Last February, our former Hollywood Campus Worship Leader, Forrest Brown and his wife Shannon, moved to Virginia Beach, Va to accept a music/creative arts director position at Grace Bible Church. We can’t believe it has been a year since they moved! So we asked them to answer a couple questions on how they’re doing, how God is moving in their lives, and how we can pray for them.
Forrest & Shannon Brown
Virginia Beach, VA
What can you tell us about your family?
Both of our families, Shannon’s in Fort Lauderdale and mine in Pittsburgh, have been so supportive. This was the first time Shannon ever moved away from home, and it definitely brings back some tough memories when I left home for the first time and headed to Tennessee right after high school.
What can you tell us about your roles/positions?
My role at Grace Bible Church is music/creative arts director and Shannon works as an in-store guest trainer for Apple! I get a chance to lead a team of 4–5 volunteer worship leaders and two bands across two campuses: Lynnhaven and Norfolk. I'm also a part of a really great team of right-brain creatives that heads up the set design for every sermon series. Shannon has actually been a huge part of both of my roles at Grace.
How was it experiencing so much change at once? You got married, moved and started two new jobs!
CRAZYville, USA. It really was nuts. I think there was a bit of shock initially, to be honest. The whole moving process in and of itself was stressful . . . I'm convinced that couples should be required to move bulky items together as a part of premarital counseling. It was a lot at once, but what got us through it was knowing that we were exactly where God called us to be. At the end of the day, we had peace that God was with us and this was our time for pruning. It's never enjoyable initially to be pruned but with it comes more fruit!
How has God encouraged you guys in your step of faith?
God's provision has been incredibly evident. Each Monday morning I have a chance to meet with three guys and we go through the word together. I'm not sure if I would be here still if it weren’t for those guys and their encouragement. Shannon has the same type of ladies group that meets on Tuesdays. Connecting relationally with other people has been priceless. We are grateful to be young homeowners too, which is a huge provision.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Being away from family. You don't know what an incredible support system family is until you don't have them around you. Also, on my team, one of the biggest challenges has been implementing change. The first few months I felt like I was the guy who showed up at a really cool birthday party uninvited. It took some time to win people over and to show them that I am for them. Honestly, not to plug Ocean's Edge School of Worship, but the curriculum I had an opportunity to teach in worship lab is straight gold. My first six months was basically the real life version of worship lab!
What are some of your best memories from this past year?
Buying our first house! That whole process was really daunting, but it was cool getting to dream with Shannon about where we wanted to raise a family. Another great memory is getting to know some of the other staff at Grace. We have connected with one of our teaching pastors, Eric Sanzone and his family of seven. They have welcomed us in. The friendships have been really crucial!
What are you dreams/plans for the future? Kiddos?
More Grace changed lives! I really want God to use us wherever we are and I want to invest the talents he has given me to multiply and further His Kingdom. Kidzzz—uhh, duh! Kids TBA! Hoping to name my first child Thicket. Like a small version of Forrest . . . see what I did there???
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
WE MISS YOU ALL. I miss being around Wooddell, Strickland, Bobby Bemis, and everyone I had a chance to work alongside. I have so much love for you all in my heart and you guys have shaped my desire to do this. It all started at the Boca Campus when Andrew Strickland followed the call to make disciples. Now, I get to take that to a different city, different community, and a different church. I am lucky to know you guys.
How can we pray for you and support you?
Pray for Shannon and I to be united and have a greater measure of love for the Grace Bible Church community. For Shannon, being away from family. And pray for God to continue to give us the peace that His ways are so much greater than ours.