Talitha Koum Ministries is underway!
Several years ago, I felt God telling me to open my own business. At the time, I was very underemployed and I decided to run a house cleaning business. The idea was to do cleaning work as a sideline business with my friend Mary as a partner. Well, the idea flopped. I’m more a creator than a cleaner! I did manage to secure a couple clients, but had no idea how to add to that client list, and to be honest, I probably didn’t seriously want the job to succeed. Cleaning houses brought in some extra income when I needed it most, but that is as far as things went. Still, the idea of starting a business stayed with me in the back of my mind, simmering away waiting for details to develop.
I went about my life. I led worship at my church, which led to leading worship at a second church, which led to leading in guest spots at various churches of various denominations around the Okanagan. As well, in 2012 I decided to take my truck and my guitar to local area parks and spontaneously have “church” in the park. I did this for five consecutive Sundays and the following year wrote about those experiences. I called this experience “Tailgate Church”.
The year after Tailgate Church, I decided to put together an outdoor day-long music event. I called the day Life at the Beach Music, because life is what I wanted to bring to the beach. I hired a sound man and solicited performances from several local bands, YWAM’s Team Xtreme, and a speaker named Benjamin Peters, who was recommended thru a friend. In August, on a gorgeous sunny Sunday, Life at the Beach Music was launched. A friend referred to Life at the Beach as Tailgate Church on steroids — they weren’t entirely incorrect.
The following year, we fine-tuned the vision and the details, and held the second annual Life at the Beach Music festival: One God One Body One Army. That year, we also decided to branch into benefit concerts, throwing a benefit for the Lake Country Food Bank. My band, Leigh Macfarlane Band, played at various churches, music festivals and for a man dying of Lou Gherig’s Disease at the retirement home where he was living out his days. Over two years, we recorded four CD’s, two in separate studios, one as a live album recorded in the church sanctuary, and the fourth — our soon to be released Christmas album — as a mix representing both studios plus the do-it-yourself free-to-download program Audacity. Then I personally returned to studio and took the English lyrics out of four of my previously recorded songs and replaced them with Spanish lyrics — a challenge of syllabic compression for a non-spanish speaker!! This CD is destined for a mission in Mexico which assists low-income Mexican citizens in obtaining cancer patient treatments.
At some point in the midst of this flurry of activity, I stopped to think of all the learn-as-you-go information I had needed to accumulate, and thought “what a benefit it would have been if all this information could have been found in one place so that someone else had already done all the research work for me!” That thought was the beginning of Talitha Koum Ministries.
In the past four years of worship leading and other music-related experience I have learned much about the music scene and more about myself. I’ve learned about my strengths, my weaknesses, about effective and ineffective leadership, about communication among band members. I’ve learned about letting go, about running with a vision, and about the pros and cons of studio recording versus live recording. I’ve discovered the difficulties of introducing paid gigs to a band that began as a non-profit worship team, about losing team members and listening to God in it all. I’ve learned about creating gigs, about advertising, about creating and marketing a product line and about using the web as a business tool, and I’ve learned that cutting costs in a live open air event by doing your own sound has its own very definite rewards and challenges. I’ve learned the value of a good bass player and a steady drummer, and have learned that I still have much to learn!
I’ve also learned that sometimes as a Christian, life goes in places least expected. My degree is not in music. I have had 18 months of piano lessons and approximately 6 guitar lessons, ever. My degree is in Fine Arts, in creative writing. Although I still write, in these past four years, writing has not been the pre-dominate manner in which I have expressed my creativity. Instead, God said, “Hey, you have a measure of talent for music but not enough that you can do this on your own. Since setting you loose in music means you will still desperately need to depend on me, that is where I am going to send you!” Or, at least, that is what I imagine must have been in His head, because in all the years of school, being a recorded musician and lead singer of a band just never once occurred to me. And yet, apparently, it occurred to Him. His plans for me are a beautiful thing.
Some of what I’ve learned will no doubt benefit others; some of the people I’ve met along the way will have information that will benefit you even more. I’ve also learned that making good quality art is an expensive dream, and that as Christian artists, we need one another to succeed and to make a living. I’ve also learned that artists are a particular brand of people, and we have some very particular spiritual needs met. After the first Life at the Beach Music I drove home from the event, parked my car in the driveway, and sat, exhausted, behind the wheel. “I am never singing in public again.” I said to my friend Wendy when she asked how I was feeling. Over the months of planning and preparation and over the duration of the actual event, I had given everything I had to give. The complete and utter aftershock knocked me onto my knees. I needed some very specific recharging and recovery time. That experience fixed in my mind the fact that Christian artists need Christian spiritual support networks.
And so, at Talitha Koum, we aim to keep on learning. We intend to continue putting on events. We will continue to throw events to benefit those organizations who exist to benefit others. And we will endeavour to support artists through promotion, avocation, education and spiritual supercharging.
Things are starting to happen; Talitha Koum Ministries is under way!