Reservoir Leadership Track

2020 was destined to be a year of growth and deeper roots for our little suburban church. Our leadership had claimed the theme of “Building Together” as we felt that coming through years of transition and replanting we were poised to spring ahead in many ways. Individual ownership of the church was increasing, meaning people were stepping up to do the work of ministry, and our identity had seemingly formed around the preaching of the gospel and living in response to the grace of Christ.

Then the pandemic began seven months of disruption in every category of life, environmental, political, spiritual, and others. So the momentum met its end. The growth became a tension of keeping who was committed. Building together transitioned to a desire to just be together.

While we still face the pandemic realities among the good decisions we made was to launch our leadership track anyway. It was designed to be a vital six-month cohort for learning and formation around the vision of the church as the elders set a priority to equip and release more leaders at Reservoir. The first round was to be undertaken by the elders so there were already formed relationships making it easy to execute.

For sixth months (so far) we have read, written about, and discussed material in four key books. One to establish the need to pursue the inner health of our souls (David Benner’s The Gift of Being Yourself). One to present a vision for how the body of believers could live Kingdom lives together (John Tyson’s A Creative Minority). Another to give us a framework for the life of the church, especially as one desiring to be multiplied (Alan Frow’s Broken for Blessing.) And a fourth to stir the hunger in us for renewal among us and the people of our church (Mark Sayer’s Reappearing Church). Every week we have a video meeting to discuss what we are learning and where we are heading. We have laughed, struggled through concepts, and prayed fervently for one another and the church.

We have missed out on some of the planned family meals meant to go along with the Leadership Track but I have found our time to be greatly encouraging and aligning for the elders. I don’t think I have known a time when we were as united as we are now and we have a rooted honestly that has strengthened our relationships.

Scott, Bill, and John have sharpened me and I think they would agree our time in these books and conversation with one another has been fruitful. It has truly been one of the bright things in the church sustaining a tired pastor!

We are looking forward to rolling out the Leadership Track to others in the church, when we get a bit further along in this disruptive season. As we do I am sure others will find the time just as valuable and worthwhile. It turns out we really are building together and what is forming is exciting.

Discipleship, Word & Spirit

New Resource for Pastors and People

Reservoir Church, the body of Jesus people I help lead, is part of a global movement of churches called Advance which exist to plant and strengthen churches. The network is led by PJ Smyth, pastor of Monument Church in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

I have a great deal of respect for PJ and have been served by his kind and humble leadership. Each interaction leaves me more confident in our decision to link arms with Advance.

PJ has just launched a new website as a resource for leaders and believers alike. He has recent posts on preaching to a camera (who doesn’t need help here in times like these.) He also has some keen reflections on miracles, heaven and other topics along with sermons.

You will want to add his site to your list of helpful resources.


Worthwhile November 15, 2019

The calendar pages keep turning (unless you have a calendar on your phone then you have no idea what that means). Here we are approaching Thanksgiving, at war with our family and friends over how soon is too soon when it comes to decorating for Christmas and playing the appropriate music for the occasion.

Leaving all that alone, below are some worthwhile bits to check in on as you saunter into the weekend.

As our elder team has started to evaulate ourselves, and I have been thinking through how to lead and form the right team to lead the church into the next season, this bit from Seth Godin has me thinking.

Allies and accomplices.

To be an ally means that you won’t get in the way, and, if you are able to, you’ll try to help.

To become an accomplice, though, means that you’ve risked something, sacrificed something and put yourself on the hook as well.

We need more allies, in all the work we do. Allies can open doors and help us feel a lot less alone.

But finding an accomplice–that’s an extraordinary leap forward.

I have plenty of allies and now I am on the lookout for accomplices.

Read the two paragraphs I haven’t quoted here.

Next up, John Starke’s occasional email newsletter was on point this week. It is on sleeping, or the lack thereof.

“Sleep is a gift. It really is. You can’t make yourself sleep, you can only receive it. I have to put myself on my side and wait for God to give this gift that comes only because he loves me. When that happens an exchange occurs that I neither witness nor oversee: he takes my cares and exchanges them for rest. If only for a little while.”

We all need more of it. Before the lightbulb was invented we slept on average 11 hours a night. Let’s get some of that back! Starke gives a good perspective here and you should check it out.

In the vane of church leadership and being healthy, Faithfully Magazine has launched a series on multicultural churches.

Turns out, a multicultural church is not something you can checklist your way to, but it is something you become when your team is healthy and thinking rightly about the essence of the church.

“…every member of the core leadership team must believe that diversity is God’s desire for the Church universal and the guiding principle for the local congregation. Every aspect of the church’s ministry must be conceived and planned with this in mind, including hiring and leadership development, outreach and missions, discipleship and spiritual formation, preaching, teaching, worship, and fellowship. Leaders must understand this and have a passionate and proven interest in learning about and working across cultures.”

It begins with leadership.

And that is just the first order of things… Read what Chanequa Walker-Barnes has to say here. And let’s have more multicultural churches!

Lastly, around Christian social media a meme has been popular this week. “I can do all things through Christ… But you don’t go to church when it rains.” This is funny, but extra because in San Diego it never rains and people freak out when it does, undoubtably keeping some from the community of believers.

To stir our thinking on not forsaking to meet together, Tim Arndt has written a list of 28 biblical reasons why you should go to church. Read up, set your alarm, and we will see you Sunday!

It also wouldn’t hurt if you came to any midweek services, small groups, or Bible studies!

There you have it. Enjoy the weekend. Laugh when you can. Let the tears flow when needed. Hug someone a second longer than you usually would. And go to church!

I have spoken.