There was an explicit moment this past week where I remember sitting in the middle of a circular room in Orlando, Florida. It was 80 degrees outside–much better than the 15 degree weather in Cincinnati–and the natural light shined into the room so brightly through the windows there wasn’t a need for any fake light. I was half paying attention-half working on a website that due in a couple of days for one of my classes. Within the session the other trainees and I were going over some basic things about Reliant, their policies, and other things that I considered boring. Then Mike Swann, the person leading the session, mentioned Reliant’s creative works policy. For those of you that don’t know what that is, here is the policy that Reliant and every other organization has:
“When the creative work (CW) is produced by an employee within the scope of his or her employment, Reliant legally owns the copyrights and all other legal rights and interests in the CW. This is legal standard under U.S. copyright law that Reliant must adhere to as an employer. Such Reliant Works would include: sermons, teachings, lectures, or other oral presentations; songs, music or musical productions, dramatic shows and presentations, seminars, workshops, or other live event presentations; notes or study materials to be used in conjunction with such presentations; books, newsletters, magazines, Bible or book studies, and other types of literary works; audio and/or video recordings and productions, still images or photographic presentations, live event staging, lighting, sound and multimedia production, and other recorded or produced materials; computer and/or electronic hardware, software or digital media.”
Summed up, that long paragraph basically says that anything creatively done while employed by Reliant belong to them. Now, as you can guess, my ears perked up and Mike suddenly had my full-attention. And despite being at New Staff Training (NST) for a couple of days already and preparing to go on staff for months, this was the first time that it felt real. The first time that it my decision to pursue ministry was solidified. The first time that I was both willing and desiring to put God before writing. (Note: I have since learned that I can transfer the rights to myself).
For me, this is absolutely insane. Writing has been the center of my world for the past nine years and to suddenly have that switch cemented the calling I was having in my mind. I already knew that I was being called to join staff over entering the publishing/editing field–that much God had revealed to me in the midst of fall semester 2017 through the men’s ministry. What I didn’t know until that moment was why God had 1) taken away my ability to write during the previous semester and 2) why he would want me to go into ministry to begin with. And at that moment God stopped me in my tracks and revealed to me how much of an idol writing was in my life. I had put it above God for so long that he took it away from me to enter my eyes back on him and not the fictional worlds I often lived in. Secondly, I finally realized that God was putting me into ministry because he knows me better than I know myself. I constantly doubt myself and my ability to reach others and yet he knows that because of Him that I’ll be able to. It was this moment–as I sat there in the middle of this room–that God ignited another flame within me to seek after Him and serve Him above all. Why? Because He has called me to so much more than simply writing. He’s called me into a deep, intimate relationship that is centered around glorifying Him above everything else.
“To the to the LORD a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.” -Psalm 96:1