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Meeting Carlos Whittaker

Yesterday afternoon, I met Carlos Whittaker at Fido, a coffee shop in Nashville. Yes, that guy from the "Single Ladies" video that went viral on YouTube back in March.

He's also "that guy with the blog" and "that guy who just came out with a CD."

Carlos WhitakerI'll be posting the interview as an article to Wrecked soon, but in the mean time, I wanted to share a few lessons that I learned from 'Los:

1) Life happens in seasons. Carlos just released his first worship record, so check it out on iTunes. He doesn't particularly care for the terms "worship leader" or "worship artist", though (just an FYI so you don't cross him).

"Experience architect" is what he said when I asked what he considered to be his vocation. And apparently, that includes being a worship pastor, blogger, musician, event planner, and church staff person, because he's worn all of those hats in the past several years.

He told me that while he's touring and planning the next record, he's already thinking about another project. He wants to film a documentary.

What I loved about our discussion was his free-spiritedness — he's an artist through and through, a true creative in the best sense of the word. And he readily admits that pursuing music is just the season in which he finds himself for now.

2) Social media is actually useful. Carlos booked his summer church gigs in five minutes by asking his followers on Twitter for help. (Incidentally, he had to borrow a guitar earlier from another Twitter friend in Nashville to play a gig yesterday because his guitar broke or something.)

Any time Carlos does a radio or TV interview, he'll see if any of his online friends are up for getting together for breakfast or a meetup. He sincerely loves connecting with people and considers them his friends, not just fans or followers. (He, in fact, remembered me from my Twitter avatar. I am one of over 17,000.)

His online voice has already established a platform for him to launch his music career, which is a pretty smart business move. But that's not all he has used his blogging and viral videoing for. He seems to have a natural ability to attract people, and as with the "Single Ladies" video and the LA Ink episode he was on, he always manages to use an opportunity in the spotlight to point people to God.

3) You are not what you do. If you watch the LA Ink episode in which Carlos gets his tattoo, you'll hear about his testimony of having to back off of ministry commitments in order to put his family first.

As we continued with the interview, he told me, "I tell worship leaders all the time: 'Unless you're leading worship for the rest of the week [and not just on Sunday], you're not a worship leader.'"

His point was that you can't do something for 50 minutes a week and say that that thing defines you. If you want it to define you, then you need to do it everyday, like it's more than just a job you do. Of course, if it is just a job and not the most important part of who you are, then put your 40 hours in and go home to spend time with your family.

For more on the interview, you'll have to wait for the full piece to come out on Wrecked.org. Stay tuned for that.

Question: How could you be using your influence to point to something other than yourself? (Chime in.)

And just for fun, here's the video that made the Whittaker family famous (they used the opportunity to encourage people to consider international adoption, by the way).

**Check out the longer piece at: Coffee with Carlos Whittaker: Church and Christian Music According to a Ragamuffin Soul