The website, the writers, the social media, the content, the will behind it all. Each of these are important aspects of what make Beyond the Contrast a reality and they are all brought to us by one person: Michael Henson. As evident with this awesome new online magazine, our BTC creator has a passion for all that he does including playing bass, taking on photography, and being a dad. It requires courage, hard work, and a lot of prayer to turn a dream into reality, so I am very excited that Michael was able to take the time for an interview to talk a little about himself and Beyond the Contrast! Without further ado, meet the mastermind.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’m married to an amazing wife, Miriam (my high school sweetheart), and have the most amazing daughter in the world. I’m a chronic creator and an incurable academic currently finishing my second graduate degree. In addition, I have been involved in youth leadership and ministry for over 10 years. During that time, I’ve transitioned from being a leader within the youth group, to assisting multiple youth pastors, to leading the Hyphen age small group for my church. As with any ministry or endeavor, I’ve had ups and downs. Working full time and attending school throughout that time has had its difficulties, but I’m consistently driven by the potential that I know my generation and those following have. That drive to help others, to create something spectacular, and to be a part of something larger than myself is what has kept me energized and motivated even when I felt like throwing in the towel.
When/how did you begin creating BTC? What was your inspiration?
Beyond the Contrast has been a long time in the making, I believe. While I’ve only been actually working through the details and the implementation of the site/ministry for the past couple of months, the idea came out so fully formed that I feel like I must have been building it unconsciously with a lot of God granted inspiration. As I mentioned previously, I firmly believe in this generation and I believe in the Apostolic movement. However, it seems that there is quite a void when it comes to encouraging creativity and growth in many areas. I saw this void and decided that I would work to gather a dedicated, focused team to discuss the hard questions facing the Hyphen age students in our organization, encourage and celebrate the creativity of those students, and speak to the spirituality that will impact our world, rather than our pews.
What is your goal for Beyond the Contrast?
Wow, I have so many! First, I want to create a resource that appeals and ministers to students within the Hyphen aged demographic. My prayer is that this resource will provide a new Apostolic paradigm surrounding the topics of fashion, music, spirituality, creating a story of your own, living a life of passion and impact, event coverage, and fun. Beyond that, we’ll create an outlet for Apostolic entrepreneurs and creatives to showcase their businesses, art, music, and endeavors. Eventually, I would love for Beyond the Contrast to grow in influence to the point that we can be a driving force for culture, creativity, and development of artistic abilities in mediums currently underserved…but that’s a ways down the road. Haha!
How does BTC contrast other online media?
BTC is Apostolic in focus, ideology and worldview. We will address the hard questions and accept that sometimes we don’t have the answers. We will continuously strive to make our spirituality practical and impactful to our world. We will seek to influence culture in a positive, Biblical manner rather than being influenced by it.
Can you tell us about the staff and writers behind BTC?
First, I must say that I am completely overwhelmed by the response from the talented writers and ministers that have agreed to contribute to BtC. We currently have eighteen contributors from all over the United States. They cover the entire age range, guys and gals, and are ministers, professionals, writers, professors, and parents. Like myself, these individuals have a burning passion to impact our world and are willing to devote (read: sacrifice) their time and energy to do so.
Lastly, do you have anything you would like to tell the readers?
Passion is a blessing and a curse. It’s the roaring flame keeping your desire for “something more” warm during the cold, hard seasons where things never seem to go right, and it’s the hot stove that burns you when you lose focus. My passions have lead me into deep, dark valleys of bitterness and piercing heartache. At the same time, they’ve helped me to press forward in the face of adversity. My advice? Fuel your passion, but don’t lose focus…This is much easier said than done. If you allow your passions to turn inward and focus on why this or that hasn’t happened or why your dreams are so elusive or slow to respond, those same dreams will consume you. By keeping your focus outside yourself, by throwing yourself into a story greater than you can accomplish on your own, you’ll be much more likely to rely on God and actually accomplish what you desire.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Grace Dewald is a first-year college student looking to pursue journalism. She soaks up new discoveries and hopes to share what she learns with others for God’s glory!