YouTube devotional series makes Mondays manageable

TORONTO, ON - A video devotional produced by cameraman Lennox White is ministering to a generation of YouTube viewers.

"I shoot things that I think God can help me put thoughts to," says the 43-year-old audio-visual director, who works full-time at a children's mental health centre. "I have tried to keep [the devotionals] sound to the Scripture, with the help of my dad, and professionally as sharp as possible."

This fall, White celebrated the 100th devotional episode of Thank God It's Monday (TGIM) by posting a performance of Lisa Toussaint singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness."

"It gives me chills every time I hear it," says White.

Philip Yancey, Chris Lowe, the University of Toronto Gospel Choir, actress Sandra Beckles and actor Doug Hurst have also been featured in the minute-and-a-half messages. Through singing, preaching and inspirational stories, the Monday postings are impacting lives around the world. Yet for White, the most compelling reason for continuing the two-year-old ministry is a personal one.

"I struggled with anxiety and depression as a kid," says White, who was raised in a strong Christian home. "I thought it was normal to worry a lot."

It wasn't until he got older that he realized he needed help.

"I came to a crisis in my life where things kind of boiled over in 2003," he recalls.

After experiencing multiple anxiety attacks in a period of 24 hours, he says "I clearly got a message from God that there has to be a tomorrow, because there was more for me to do."

White says he felt God's healing that day in the midst of an ice storm in Toronto. While he still continues to battle anxiety, one thing that helps him is inspirational videos.

"I go to YouTube and look for something to inspire me during the day," he says.

One Sunday in October of 2009, following a sermon at Stone Church that challenged him to use his gifts for God, White decided to create TGIM.

"God told me to take what I'm doing to another level," says White. "It was about stepping up."

Having a full-time job, White felt he could only commit to producing one video per week. He chose Mondays to post the devotionals, because "they're a tough day for people." Supported by members of Stone Church who volunteer their time as editors and an animator, White funds the production himself.

He hopes to eventually receive advertising and funding, allowing him to produce a daily devotional. Meanwhile, White continues to make Mondays more manageable for a generation of YouTube viewers.

"Many times I've wanted to quit TGIM," he admits. "Then, I realized that my pain was actually inspiring me. It has been a rough year, but these devotionals have made me stronger."

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