Mama Gomer Interview

How have you seen the online community change and expand over the last six or seven years? Is it easier now to keep track of everyone?

It’s not easy to keep track of everyone. Even with email lists, websites, MySpaces, boards, and everything like that, it’s still all dependent on people logging on. If they don’t, we don’t see them, and we miss them. But usually, when a tour comes around, everyone gets back online to find out what’s going on in their area. Our online community has grown so much, and yet, still managed to stay intimate. We started with the message boards, added Gomertopia, now WIRED, and soon we will be expanding Gomertopia into a new type of online community. It’s going to be so very cool!

I know from my blog how time-consuming online stuff can be…you think you’ll spend 30 minutes or an hour answering emails, and the next thing you know, it’s bedtime. How much time would you say you spend on Gomer-related business each week? What kinds of things do you do to keep the Gomers up and running?

How many hours are there in a week? Ha ha! I spend a lot of time, a lot of time, on the computer doing Gomer stuff. I think of myself as Third Day’s head cheerleader, information desk, and the middle-man between the band and the fans. My official title (besides Mama Gomer) is Third Day’s Online Fan Administrator. I answer the email that comes in through ThirdDay.com. I route the fan letters on to the guys, and answer questions that people send in about the band, the website, and all things Third Day. I arrange Gomer Gatherings. I work with Provident on some fun things. I work with management to set up blessings like having Gomers at the Christmas Offerings recording session, and previewing the Third Day documentary online. I feel very blessed to be able to give my suggests and ideas to Third Day, the record company, and their management. I actually got to name the documentary on Chronology Two! Well, I came up with “Third Day: The First Ten Years”. Provident added “Inside” to the beginning of the title to make it sound better. I’m humbled that they actually listen to my ideas! And I do a lot of brainstorming for fun things and service projects we Gomers can do.

Then there are the online things that I manage or help manage. We have a Gomer MySpace (www.MySpace.com/ThirdDayGomers ). I write the Gomertopia blog, and run www.Gomers.net . I am an administrator on the Third Day message boards. We have an all-volunteer staff of eight moderators and administrators. We keep things running smoothly, and make sure everyone is playing nice and having fun. We do battle with spam, so that the members aren’t even aware of it. And we run fun contests for great prizes. Right now, Debbie and I are doing the Mac Powell Fear Factor to celebrate Mac’s upcoming birthday. We have some great prizes from the guys themselves, and it’s a lot of fun. I put in about 8 to 14 hours a week on the boards alone, so I couldn’t begin to say how much time I spend on all the Third Day/Gomer things I do. I enjoy it so much, I feel like I’m playing. Thankfully, my husband enjoys me doing this as much as I do, so he doesn’t mind if I’m on the computer quite a bit of the time. But I also make sure that I have a lot of time away from this, to spend with my family. My boys are 17 and 20, so they don’t need as much of my time as they used to, but I’m not ready to let go of them yet! We like to spend as much time as we can together as a family.

One of the most unexpected blessings of my blog has been the friendships. I can tell from some of the stuff on Gomertopia that that’s definitely the case with the Gomers as well. How often do you see other Gomers? And what kinds of things do y’all do when you get together? Does it feel like an extension of your family now?

The Gomers are definitely an extension of my family. They are my family! I’m very blessed in that I’ve been able to travel around the country to meet a lot of different Gomers. I plan to do more of that in 2008!

Gomers mostly see each other at Third Day concerts, but we do other things together, too. Those of us in Houston get together for fun outings and parties. And when we get together at a show, it’s as much about seeing each other as it is about seeing Third Day! When the tours are announced, we use the tour forums to see who will be at each show. Sometimes we plan a restaurant at which to meet either before the show or afterward. We try to get together before the show to pray for the band, the audience, the crew, and that God uses the show to touch people’s lives. We all wear our Gomer shirts, so Third Day can see that we are there supporting them, and so we can find all the other Gomers. This is how we make new Gomer friends. And we try to make non-Gomer folks feel welcome and loved, too. You just never know who G od will put in your path to love on, so you have to be open and ready to be His hands there at the shows. Tai once said that as much as they love the Gomers reaching their hands out to the band, that the Gomers also need to reach their hands out toward the folks in the audience, so we try hard to do that.

We do charity things when we can. Last year, we did a GuluWalk to raise awareness about the plight of the child soldiers in Uganda. The guys of Third Day actually walked with us that day. Our Gomer team came in third (appropriately) in raising money for the GuluWalk, raising $2,245.00. This month, we are sending Christmas greetings to our troops overseas.

How did you get “tuned in” to Third Day to begin with? And what other artists do you enjoy?

Back in 1996, my husband and I were watching one of our favorite Saturday night programs, Real Videos on TBN, and we saw Third Day’s “Consuming Fire” video. We fell in love with their music and their passion. From that moment, Third Day has been my very favorite band. We go to see them play as often as we can. When we left the Offerings tour concert, I had this deep feeling like I wanted to do something for these guys. I didn’t have a clue as to what I could possibly do for them, but that feeling wouldn’t go away. So I joined the message boards, and a month later, God nudged me to start the Gomers. My son has a sign in his room that says, “Trust your crazy ideas.” I believe in that, because most of my crazy ideas come from God!

I like rock and roll, mostly of the Christian persuasion. There is a band I am absolutely in love with, besides Third Day, named DecembeRadio . They have that southern rock sound with a straight up rock and roll delivery. They are just awesome, and such sweet, sweet guys! And as it is my huge pleasure to tell you, they are going to be touring with Third Day all next year!!! I also like Sanctus Real, mewithoutYou, Family Force 5, Jonah33, Ashley Cleveland, Mute Math, Thrice, and a bunch of others. My family and I go see a lot of concerts together.

When the band goes back on tour, will your Gomer-esque responsibilities increase? And how many shows will you see?

When there is a tour, or a new CD, the workload does increase quite a bit. The Gomers that hang out at the message boards are tuned in to Third Day all the time, but when something like a tour or a CD comes up, the rest of the fans head to the website to see what’s going on in the Third Day world! Right now, Third Day is on the Christmas Offerings tour with Jars of Clay, and the tour forums are hopping! The email picks up, too. There are lots of letters from people telling the band how much they enjoyed the show and asking all kinds of questions. We also just started up our new fan service called WIRED. (For what you pay, you get so much! There is an online radio on there with lots of Third Day concerts you can listen to. They are putting up the Christmas concerts, so you can go to the show, and come home and listen to it again! And if you can’t go, you can still hear the shows! How cool is that?! Members of Wired also get Meet & Greet passes to the shows.) With this new service comes a lot of people needing help using the website, getting their Meet and Greet passes, and things like that. Also, when there is more going on, there is more to blog about, shows to plan to go to, gatherings to plan, concert pictures to post; the whole Gomer world gets amped up! It’s hectic, but it’s exciting!

How many shows will I see? Well, I’ve seen Third Day in concert 42 times in 11 states so far. I will add two Christmas Offerings shows in Texas to that this month. But next year, I hope to add maybe twelve shows or so. I haven’t seen the schedule yet, so I don’t know when or where they will be, and how many I’ll be able to get to. I’m so blessed to have a husband that not only understands my love for Third Day and supports me in it, but he loves to travel to shows with me! He said he wants to do some out-of-town twofers with my friends and me this year. I can’t wait! (A twofer is where there are two, or possibly three-threefer, shows in a row that are near enough to each other so as to be driveable. That way, we can see two or three shows in one weekend.)

Thank you SO MUCH for answering my questions…did I mention that this whole Gomer thing FASCINATES me? And oh! One last question: what’s your favorite Third Day song and why? I have to ask.

My favorite Third Day song as always been “More to This” from Conspiracy #5 (I love pretty much everything on that CD). I love the way Mac comes in low and builds the excitement. And I love the lyrics! It says, There’s more to life Than being born and dying. There’s more to life Than slowly growing old. If we are wise We’ll keep our eyes on Jesus. Or miss out on the very thing that God has made us for. It’s just fun to sing. I also love “Underwater” from the Southern Tracks EP and everything on Wired and Wherever You Are!

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