Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

During my early graphic design days at church, there was nothing more that I wanted than to be the church’s video editor. I remember being in a meeting with my senior pastors and was asked if I would one day like to be the video department head. I was 24 years old then, and so much of my future was unknown. I knew I wanted a family and I would want to be a stay a home mom, so my answer was, “One day, I want to be married with kids.” They all looked at me and said,”Yes, but would you like to be the video department head in the future?” I smiled, and said, “Yes”. The thought of having my own family, was about to make me draw back from what I knew was my calling. I am very glad that no one listened to my answer in that meeting and still decided to developed me as a leader.

There is a similar story in Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. She is the CFO of Facebook and is passionate about encouraging women to never stop leaning in towards new opportunities at their job. As I read, I was horrified at the different studies of women drawing back or giving up. Also, at the different challenges women have to overcome in order to be taken as a leader. I am fortunate that at my work place, the men believe in the women, and I know that’s because of my senior pastor who broke the mold and is an amazing woman preacher and pastor. I started to see I was my bully, telling myself I can’t or I’m scared or I’m just a girl.

“We internalize messages that say it’s wrong for us to be outspoken, aggressive, and as powerful as – or even more powerful than -men…We hold ourselves back not just out of fear or seeming too aggressive but also by underestimating our abilities.”

“At Facebook, I teach managers to encourage women to talk about their plans to have children and help them continue to reach for opportunities.” 

And this was true for me at meetings:

“If you take the chair on the side of the room, he will take the seat at the table because he knows he’s awesome. So please remember that you deserve a seat at the same table..and that you are awesome too.” 

The book is full of encouraging words and shared experiences from other leading women professionals, to believe in yourself, that you are more than capable, to have a thriving career. To develop a true partnership with your husband, and being co-parents to take care of the daily house hold items and to never stop leaning in towards promotions and leadership positions. I realize I am apart of a new generation of women who work, and its awesome to read I can have a career that I am passionate about and have a family.

“The goal is to work toward a world where those social norms no longer exist. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will to be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests.”

Whether I decide to be a stay a home mom or keep working at a job. I am encouraged to keep taking a leadership role in my life. Either way I will be leading my kids or leading others.

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.

11 Years of Editing and Still in Love

It’s hard to believe its been 11 years since I made my first video. It was 2002 and mini dv was king, Youtube hadn’t been invented and the word, “social media” didn’t exist. My instructor in college was a hippie with large glasses. I remember him teaching us the history of television, and how NTSC and PAL came about. He taught it with such passion, I was at the edge of my seat. He ended his lector by saying, open up Final Cut 4.0.

When I opened up the program I instantly fell in love. I wanted to know all about it. I thought, “This is how they make movies.” I was young and naïve, and dreamt of one day making music videos for MTV. I had no idea what the future would hold for video and my career as an editor. I just knew, I was born to do this. I felt at home creating and piecing clips together. I was the first to arrive and the last to leave class. At lunch the boys and I would talk about our favorite movies and why we loved them. It wasn’t until the second term that I noticed I was the only girl. This made me feel even more special knowing that I wasn’t following the crowd but for the first I was doing what I wanted do.

Its been a long journey since then. I don’t think anyone in my college class stayed with the art. Reality hit and many couldn’t find a job, some got bored of it, and others just gave up. But for me I had no plan B. And I knew if I gave up editing I would have to give up a piece of myself. At age 19 I discovered editing was my language to the world. It is my voice.

There was a period where I was bored of it. In 2010, I went to photography. I edited to make money, but photography was my mistress. I would go shooting on the weekend and even introduce myself as a photographer. The more I shot the less I would talk about editing. And then one day, I looked at my book shelf and found a book given to me by a friend.

In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch

As I began to read this book by famous film editor Walter Murch he talked about the art form with such love and affection. I was drawn into his words and related to everything he was saying. He began to elaborate on what it is to be an editor. Reading this book brought me back to my passion. I looked him up on youtube, watched every video, read all his books. I was learning so much from him, it was bring me back to the glory days. After I read another powerful book called Story by Robert Mckee. This enlighten me even more!

People were noticed the difference in my work. The videos were coming alive. The love was back.

I saw that it was when I stopped learning and challenging myself that I got bored. I thought photography was a new career but it ended up leading me back to the core: story telling. Being an editor is in my DNA.

Once you find something you love and are good at, run with it. It will lead you to your destiny. I know I still haven’t arrived, I am and will always be a student. Challenging myself weekly, pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Reading books on the art, talking about it and connecting with others who love it too.

Who knew video was going to be so popular in 2013? Now just about anyone can be an editor but its those who never stop learning and never give up who will still be in love with it ten years from now.

Command D + Me

When I started editing for church the only thing I was worried about was me and my deadline. I’d often joke that I needed to clone myself. I remember working with other young editors and seeing them make mistakes while thinking, “they’ll learn.”

A lot has changed since then especially the way I work. I train others as if tomorrow I will not be there. I’ve learned that training other people will not only benefit me or them, but the team. I use to be hesitant to teach my job to others in fear of losing it but it took me years to learn, that is what suppose to happen. When I step out of my old position, I am able to move to a new level.

I now see each individual that is interested in learning production as an extra set of hands. Though it may seem easier to work alone, there are times when more than one person is necessary. The time it takes to teach another person will be time given ten times over in the future. In the video office, I want to create a culture of command D’ing. I am now training others to train others..  I love adding to the team, I enjoy witnessing a new comer give me a perfect shot.

When we teach others, it re-teach us and sharpen our skills.

On that occasion I have to critique, I then explain to them the ‘why’. The next time they are faced with a similar problem, they are able to find a solution on their own.

Though I wanted to command D+ me something better took place.. new artist and storytellers were born. And when its time to say good-bye to them. I can stand as a proud parent knowing that God is at work in their life and I was just a set of helping hands.

As you grow in skill and knowledge, also grow in number. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Command Dimage*.

*command D is a short cut in After Effects that duplicates a layer.

Video: Know the Culture

Marketing says know your audience, as a mega church media director I say, know the culture.

The mistake I made in the past was looking too much at videos made by other churches. It took me years to realized what type of church I was apart of. It was only then was I able to create genuine projects that reflected the life of my church. The Rock is an inner city type church, a melting pot of different cultures, age groups and personalities. I had to connect my heart to what God was doing at the Rock. What works great in the OC may not work great for people in the IE.

When creating media, it starts with your heart and perspective. No matter the size of your church, if you are their editor, stop and see what is taking place in front of you.

Ask yourself what kinda culture your city is? What is the heart of your Pastors and leaders? The voice of the editor is important. You set up the details for guest who walk in to the building for the first time.

Become the eyes and ears of what God is doing. Don’t tell them, show them.


Here is a countdown I created to play before church. Though its on while everyone is walking around, getting to their seats, I wanted to show guest and those who’ve been coming to The Rock for years, what God is doing. We are moving and alive who cares about the people who live in our city.

I wanted to show the heart of what we believe in.
Helping people.

The Best Yet

The creative meetings for Easter started in March at church. As I looked for video examples to show the worship pastor I came across this beautiful credit intro on vimeo. It was modern and the style of music would be different for an Easter video. I showed it to the creative meeting and waited for their responds. After the video played I added, “Lets tell what happened at the Cross in a poetry spoken word form with abstract images displaying God’s powerful nature.” The creative team and pastor gave me thumbs up to try it.

Beth, who also edits with me arranged a guy from church to re-create the music and Erica, who is a song writer, to write a poem. When I finally got to creating the video, I sat at my desk not knowing how I was going to make this video. After Effects can be complex and I knew it was going to take some focus and time. Each 4 seconds was taking me 4 hours to create. I prayed and asked God for help.

When the video was complete, I showed the worship pastor and he was a little unsure how it was going to fit in. There was a chance it wasn’t going to get played. The day before Easter weekend it was time for the head pastor of The Rock, Pastor Jim to watch it. We set up the main auditorium so he could get the full effect. After it played I walked in the auditorium and sat down.

Pastor Jim looked at me and said, “I went a pastors conferences and someone had written a letter to that pastor saying they were going to leave the church because of the music and they said ‘God is not in that type of music’, the letter was written in the 1800’s about Amazing Grace. I was hoping we would have something alternative, lets play it.” I went back to my desk thinking about what my pastor told me.

I am part of an amazing generation. It’s true what God spoke to my heart when I was 18 years old, “you were born for such a time as this.”(Esther 4:14). I love how the church is embracing creativity and using it to bring God’s glory to a new generation. I know  God has given me a gift and I’m so glad the church allows me to use it to play a role in reaching lives.

Spanish Version Here