I moved to IHOPKC in 2003. I was 19 and had been out of high school for a year. I didn’t know a single person there or in any state nearby. I came to IHOP to be a musician. My aspirations of going to college for music were deferred. I had heard some good musicians on some old IHOP albums so I decided to join and play. I arrived in KC about 2 weeks before the school was set to start. I had signed up for classes in their school, FSM (Forerunner School of Ministry back then). I wanted to do school instead of an internship because I knew I didn’t want a bedtime enforced by randos. I auditioned to play in the prayer room on my instrument. Once I was ‘approved’ to play in the prayer room, I began playing on every set I was asked to play. No matter the time of day or team, I always accepted. As a natural night owl, I hung out a lot on the night watch (the midnight to 6am section of the prayer room). I was invited to join a strong team in that section. Classes hadn’t started yet, so I spent my time playing at all times of day. I would sleep in small increments when I could. Sometimes this was in the briefing room on some chairs. And I was getting noticed as a musician and played with all the “big name” worship leaders. Classes started up and I had several morning classes. But I had committed to a team on night watch. So, I did both and continued sleeping in small increments. My classmates knew about it. My worship leader knew about it. My teachers knew about it. And nobody saw a problem with it. It was hailed and championed as an amazing level of commitment to the prayer movement. But I was hurting my mind and my body. I pushed it to extremes because of my pride and they liked it. One day, I was hanging around the outside front of the prayer room. There were tables and chairs out there and leaders and everyone hung out there. I called it the IHOP Beach. A leader of the highest level called me over to his table. I didn’t know him personally, but we had interacted a few small times. He told me he heard that I was a full time student and doing night watch. I thought this would be the moment someone would step in to tell me I need to slow down, get proper sleep, and commit to one schedule. Not at all. He invites me to sit at his table with three other adults that dressed like they have real jobs. He proceeds to praise my commitment and extreme lifestyle. I was an inspiration. He asks me if others would be interested in doing night watch and classes. I said people absolutely would if they didn’t have to do a crazy schedule like myself. The other people were taking notes and asking questions. I soon left the table feeling good about myself. I kept on with this schedule for another two and a half months. Then I burnt out. I took a week off of classes and playing, slept on a normal schedule, and slowed down enough to enjoy things. And I disappointed people along the way.

- IHOPKC Student, Musician, Staff2003-2009