Rob Thomas has been a familiar face around Watermark for years. You may have seen him on stage at conferences and events or at marriage ministries like re|engage and Merge. As Watermark prayerfully and thoughtfully looked to add to the elder team, Rob’s faithfulness and leadership stood out. We hope you’re encouraged by his story of grace and commitment to the Lord. Learn more about Watermark’s elders and the process of growing the elder team.
Can you tell us your story of grace?
“Having a great family and upbringing didn’t stop me from entering the most formative decade of my life with this question unanswered: ‘Who am I?’
“As a young kid, I don’t remember ever asking that. While I struggled to connect with others at times, I also had energy, confidence, and positivity. At a young age, I understood who Jesus was and what He did for me (Galatians 1:4). I was so thankful and excited to follow Him and told my parents I wanted to get baptized while on a church ski trip.
“Did I fully understand my depravity or my sin nature? Not even close. But that’s part of why God is so great – He accepts anyone who responds to Him and believes. Soon after this experience, I entered junior high, became a teenager, and still seemed to struggle to connect with others which left me insecure and lonely. In short, I didn’t seem to fit the mold, and it caused me to question my identity. I started asking God, ‘Who am I?’ And I would keep coming back to this question again and again as I got older.
“Although I grew more confident, got involved in leadership activities, and gained friendships in both high school and college, that question continued to nag me.
“One night in my senior year of college, I found myself pleading with God, asking Him again, ‘Who am I?’ And ‘What’s my purpose?’
“While I had grown in my faith in many ways, I found I still seemed obsessed with these questions of identity. But this time, I left with some peace. I found my answer in John 1:12, ‘But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ His Word already answered my questions. He says, ‘You are mine.’
“This answer does two things. 1) It gives me an identity, and 2) puts the focus on Him and not me. God has taught me to look less in the mirror to find my identity and more to Him. And it makes all the difference.
“Trusting God’s faithfulness allows me to live freely. I’m free to not worry. I’m free to not be anxious. I’m called to delight in Him (Psalm 37:3-5). He tells me to give Him my worries. That doesn’t mean there aren’t hard circumstances because there are. We all have them. But we know the outcome: He wins.
“I have battles, but I fight them with confidence and even joy. Because of what the Lord has done for me and what He’s promised, I live with tremendous hope.
“My story of grace is so simple. God offered eternal life as a gift, and I responded and accepted. It’s the greatest gift of my life.”
How long have you been at Watermark?
“My wife, Haley and I have been coming to Watermark since it began in 1999, and our kids have been attending since they were born. Being part of this body of believers has been the gift of a lifetime. My love for Jesus has only grown as I’ve been discipled, equipped, and taught God’s Word. I’ve learned what it means to live in community and to be known, encouraged, and sharpened. Haley and I have been able to serve in many areas: Foundation Groups, re|engage, Merge, and worship. And I’ve even gotten to do programming and stage fun with my buddy, Braun Brown.”
What are your thoughts regarding this potential role as an elder?
“I have long respected and admired so many of the men who have served as elders over the years. In the last five to six years, I’ve come to a place where I wanted to start thinking like them, never assuming I’d be asked to step into the office. For years, I’ve told my wife I want to be ‘elder-like’ in my thoughts and actions, which we quickly realized isn’t that different from being a fully devoted follower of Christ who serves others. I would love the body’s prayers to be yielded to the Spirit daily because only a yielded-to-the-Spirit Rob can truly be helpful.
“Every day I wake up, I realize I’m prone to live the day in my flesh. Thus, I am called to put on Christ every day, submit, and yield to Him (Romans 13:14). I am so thankful for the new mercies He gives us every day (Lamentations 3:22-23). He is so faithful!”