I have the blessing to know Ryan Leak from a few years back when we were on staff at the same church. He’s a really creative individual and a visionary entrepreneur. He started a production company while also traveling around the country speaking and consulting churches and companies..
Recently his wedding video went viral. In all honesty, I sent him this questionnaire before the video went viral, after we had sat for lunch a few months back. And after watching the moving video and the impact it had, I decided to ask him a few more questions.
So here it is, my interview with the one and only Ryan Leak…
How did you get involved in the church media world?
I grew up in Rockford, IL at a church that did a lot of media. I was intrigued as a little kid and never stopped.
What’s the one thing anybody must know before getting involved in church communications?
I think you have to study your audience. You have to be a person that ask great questions and not feel like you have to be a person that has all the answers.
What’s your favorite accomplishment so far?
Everywhere I turn people are talking about the Surprise Wedding. I hear people are crying because it’s so moving. I even read someone suggesting that it was a Pinterest commercial. Did you ever imagine that the video would gain such big traction (I believe it’s international now)?
I did imagine that would gain some traction. It’s very hard to predict how much traction when we only saw the documentary a few days before it was on YouTube. We didn’t have a marketing plan or strategy to release the documentary. We just did it.
What’s it like to be featured on national television?
It was fun being on TV. The spotlight is deceiving. It makes people think you are more than who you really are, and it sheds light on all the things you are not. But every network we were featured on were fun, kind, and hospitable to my wife and I.
The surprise wedding video served two purposes. Obviously to capture your wedding day, but also to spread awareness about the A21 campaign, which focuses on abolishing injustice in the 21st century. How is the surprise wedding video raising awareness for A21?
We’ve seen 5,000 people click on the link to go check out A21. I don’t know how much people have given to it, but we’re happy to see that many people actually be interested in a cause like A21.
Mention some challenges that young church creatives are likely to experience in the church media field?
Pride. I believe the greatest hurdle young creatives face is themselves. If we can focus on a common goal and vision, we’ll less likely think our ideas are the best and be more of a team player.
I know you’re a guy with mentors in your life. How valuable are mentors in ministry?
And how did you choose your mentors? Mentors are huge. I have a lot of mentors that give me insight into different areas of my life. I have a money mentor, a marriage mentor, a business mentor, and a spiritual mentor. I pursued them and have always done my best to just honor them as my journey continues. They were more divine appointments than me choosing them. I think God picks them.
If you had the chance to restart your career in ministry, would you change any of the mistakes or challenges?
No. My mistakes and challenges helped me grow. I make a new mistake everyday, and I grow because of it. I think the goal is to simply not repeat the same mistakes.
What advice would you give to someone who’s starting out that you wish someone had told you?
Study your trade. Don’t do guess work. You don’t know what you don’t know. The only way to know more is to study.