Last weekend we wrapped up another great Clarus conference. If you were there for any part of it, I’m sure you agree. The speakers, the talks, the themes, the singing, the fellowship, even the books we were able to give away—all seemed to be used of the Lord in special and specific ways. It’s been so encouraging to hear from folks how God worked through these means. But it’s also so encouraging to me to ponder what went on behind the scenes to make that weekend a reality.
The Clarus weekend makes me think of a fine Swiss watch. There’s the wristband, the face, the hands, and of course, the important function of it accurately telling time. All these elements are front-and-center; they’re what people see; they’re the cues by which most of us judge whether it’s a fine watch. But, as we all know, underneath the face of the watch there is a hidden, small universe of complex inner-workings. This is what makes the watch tick.
Like a fine Swiss watch, Clarus has a small universe of complex inner-workings that are mostly unseen to those attending. Every year new gears are added, and every year those gears turn and click more smoothly than they did before. As a way of saying thanks to them and giving glory to God for his work through them, allow me to open up the back of the Clarus watch and point out some of the more important pieces that make our conference weekend a fine Swiss watch (and not a time bomb!).
Trent Hunter has always played a key role in Clarus planning and logistics, but for Clarus 13, we made Trent the QB. Pastor Ron and I functioned like coaches at times—doing some watching, some nudging or redirecting here or there—but Trent was the Payton Manning on the field. Like a QB, he wasn’t the only guy on the field, of course, but like Manning he called the plays, knew where every one needed to be, and what they needed to do. The number of details that he was able to keep track of and manage efficiently was astounding. God has gifted him in unique ways. Humanly speaking, Clarus would not be what it is today and do what it does without Trent. Thank you, Trent!
Carolyn Rush can spin just about as many plates at one time as anyone. And she does it with amazing grace, wisdom, and care. Specifically, Carolyn handled the registration for over 700 people. That included not only keeping track of who registered, but dealing with people’s (endless) changes, and overseeing the on-sight check-in process. That is a significant task with many details; yet, it pales in comparison to Carolyn’s amazing gift for roaming triage—spotting problems and making quick, wise solutions. She also oversaw all of the hospitality for the weekend—not only the coffee and snack bar, but meals for a pastors luncheon, guest speakers, sponsors, and many of the volunteers. Of course, that also suggests that there was a no small team of food makers and servers. So, to Carolyn and her massive team of worker-bees, thank you!
Chris Saiers, our tech guy, is always a massive part of what happens underneath the face of the watch. He is a consummate servant, happy to wake up early, stay late, pull cable, and give vigilant attention to the small, but oh-so-important details of microphones and sound levels. That’s true of every Sunday, but all the more with a weekend like Clarus. One telling anecdote: in the staff meeting after Clarus, Carolyn joked that she never saw the inside of the Worship Center…and Chris joked that he never saw the outside of it! Thank you, Chris!
Ian Byrd, our facilities guy, has predominantly a pre- and post- job. For every hour of a DSC event, Ian puts in multiple times of hours before and multiple times of hours after. Think of what it might mean to get from Friday PM clean up to Saturday AM start time! And there’s even more work to go from the last Saturday PM Clarus session to Sunday AM services. And that’s not to mention some serious “spring cleaning” in the weeks before Clarus—e.g., did you see how shiny our floors were? That’s Ian. Adding 100 extra chairs to the Worship Center—that’s Ian. Oh, and by the way, because he has this kind of pre- and post- job, he rocks the drums during most of our services and much of the Clarus weekend. Thank you, Ian!
Drew Hodge has a job that isn’t exactly hidden, but there is much to his work that very few see. Drew set for himself the goal that the Psalterium, Vol. 2 CD would be ready for release at Clarus. That meant a lot of time in the studio in the weeks, even months, before. Drew (along with Chris and Ian) put in many serious hours to get Psalterium, Vol. 2 done for us and our Clarus guests. And just when it’s all done and the CD is a (masterful!) reality, Drew skillfully led us in singing throughout the Clarus weekend. Think about it: each session, Drew knows that he’s leading the next song; each break, Drew is gearing up to lead us in several songs. There’s no quit in Drew, the world’s toughest worship leader. And though his fellow musicians and singers may not have quite as much muscleage, they have the same strong commitment to serve our church and region in excellent, Godward worship. Many thanks to Drew and his team!
Memo Ochoa, our communicati0ns and graphics guy, was the single source behind every image you saw related to Clarus. From the website, to the promo material, to signage around the building, to every single slide that went up on the screens throughout the Clarus weekend. Memo was the beautiful mastermind behind it all. And he not only designed it all, but through the Clarus weekend ran around the building getting the right slides in the right places at the right time. Only Memo and few others in this world know just how much time, energy, and precise care went into giving Clarus its creative, tasteful, and consistent look. Thank you, Memo!
Kristi Hunter headed up all of the childcare for the weekend. That’s a massive (quite intimidating) undertaking. It included the recruiting and coordination of over 50 workers and the care of kids for a dozen hours. Sunday morning children’s ministry is complicated, but with Clarus, the hours roll on—and, as the hours roll on, kids potentially get more crazy. So, for pragmatic reasons, and more than pragmatic reasons, you need a Clarus children’s ministry that is fun and educational. And Kristi has done just that, creating what is basically a Clarus kids’ curriculum and program that follows the theme of the “big kids’” Clarus. Kristi’s diligent and wise organizing work, with the sacrifice of dozens of workers, together make up a real, wise, godly, and important part of Clarus, without which many families would not be able to come to Clarus. Thank you so, so much, Kristi and all those who served our kids.
Kayla Hembree, our front desk gal, was our on-site liaison to our sponsors (or ministry partners). That’s an almost indefinable, and quite-inclusive, assignment. Basically, whatever that Books and Resources Room was, was owing to Trent’s coordination in getting those ministries and publishers there and Kayla’s management of that space. Thank you, Kayla! (And this is a good point to mention how the whole Hembree family served Clarus sacrificially and wonderfully! It would take much more space than I have to unpack what each of them did, but they most likely get the award for the biggest family “buy in” to Clarus.) Thank you, Kayla and all the Hembrees!
Tim Bradley, Clint Moore, Ron Giese, and Nathan Sherman met so many needs and were constantly on hand for whatever came up. From emceeing, to ushering, to speaker hospitality—even running out for cough drops for a speaker—no task was too small to embrace with a smile, no task was too big to pass off to someone else. I get to work with these guys all the time. So this is simply par for the course. I’m blessed beyond measure for their partnership and friendship and fellow-shepherding. We’re immeasurably blessed that they’re at DSC.
Several local pastors served Clarus with their minds and fingers—that is, with the writing of tweets and blogging summaries of the sessions. Tom Brainerd, Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church, was a tweeting super power. Pastors John Hunt (Covenant of Grace), Michael Kelshaw (Trinity at the Marketplace), Tim Bradley, Tim Ragsdale, and Nathan Sherman (DSC) blogged specific sessions. Nathan also served us by getting all the posts tidied up and to the web. Thank you much, brothers!
Ben Moore graciously served Clarus with his excellent photography. Thanks, Ben!
Patrice Kelly, mi madre, headed up the kitchen, casted arm and all. Thanks, Mom!
Doug Shawn, as always, took great care of us by heading up the safety team. Many thanks to Doug and his team!
There are many others I could mention and thank. In many ways, this is a dangerous blog post to write because I’m mentioning several people by name, but so many more were involved, sacrificing time and energy to make Clarus what it was. I’ve simply wanted to shine some light on the inner-workings of the “Clarus watch” by pointing out some of the bigger gears and mechanisms. Like a watch, there are countless pieces, screws, and movements. So, please know, whatever part you played—including just coming and listening and growing and fellowshipping—we’re so thankful.
May God be pleased to use it all—small or great, visible or invisible—to his glory and the Church’s good!
Proud and thankful to be such a small part, such a needy recipient, and to be in partnership with such great people,