scope and reach of CCW beyond the walls of the church through outreach events and efforts, music and worship resources, recording projects, and other opportunities, as God leads.
We will continue to develop and evaluate this as we go, but I am excited about the opportunities that God has given to us. In addition, it will allow me to focus on what I believe God has called me to do. I will not feel like I am being pulled in two different directions for ministry. Also, any expansion or growth in the ministry beyond the walls of CCC can now be a cooperative outreach and ministry, with many others involved in addition to myself.
So, PuddleJoy Music will no longer have a visible presence, as it will be replaced with the CCW website and ministry focus. As I think back, this is probably how it should have been set up from the beginning. However, I think that God was able to teach me some things along the way because of the process that I went through. It reminded me where my heart for ministry is. Even though I had not intended to be pulled away, it had happened anyway. Because of that, I feel like I ended up neglecting those whom I am called to serve first. That is probably why I was so unsettled. It just took me a while to figure it all out.
Now, as my ministry energies will be fully focused on serving the CCC worship ministry team and the congregation, I look forward to what God will do in and through us. This blog will continue as part of that ministry. It will just be located at a different address. I will provide that information when the change occurs.
For CCW, we are anticipating our first CD release, which should hopefully be completed soon, although we do not have an official timeframe. It is still being edited, mixed, and mastered by the studio. However, when it is completed and released, I look forward to hearing how God uses this project in the lives of others. As we continue to move forward, pray that God will use us for the glory of His Name and the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Together for His glory…