It’s been a little more than 8 months since I joined the External Focus team.
I have to admit, the first few weeks were a little overwhelming. I quickly got an overview of all the different ministries Watermark has to offer... while also learning about the many ministry efforts the External Focus team oversees. I had been attending Watermark since 2012, but I wasn’t aware of how many serving opportunities existed until I joined staff. Thankfully, I now feel I’ve got a grasp on most of it, and I’m thankful be a part of a great team.
Throughout these initial months I’ve learned many things from my External Focus team members, and I’d like to share three of those with you. Yes, I’ll be bragging on my team a little bit in this blog entry, but I hope this will give you glimpse of our External Focus team - characteristics that help us all when we're serving our city and world.
As part of a church staff, it’s very easy to fall into living for the approval of others - with co-workers, with church members, and also with those outside this church community. Adopting this tendency can quickly lead to placing a lot of energy into portraying a “godly” image. Instead, our relationship with Christ should lead to a vulnerability towards our Heavenly Father and also towards each other.
Thankfully, the authenticity within our team (and the rest of staff) has created a safe place where we can be open with each other, share our struggles, encourage each other, and grow together in our knowledge of God.
I'm very thankful my team models what they encourage others to do, because authenticity is key if we're going to serve externally. Just as I can't pretend to be something I'm not and still have a good relationship with my coworkers, I also must be authentic as I build relationship with those we serve, whether they're in West Dallas or across the ocean.
It’s been a refreshing experience to have my definitions of “missions” and “missionary” redefined. Having grown up in church since I was a child, these terms were always used to describe certain activities or individuals that have a “special calling.”
But here with my External Focus team, I’ve learned that as followers of Christ we are ALL "on mission." All of us, as Christians, have been commissioned to share the hope we have in Jesus with our communities.
As part of the staff team that’s focused in mobilizing our church community to engage externally, our role here is to equip - not to be the “do-it-all / lead-it-all” church leaders. This totally changes the objectives of our work. The External Focus team is here to be intentional, to be strategic, and to join the efforts of leaders within our church body, building you guys up to serve even better.
This was a new perspective for me, and I’m encouraged not only to see my teammates operate under this understanding, but also to see our Watermark members be missionally-minded.
This one is my favorite team attribute, and it also connects with how all of us can impact people outside our walls.
The fun of our team is also a hard characteristic to describe, because you really would have to attend a team meeting to understand! Seriously! Each week, we somehow manage to get through our agenda - but not without joking, laughing, and seeing the humorous side of things.
Because Watermark Church has chosen to be externally focused, we encounter some really hard and dark things in our city and our world. But having a fun team makes it much easier to serve even when situations become challenging. All the team camaraderie, games, and group text messages help me not take myself too seriously, and it all makes for a great counter-balance to the challenges we face in keeping the mission moving forward.
The same will be true as you get out and serve. If the people you're serving with know how to have fun, it makes the good times all the better... and the hard challenges a little easier to face.
As I stated in the beginning of this post, these are just three of the many things I’ve learned. So next time we bump into each other, feel free to ask me for more. I don’t mind bragging about my External Focus team, as well as my great Watermark family who has chosen to be on mission. It's great to be part of the team that helps equip us for that adventure!
Be sure to check the External Focus blog weekly - and read past entries - at watermark.org/blog/external-focus!
Photo Credit: Annouchka.Supervielle via Compfightcc