Spotlight: Dan Sweaza
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Dan Sweaza, and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (which proves God has a sense of humour, because prior to moving to western Canada I had never lived north of Dallas, Texas!). I've been married to my wife Amber for 14 years, and we love hiking and photographing the nearby Rocky Mountains. My faith-journey centres around being raised in an unchurched home that was filled with drugs and poverty. Thankfully, when I was 16 a friend invited me to come to church with her and I found myself among a group of people who loved me, despite that fact that I didn't know you weren't supposed to cuss in the youth group. (Shout out to Aurora Baptist Church in Texas!) Although I had spent years convincing myself that I was somehow "better" than my parents, the church helped me to understand that everyone (including me) is broken and in need of healing through Jesus. Because of their influence, I became a Christian and was able to avoid the generational sin that had marked my family. (By the way, my parents are clean and sober today!)
Tell us about your church/company:
I am the planting pastor of Connect Church in Calgary. We are an 18-month-old church plant with about 220 people in attendance each week. Connect exists "to help everyone discover overflowing life in Jesus (John 10:10)." Our church was planted through a joint partnership between the SEND Network and the Association of Related Churches Canada. We currently meet in a movie theatre which allows us to make great use of the big, gorgeous visuals VMC creates!
What is your role in your church? :
My wife and I are the lead pastors at Connect. I have the privilege of being the primary communicator and to focus on leadership development in the church. Because I have a love for design work, I also handle all of our visual and social media.
What do you love most about your role?:
I love seeing God change peoples' lives! Our church is composed mostly of unchurched and de-churched Canadians, and in 18 months we've seen more than 90 people make first time decisions for Jesus and nearly 40 baptized! I also love the fact that Connect is a multicultural, multinational church with Asians, Africans and Latinos making up nearly half our attendees. It's beautiful!
How did you end up in the role you have now?:
Prior to planting Connect, I had served for 15 years as a youth pastor in Texas and Florida. I loved working with students and genuinely believed that I would be doing youth ministry for years to come. But in 2014 my wife and I took a vacation in Banff, Alberta and although this was our first time to ever set foot in the country, we both unmistakably sensed God telling us that Calgary was going to be our new home. (Keep in mind that we are Baptists - God rarely speaks to us!) Moving to a new country to plant a church was a terrifying prospect, but we've seen God bless our faith at every single turn. Three years after moving to the "Great White North," we love our adopted country and can't imagine living anywhere else.
Ok...How did you hear about VMC?:
I started seeing VMC posted online really early after you launched and loved the live, looping footage. It was different from the virtual motions created by other companies (which are great in their own right) but VMC truly stood out.
How often do you use VMC, and what do you love about what we do?:
We use your visuals 2-3 times in an average month, and VMC help us create a vibe on Sunday mornings that is dynamic, without being distracting. I think the price point is great for what you offer and the stock footage, social videos and other extras are insanely good. Plus, I love supporting a Canadian company. Thanks for being a small but integral part of Connect Church!