Saturday, October 20, 2007

VeggieTales and Amor

Phil Visher, founder of VeggieTales, was the general session speaker at last night's National Youth Worker convention in San Diego. Amor has a booth in the trade show area and is leading daily trips of conference participants to Mexico to build a home.

I attended last night's general session to catch up on all things 'youth work' and to hear Phil speak. Phil's story has caught Amor's attention as I recently gave our entire Amor team copies of Phil's newly released book, "Me, Myself, and Bob".

Phil's story is about a small town boy who becomes a huge success. He was thrown out of bible college because he flunked chapel to go on to become fiercely sought after by Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and the likes for his "dream comes true" story. He made his first animated film at the young age of 8 and at the pinnacle of his success sold 50 million children's videos.

People were saying that he could be the next Walt Disney. "That sounded pretty good," said Phil. His company soon reached 200 employees. Right about then is when everything went wrong. To handle the incredible growth of the company, Phil had hired a team of executives that it was soon discovered couldn't get along. The President of two years left after Phil told reminded the executive team of the Christ-based purpose for their being.

Then the finances started struggling at VeggiTales. Layoffs ensued. From a high of 210 employees, the workforce was slashed to 180, then 140, down to 100, and then 65. One morning only 13 people showed up for their staff prayer meeting.

Phil had been praying though this entire process. "God could have rescued us, but he didn't!" said Phil. Everything that had built in the last 14 years was sold off as a result of the impending bankruptcy.

A pastor once told Phil how the stress of daily ministry had gotten to him so much that he laid in his bed for nearly 9 months. "If this is what its like working for you," said the pastor, "then I don't want to do it anymore." That's when Phil realized that we have to ask: what's more important to you? Your dreams or God? Phil eventually realized that he had to "let go of everything", so that God could say, " Now I can use you." "Anything you're not willing to let go of is an idol, that's sin", said Phil.

If you don't know what God wants you to do, wait on him. Walking with God on a daily basis is the truly the most important thing. When asked what the 5 year vision for his newest project was, Phil responded, "To be in the center of God's will." Phil now spends from half an hour to a full hour each day in prayer, in the word, and waiting on God's will.

In closing, Phil stated, "The most important thing is not what I can do for God, its to make God the most important thing."

I highly suggest you get a copy of Phil's recent book, "Me, Myself, and Bob" and get a copy of the 2007 National Youth Workers Conventions general session talk by Phil.

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