• May 10, 2012
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  • Comments Off on Interview with Shane Stanford on ‘Making Life Happy: Embracing the Joy in the Everyday

Interview with Shane Stanford on ‘Making Life Happy: Embracing the Joy in the Everyday

Shane Stanford

Shane Stanford is a pastor, author and teacher. He is the Senior Pastor of Christ UMC in Memphis, TN, one of United Methodism’s largest and most influential congregations.

Shane is a former church planter as well as the Director/Host of the United Methodist Hour, a radio and television ministry airing in 30 million homes nationwide.

Shane is the author of eleven books including A Positive Life (Zondervan), The CURE for the Chronic Life (Abingdon), and Mosaic (Abingdon).


Shane has also written several articles published in such journals/magazines as Giving, CNNOnline, Alive, and The Circuit Rider.

Shane has appeared on numerous media programs including ABC’s Good Morning America and Fox & Friends.

Shane travels extensively sharing his story as an HIV positive hemophiliac and pastor. He has presented at such venues as the Saddleback Global AIDS Summit and the National Civil Rights Museum.

He is married to Dr. Pokey Stanford (a Professor of Education) and they are the parents of three daughters, ages 14, 11, and 7.

His latest book is Making Life Matter: Embracing the Joy in the Everyday.

Visit his website at www.shanestanford.com.



In a world of fast-paced schedules and priorities, conversations about what makes for a life well lived are a rarity and a luxury. But what if the daily pace of life held in itself the way to make choices more significant? What if the daily to-do lists gave a glimpse into how people might change their future? What if the daily grind, as arduous as it might seem, held the key to a life full of meaning and potential? What if everyday, simple steps, instead of some complex list of seemingly unattainable principles, showed how to make life matter?

Making Life Matter answers these questions and shows that the steps for making life matter are found in rather ordinary decisions, attitudes, and patterns found in normal routines. This book is about our story and our journey, and what we do and feel along the way.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Shane!  Can you tell us where you are from?

I am the Senior Pastor of Christ Church, Memphis—an 8,000 member United Methodist Congregation.  I am married to my highschool sweetheart and we are the parents of three children.  I have been writing professionally for about seven years.


Q: How did you come up with the title?


Making Life Matter is a guidebook of everyday wisdom that will assist with practical decisions and issues of everyday life.  There are seven principles that range from “If I Break It, I Buy It” to “I am How I Pray”.   Each principle is outlined with practical implications and with illustrations that focus the principle for everyday use.

The Title came from a conversation with my grandfather.  I had just discovered a very difficult diagnosis in my life and my grandfather encouraged me to make the choice to ‘make each day count’.  The title stuck from there.  And, so, for 25 years, I have shared my story as an HIV positive, hemophiliac, and Christian minister, and how each day, we have the opportunity to change our world.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover.  Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

The folks at Abingdon Press designed the cover.  It is a pic of a joyful person.  He reminds me of Gene Kelly in “Singing in the Rain”.  Of course, no one can watch that scene from that movie and not feel joy.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

I sincerely believe that this book is filled with timeless wisdom that will change a person’s life.  Not by its profound principles but by the simplicity of how these principles speak to bigger issues in our lives.  If you want to see true change happen in your life, you will by this book.  It is a short, easy read with great stories.  The rest is up to youJ)

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

The message of the entire book is that a person can take today and make it count for something by simply living faithful to who they are in Christ.  Some of the principles include “I am How I Pray”, “I am not enough”, “I need a place”… all of these speak to a part of us that we already knew in some form or another.  This is just a way to say it out loud and then be able to share it with others.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

“We are more the Sum of what We Survive”.  It is the first chapter—the introduction—I like it because it sets the stage for why these principles could and do change lives.  We too often live as though we are simply the by-product of all that we endure.  Nothing could be more untrue.  We are valuable, special creations by God and, thus, we have been given the chance to change our world, one life at a time.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

It is a story about the wisdom my grandfather shared around his table.  I love that wisdom and wanted the world to love it too.

Q:  Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I have become addicted to the show “Dance Moms”.  Those people are so cruel and horrible to each other, but there is something about it.  Maybe it is because I have three daughters in dance and don’t really know that world.  My wife is NOT a dance mom type!  But, she said that it certainly can exist that way.  Holy Smoke!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Home.  I travel all the time.  I love coming home.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night.  I took some treatments for one of my conditions years ago that caused insomnia.  So, I am used to staying awake.  And, I do!  I probably go to bed at 2am.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

All of my family writes in one way or another.  I expect one of my daughters will probably be a professional writer.  My wife, as a professor, publishes, too.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Oh, yes.  I think all children are to some degree.  I wanted to be a professional golfer… the President of the USA… and a writer.  1 out of three.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish.  What would that be?

There would no longer be orphans.  I have seen too many people die young in my life.  And, it is not just their death, but the death of so many other things in the process… hope, joy…etc.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Just remember.. Be Salt and Light… YOU MATTER!

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