The Long Game – Dan Cotton
Do you ever have that feeling when you are on a long drive somewhere, and halfway there you realise that you’ve been so engrossed in thought that you don’t remember how you got to where you are…?! It can be a scary thought! Landmarks are vague recollections, the details, the hills, the bends are a blur… is there a trail of carnage behind me? Hopefully not! But the key is you’ve made it this far!
After 10 years on staff at LIFE I’ve held many roles inside the Production department, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t a trail of carnage behind me, but I’ve definitely had seasons where I’ve stopped and gone, “wow how did I get here?”. Recently at LIFE we’ve been talking about the idea of legacy and I guess using words like that force you to stop and think. It’s definitely been one of those moments for me. So I’ve titled this blog ‘The Long Game’, as I really want it to be an encouragement to those of you who’ve been ‘driving’ for awhile.
Sadly there hasn’t always been great longevity in the Production Team area of churches in the past. Early on in my time at LIFE I made a conscious decision to commit to at least 10 years on staff. I also felt strongly to make that decision known to my up-line. I believe that moment created a foundation of trust that enabled me, and those I worked with, to work through issues that might have otherwise been deal breakers. I guess that’s my first point, if I’m making points, is to make a decision, to commit and to be accountable to that decision. I think it’s also important for me to say that we need to be careful what that decision is based on.
From the age of 16 I knew God had called me to be a part of worship in the church, and that calling has shaped many of the major turning points in my life. Moving to Auckland to study audio engineering I had no idea it was even possible to be on staff at a church, I didn’t even know LIFE, the church, existed! I thought Hillsong was just a cool band… But when the opportunity to be on staff at LIFE came up I didn’t even have to think twice about it. What I’m trying say is, it’s vital that we go to God to have that call from God. There is little point in committing to a route without consulting the God who painted the lines.
After almost 10 years I reached another fork in the road. My daughter Chloe was one year old at the time, and I was still adjusting to fatherhood. It had been a huge season, and in the space of a few months, our team had completed LIFE Conference, along with a new venue design, build, and installation. It took me by surprise, that after what would usually have been a routine workplace disagreement, I was stopped in my tracks thinking “was all this worth it?”. Looking back it shouldn’t have been a surprise, I was running on yesterday’s word, on yesterday’s road map. Somehow in the craziness of the season I’d forgotten the core to it all, the WHY. It was so easy for the sacrifices I’d made to sway my soul to a seemingly ‘easy’ out. It wasn’t until a staff meeting a few weeks later that it hit me. I can’t remember what Ps Paul was talking about in general, but something he said, in that moment, my spirit man stood up! His words have rung in my heart for the last year and have inspired me to go to God whenever the road ahead is unclear.
The things of God are seldom on the easy path. The things of God are the things that are often hard, things we need to fight for!
Central Campus Production Manager