This summer we are relocating to Oklahoma City, the suburb of Edmond to be exact. 15 years ago, we packed up our little apartment in Alabama and moved to Fort Worth, TX. When we moved back to the southeast in 2006, we never imagined we'd be headed out west again.
For over five years, I’ve worked for the digital missions team (internally known as the digerati team) at LifeChurch.tv. For the last 4-ish of these years, I’ve been solely focused the design of the YouVersion Bible app.
I’ve never been more satisfied at work. I’ve never been more challenged and fulfilled. I’ve never believed more in the cause. I’ve never been more fortunate to work with such an amazing, brilliant, humble, caring group of teammates.
Relocating has been a perplexing decision. A couple years ago, I said no to my boss when he asked us to consider moving to Oklahoma. I could have said no this time as well. But this time felt different. It’s hard to explain. We believe God is leading us to move. I have doubts for sure. If I were 100% certain that we were making the right decision it would not require faith.
Telling our families that we’re moving further away was tough. It will be harder for us to see each other. We’ll be saying goodbye to my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, niece, friends, my next-door neighbor’s toolshed, and a church we love so much. I’ve enjoyed the perks of working from home, being home when Noah was a newborn, seeing my boys when they get home from school, and helping Tiffany bring in the groceries.
So why are we moving? Let me explain.
As YouVersion has grown, so has the complexity of our team and our apps. I’m a user interface designer, and YouVersion is a design-led organization. That means that before our developers start coding, the design team (there are 3 of us now) has talked through ideas with leadership, presented user experience flows, made comps, talked with developers, talked with our data analyst, talked with he support team, talked with communications team, produced more comps, made prototypes, and have had lots of quick meet-at-your-desk discussions with each other and developers. Basically we have a lot more conversations than we used to. Gone are the days where the designer would disappear for a week polishing and tweaking the design. Now each interaction is meticulously discussed amongst the design team and then further discussed with leadership and developers.
What we are seeing is that this meeting-heavy, team-approach is working. The extra collaboration is creating a better user experience for our app. It sounds counterintuitive, but the increase in design meetings (the ones on the calendar and the ones that happen impromptu) has increased our productivity.
But, now I'm seeing a problem. My lack of physical presence has become a hindrance. Those quick walk-up-to-your-desk conversations are happening more frequently and more frequently without me. It’s hard to explain why, but even though I could be joined into a video call in seconds, starting a video call feels like a burden to most people. Thankfully, the team often takes on this burden to include me, but it's easy to forget...out of sight and out of mind.
I could continue working remote. My job isn’t threatened if I stay in Georgia, but what is threatened is my future ability to be an influential part of the design process. I have been around YouVersion since it’s beginning. I know it’s not my app, but I do feel a great deal of ownership and (a good kind of) pride in seeing how God is causing it to flourish. This is so much more to me than a job. It’s a calling. This is only the beginning. YouVersion will keep growing. We will hire more designers who will work in the office in Oklahoma, and I don’t want to be left out or left behind. I want to be smack in the middle of the process, growing with it.
Tiffany and the boys are on board with this decision. It will be sad for Caleb to leave his best friend, but it's a good transition year with him going into middle school. We still wonder what we’re thinking sometimes, moving further away from family, a fantastic middle school pastor, further from the beach, away from the natural beauty of north Georgia.
But together, we’re looking at this as an adventure of following God. We know we will be able to build upon existing friendships and create new ones. We believe that we’ll have a built-in support system and community. I know they will welcome us and love my family. So many of my co-workers have made this same difficult decision to move to Oklahoma, and all the ones I've spoken to have told me how glad they are that they made the move.
We are looking forward to being involved in the community of LifeChurch.tv. We love its passion to do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. We love its irrational generosity to give the Bible app and countless other resources to the global “capital C” Church.
We know this is risky, and there's a chance we'll regret it, but I'm more fearful of the opposite regret, that of living so safe that we don't take a risk.