Being a Church Editor

Ten years ago there was no such thing as a church editor. Churches around the world used old fashion overhead projectors and an awkward church greeter to deliver upcoming events.

A lot has changed since then. Technology has transformed our world dramatically. We entered in to the digital age not knowing how much it would impact our culture. Video has become another language that we speak to connect with each other. As a church editor, I use the visual tool to connect with a new generation, the unchurched and those who walk in our building as a stranger.

The video department’s goal is to connect the senior pastors vision to every member, in my case, more than 24,000 people. We also communicate what is taking place on campus in order to help build lives, restores homes, help the helpless, fed the hungry, and make a large church feel like a small church. It’s our job to tell the story.

My senior pastor once told me, “You’re going to change the world from that desk.” With that encouragement I know I can lead a team that will fulfill the major task that we, the church editors, have. We are the modern day scribes. We record, capture, edit and share the miracles that God is doing in the lives of the people.

Working for a church is no clocking in and out job. Your mind must always be taking notes. You have to know the heart beat of the church in order to create a video that tells others what it’s saying. You must learn the culture of the people who sit in those seats every week. I am part of a unique and powerful church that is placed in the middle of a bankrupt city, there is no copying formulas. To this day, I’m still learning my church’s heritage and mission.

The best way to get started at your church, is to show your willingness and faithfulness. Volunteer your time to create, learn and pour into your church. Talk with a pastor to see if you can do an internship to start making videos for youth, or for the adult church. If you are new at editing, this process may take a while to produce anything worth showing. But don’t give up, you’ll get better and smarter. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am now on my own, that was God walking me though the journey and Him leading me.

One warning when you are editing for free of any kind. If you find you are doing it more than 30 hours a week, and for more than 6 months, and feel your skill level is payable, then maybe talk with your supervisor about a possibility of a paid position. When volunteering anywhere, there is never a guaranteed for a job, but Ive seen how faithfulness, and showing good working ethics can create great opportunities.

A church Editor is no easy job, you must develop your skill level and also your heart. Hearing from God is needed in order to create something that will impact those who see your work. The good news is that He is strong in your weakness. He helps you through the journey.

Book: Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.

I couldn’t help but compare the book Pursuing Christ Creating Art with the Imagine How Creativity Works. By the first few pages,  I figured out it wasn’t about being more creative but instead about the heart of the artist.

Even though you may be a different religion, I truly believe an editor/artist has to have the right heart for the project, any project. You gotta care about what you are creating. An assistant editor once tweeted me, “Art from the heart.”

I read most of the book on my flight to Vancouver. This book  found me at the right time. The author’s occupation is an independent film maker, creating sermon illustrations and other type of videos for churches. Therefore he was speaking in my language.

“An artist is a heart condition, not a job.”

“…art finds it’s truest purpose when it’s creator attempts to make visible the invisible.”

“I honestly believe beautiful art can change the world.”

I must admit at times working for church, I felt like I was doing God a service. I would often refer to myself as a Martha. Martha was a women in the bible who was busy preparing dinner for Jesus while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him talk. Martha is known for getting upset with Mary for not helping. I’ve always understood Martha’s heart but I’m finally coming to understand Mary.

“We don’t create art for God. He  doesn’t need it. But He dreams of creating art with you, for the world.”

Since I don’t have an official title to my name anymore, I related to the identity chapter. When people ask me what I do, it takes me a while. I say something different each time.

“identity is the person you are. Regardless of your actions. Take your actions away – both good and bad – and whatever is left is your identity. And there’s only one identity that has any value. A child of God.”

I know I learned this as a little girl in Sunday school but reading it on my flight to Canada it felt even more true. I thought my identity was what I did. I also misunderstood freedom.

we tend to believe freedom is- the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want.”

“Real freedom is the ability to tell Gods story with your unique voice.”

Reading this artist definition of freedom spoke to me. It was the kind of freedom I’ve been searching for.

“we can use our freedom as an opportunity to serve – to live large into the lives of others.”

I was being challenged by each line, challenged to be honest with myself, to admit my wrong turns in my thinking and to admit change within myself.

“it’s hard to pursue Christ in the mist of pursuing my own fame.”

“we must be careful that we don’t love our dreams more than other people.”

“the art we create cannot be our salvation. And when we ask our art to save us in any manner, we’ve created something more than art. We’ve creates an idol.”

“humans have no control over their dream outcomes.”

“I am going to plead with you not to give up on your gift. On your art you have been uniquely designed to create.”

“Never stop sharing the beautiful Story through your art.”

“platform only displays skill level, not heart condition.”

I wanna create stuff that matters. Its a desires that ever artist has. Reading another’s artist experience can help us navigate through our own travels.
That’s what I hope to do when sharing my journey with you. 🙂

Music Performance: Cameron Ruffin

I did an interview with Cameron a few weeks ago and noticed he didn’t have many live performances on his youtube channel.  I emailed him and told him that we need to put a video together.
Here in San Bernardino, there are creative people but we lack a collective creative community. I enjoy seeing others going after their dreams and every so often we need a little bit of help to encourage us that we aren’t alone in the journey.
Now he has a video of him performing  a song he can share with others.

I also took a few photo.

My Last Day at The Rock


I had no idea what I was stepping in to. I applied for the job only because I had no where else to go. I questioned God often, “Why am I back here in San Bernardino? There is nothing good here!” I saw it as a place of broken dreams.
He soon began to open my eyes and made His way to my heart. The ironic thing was that I hated my city but my new church loved it. I couldn’t understand why.
When I moved in to the video department God began to show me why He brought me back. I was at The Rock to learn, to work, and to observe.
I started to see it was people that my church loved. And I was one of them.

My church is indeed a light in dark city. I see it as a place of hope, a place that restores the broken and saves the lost.
I thought I was there to make videos but as always, God had a bigger plan.
Tomorrow will be my last day and its going to be sad. I will miss the little details about my day, walking in the break room making jokes with my co-workers, having surprise creative meetings in the lady’s room.
Pastor Deborah, who is the most courageous woman I know, wrote me a letter that melted my heart. To think, she believes in me. That alone makes me tear.


If you are a creative person, you know how often people look at your strange. If you are a dreamer, then you really get that look. You are the outcast, you are the odd ball.. but here at The Rock.. they looked at me with belief in their eyes and with confidence. Their look reminded me that, “All things are possible.”
I want to share with you the card that Pastor Deborah gave me.

The card it’s self is a list.

Ten simple things to remember:

1. Love is why you are here.

2. The most important day is today.

3. If you always do your best, you will have no regret.

4. In spite of your best effort, some things are out of your control.

5. Things always look better tomorrow.

6. Sometimes a wrong turn will bring you to exactly the right place.

7. Sometimes when you think the answer is “no”, it’s “not yet.”

8. True friends share your joys, see the best in you, and support you through your challenges.

9. God and your parents and we, will always love you.

10. For all your accomplishments, nothing will bring you more happiness than the love you find.

And it’s so true.

Though I am moving forward in my career, the love that I found here at The Rock is what I will remember most. It was a job that gave me room to grow, had confidence in my creativity, taught me patience, taught me leadership, management, taught me how to communicate to people. It taught me everything I couldn’t have learned at a school or in a book but it was experience.

Though the road for me up ahead is unclear, I can trust in God because when I thought I was on the shelf and that I wasn’t being used anymore. God placed me at The Rock and gave me a purpose. And I know once again God will place me in a good place. Where I can once again grow more, impact more, teach more, and do more.

So I encourage everyone, no matter where you are at, it’s not forever, so appreciate it while it last.

The Rock Church and World Outreach Center is located in San Bernardino, Ca with over 24,000 members and fed over half a million people in 2011. Last year, over 12,000 people dedicated their life to Christ at The Rock.

Photos: Summer Camp

This weekend I went to summer camp.
As a photographer I am hired to be a spectator. I stand back, see a moment and document it. Little did I know what I was getting in to. One of my twitter friends asked if I would shoot Cottonwood’s youth camp. The last time I went to summer camp was when I was seventeen. I remember that week impacting my life dramatically. It was there, I made up my mind that I would serve God no matter what happened in my life. Since then my summer camp friends and I have chosen very different paths and I’ve become a busy adult.

This weekend I heard a new generation cry out to God.

There would be times when I would take a photo of a group of friends and think to myself, “They have no idea how beautiful they are.” The hope of life was seen in their eyes. You may think I’m being over dramatic but I haven’t hung around teenagers since I was one.

As I was in line for dinner I suddenly remembered my youth days. The hope, the dreams, the mystery, the excitement. I closed my eyes and took it in. I could hear young girls behind me talking about their day, laughing and joking with one another.

After I got my food I was suddenly in high school again, “Which table should I sit at?” I laughed to myself at this thought. I saw some of the young production guys (where I am always welcomed) and ate with them. We laughed and talked about video ideas.

My friend had arranged a special room for me.. or so I thought. I ended up sleeping in one of the cabins with some of the girls. They were up talking all night. haha.. I soon found myself at Summer Camp. I was eating, sleeping, getting dressed, and worshiping with these kids. My photos began to change.. and I was now apart of summer camp. No longer was I a spectator.

In the evening we had a worship service. I was snapping photos but then.. I couldn’t help but.. I turned on my video. The sound of young kids worshiping their Creator could be heard for miles..

At one point I put my camera down, closed my eyes and sang with them. The message that was preached talked about stop comparing ourselves with everyone. As a creative person, I do this all day. He said, “Walk the road God has graced you with.”

Anyone who goes to summer camp is never the same. God has their full attention and He never fails to speak in to their lives. I hope when they see these photos they are reminded what God did in their hearts..they would remember the prayers they prayed. Cottonwood’s youth is pretty awesome. It was great to be apart of the family for a few days. I know I came back impacted.

Catalyst Conference

I was invited to do camera at West Cost Catalyst Conference in the OC. Its a conference for church leaders.

When I checked in with the production team leader, he asked if I had ever worked with a DSLR. Little did he know, my best friend is my 7D. (I know I’m a nerd). He then handed me the 5D with the choice of three different L series lens. He also showed me the dolly tripod that I could use, the steady rig, and the shoulder mount. I was in heaven. I had unlimited SD cards and about twenty batteries.

I went to work right away. I discovered that I really like the 70-200mm lens. This may be the lens I decide to buy. I was able to stand far enough from people and still having depth to field. My production team leader said I had an all access pass to go anywhere I like. With that permission I was about to capture the shots having no limits.

The theme this year for the conference is Courage. While I was getting shots I was able to listen to the messages, it seemed as they were talking to me. One of my favorite parts was when I visited the chapel to get some footage of people praying. I was taken when I saw this wall with confessions to God on it. I stood there reading all of them. I got teary when I read some of the prayers..they were prayers that I’ve prayed before. There was one that read, “I don’t trust where you are taking me”, another “I’m to scared to take a risk cause I don’t know if You can fix if I fail.”

One nice surprise was the performance of John Mark Mcmillan. A friend gave me his music a while back and I totally became a fan. I love his lyrics and even his voice. While taking video I was able to take a few snap shots.

The Catalyst Conference was a pleasant surprise. I think it might just change my life. 🙂