Life dreams on the Leesburg stage
“Planting,” he calls it.
He’d been active in ministerial life for years after graduating from James Madison University, working as a youth pastor in Maryland and as a mentor with the Leesburg-based Prison Fellowship organization.
With no physical location, zero members, limited resources and a spouse and five children, his dream of planting, let alone growing, his own church seemed far off indeed.
But Clyde, a life-long Loudoun County resident, was deeply influenced by his former church associate, life coach and author, Ben Arment.
The ideas and counseling contained in Arment’s new book, “Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love,” had a lasting influence on Clyde as their friendship blossomed over the years.
Last November, despite personal fear and many risks, Clyde made the leap and opened an inter-denominational church, called Headway, at the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg.
How has his dream fared?
Parishioners number over 100 and Clyde is about to add a second service on Sundays.
“Ben’s life, and years of coaching about putting ideas into action to make your dream a reality, was very much a part of my journey,” says Clyde. “It influenced me to open our church.”
To support the publication of “Dream Year,” Arment, with Clyde’s assistance, held events around the country to encourage people to pursue their deeply held dreams by discussing it in intimate detail in front of strangers. The goal is to share how one plans to accomplish their dream in a year’s time.
Using 20 PowerPoint slides that change every 20 seconds, 10 new participants will share their personal visions in Dream Year Pitch Night at the Tally Ho Theater on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public with a $5 admission.
“Ben’s coaching helps you get to a point where you actually fear the regret of not doing something, versus taking on the fear and risks of trying and failing,” says Clyde.
Clyde says the event is not about winning anything. No one will be handed a gleaming trophy or a cash prize for the best idea. No one will be handed a giant check from a well-heeled investor – though he says it’s certainly possible an audience member might be motivated to help a presenter fulfill their dream.
In fact, that’s the idea, he says: To encourage dreamers to take a disciplined approach to making a clear, concise, compelling presentation of one’s life-long desire and set it forth into the world to see what happens next.
“This event is about people being vulnerable enough, and having courage enough, to put their dream out there, which is really the first step to achieving it,” says Clyde. “It’s also an opportunity to connect with people who are chasing a dream, or have already realized theirs.”
The presenters – six women and four men who applied via a social media campaign – are a diverse group ranging from ages 20 through 50.
In order to help parents facing similar circumstances, one presenter’s dream is to make a documentary film that details his family’s experience having a child born with a degenerative heart defect.
Another wants to establish mentoring programs for young women, teaching them how to value and empower themselves despite society’s many conflicting messages to teenage girls.
One young man will detail his dream to digitally record his songs so he can launch a house tour to share his music more widely. He’s already accomplished a major part of his dream by successfully raising money for the recording through a Kickstarter campaign.
Clyde adds that it’s not just about individual pursuit that matters in these events. He says the presentations have a way of inspiring others to act, whether to pursue their own dream, or to motivate someone to help another by offering up personal experience and professional connections.
“Spending the time articulating a dream, practicing it, and connecting with others about it, is a huge step forward to making it come true,” says Clyde.
“It certainly worked for me,” he laughs.