Behind Boundless – Coffee Corner and a Cruise


This week was pretty normal. We are starting to get to know the menu here and so we know which days they serve things we don’t like. Last Tuesday was one of those days. Jodi had some leftover pizza from Sunday so we ate that and then went to a cafe off Upper Street called Coffee Corner that we hadn’t visited yet. We really only chose this place because they are known for their crepes. They also had good ratings on Yelp. True to its ratings, Coffee Corner was delightful. The coffee was surprisingly sweet, which is unusual for Europe.

Friday night was another London Central Youth Chorus rehearsal. Obligatory singing, obligatory McDonalds. The night before, Oxford Circus (the nearest tube station) was exit only and the crowds trying to get into the station anyway forced normal foot traffic off the street. That isn’t related to Central rehearsal but I just remembered and wanted to let you know.

On Saturday we slept in until 8:40 which is quite an accomplishment for both of us. Usually one of us will be up by 7-7:30 and, naturally, the other person gets up too. We had a lazily slow morning and then went to the Tower of London to see the poppies which are a “100 years since WWI” memorial. They added a few every day and now the area is full of ceramic poppies. They will be taken down on November 11 and some people asked us to send photos. When we got to Tower Hill, however, there were thousands of people that had the same idea. It was a sunny Saturday so we probably should have known that it would have been inundated with tourists and locals alike, but we were on a mission. After several London shoves, some bus dodging, and a brief climb onto a half plinth, we managed to get a few photos.

On Saturday night we went to the William Booth College to have dinner with the Boundless 8 and a few friends we’ve made here in London. We ate a lot of pasta, played some American games, and then ate some more. On the train home there were a lot of very wound up people. Maybe they were excited for the time change. Oh yeah. The UK stop saving daylight a week before the US. Fun fact.

Jodi and I have wanted to visit some other European countries while we were over here but finding a fiscally responsible way to do so has been challenging. We set some money aside before coming so we could do something but only last week decided what it would be. We had toyed with the idea of going on a cruise a few times but there were never any that fit our schedules, budget, and wants. We kept looking, albeit half-heartedly. Eventually we found one that was perfect and decided to book it. It’s a little more than we were intending to spend but when will we ever be this conveniently close to so many countries? Anyway, the cruise is one of Mediterranean nature and stops in 4 countries. After deporting from Genoa, in northern Italy, we head to Rome for a day, and then to Palermo on the island of Sicily. We then make our way to Tunis, which is the capital of Tunisia in Northern Africa. After a day at sea we head to Barcelona, Spain and then to Marseille in the South of France. On the final day we return to Genoa and fly back to London. One of our favorite parts about this timing is that we leave 3 days later for Christmas in California!


 Coffee from Coffee Corner

Tower of London. And tourists. 

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Christian Media: Who’s Doing it Right?


Article written by Phil Cooke

From time to time I’m asked “Is anyone doing Christian media well?” It’s a good question, since so many are doing it badly. I often joke that I want to create a Museum of Bad Christian Media, but I can’t find a building big enough. But the truth is, many are doing it right. So from time to time on this blog I’m going to highlight media leaders and organizations that are making a difference. This list isn’t about theological persuasion or doctrinal differences. It’s about people who are making a significant difference through media. Here’s a handful we can start with:

Brian Houston – Pastor, Hillsong Church in Sydney. When it comes to legacy, Brian will have built a pretty serious one, and a significant part of that is media. Hillsong Church created a worship music platform before many knew what worship music was, and from Darlene Zschech to Hillsong United, they’re changing the way the church worships. He’s built a team that’s not only launched churches around the world, but used television, short films, social media, and now feature films to share a message about Jesus. Hillsong NYC’s “No Other Name” campaign in Time Square was seen throughout the world, and the feature film “Let Hope Rise” featuring Hillsong United will be released the week of April 1, 2015 by Warner Brothers Pictures.

Jack Graham / PowerPoint Ministries. As a leader, Jack has probably inspired more ministries and business launches than anyone I know. Somehow, just listening to Jack’s messages motivates people to go out and accomplish great things for God. And his TV facility is a great thing indeed. State of the art in every way, his team – led by Executive Director Scott Seal and COO Jason Graham – is effective through broadcast TV, social media, publishing, and live events. TV director Tim Kelley has built a great crew and to see a treat, watch the production of the Prestonwood Christmas program – it’s as big a production as you’ll see anywhere in Hollywood. And for the record, through it all, Jack has never comprised his message or taken a shortcut to reach an audience.

Joel Osteen Ministries. Joel Osteen’s television program is second to none in quality, production values, and reach. It may be because Joel started as a TV producer and director himself, but reaching millions through television has always been a priority. Now, Jon Swearingen, his Director of Media has pushed his team to the very limits of what TV technology can do. From purely a technical perspective, watching his team record a Sunday service is not that different from watching the Emmy or Oscar broadcasts.

Joyce Meyer Ministries. From the earliest days of her ministry, Joyce understood the power of television, and now she has a remarkable worldwide audience. Years ago, Dan Meyer, COO of the ministry took her to an early Hillsong Conference where she caught of glimpse of reaching the next generation through media, and she’s never looked back. Ginger Stache leads her media team, and today they use state of the art equipment to create a ministry that’s seen throughout the world. And it’s not just her teaching through TV that connects with people. They’ve built a remarkable creative team that’s doing amazing work through commercials, promos, short features, and documentaries. There’s not much left to say about Bobby Gruenewald’s team at YouVersion. 155 million+ installs on mobile devices, 1037 Bible versions – and it’s only the beginning. This team is one of the most innovative and creative in the country, which is probably why he was named one of the “Top 100 Creative Leaders” by Fast Company magazine. One of the most interesting things about Bobby and digerati leader Terry Storch is that they are church leaders first. Both are also leading the digital team at LifeChurch.TV in Oklahoma. Created by the global team at Christian Vision, Yes He Is, is one of the most sophisticated methods for sharing short films about faith online. Early on, they understood the evangelistic power of sharing your faith through video, and designed a brilliant site that not only helps you share short films about Jesus, but helps walk that person through the salvation experience. With offices in 22 countries on 6 continents, not only producing short films in multiple languages, but they’re creating radio content, and exploring new ways to reach people in today’s digital age. That content averages more than 50,000 unique visitors a day, and delivers radio contact to 460 FM Affiliates in 25 countries. They’re also passionate about using to help the local church. The first “Digital Street Corner” for the Salvation Army, the Salvation Army Vision Network is dedicated to telling the Salvation Army story online, and linking it’s 77,000 employees worldwide. It’s not just about short films, but SAVN is pioneering online recovery, Bible study, and other groups as well as offering online TV channels to outside groups as well. Plus, led by Executive Producer Guy Noland, they just completed production of a feature length documentary called “Hard Corps” which exposes the connection between pornography and global human trafficking. You know you’ve made an impression when hundreds of other producers copy your distinctive look. Using the iconic “white chair” they’ve done in-depth interviews with major celebrities, sports stars, and other leaders and produced national TV commercial, billboard, and online campaigns. A brilliantly creative idea, it’s all about the surprise that people who have accomplished so much, give all the credit to someone else – God.

Stay tuned and in the upcoming weeks we’ll look at others, including international producers…

Behind Boundless – Always Alliterating


Most of what I do at IHQ involves some form of video production, media management, or social media work… or some combination of them. Tomorrow the Congress Office is hosting an event we have titled “Lunch and Learn”, where you lunch, learn, and share in the love of alliteration. One particular project Jodi and I worked on was a video to help rally the employees and officers of IHQ in excitement for Boundless. We recorded three things from several people: what they were excited about, the same thing said in a particular way, and then the phrase, “I am Boundless”. Sweetly simple.  Anyway, some of the people we were eagerly excited to record were the General, Chief of the Staff, and their spouses. It isn’t every day you get one-on-one time with the first- and second-in-command of this abundant Army. While our interactions were briefly basic, it was cool to have an actual conversation with them. Each of them is a people person so it makes conversing incredibly easy.

Our pesky pests have finally finished their tormenting tantrums. Pest control has all but obliterated what was left of their repulsed residence. We definitely didn’t use the light for a few mornings but now we are pretty positive that they won’t be back.

On Saturday we went to IKEA with a few friends. While we can’t actually accumulate any more items (particularly furniture), we do enjoy Swedish meatballs and perusing the showrooms. We also learned that some bus routes in London don’t go in a straight line but rather roam in a circle around an area. This unknown fact caused us to wait wondering why we were not getting any closer to our destination. Sometimes you should really read the map.

Sunday was our last day of our “corps tour” and where we ended our search for a church family at Wood Green. Interestingly enough, Wood Green is also where we decided to keep attending for our year here in London- at least, when we aren’t out on Boundless duty. Wood Green is a contemporary corps that has integrated brass into their worship team making for a nice combination of old and new Army. There is a solid structure and core of people already but still room for us to contribute, which is one of the biggest things we looked for in a corps. Of course, we forgot to take a picture to post here.


My semi-dramatic image of our pesky pests.

Fake food… there was real lunch before.

Swedish selfie.

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Behind Boundless – The Significance of Shoes


We have reached our 2 month mark of living in London. Like all time, it somehow feels like it has been a lot of time has passed and somehow no time has passed at all. That leaves us with 9 more months until Congress and a few more weeks until we’re done here. The time passes more quickly when we have more active weekends, and this past weekend was one of those. On Friday we went to a Friendship Matinee Concert a the Royal Albert Hall performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert was a tribute to John Williams so we were, naturally, stoked. They played all of the timeless classics you would want to hear at a John Williams concert from E.T. to Jurassic Park to the Star Wars theme and Imperial March. When we were walking back to the tube station, however, I realized I had left my bag under the seat and quickly doubled back to get it. I was particularly worried about leaving in a concert hall because London venue and public areas are particularly wary of bomb threats and mysterious bags left under seats. Jodi and I made it back to our seat quickly enough to retrieve my bag and a sweater that one of our colleagues had also left behind. I may have had to push some people out of my way but hey, it’s London.

On Saturday we decided to go shopping. Being volunteers, this isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Whatever non-essentials shopping we do comes out of the savings we allotted for such expenses. And it isn’t much. Anyway, we both intended to get brown shoes (because color coordination) so we set out to find some. We knew there was a Chipotle in one of the shopping districts near Highbury so we decided that would be a good place to start. After a burrito bowl and a quick discovery that we were searching in the wrong price range, we decided to go to Stratford, which is a massive mall in East London. Stratford, if you don’t know, is always crowded. Like, can’t-walk-without-bumping-into-someone-oh-my-goodness-Disneyland-isn’t-this-bad crowded. And it’s the off-season. It’s also huge. After searching a couple dozen shoe stores (and that’s not an exaggeration), some coffee, and more London shoving, we finally each found some shoes in our price range. By then we were tired of people so we headed home for a quiet night in. But we had new work shoes!

On Sunday we actually made it to Hendon. We intended to go last week but I woke up feeling ill and preferred to miss going to a corps that wasn’t expecting us over missing work. Like many of the other “big corps” in London, the building was far smaller than I was expecting. Maybe I’m just used to American real estate where we have room to build out instead of just up. Their songsters, senior band, youth band, and singing company all participated in the service and we were probably greeted by 15-20 different people over the course of the day. We told Alexa (who, along with Cameron, also came to Hendon) about our trip to Chipotle and she told us that she had been looking for one. We were definitely down to go again because Chipotle is delicious so we did. Burrito bowls.

On Sunday night it was very cold and very rainy and very tea worthy. However, we were (much to our dismay) out of Digestives. Digestives aren’t something that helps you pass food smoothly, as I wrongly assumed. Digestives are a type of biscuit (or cookie) that pair excellently with tea and all other things British. So this was the dilemma: I wanted Digestives but the nearest shop open on a Sunday evening is a kilometer away from our flat and it was raining. Hard. After some convincing, Jodi bundled up, intentionally put on water proof shoes, and followed me to the local Waitrose. We didn’t get too wet on the way there because we managed to time our commute with the bus schedule but when we came out of the store the wait was longer than the walk so decided to tough it out. After a cold, soggy commute back to our flat we were very ready for tea and had digestives to pair with it!

This morning was interesting. I was brushing my teeth when I suddenly saw a bug flying toward me from the window. It looked like a wasp so, naturally, I ducked and spun and did a backwards summersault out of the bathroom. Maybe not quite that dramatic, but I abruptly avoided it. When I regained my bearings and looked back into the bathroom I discovered that it was indeed a wasp. I finished brushing my teeth and grabbed a shoe. I noticed it was trying to fly into the light so I turned it off. When the demon bug realized the light was gone it moved on to the next light source, which was the light over our bed in the flat. Jodi was very helpful in this ordeal. When the wasp flew into the bedroom she helpfully covered her head with the blankets screaming “Kill it! Kill it!” So I did. When I walked back into the bathroom, however, it was back. When I confusedly shouted there was another one Jodi asked if I knew for sure that the other one was dead. It was. Two wasps? What were the chances? I didn’t actually take the time to think this through because, well, there was a wasp flying around my bathroom and I wasn’t wearing very much clothing. It seemed to move every time I was within swinging distance and would have to dodge frantically, swing wildly, look for it, locate it, and then start my approach over again. After more stalking, which may or may not have been accompanied by the Jaws theme from Friday playing in my head, I finally killed it. And then two more flew in from the window. And then two more. At this point I was shaving (or at least attempting to) but wet shaving and dodging wasps at the same time is a dauntingly dangerous task. I ended up only trimming a beard-shaped stubble pattern and pursued the wasps yet again. I managed to kill 3 more (that’s Mejee 5, Wasps 0) but the last two kept hanging around the glass light fixture on the ceiling and I didn’t want to risk breaking it. We decided locking the wasps in the bathroom with the light on was the best idea for the time being. We told the manager of Highbury about the invasion and she said she would have someone look into it. I’m typing from our flat now with the bathroom door open so all is well. For now.


 Royal Albert Hall


Hendon Songsters

The aftermath

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Behind Boundless – Art in Autumn


On Thursday nights after Songsters we have just a short walk to our tube station from the corps and it is normally an uneventful walk. This week however, we saw a street performer playing a tuba with flames. Yes, there were flames coming out of the tuba. There isn’t really an important reason for this to be in our blog, but we have a photo so we thought we would share.

On Friday night we went out to dinner with a a new friend of ours, Steve. A few weekends ago we watched his dog while he was out of town and he wanted to take us out as a thank you. We went to a place that was just outside the main city area which was great because we also got to see a new part of London. The food was fantastic as was the company. Steve has a long history with The Salvation Army here and was able to tell us about corps near where we live that we might want to check out while living in London.

Mejee and I decided that on Saturday we should explore more of the city, specifically a few of the museums. Alexa met us at our first destination, the National Gallery. There were portraits of historic figures, landscapes and depictions of historic events. There were also a lot of elaborate gold painted frames…a lot! Next, we went to the Tate. The Tate Museum is very different from the National Gallery. The Tate is a museum of modern art created by artists from around the world. I must admit – it was my favorite out of the two. We saw everything from drawings and paintings to sculptures and artistic structures. The variety that you can see within one building is amazing. Sometimes quite abstract, but amazing. They also have a cafe and “art bar” where you could draw your own art piece. By the time we made it through all the floors and exhibits at the Tate we decided to call it a day. It was a good thing that we decided on an indoor tourist activity for the day because it rained for a majority of the day.

We had originally planned to go to a corps that we have not yet been to on Sunday, but Mejee woke up feeling quite sick so we decided that it was best to avoid sharing germs at a new corps. Over the last few weeks we have heard about so many corps that we want to check out, so hopefully next week we both will be feeling good.

It finally has begun to feel like Fall here. The temperature has dropped a bit and it has started to rain. The fun part is that now we The overground station that we wait at in the mornings to go to work has outdoor platforms which are not ideal in the rain and wind. We’ve learned that the key is to try to arrive at the station just a couple minutes before your train leaves so you don’t have to wait in the cold too long. I’m sure this will become particularly important in the dead of winter. This is of course a perfect plan only when the trains are all on time.



The Flaming Tuba Player.

Taking Glen for a walk.

 Art at the Tate Museum.

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I never intended to make “Faith Movies.” I really never intended to explore my faith at this point in life. But that’s the curious way things happen in this world – it’s not always our intentions, but rather His plan for us put into motion.

Six years ago I wrote “Rust,” about a Pastor who had lost track and become upset with God for His lack of communication at a time when the world was imploding. Looking back, though not a Pastor myself, I’m sure that was a deeper part of me, searching for a new relationship with God. The film was made and then picked up by Sony/Affirm Films. Suddenly I was a new writer, director and sometimes actor of “Faith Based Movies.”

I quickly wrote and produced three more films, not really understanding the motivating factor, but rather, simply going with what “felt right to do.” This had become God’s journey for me, to create a new relationship with Him. I had always “believed in God,” and danced very generally around my faith, but never really jumped in headfirst to take it to the next level.


The official poster for “Rust”; Image Courtesy of Kipling Film Productions.
Making movies of faith has become my personal journey toward God and, believe me, making movies is never easy. But some of the situations that have “coincidently” happened have helped us. Even the ease of coming up with story and screenplays has been nothing short of “miraculous.” He is clearly at the easel, guiding me, and those around me.

They may be my words – our films – but they are His brushstrokes.

After five films that we generated through our company Home Theater Films, my producing partner, Chris Aronoff, and I sat down and said, “why do all Faith Based movies” have to be so …“faithy?” Why can’t we make just great movies in variety of genres; action, thriller, or Romantic Comedy? “These things happen in the lives of Christians!”


The exciting new Romantic Comedy “Christian Mingle” releases October 10th; Photo Courtesy of Home Theater Films.
We quickly decided that we’d like to make a Romantic Comedy, and within days, literally, I met the fellow who runs Christian Mingle at a Faith and Film summit.

Without blinking I approached him and said, “I want to do a movie with you, with Christian Mingle, a Romantic Comedy.” He asked what the idea was and right there, on the spot, I invented the general story that is actually the film today! He liked it and suddenly we were off to the races, with God once again, painting another stroke on my Canvas.

He is always very much in charge of the journey he has planned for me.

Follow Corbin’s work and find out more at his Official Website

Excited for the new movie? Check out Christian Mingle – Official Trailer

Don’t miss SCH’s amazing celebrity interviews! Read the latest: Actor Kevin Sorbo on Newest Film “Let the Lion Roar”

Behind Boundless – Normal Nothing


I knew it would happen eventually. A week would pass where nothing interesting happened. This week was the first of those. Normal office work, a few site visits to the O2, and church on Sunday. This week we went to Chalk Farm and everyone there wanted to know if we knew Kevin Larsson and Duncan Sutton. Eventually the CSM was telling people he had already asked and yes, we know them. Apparently they went to Chalk Farm when they were at university. Well, that’s what everyone at the corps wanted us to know. Chalk Farm has some serious history. One of the corps officers showed us the band room where they have a collection of old photos, books, and various memorabilia from the glory days of the corps. One of the most impressive items to me was a framed Order of the Founder certificate that was signed by General Evangeline Booth. Pretty cool. I’m really regretting not taking any photos now… we’ll just have to go back.

On Friday (I know this isn’t chronological) we went to the South London Divisional Youth Chorus rehearsal, which will have a new name soon. It’s led by Nick Hampton (and Alan or Allen whom we just met) whom we met at the Regent Hall Corps and was a good way for us to meet more locals and start promoting Boundless to youths in the UKI Territory. We aren’t as involved locally as some of the others but we have been able to get to know several people from what we have done. That wasn’t a well-composed sentence but I’m not changing it.

The last thing I have to say is about nicknames. Somehow we have attained the nicknames “Barbie” and “Ken”… it’s mostly John Murray’s fault. John works in the Communications Department at IHQ so we’ve seen him around a lot. He’s also one of very few Americans (Canadian, that is) in the building. Jeremiah attained the nickname “Congressman” from how he dressed for a video we did a couple weeks ago. It suits because he works in the Congress office. Lols.


The youth chorus. Photo credit: Suzanne

Barbie and Ken.

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