Every worship leader has a dream of some kind. Your dream might be to release an album, write a book, launch a YouTube channel, or host a conference. Whatever it is, it takes hard work, planning, a lot of wisdom, and God’s favor to get your dream off the ground. Ryan Romeo is the master dreamer. At age 26, he had a dream to launch a national tour featuring the best and most well-known artists in the Christian Worship space. Three years later and he was hitting the road with Hillsong United, Lauren Daigle, Kari Job, and more on the first ever Outcry Tour. It was a big endeavor, to be certain! So how did Ryan get the dream out of his head and into reality (and how can you do the same for your dream)? That’s exactly what we talk about on this month’s episode. Enjoy! Dream big!
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Alex Enfiedjian 00:09 Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the worship ministry training podcast, a monthly podcast for worship leaders. My name is Alex Enfiedjian, your host, so thankful that you are tuning into this podcast in general and to this episode specifically, have a really great conversation with Ryan Romeo, who is the founder of the outcry tour that very large tour with all the really cool worship bands. I talked with Ryan today about how to get your big dreams off the ground. Because when Ryan was 20, something years old in his mid 20s, he had a dream and his dream was to get all the best known worship acts together for a tour that promoted unity in the worship culture that lifted high the name of Jesus, and that strengthened and champion the local church. And he was sitting there in his little apartment in Tucson, Arizona, in his small little church with no connections, no money, no experience, just a big dream. And a big God who he knew would help him see that dream to fruition. So a few years later, believe it or not, that dream became a reality, God caused it to come to pass. And the outcry tour has been going strong for several years now. It’s been 90 cities, and has reached almost a million attendees and has seen 50,000 people give their lives to the Lord and has included acts like Hillsong elevation worship Phil Wickham and more. So God allowed Ryan to make this thing happen, but he worked hard for it. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about in today’s episode. But first, a word from our sponsor, core sound pads. Core sound pads is the best way to add rich, lush sounds to your team. Whether you have a huge team or a small band, core sound pads, fills out the sound, glues things together, smooths out transitions, and adds a lush rich soundscape to your set into your songs. You can try core sound pads absolutely free, go to core sound pads calm. And if you decide to purchase any of the bundles, use the promo code WM t podcast that’s worship ministry training w mt podcast at checkout and you’ll save 20% of anything in the store. Go check it out today, the links are in the show notes. I cannot recommend core sound pads highly enough. We all have dreams in our life, you might have a dream of writing songs, releasing an album, maybe becoming a full time worship pastor starting a podcast writing a book hosting a conference going on tour. Whatever it is, God wants you to live out your life to the full potential and to be a good steward with the life he entrusted you with. And that goes for our dreams as well. So how do you take the dream that’s in your head and move it into reality? That is exactly what I’m gonna be spending the next hour or so chatting with Ryan Romeo about in today’s episode. So let’s jump into my conversation with the founder of the outcry tour. Ryan Romeo.
Alex Enfiedjian 03:04 Hey, everybody, I’m here with Ryan Romeo, who is one of the founders or the founder of the outcry Tour, which tours all over the US, Ryan, thanks for being here with us today.
Ryan Romeo 03:14 Yeah, thanks for having me on. Alex. I’m excited to be on.
Alex Enfiedjian 03:17 I’m stoked for where this conversation is gonna go. Yeah. And for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with the outcry tour, can you give us the 62nd version of what it is and really the success that God has allowed you to see through it over the last several years?
Ryan Romeo 03:32 Yeah, so my friend Shane and I, we started kind of dreaming about this tour. Gosh, this is probably back in 2012 2011, even. And we started really dreaming about doing something that would bring unity in the church. And we were really big fans of, you know, a lot of these artists that we’re familiar with now, like Jesus culture and Hillsong. And, and he had worked in that realm a little bit. And I had worked in that realm too. And so him and I just started talking, what if we brought all these people together? So we launched outcry in 2015. Really, with the heart for unity. Talking about the power of the local church was another really big thing that we were talking about, and sharing the gospel. It was really this kind of three fold thing. And year one we saw just a huge response. And we had Hillsong United and Jesus culture and Bethel and Crowder, we took a chance on a young worship leader named Lauren Daigle and it was insane the minute we launched and our first tour, we averaged 10 to 20,000 people a night something like that. And it just radically changed our lives in so many ways. And so since then we’ve done 90 outcries, which is kind of crazy to think back on. We’ve had probably about 900,000 people attend outcry. Since we launched in 2015. We’ve seen like 50,000 people give life to Jesus, which is amazing. We had lots of people go Why are you sharing the gospel at a worship night There’s not going to be any non Christians there. And now a few years later, we’re like, oh, we know why the Lord really brought that idea to us. So that’s the outcry tour. We’ve been going strong and wrote a book about outcry years ago. And so it’s been a crazy ride for sure. Dude, it’s
Alex Enfiedjian 05:14 incredible. And, you know, you said back in 2013, he started dreaming about it, or 12, or whatever. So you’re like, 20? How old? Were you kind of when you started to dream about that?
Ryan Romeo 05:26 I was in my mid 20s. Yeah, kind of mid 20s, early 20s. It was audacious for sure.
Alex Enfiedjian 05:31 Right? So you’re 20 something years old, you’re out in Tucson, Arizona in this little dinky church, and you have this big bowl dream, right. And that’s kind of what I really want to hammer in on today is dreaming. And so like getting a dream, a big bowl dream off the ground and into reality, and you kind of have done that. And so let’s start just by talking about dreaming. Like, how did you know that this dream for this tour, or whatever it was initially in your head was something that God gave you and not just something for yourself? And more importantly, maybe for our listeners, how can they know that this desire that they have in their heart, whatever it is, if it’s for writing an album, or whatever it is? How can they know that it’s from the Lord calling them to do it, and not just some, you know, pizza that they ate the night before? That’s kind of kicking into gear?
Ryan Romeo 06:18 Well, it’s funny, it’s, I mean, real life is pretty messy. And so when we are dreaming about it, you know, I had lots of moments where I’m going, Okay, God is this, which part of this is from me, which part is it is from you. And from the time I was 21 years old, I was a worship pastor at a small church. And he was really all that I knew. I actually joke I got saved in a small group with a guy who invited me to come lead worship at his small group. And I had no idea what any of that meant. And I was shocked that I started leading worship before I was a Christian. Really, worship was a huge, huge part of what I did in the church. And so I knew I kind of had this I call it like a prophetic Echo, like this echo in my heart of, I feel like God saying that I’m going to be doing something in the realm of worship. And at that time, you know, this is late 90s, early 2000s, you know, passions getting off the ground. And we’re starting to look at a new artists name, you know, Chris Tomlin and David Crowder, and we’re getting to know that crew and, and at the time, I was a huge fan of a band called delirious, which was like, you know, 90s worship, it was like, everybody was talking about delirious. And I remember listening to an album called Live 97. And it was just delirious live, and they’re playing obsession, and like all these awesome, old delirious songs. And I remember listening to that kind of feeling like, okay, God, I just have this sense that I’m going to be a part of something like that, you know. But obviously, as a worship leader, I started thinking, I’m going to be leading worship in that sort of realm, you know. And I think that that was one of those things that I started trying to pursue some things in the worship leading realm, that was still great and still so good. But it was ultimately not where God was leading me. But those are the kind of prophetic echoes that like, Okay, I think a lot of us have those moments where you’re like, Okay, God, I just feel deep down, that there’s something that I’m gonna be doing in this room. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know how big it’s gonna be. And you start moving toward that. And obviously, I have some rules. You know, when we’re talking about dreaming, obviously, like, if your dream is including sin of some sort, That’s not right. Right. Well just get the obvious things off the table, like, yeah, you’re like, Oh, I’m gonna start a Christian. You know, strip club? No, probably not. Probably not from Jesus. Um, the other thing that’s kind of subtle, and this is something I think we deal with more and more and more. Is your dream based on someone else’s life? Is it based on someone else’s calling? I think we could scroll through Instagram so much and go, you know, oh, man, Brian Johnson soon this thing or whatever, we can scroll through it and see people that really are amazing, awesome people, so many of them are heroes of mine. But their life and their calling is their life and their calling. It’s not yours. So is your dream, and you have to dig deep into that like is your dream based on someone else’s calling? If it feels like no, it’s this something that’s unique to me, then that’s a good sign, I think for people that are pursuing their dreams. And then the other thing is your dream too small. I think a lot of us think that somehow Gods intimidated by big dreams or were intimidated by big dreams from each other sometimes, and that leaks into our conversation. But God’s never afraid to dream too big. And I think that when a dream is attainable, if it feels like man, I could grab that no problem, then there’s really no faith required to reach out for it. And I’ve always experienced dreams being just a little bit outside of what I could reach for and sometimes way outside I could reach for and praying into that and having confidence in that. Those are some really big things for me when you’re looking at your dreams and I think Biblically we could say like it’s Is it something that glorifies God? Is it something that really brings out the giftings and talents and joy that you have deep in you? And does it result in the darkness in the world being rolled back? Like, does it result in pushing back against the kingdom of darkness and seeing the kingdom of light triumph more, you know, those are some basic principles for me when I’m looking at a dream. But I don’t get much more specific than that, because everybody’s dream is wildly unique to each person, you know, and your pursuit and your relationship with God is so unique to you, that you really have to press into the uniqueness of that. And really, it’s that exciting pursuit of going okay, God, what uncovering What is this dream? What is this calling that you have for me? And it’s really, it’s a daily sort of thing, you know,
Alex Enfiedjian 10:45 and I love that you call it an uncovering, it’s kind of like you started. And we’ll talk more about this later in the conversation, but you started kind of heading in one direction, and God, you know, slowly revealed more and more of the dream to you, as you move towards it. Do you think that Scripture teaches that God has like a specific dream for every single human to accomplish individually on the earth? Or do you think he gives us freedom to create and pursue our own dreams based on our personality, our passions, our experience, our background? Because I feel like people listening who maybe they’re like, I don’t even know if I have a dream, and they’re gonna start feeling anxious, like, how do I find my calling on the earth? You know, that’s a pretty, like weighty thing. So how do you what would you say to all that?
Ryan Romeo 11:28 Yeah, I mean, I definitely think that God has specific things for us to walk in. I think it’s very biblical sort of thing. When we look at, you know, a lot of the people I mean, I started writing this book to head in the clouds book started really looking at the life of Joseph. To me, it was like, Yes, he had physical dreams, but he was a dreamer, you know, like, there’s this kind of linking for me going, he’s pursuing this thing. And I do think that God has specific things that are for us. But I do think our calling is far more of a journey than a destination. I think we all have seasons, where we’re like, Okay, I’m going into this, and this season, where you’re like, why am I doing this? And God reveals some of that later, you know, and we have the luxury of looking at the life of Joseph, from the perspective of history. But he didn’t have that luxury, you know, so when he’s in prison, he’s like, what am I doing here, and he was a guy that I love, he just, he pursued everything, as if it were brought from God, like it says in Timothy, like, you do all things as fun to Jesus. So he was one of those guys that it’s like whether he was in wrongly imprisoned or he was a slave, he did everything with excellence, the best that he could. And so I think that those are the things that for us, when we’re really pursuing God given dreams, we do need to know that there are very specific things that God has for you. But you have this like this journey of uncovering what it is. And for me, I’m a really strong believer in First Corinthians when it says, bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. He says in there, you are not your own, you were bought at a price. And I love that. And I really leverage that idea into dreaming to like, these dreams that God gives you are not your own, necessarily, there are things that God is giving you to steward. And when you steward them, well, he opens up more and more of that calling, you know, you know, Psalm 139, it’s like, you formed my inmost, being like, there’s this idea that God is so intimate with, how he made you that, of course, he has specific things for you to walk in, you know, but it’s not for us to I feel like we gin ourselves up, we get ourselves like all worked up going, I have to figure out my calling, I got to figure this out. And really God’s saying, treat today, like it’s the next rung in the ladder for your calling, you know, you have to treat today with absolute purpose, and really trying to do all of those things, whether you’re in a worship bleeding position, or you’re volunteering and setting up chairs for your church, or whatever it is, maybe you’re in a job, you’re like, why am I at this job? And I think the Lord is looking for people that are going, I know that my calling is happening right now, that today really, really matters. And that I understand that that’s in the context of something that God’s about to do in my life that will make this season make a lot more sense, you know?
Alex Enfiedjian 14:26 Yeah, I know, that’s really helpful answer and I can’t agree more. Like what you’re saying excellence is the thing that opens the doors to the next part. So if you’re faithful with little, he trusts you with more and that’s what you’re saying is like, just take today as it is and do your best and bring your best unto the Lord and He will honor you with more and more and continue to reveal His will for you. And I love that approach to instead of like sitting in your rocking chair with your cup of coffee and thinking, what is my calling? What is my calling like? That sounds stressful, it’s like, No, just do what’s in front of you, man, you know. And like, I think of that passage in Ephesians, where it says that, you know, we were created in Christ Jesus for good works, that he prepared for us in advance that we might walk in them or something along those lines. And it’s like, yes, there is something specific for each of us. And, you know, I love how you said, like, the calling gets revealed as we’re faithful with a little bit. And just even like, when I was around your age dreaming, you know, when you were 20, mid 20s, I was mid 20s, also dreaming about like, I want to train up worship leaders, like I want to, I want to raise up an army of World Class worship leaders, like that was kind of the vision for my life is like I don’t want to be and no offense to anyone out there. But I was like, I don’t want to be a 45 year old fat worship leader who all I’ve ever done is to stand on stage and lead, I probably offended someone just now. But I wanted to, I wanted to pour my life into other worship leaders and kind of become like a proud Papa of other younger worship leaders. That’s what I wanted to do. But I didn’t have any specifics on what that looked like. So I just started with the kid that was in my worship ministry. And I started writing articles for him to like, hey, here, do this next time you lead worship, and here do this. And then I started sharing it on the podcast, and I was like, I’ll put it online, I might as well because I’m already writing it. And so then it became this thing that it is today, where it’s like, wow, I really, by God’s grace, am able to raise up an army of World Class worship leaders all over the globe. And it’s like, What a weird thing. But it was just very generic, like you said, an echo inside, kind of your Echo was like, I want to do worship events. And my echo was I want to train worship leaders. And from there, it just kind of as I was faithful with little at God has expanded it. So that so with talking about dreams, is there a difference between a dream and a goal? Or are they the same thing?
Ryan Romeo 16:49 I think goals kind of come along with the dream, you know. So if you’ve got a dream that’s like, Hey, I really want to do X, Y, or Z, and you’re imagining something really big. I would set goals that are kind of like leading into that, you know, I know a little bit later on, we’re going to dive into a little bit more nuts and bolts of that. But I would say that, that goals are so important in terms of your personal growth and everything else, but I see them as different than dreams. Because the dreams are the things I think God’s given each one of us. That’s just in the back of our mind, that thing that like wakes you up in the morning, that thing you just can’t stop talking about. And your friends are probably annoyed that you’re still talking about this thing. Like those are the things that I’m like, okay, God’s awakened your heart in this area. You really, really, really need to pay attention to that, and not walk in false humility of Oh, who am I to do that? No. God’s called you to do that. He’s given you those sort of Inklings that that passion. And then the goals, I think, are the things that we set in the meantime of like, Okay, if I want to do that, what do I need to do? You know, and sometimes the answer school and sometimes the answers, just be really faithful in your church, sometimes the answer it’s varies from person to person. But the goals I would say, like the subsets underneath the major umbrella of pursuing this God given dream in your heart,
Alex Enfiedjian 18:10 that’s a great answer. And it kind of leads into this next section of like, okay, so you have this big dream for you. It’s outcry, I want to do this thing. Yeah. For our listeners, it’s something else. But how do you begin breaking down that dream into those sort of like manageable, actionable tasks and projects? So for you, What did it look like to break down this idea? How did you start? What’s the first thing someone should do to start moving towards the dream?
Ryan Romeo 18:36 Well, we had a lot of years, I’ll kind of back up to the very beginning. When me and Shane started talking and dreaming about doing this tour. He brought different tools to the table, I brought different tools to the table. what it looked like is, I would meet him one time he started working with Jesus culture, he works in a production company started working with Jesus culture. They were brand new, I had never heard of Jesus culture before. And I went out to LA and met Chris Q and A lot of those guys from Jesus culture. And we started talking about Oh, man, what if we did this? And what if we did that? I’ll cry when it first started, was a worship leader conference, which is so funny. So in our mind, we were like, worship leader conference. And we were passionate about this idea of bringing people together, we are passionate about all the things that I was saying before, but we thought the best way to do it was a conference for a lot of years. So we would get together, we would dream. And I think one of the things that helped us so much, was that we would actually document what we were talking about and what we were dreaming about. And I use the word distill, like I would take our days of conversation are hours of like, what if we did this and what if we did that? And I would try to boil it down into one sheet of paper. And it was it was tough. I would write a little paragraph that says, Why do we want Do what we want to do. And obviously the Why is very, very important. Why do you want to do this? So we would write a version of that, you know, that was like a small paragraph, then I would sit down and go, Okay, what do we need to do to get it and I would say, Here’s like a timeframe. And here is who we’d like to be here at this conference. And then I would get to the end. And I would say, this is how much money we think we need, just doing our very best educated guesses that this is what we think we’re going to need. And I would write this down. And we wouldn’t show anybody at this point. And I would send it to him. And I’m like, does this feel like it’s a good summary of what we talked about? And it took a few years for us to really get to that point where we were like, okay, and I remember we had watched, what’s the guy’s name? I’m drawing a blank on his name. Who did that TED talk on the Why? Simon? Sinek Simon Sinek? Yes. So that video was going around like crazy. And we watched it. And we were like, Okay, this is so good. We’ve had like, probably, you know, half a dozen wise, that’s not narrowed down enough. We need to really, really narrow this down. And we narrowed it down even further. And what was funny is, by the time we had a workable document, I remember I was I was at my brother’s wedding in San Francisco. I got a call from Shane. And he said, Hey, you know, our production company, always runs tours for Hillsong, United Hillsong, United just sent a request and said, Hey, we want to just jump on someone else’s tour. What if outcry was a tour. And it was the very first time it’s so funny in all of our planning, and all of our thinking years and years of planning and shooting things back and forth. At the very last minute, it felt like in my mind, very last minute, all of a sudden, it turned from a conference to a tour. And those are those moments where I’m like, okay, we’ve been working really hard, we’d been narrowing it down. But then like, bam, God redirected us into like, Okay, this is actually what I want you to do. And within two weeks, our tour was like, rockin I mean, we had a website, and it was just crazy. But it all started with us really doing that hard work of going, Okay, let’s figure out what we need. Let’s figure out what we think we’re going to need to go into this. So that when that moment came, and somebody was in front of us, we were like, Hey, here’s this thing. What do you think of this? You know, and we just tweaked that proposal and said, this is the why, but instead of it being a conference, it’s a two or what do you think of this? and Joel Houston was like, Yeah, sure. That sounds great. And just being ready. I mean, that act of planning sometimes is the first act of faith when you’re dreaming. The minute you start to actually plan. That is the first time you’re going okay, God, this is what I’m like starting to actually put a little bit of emotion into this and go, huh, what if this happened, and I’m starting to write out a plan to go, this is what I would do. And honestly, it is funny, there’s a little bit of fear every time that happens with me, where I’m like, Okay, all right, this feels foolish, but I’m going to write down what I want to do. Because on paper, you’re like, Oh, that looks really big, or that looks stupid, you know, where all your insecurities come out. But that really is that first act of faith that I think most people don’t actually do. They stay content to just tell their friends and say, What if, but for the few people that actually start to write it down and plan? I think God does a lot through that.
Alex Enfiedjian 23:24 Yeah, writing it down. There’s something really powerful in the written word, whatever reason God does it that way. When you get it out of your head and onto paper, it’s like, oh, it’s coming into physical reality, you know? So a couple things you said in that answer that I think is worth highlighting is one, you said, Shane, brought some gifts to the table, and you brought some gifts to the table. So I think one thing that people dreaming should do is look at, like, what can I bring to the table? And what do I need? What am I lacking, and he can come with me and dream with me? and actually make this thing a reality. So like finding a fellow dreamer, who’s got some, like complimentary gifts was one thing I heard. And then yeah, another thing I kind of heard was like, you were doing a lot of writing down and planning, but you’re guessing, so like, research and reading and guessing. So that would probably be like another step.
Ryan Romeo 24:14 Yes. We did a lot of research to you know, going okay, especially when we were trying to figure out how much something was going to cost. Right. You know, you got to sit down and ask some people and we had we made phone calls and wrote, you know, cold emails to people. Hey, you don’t know me, but I just have a quick question for you, you know, that sort of research went into it, for sure, you know, so that we weren’t, we were so caught off guard by the things we dealt with once we got on the road. But for the most part, we did absolutely everything in our power to try to educate ourselves and get caught up with what was needed for the dream.
Alex Enfiedjian 24:45 Right. And even like what you said cold emails to like connections, you know, like making connections with people, because like, you can’t do it on your own. You need the right people and so like, and you have a whole section in your new book, which we’re gonna talk about at the end about that about connections and stewarding connections and all that. But thankfully, you guys knew some people who could get you where you needed to go. Like you knew Chris kilala. And you knew Joel Houston. No through your friend. And so, you know, for people listening, it’s like, Hey, who do you need to contact to get your dream going? And yeah, I mean, and you do talk about in the book, and we’ll maybe talk about that at the end. You don’t want to pester and annoy and bother people. No. And in fact, I have a person that I reached out to about a topic for the podcast that he’s, you know, pretty well known, influential person. And it took, you know, maybe five or six emails before I got a Yes, yeah, them. I almost on this very last email. I almost was like, hey, it’s okay. If it’s a no, I just have to, you know, know, so that I can find a different guest to talk about this topic. Yeah. And but I did it because I read your book, and your book was like, you know, just be chill, don’t put any pressure. And I didn’t, I just said, Hey, just circling back on this. And they said, Yes, like, as of yesterday, and so I was like, cool. That’s, that’s really great. Awesome.
Ryan Romeo 26:03 And networking is one of those things, I think it’s, it gets a really bad rap. Like, it makes it like, I think in Christian circles, we, we go, Oh, you don’t want to network like somehow. I mean, I think you can network with a really bad heart posture. And you can network with a really great heart posture, you know, and as long as you’re not looking at people like commodities, or stepping stones that are going to help make something happen for you, as long as you’re realizing there’s like a human on the other side of that, and I don’t care who it is Chris q or any of these people that we know, they’re they’re humans, you know. And I think I got a really good view of that on outcry cuz all of a sudden, I’d get out on tour and there’d be people like, waiting for me after the night to like, give me their demo CD and stuff like that, or going, Hey, and they would reach out to me on Instagram. And I always did my absolute best to get back with people. But sometimes it would just fall through the cracks. It wasn’t me, you know, being a jerk or anything, I would just forget like, Oh, I should respond to that dm. And then after, like, you know, 18 DMS from other people I forgotten, you know, right. It’s for the handful of people that would like kind of, in a lovingly way, say, Hey, I’m so sorry to bug you. Again, I wrote you this message. It was so nice. For me. I’m like, Oh, it’s no desire on me to ignore you. I’m sorry. But then you’d get the people that are like, you know, well, I guess you’re just way too busy to talk to me, you know, and kind of passively aggressively, like, and then you’re like, well, now it’s you now you made it weird. And now, even though I did want to talk to you now, I don’t know how to talk to you. Yeah. And it’s that entitlement that when you’re trying to network with people with a sense of entitlement, it really does burn bridges more than does build. But if you’re going in going, Hey, I really want to highlight something like you did with your podcast, I really want to highlight something that I just really value that you bring to the table and that you speak about. People responds so much better to that and going Okay, awesome. Yeah, I would love to try to find some time for that, you know,
Alex Enfiedjian 27:50 yeah. Now, you mentioned like, you’ve got this big dream, and you get it on paper. But specifically, you had mentioned even something as small or as big as the website, we needed to make a website. So like, you kind of just start putting down all the things that need to start happening. And then each one of those has about 100 things that need to start happening. And so did you have some sort of like management software like that you were using to keep track of all of this data to get from point A to point z, where you’re on tour with, you know, Hillsong United,
Ryan Romeo 28:22 I always have like a moleskin notebook that I keep with me and I take notes on certain things. And I remember outcry, I still have it, I have like chicken scratch notes on like, 80 pages where it’s like, okay, social media, okay, we got to make sure to do the boba. And website, we got to make sure and go blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? At the end of the day, a lot of those things, especially when you’re, I couldn’t possibly keep my head on all of those things. When we were going on tour. There’s so many details, from who’s getting the tour buses to who’s getting the insurance to who’s you know, doing, that’s where I really would say, reach out to people who are experts in that area and start to try to build your team a little bit. So premiere is a production company that helped me with so much when outcry got off the ground, and I’m like, Oh, I don’t have to worry about fighting a caterer I don’t have to worry about I mean, honestly, Alex, it would have caused a nervous breakdown for me if I had to keep my brain on all of that stuff. But I knew enough to know, okay, the big stuff, I need to go to the experts and say, okay, we need a production company to handle all of this stuff. How much does that cost? You know, and those are the big things, especially when you’re the one visioning this, you can’t do all of it. So you have to really try to build a team. And I think the temptation for a dreamer, especially somebody who’s always like, what if we did this and what if we did that? The tendency is to go it alone, the tendency is to be like, Oh, I have to solve all these problems. But at some point, you have to confront your limitation. And of course, God fills in those gaps, for sure, but people fill in that gap too. And we have to honor that as well and go, okay, there’s people that are really really good at this thing. I always say people give the music industry such a hard time. And of course, I’ve come across people in the music industry that aren’t, aren’t great. But at the same time, a lot of them are very, very good at things that I’m not good at. And so I’ll meet with them and go, you know what, I really need you, I really need the service that you provide in management or whatever, to help this thing. Go. So a lot of my notes boiled down into when I started trying to dive into the weeds too much, I started to realize in big picture sort of ways, oh, I need a production company. Oh, I need a web design slash graphic design firm to help us with this with that. But yes, I mean, I wish I had some sort of magic software that was really helpful in that, but it was called chicken, scratch out a notebook. For me.
Alex Enfiedjian 30:41 That’s rad. And I think the team member dynamic that you’re talking about is so crucial and critical. And especially when you’re bootstrapping it, and you don’t have a lot of funds, you know, you need a graphic designer, and you know, you need someone to design the website, and you know, you need a production company, like, how did you get people on board with your dream and your vision to come around you? Obviously, it probably started really small, like, when you put on your very first events that you talked about in the book, like at the baseball park, or whatever it was, yeah, that was probably just you and some friends. I think you said you clean up all the trash yourselves and everything, you know, yeah. So initially, it’s gonna start just by asking for favors with people who love you, right?
Ryan Romeo 31:20 Absolutely. Absolutely. And there’s definitely that like, Hey, could you help me with this thing? And that’s, I’m always like, I try to minimize that as much as possible. I don’t want to be the person that’s like, Hey, brother, we’re Christians, right? Can you do this thing for me for free? workers worth his wages. It’s not just for pastors. It’s for everybody. So I try my best to do that. And by the time outcry came along, we realized we needed financial help. We needed really big partnerships and sponsorships. So you know, compassion, was there with us year one. And then worldvision became a really great partner for us as well. And that came with me knowing where to ask. But when I started, I didn’t know where to ask. I was like, do you just ask your buddies? Or do you go get like a loan? You know, I talked about this in the book. But the first time that I really tried to do a live event, I was a drummer in a Christian band, and we’re like, we’re going to do this amazing thing in Tucson, which Tucson is not the Bible Belt, it’s like little San Francisco. So for us to think we’re gonna do this big thing where all these people are gonna show up. In hindsight, I’m like, Oh, that was silly. But we were stoked about it. We’re like, you know, we’re gonna reach out to every church, and we worked so hard. We went to every church we could think of, we met with our youth pastor, we met with anybody who would meet with us and say, Hey, would you bring your team. At the end of the day, we showed up, and there was hardly anybody at this venue that probably could have handled 1000 2000 people throughout the day, we probably had like, two or 300 tops. And it was such a letdown. I remember, for us, like, we were so excited about it. And one of the things we did that was in hindsight, a little foolish is went into debt because of it and tried to grab some, you know, borrowing money from people. And then it was like, you’re hit with this reality of, oh, crap, we got to pay this thing back, you know, that first time I ever tried to take an event off the ground, I just didn’t know how to do that. And even the second time I did it, I had partnered with a guy that was seemed like a whole lot better at raising money. And him and I did an event together. That was awesome. Then we did a second event together. And I realized he was a lot less. He wasn’t as strong at raising money as I thought he was. And we found ourselves in a situation in the same way where, okay, now we’re extended out this time, we had a ball field, this time, we did have 1000s of people, but we were still losing money. And that was that was a really hard sort of setback going into outcry. But then I’ll cry met Shane, and we had been working. I think the fact that I just kept going, even though I had failed a lot. I just was like, you know, audacious or stupid enough to just kind of keep trying it, you know? And I have this idea in my head. I’m like, Well, okay, you owe people money. Yes, some things went wrong. You’re not dead. Your family’s still here. Like, let’s try it again. And the third time was was a lot more of the charm. All of a sudden, we’re like, okay, we’re raising money. And I’m connected with the guy who’s going, you know what, what we really need is someone like compassion to come alongside of us What we really need is, and that’s when I really started understanding the power of partnership and the power of sponsorship from people. But those are the things that really help you get your thing off the ground and knowing where to ask for money, knowing where to because we had to cast vision to them, like, Hey, this is what we’re seeing. This is what we want to do. And we couldn’t be vague about it either. We couldn’t go on. We’re hoping like 1000 people come every night. No, we had to be really specific. We’re going after arena size shows. So we’re going after about 10,000 Some people a night. And you’re really putting yourself out there when you do that too, because they’re going okay, 10,000 people a night and I remember, we had some meetings we were going, are you sure? Are you sure we could do that, you know, but we just kept moving forward. And that’s where God filled in that gap. That’s where it was like, okay, we’re dreaming big. We’re doing everything with purposefulness, we’re being humble. We’re trying to learn, we started to walk in ways where we’re going, Okay, now, I think we know what we’re doing. We know how to get this sort of money together. We know where it comes from. It’s not mystical anymore. And it’s enough that we could get it off the ground.
Alex Enfiedjian 35:34 Yeah. I love I mean, when you said that the first two times you lost money, I was like, thank God that Ryan didn’t give up. Because imagine if you’re like, Oh, this doesn’t work. We’ve tried it twice. We’re done. Yeah, well, now the million or so people that you’ve reached and the 50,000 people who you said have given their lives to the Lord through your outreaches would not have been there. Yeah.
Ryan Romeo 35:57 It’s crazy. It kept going. Yeah. And the thing back, and it’s and it’s the excuse that so many of us can walk in, and actually people on the outside will tell us to like, I mean, you can run into so many people that are like, I’ve already tried that. That doesn’t work, you know, right. I always think that’s it’s such a silly mindset. Like, No, you haven’t tried like, there are so many nuances. Always. It’s like saying, oh, I’ve tried to do it to her, it doesn’t work. Well, maybe in the way that you did it, or maybe in the way that you know, there’s always something to learn. But there’s other tours that are doing and there are people that are doing it, you know, so what are they doing different than you did? That tenacity to keep going? Is something that I actually see very rarely in people,
Alex Enfiedjian 36:36 right. I feel like the only people who are successful in life are the people who don’t give up on the thing that they’re pursuing. You know what I mean? And I heard someone else say that, Oh, I just outlasted all my competition. You know, it’s like, no, they all They all finally gave up. But I’m still going. And that’s why I’m the number one or whatever, you know, absolutely. That’s crazy. Yeah, yeah. And thanks for sharing about money. And I think, you know, obviously, like not going into debt is important for our listeners, and just being wise about it for them, whatever their dream is that they’re gonna have to figure that out. But it is something that you’re gonna have to think about, because you can’t make something happen without money. It’s just it’s part of the equation, you know, and
Ryan Romeo 37:11 there’s some pressure that comes with it, you know, when you borrow it, and you have to pay it back and going into debt. And we had Brian and Jen out on a lot of outcries. And I heard them tell a story that I was like, I didn’t even know that their first album, pre Bethel, they did a Brian and Jen album. They like leverage their house and they went into debt, and then they couldn’t pay it back for a long time. Like, they struggled. You know, I think we look at people like that. And you’re like, Oh, my gosh, like, it must have been so easy for them. And no, they were kind of ambling through it to try to figure it out. But the faith required to be tenacious, I think is what’s so hard to kind of keep moving forward, even in the face of failure and going, I’m gonna try this again. There’s a lot of faith that’s involved in that, you know,
Alex Enfiedjian 37:53 yeah. And since we’re on the topic of like setbacks and roadblocks, it’s going to happen, like you said, but how can our listeners best prepare for setbacks? And how should they respond when they happen? What are some, two or three, four or five things that you want to share about that? Yeah,
Ryan Romeo 38:09 I think my wife, when we were younger, she started going to parenting class, she came back from the parenting class with this phrase that I’ve always remembered. She said, expectations kill relationships. And she was talking about, you know, if you’ve got a two year old kid, and your expectation is that that two year old is not going to throw a fit ever, when you’re in a target in front of a bunch of people, or whatever it is. And the minute that kid starts throwing the fit, now you’re responding with anger, you haven’t prepared for it, you don’t know what to do. And if you have expectations on the two year old, that are proper, then you’ll go, Oh, I should probably prepare for the day that they’re going to be screaming on the floor and target. You know, I’ve actually extrapolated that idea out to the rest of my life from going okay, what is my expectation here. And when you have a setback, what’s difficult is a lot of times, it’s a dashed expectation. You’re like, man, I was dreaming this huge thing, and it’s gonna be amazing. Sometimes it crashes and burns, and you have to be able to go, Okay, I expect that I’m going to crash and burn a few times in life, that expectation will help you prepare for that moment that you do. And for those of us that get surprised by it, and blindsided by it, like oh, my gosh, really, you’re doing yourself a disservice before you even take any risk at all, to really kind of count that cost and go, Okay, I’m probably going to fail a couple times. Let me make sure that my identity is anchored in the right place. And I talk about this a lot in the book, but where your identity is anchored is so important. So if your identity is anchored in the success of this thing that you’re dreaming of, it’s going to be soul crushing when it fails. And maybe you’ve been in a place maybe somebody listening right now has been in a place where they’ve pursued something and it failed and it just crushed them to be able to look back and go okay, I am not What I do, my identity is not in what I do. My identity is found in Jesus. And my identity is God’s greatest work of art. You know, I have a glorious inheritance. Ephesians says there’s a glorious inheritance waiting for you. You’re a Saint kulshan says like, these are some things that you can anchor your identity and as like, Hey failure, no failure, these are things that will never ever go away. And failure really is the thing that really pushes and prods against that. So you have to be prepared for failure. And then when you’re going through it, you’re a little sad, this thing failed. That’s okay. Don’t try to just stuff it. Just try to say, Okay, I’m bummed out, I thought this thing was gonna happen. And I’m really bummed out. And to not let yourself grieve a little bit when something goes wrong. And stuffing, it isn’t healthy, either, you know, having some trusted people you could talk to and everything else. But then on the backside of it really being able to go, okay, is this thing done? Or like we were saying, or is God asking me to push into it again? You know, and at what point? What’s the timing of it? What do I need to do to clean up the mess maybe from the first time that this thing didn’t work out? And how do I let my heart keep dreaming into that area? And go, Okay, what did I learn? Yes, I’m embarrassed, but I might try it again. You know, those are all things that I think that hit us when we hit those setbacks.
Alex Enfiedjian 41:22 That’s good. We can’t learn without failure. We can’t grow without failure, like failure is just feedback on what to change. Yes, that’s really good. In the book, you talk about Christians and work ethic, and you say that a lot of Christians have a bad view of work. And they’re like, just waiting around for God to do everything, God to make things happen. So talk about your philosophy of work as a co labor with God, and just help people kind of have a healthy view of work.
Ryan Romeo 41:51 Yeah. In Matthew 25, I talked about this in the book, the parable of the talents, you know, you’ve got Jesus, the same Jesus who said, my yoke is easy, my burden is light, like, Yes, God is not asking you to kill yourself, God is not asking you to, like sacrifice your family. God’s calling you to work seven days a week from now until the end of your life, like, God’s not asking for that sort of thing. But at the same time, in Matthew 25, you know, in that story, it’s the parable of the boss who gives different talents or, you know, money basically to his servants, and comes back and says, What did you do with what I gave you? And you know, all of them were like, Hey, I invested it, and I got some back. And he says, Well done. Good job. And then there’s a guy that has the one talent, he’s like, got the lease, you know, and really, his risk is the lowest because he just has this one thing. And he just buries it in his backyard. And in that parable, he says, You wicked and lazy servant. And I’m like, Okay, this is the same Jesus who says, My yoke is easy. my burden is like, Yes, I know that about Jesus, I know that Mary and Martha story, I know, we do have to have good rhythm and rest. And if you’re working seven days a week, don’t you know, like, you need a day off to rest and everything else. But at the same time, we are responsible for what God gives us. So I think that about dreaming, I think that about resource. I think that about talents and visions that we have, like, I don’t look at them as a luxury for me to go into them, I really look at them as something that God expects a return on. So God invest something in you and you have to invest it into the world around you. And I think that that’s where you get this principle in Matthew 25. When it’s like, okay, you are faithful with a little I’m going to give you more like there is this idea that you were faithful with what was given to you, you multiplied it, and now God’s gonna give you more and trust you with more. And I do think that that’s like in the commandment to rest is woven in this commandment to work like you shall rest one day, but you shall labor six days and on the seventh day, you shall rest out cry when we took it off the ground. You know, the month before we went out on out crime. I was shoring up all these loose ends that I didn’t know where were loose ends. I was like, cranking out playlists for our live event, which is like way more complicated than people think it is. I was cranking out video openers and trying to figure out who was doing what and I was really like working till probably two in the morning, every night, the month before outcry, and working at my church. So I’d show up at work the next day at nine o’clock, you know, and I was tired. I was really really tired. And then by the time we got out on tour, I was exhausted. And we hit the tour and I had no idea how exhausting that was going to be. And I remember one time we were we were in DC and it was amazing. It was one of our best nights ever. We had 20,000 people there. And I was feeling just terrible. And I remember I was sitting in front of house and we were doing sound checks. It was like hours before anybody showed up there. And I just started crying. And I didn’t know why I was like it was the pressure of getting funding for outcry was that it was the sadness of missing my family and realizing like, you know, they were sad that I was gone, and I was sad that I was gone. And just all of this stuff was piling onto me. And I was really, really overwhelmed. And I tell people, I’m like, you’re one of our cry, I got back and people like, Man that looked amazing. I’m like, well, it was kind of amazing. It was also the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. You know, when you come up against your limitations like that, you can pray two different things. One, you could just pray that it would get easier. And so some of these things would just go away, and you don’t have to worry about them. And some of us, maybe we do need to cut some things out. But my prayer really became in the midst of outcry. And in the wake of outcry of going God, I still want to keep doing this. So I pray that you would enlarge my capacity to handle this. And the next tour, we had just as many things to worry about just as many hardships, and we had a little bit bigger team, I was starting to rely on people a little bit more. But at the end of the day, God was so faithful to expand my capacity to handle more. And the next tour was like, Oh, this is a lot easier. And I think a lot of us go Oh, just because it’s really hard work. That means that God’s not in it. Or just because you’ve reached your breaking point. That means that God didn’t want you to reach that breaking point. But for me, I’d really do believe God wanted me to reach that breaking point and know my limitations, so that he could fill in the gap for the rest. And so that he could show me Ryan, I can give you the resources to handle this and even more, if you asked me to expand your capacity. And I saw nothing but that by the time we started our last tour, I was gone. This is like a Sunday morning. To me, this is not any harder than anything else, you know, but I had to plow through that hard work and get to the good stuff on the other side, you know,
Alex Enfiedjian 47:07 yeah, what a good prayer. Lord, expand my capacity. That is such a great thing to ask the Lord for. And he usually does it by stretching us. It’s painful. Yeah, it’s Yeah. I listened to a lot from Hillsong like podcasts and stuff. And I heard Brooke liker would or however you say her last name. And she said, basically that, you know, Brian Houston teaches us that like ministry is sacrifice if it’s not hard, if it’s not costing you something. Like if you think about Jesus’s life, it cost him the glories of heaven to come here. Yeah. And then the pain of the cross to save up. Yeah, you know what I mean? Yes. Love, love costs. And if ministry is based out of love ministry costs, yeah. And so yeah, ministry is hard work. These things don’t get done if Ryan Romeo doesn’t sit up till 2am. And do yeah, you know, yeah, absolutely. Horse or somebody. So I think that’s really helpful way for us to think about the hard work of getting our dreams off the ground. And one more question just about the whole dreaming process and the hard work process, kind of rounding it out towards the end. I was gonna say post mortem, but it’s not post mortem. Sometimes it is. But like, post event or post accomplishment or post launch, let’s say our listeners get a dream off the ground, what should be their first thing that they do? After they accomplish this thing that they’ve set out to do?
Ryan Romeo 48:29 I mean, obviously, you rejoice in it a little bit, you know, obviously, like, Okay, awesome. God took this off the ground, sometimes even year one of outcry just to realize maybe I wasn’t pausing and breathing enough to appreciate and look around. And every night, we would preach the gospel and see people’s hands go up, I would like stop what I was doing. And I would go out to the stage, and I would just go Thank you, God. And I would look out like, just those little moments, like really appreciate it, soak it up, especially for me, I’m an enneagram. Three, and like, I love accomplishing things, I tend to like, get it accomplished, and then start diving into the next thing. But pause to celebrate pause to rejoice in what God did. That is really, really huge, you know, and I think, on the backside, depending on how successful it was, let’s say it really was successful. You need to really watch your expectations in the next season. And go, okay, year two, or the next time I do it’s not going to maybe feel quite the same way as the first one does. I always tell people I’m like, oh, Christ, for me feels like strangely normal. I don’t feel the like butterflies in my stomach and that excitement that I had in the beginning. I just don’t feel that anymore. Because it’s normal to me now. And that’s okay, like this new territory has now become my home and now I’m comfortable here and that’s okay. So, you know, watch your expectations in the future. Like if you expect this thing to always give you that adrenaline rush. It’s going to start letting you down, as well as evaluate because sometimes we have a huge win and we need to pause and go, okay, but what could we have done better? You know, how is our team doing? We did a thing with our church, this last Easter, that was awesome. And our production director came to me and he said, you know, we won, we came up with a creative idea, and it was really, really good. But next year, I think we should win better. He said, I think a few of us were really frustrated, a few of us felt, you know, like, thrown under the bus. And so sometimes you have a huge success. And you do need to pause to evaluate and go, okay, but what could have gone a little smoother, you know. And then finally, I would just say, Don’t get too wrapped up in it, don’t let your identity anchor to that thing. I said at every single outcry, said, outcry will one day go away. But the church is here forever, the brand of outcry will die one day, the church is the one thing that lasts into eternity. And that’s the thing I really care about, you know, and so that for me was communicating vision to them, but was also communicating vision to myself of like, Don’t get too wrapped up in this thing, it will go away one day, and you will have a life outside of it, you know, into something else, you know. And so that’s just really important. I think a lot of us when we wrap our identity, when we anchor our identity into those successes, you’re setting yourself up, you know, whether it’s months or years from now, for a big crash.
Alex Enfiedjian 51:18 It seems like God often will take it away. Yeah, you’ll almost root you ruin the success of the thing because God loves you too much to let you make it an idol. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that’s a really great word. Is there anything that we’ve, you feel like we’ve haven’t hit on in regards to launching a big dream? In our conversation so far today?
Ryan Romeo 51:40 No, I mean, obviously, I dive into a whole lot of stuff enough to fill a book. So my brain is full of a bunch of that stuff. But no, I mean, I think really, if if people are starting to really grasp identity, if people are really starting to grasp the work ahead for the dreamer, if people really get a hold of, you know, the dream and really value it, what God has given you. I think that’s a huge, huge start.
Alex Enfiedjian 52:05 Yeah, so Brian, where can our listeners get the book? I know, we’re recording this early, but it’s launching I believe, in March of 2020. Is that Chris,
Ryan Romeo 52:13 you know, the day at March 3, it is officially out in stores. And so it’s going to be on Amazon, obviously, and in Barnes and Noble, and, and all of those places. So you can search us any Book Outlet, and you’ll find it Zondervan, pretty great at that. And just on my social media at Ryan, Romeo. I have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook, I am not so great at checking as much these days, I’ve really gone full Instagram, all of that stuff. I’m gonna have a lot of information and stuff on there that I’m going to be posting about the book,
Alex Enfiedjian 52:45 rad. Okay, guys, so check it out. I’m gonna put links in the show notes. This podcast will launch on March 1. So maybe there’s like a pre order page, I can link for you guys, or I’ll update it up three days later. But but but it’s really good book. I’m holding it in my hands. I read the whole thing highlighted a bunch. It’s really great. So if you were encouraged by today’s conversation, this book goes into depth like 20 times deeper. So thanks, Ryan for writing it. I pray that God uses this conversation in the book to launch and release millions of really great dreams into the world that will advance the kingdom of God. And thank
Ryan Romeo 53:18 you so much for having me on Alex.
Alex Enfiedjian 53:24 All right. That’s all we have time for today. But I hope this episode was really helpful to you practical and helped you begin to dream and begin to pursue the dreams that God has placed in your heart already, and start fleshing them out and getting them out into the world because they do no good just sitting in your head. So let’s start taking action and making the kingdom of God advance on the earth through the God given dreams he’s placed in our hearts. Be sure to pick up Brian’s book. It’s very good. I have the links in the show notes for you. So check that out. And also check out our sponsor core sound pads. You can get 20% off any bundle by entering w MT podcast at checkout.
Alex Enfiedjian 54:01 Alright guys, I
Alex Enfiedjian 54:02 will see you next month for another helpful episode. Thanks for letting me be a part of your journey. God bless