I Saw Slumdog Millionaire

dev_game2After many recommendations and honestly waiting too long (I’ve just been really busy – see my last post), I finally went this weekend to see Slumdog Millionaire. WOW! – is all I can say. What a work of art. ART. Beauty, love, raw, powerful, intense, cool music, shot very well, gripping – the best movie I’ve seen since Crash.

I haven’t had a feeling like that leaving a theater (and I see a lot of movies) since I saw Crash for the first time in the theater. Crash went on to win three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing of 2005 at the 78th Academy Awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if Slumdog Millionaire does very well at the Oscar’s – it won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes

I felt like the blinders had been removed from my eyes. I love movies that allow you to experience another culture/country. This movie really lets you see life in various parts of India. From povery to homelessness to human trafficking to a love story on many different levels  – this movie has it all. Please go see it before I ruin it for you!Â

If you have seen it, what are your thoughts on it?


We had to take some pictures during our worship yesterday for a magazine. Below are 2 of the pics we took. One is from the view of a camera man, one is from the back of one service looking out across 3000 people. If you’re coming to Innovation3, find me when I’m showing people around and you can see behind-the-scenes, back stage and the video control room.



My Other Family

Yep – we’re in it. Hell Week… I mean: Tech Week. This is the time of year when I spend 15 hours a day at the church. I’m blogging this after getting in at 1:30am. That’s why my blogging has been light this week. We’re in it every night this week and then will do our annual Christmas production this Saturday. We’ve already sold 5100 tickets at last count, so at least we’ll have some company.

Since I’m seeing my church family more this week than my actual family, I thought I’d share a recent picture of our Worship & Arts staff. This is a picture of our paid worship staff. There are some great volunteers and interns that are a true part of our team that are missing from this picture, but if you want to see who I spend a lot of time with, here you go.

These guys know me (the good, the bad, the ugly, my struggles and crosses to bear) and still love and accept me. As my pastor, Pete Briscoe, says, “To be fully known and loved is a beautiful thing.”

staff picture

Looking at the picture straight on, I’m all the way to the right. To my left is my video producer, Jonathan. All the way on the end (to the far left) is my Audio Coordinator, Tom and in front of him (on the far left floor) is my admin, Julie. That’s my team. How’s Christmas going in your neck of the woods?

Best Out of Office Replies

The following was forwarded to me by my friend and co-worker, Eric Willis, Pastoral Care Pastor at Bent Tree.

Best Out of Office Replies by Jeremy Wright 

1. I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.Â

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.Â

3. I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from holiday on 4 April. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.Â

4. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged £5.99 for the first ten words and £1.99 for each additional word in your message.

5. The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and trysending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over).

6. Thank you for your message, which has been adde d to a queuing system… You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.Â

7. I’ve run away to join a different circus.Â

8. I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks for medical reasons… When I return, please refer to me as “Margaret” instead of “Steve”.

*** I don’t know about you, but I’ve needed a laugh lately. I thank Eric for always having a smile and a joke ready. Number 1 is my personal favorite. So what can you come up with? Got a number 9 and 10 reply?

Missions Festival Pt. 2

In order to allow our people to experiece life as one of our church planters and partners in India, we created Maratha Experience. This was an inspiring, colorful, self-guided tour through the streets of Pune, India (complete with goats). Big props to Aaron Bensko and our Visual Arts team. Below are some pictures from the experience – which was created in one of the hallways of our church.


Missions Festival 2008

Yesterday we finished our annual Missions Festival. The past 2 Sundays have been awesome. On the video side we did video tracks to “God of This City” (the Passion version) and “Tears of the Saints” (by Leeland).Â

One of the most special moments of worship I’ve ever been a part of was yesterday as we worshipped like most of the Church does (with either no or low tech). We hung a light bulb from the ceiling (which is something our team had seen in a church in the Amazon) and used a cheap portable system to amplify our voices to entire room. It was definitely not the norm and will surely be memorable. Tomorrow I’ll show more pictures from our India experience – you don’t want to miss it!

Click below to see a brief glimpse of what worship was like yesterday:

Boston was amazing! Such a cool city. I had Clam Chowder 3 times in 3 days. Great people. Great conversation at the Church 2.0 Local Forum. We had people from 3 states and I’m excited for those servants in a very special part of our country. Church 2.0 Tulsa is THIS Friday!Â


Happenings At Bent Tree

Things are busy around my church (Bent Tree). Here’s what’s going down:

  • Last month we had our Grand Opening (pics HERE).Â
  • This month we have our annual Missions Festival. This years theme: GLOCAL. I’ve been using that term a lot lately. Our Visual Arts team is transforming our church for this yearly extravaganza! More info HERE.
  • Saturday, Oct 25: We host the Art+Music+Justice Tour. More info HERE.
  • In November we’ll host the “Hymns of Hope” featuring worship leaders (including our own) from 4 amazing churches. Click HERE to see a sneak peak of them on The Worship Network and hear our worship leader, Scott Dyer
  • In December we’ll have some sort of theatric/dramatic presentation in the early part of the month. I’m told we’ll do something “simple” for Christmas Eve. I’m counting on it!
  • In January we host Leadership Network’s Innovation 3 Conference featuring MANY amazing speakers. Be there!
  • Word on the street is that we’ll also be hosting Catalyst in May ’09.  Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel will be on the Bent Tree stage. Watch out!

Art+Music+Justice Tour

The Art+Music+Justice Tour is coming to Bent Tree on Saturday, Oct. 25.

ART*MUSIC*JUSTICE on tour this fall, benefiting both the International Justice Mission and Food For the Hungry.

The International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Food for the Hungry works in more than 26 developing countries providing disaster and emergency relief, and implementing sustainable development programs to transform communities physically and spiritually.

Derek is pleased to be joining Sara Groves, Brandon Heath, Sandra McCracken, and Charlie Peacock on this tour, running from September 19th-October 26th, bringing not only the music of these tremendous artists but also telling stories of the great work of these organizations as they work for justice, advocate for the oppressed, and point towards the day coming when all things will be made right.  More than just music, these unique evenings will bring with them opportunities to involve yourself in the stories of our poorest neighbors.

This past Sunday, we were blessed to have Tommy Walker lead us in worship. He, and his band, were a blessing to our church and our worship & arts family. God is still using him!

Last night was one of the greatest nights of my life. I attended my first ever Cowboys game with my friend, designer Ben Jordan. The Cowboys/Eagles game was a “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN and didn’t disappoint. It was a VERY intense game until the very end. Amazing!

IT Status

The last couple of posts have been IT-related and I’m intrigued and curious as to what the IT situation is at your church. At Bent Tree we have an IT department. I’ll soon have a special guest blog post about recruiting IT help at your church.

For now, I’d like to know: Is IT at your church done by full-time employees? multiple staff/department? part-time? Out-sourced? A volunteer? A volunteer team? A combination of staff and volunteers? What’s the IT status at your church?

Video Projects This Month

At Bent Tree, we’ve got a busy Fall coming up. As part of what all we have going on, we’ve been working on 2 in-house video projects, as well as a few smaller pieces and outsourcing several things that we couldn’t fit in.

The 2 we’re working on now are a baptism highlight video for next Sunday, the 31st and a look back in time video for our Grand Opening on Sept. 7th. I’m sure I’ll post these on here later for you to check out.

I’m curious: What video projects are you up to at your church?

ECHO Premier Is A Success

If you’re not at ECHO, you’re going to wish you were and you need to plan for it next year. It’s always a good thing to come to Dallas! I had a great time for my first day of the ECHO Conference.

I got to catch the pre-lab class on “Design” – which rocked. It was so refreshing to watch a talented artist, Barton Damer, peel back the layers (literally in PhotoShop) and show how he created the conference logo (seen above).

I then hung out with Cynthia Ware and talked with several friends that were in town from around the country. Then Cynthia and I attended a special lunch and got to hear what’s coming down the road for WorshipHouse Media.

The rest of the day was a blur of conversations, meetings, classes, talking with my friends that are exhibitors, BBQ for dinner, more deep discussions and meeting people in person that knew me from online (Facebook, Twitter or my blog).

I was most impressed with how the ECHO team and the host church, Watermark, handled the night main session with my friend, Mark Batterson. Hats off to my local tech buddies Ryan Howell (Watermark) and Jason Cole (Lake Pointe) who were making it happen, along with Les and the rest of their team. My intern, Jonathan, even jumped in on camera. So Bent Tree, Watermark, Lake Pointe and the ECHO team came together as one – it was beautiful. We have a great local group of tech directors. I saw most of them today, including my friend, Brian Davis, from Fellowship Dallas.

The worship last night was great (led by my friend, Will Pavone, from McLean Bible in Washington DC. I moved from serving in the Washington DC area to Dallas). The visuals and lighting were notable. They truly led artistically and tastefully. I was very impressed and want to get the backgrounds that they used for the songs – they were awesome.

They had created a nice countdown, made great use of a left, center and right video screen and had a cool brief conference starter video. Good stuff. Batterson brought it and was encouraging and appreciative to technical artists. It was good to see him and his digital/tech team (Dave Clark, David Russell and Jeremy Sexton).

I ended the night chatting briefly with some local friends, including new Dallas resident: Rhett Smith, and got some brief time with my college friend, Shawn Wood, who will be speaking today. I also talked with Tim Stevens and his associate from Granger. I’ll spend some more time later today with Tim.

I picked up Tony Steward last night from the airport and am looking forward to spending some time with him these next few days. I teach today and tomorrow and am looking forward to meeting more of you.

More later, including my new resource of the month: Unifyer – which is one of the sponsors for the Church 2.0 Local Forum in Atlanta next week and is a new partner with my ministry. I can’t wait to tell you more about what they’re up to!

DAY ONE: Great. Well done ECHO team. Looking forward to the rest of the conference.