Phil Vischer and his “VeggieTales” changed the landscape of Christian media for kids. Now, he’s working on the next big thing with “JellyTelly.” Phil was gracious enough to grant me this interview. You can learn more about Phil on his blog, biography on Wikipedia, and IMBD listing.
My questions are in bold and his answers are in plain text. Feel free to leave a comment to show your appreciation for Phil.
I’ve read several positive reports about your session at the Conspire conference 2008. In a few words can you sum up what you were saying?
I spoke at the Willow Creek children’s ministry conference back in 2005, and for the first time told the story in detail of the rise and fall of my ministry, Big Idea Productions, and the lessons God taught me through the process of watching a dream die. That message resonated so deeply with people that it became the basis for my book, Me, Myself & Bob (2007, Thomas Nelson). In a nutshell, I was examining our culture of Evangelical ambition and workaholism – the intense drive that leads so many of us to burnout, disenchantment, or worse. It was a call back to the simplicity of a walk with God, of listening and following his will on a daily basis, of letting go of our own dreams and ambitions and responding instead to the simple call of his heart. I wrote in the book that I had been drinking a dangerous cocktail – a mix of the Gospel, the Protestant work ethic, and the American Dream. “If you commit your life to Christ your work for him will be a huge success and all your dreams will come true.”
Well, that’s a lie. We aren’t called to lives of great success, great impact, great ambition. We’re called to lives of obedience. Lives of humility. Lives of waiting on God, listening to God, walking with God. That’s where we find our joy – not in our dreams of numerical success, in our relationships with God. I realized I had made the work I was doing for God more important to me than my relationship with God. And as I have been traveling and speaking, I have discovered that I wasn’t alone.