Asking questions has always been a hobby for me. I love questions. Be it simple or complex, a question is always an opportunity.
The question: “How can we, a group made of a graphic designer, a social media obsessive, a sports fanatic, a videographer, and a writer use our gifts to help our generation wrestle with the realities of God?”
The opportunity: Engage.
It took two years from the point of asking that question to publish our first article on June 30, 2015. I was blessed to write that article, detailing to the world who we were and what we would do.
In the following months and years, we did it. We asked questions. We found answers. When we couldn’t develop a solid answer, we were honest about it. But we also grew. When we started, many on our team were single. Some still are, but others are seriously dating, engaged, or married with a kid or two.
Because of all the changes, allow me to introduce Engage again. But there is no need to introduce our platform. You can know our voice, our purpose, and our vision by reading, listening, or watching anything we put out. Instead, allow me to introduce you to a few of the people who make the stuff you have enjoyed.
Canada Burkhalter was the first person I pitched Engage to. Canada does not have a halfway setting in her personality. She either absolutely loves something or doesn’t care for it at all. I knew if she would catch the vision of Engage, she would never let it go. She did, and she hasn’t.
If you like the way Engage looks, or if you have downloaded images Engage published, you can thank her. She is more than just a skilled graphic designer; she is a humble learner. This is made obvious by reading any of her articles. The vast majority of her writing is filled with anecdotes of her past, detailing how God used stories, questions, and even her pride to make her a more perfect reflection of Jesus Christ. She has always been the heart behind Engage.
Wesley has been indispensable from the very beginning. He is the primary reason Engage even has a radio program and podcast. The first brainstorm session we had ended in disaster. I left the meeting certain we would never have an idea solid enough to base a program around. Wesley pushed against that, determined to give us a vocal platform.
He won out. In the process, Wesley gave Engage a stronger will than we had before. Every growth and expansion of the platform has been, in large part, due to Wesley. He is the will of Engage.
Cedra Sartin doesn’t have an author’s page to link to because, despite the innumerable times I have demanded kindly requested she write something, she hasn’t. But she has made videos and appeared on the podcast several times.
Cedra is definitely a behind-the-scenes type of person who doesn’t revel in the limelight, although she helps to host Share Truth Apply Scripture every week.
But because of her encouragement and humor, she quickly became an important part of the team. She is the Content Coordinator for Engage. She is so important to the team, we surprised her with a picture in our 2018 Annual Magazine.
Without Cedra there to make us laugh, we would easily be overcome by the weight of the work we do every day. We talk about things we love, but we also talk about heavy, weighty ideas. Cedra is always there to find the humor in it. She is Engage’s spirit.
Without Jordan Chamblee, there would not be an EngageMagazine.net. And no, that is not hyperbole. I wanted everything perfect before Engage launched three years ago. I had not learned the lesson that nothing is ever perfect enough to publish.
I had made the decision: Engage would never happen. Then I got an email with the subject line, Suetonii Tranquilli Engage, Latin for “Engage Lives.”
His email encouraged me to continue working, continue growing Engage. “Let it start small, but let it start.” He told me.
Engage launched six months later.
Since that time Jordan has become central to the mission of Engage. He started as the Project Director a year later. He also co-hosts the radio program. Jordan has the ability to take a small, simple question, and find the most clever, creative way to communicate its answer. He is an idea-man at heart.
Because of all that, he is the brains of Engage.
And that is why Jordan will be taking over as Head Editor of Engage from here moving forward. Jordan and Wesley have graciously invited me to continue helping Engage in the form of writing, but my time as Head Editor has come to a close.
It has been my indescribable privilege and honor to work with these and the many others have dedicated their time, energy, and gifts to Engage. From Kendra White, who I had the pleasure of sharing a stage within Washington, D.C. to introduce Engage at the Values Voter Summit, to Chris Woodward who will always be Engage’s Papa Smurf, you have grown to be much more than coworkers. You are my beloved friends who have made eternal marks on my soul. God has used each of you, in different ways at different times, to reveal things about Himself. He has used you in ways I will never be able to fully articulate or show appreciation for. I owe you all a debt I can never repay.
All I can say, with the hope and prayer that it will be enough, is thank you.