As I’ve mentioned previously, Open House was a 10-year dream of mine that became a reality. And this show was a most wonderful way to bring my part in that dream to an end. Broadcast in front of a live audience in the courtyard of Hope Media studios, it included some brilliant moments:
- Singer-songwriter Andy Sorenson shared for the first time about his experience of childhood sexual abuse. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place as he sung his new song Very Bright Future afterwards.
- YouTube sensations Jayesslee recorded their next smash cover on the night. These girls have the purest voices and the sweetest hearts.
- We talked about whether the world was about to end with theologian Ross Clifford.
- The Gruen Transfer‘s Jon Casimier joined us to explore how advertising shapes our souls.
Many callers shared how Open House had changed their lives. Darlene Zscheck sent in some kind words. TV, book and film critics Mark Hadley, Kara Martin and Ben McEachen produced surprise gifts for me, and Leigh Hatcher honoured me by leading the crowd in a standing ovation. I have been flooded with emails, Facebook and Twitter messages, and comments on this blog, stating how lives have been changed through Open House. Thank you for leaving me with such special memories.
A Few Questions Answered
I have been asked many questions since the announcement of my leaving Open House. Let me take a moment to answer a few:
Why are you leaving?
As I mentioned in my original announcement, it was time for my wife Merryn to have a ‘new beginning’ of her own. Having followed me from city to city over the last few years, it was time for 2011 to be ‘her’ year.
Where are you going?
To the UK: Oxford, to be exact. Since deciding to move God has blessed Merryn with an exciting new role at Oxford University. It will be an excellent base for us both, opening up opportunities in Europe also.
What will you be doing next?
Open House was always one of three things I did, the other two being writing and speaking. For the rest of the year I’ll be taking a writing sabbatical to finish a book project tentatively titled More Than This. It will explore the way we long for God, often without realising it, and suggest that God can be ‘seen’ in experiences of beauty, goodness, truth and love.
In 2012 I hope to launch some new media venture: perhaps a new radio or TV program.
Along the way there will be a new edition of Unseen Footprints to release, an Unseen Footprints audio book, and a new podcast. I’ll continue to speak at conferences, churches and other events as requests come.
Will we hear you in Australia again?
Almost definitely. There is quite some interest in me contributing to Australian radio and other media from the UK. You’ll hear about on this blog when it happens!
How do you feel about Leigh Hatcher as your successor?
Absolutely thrilled. Leigh’s broadcasting experience is superb, his heart is generous and his faith is strong. As Leigh has said in his statement, he feels like his career will culminate in this new role. As I joked in the interview above, Open House is like a daughter to me and as her ‘father’ I was keen to know of Leigh’s intentions with her! I’m content that the show’s best days lie ahead. I feel honoured to be followed by someone of such calibre.
What lessons have you learnt through hosting Open House?
I’ll be answering that question in my next post. There have been many, but four lessons in particular stand out to me. (Now posted here.)
Open House became the first live-networked radio program in Australian Christian radio. It exceeded my dreams. And believing in a God who continually offers us new beginnings I’m excited at what lies ahead – for Leigh Hatcher, Open House, for my wife, and for me.
Q: Your general comments are welcome. I’m also happy to answer any further questions you have.