Monday, November 24, 2008

Made To Stick Book Study
Our staff is reading a great book, Made to Stick by Dan Heath and Chip Heath. We had a great discussion today about how this book applies to so many aspects of our ministry and church. The most insightful discussion for me was around one idea: The Curse of Knowledge.

In a nutshell (whatever that means), the curse of knowledge is defined as our inability to recognize or remember that others do not know everything that we know. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.

When I think about this concept, there are many things that quickly come to mind for our church, but one jumps out more than all the others. As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is so difficult to remember what it was like when we were lost. In our community, there are thousands and thousands of people that are far from God and in need of a place and a people like Watermarke Church. If we do not keep every area of our church pointing to that as our target, then we end up forgetting what it feels like to be lost, and our church quickly ceases to stay focused on the core mission of the church.

Have you forgotten what is was like to be lost? Who is the one person or family that you are hoping to invite to Watermarke before the end of the year? We have to remember that we have the message that answers all of life's biggest problems: sin, sorrow, and death. And it is our job as a staff to create relevant and irresistible environments so that you can do your job - invest and invite and be involved. When everything is said and done, our relationship with Jesus (or lack thereof) will be the only thing that matters. Not just for us, but for everybody.

I hope is that Watermarke never becomes a church full of people that have forgotten what is feels like to live separated from Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What to say???

As my first Sunday at Watermarke approaches, I continue to catch myself wondering what I should say as I walk onto our stage for the first time. There is so much I want to communicate - vision, personal passion for the unreached, where we are going as a church, what I feel God has in store for us all, ect. I could go on and on, but the tough part is I only have 3 - 4 minutes to say it all. The last thing I want is to hear the band start into the “get off the stage music” like I am at an awards show thanking everyone I have ever known!

So, in my short time on stage, here is what I hope gets communicated:
Watermarke Church is a place designed for people to grow in or establish a relationship with Jesus Christ. As a church, I hope we can always create environments that are relevant and irresistible for everyone, because God's desire is to see the separation that exist between Him and us wiped away. I want Watermarke Church to be a church where people far from God can come and hear the truth in a refreshing, helpful and relevant way. I want Watermarke Church to be a church full of people that have not forgotten what it is like to be lost. I want our church to be more concerned about those that are unreached than any other issue facing our church. I want Watermarke Church to be a place where we can all give and serve together and allow God to change our lives and our surrounding community through us. I could keep going, because that is just the beginning...

Maybe the best way to say it is simply a church where everybody’s invited, everybody’s included, and everybody’s important. I bet that would make a great message serried. This is what I want Watermarke Church to be, and I hope that Sunday is the beginning of something huge at our church.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My First Sunday

Let me first say, I am very excited and humbled to be a part of Watermarke Church and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for all of us and for our community.  Over the next few weeks, I am hoping to meet many of you and let you get to know me, too.  And I am glad to have this blog space to help communicate where we are going as a church and what we are thinking about each week.  Be sure to check back often.

As the next few weeks go by, we are all going to be very busy.  Busy with Thanksgiving, Christmas, family, parties, and such.  Some times will be joyous, and others will be stressful.  One thing I want to be sure we don't lose site of during this season is the huge number of people in our community, neighborhoods and schools that far from God and need a place exactly like Watermarke.  A church that has not forgotten what it was like to be lost or far from God. 

In fact, this week we begin new series by Andy Stanley called, "It's Personal."  This series is directed to men and women who desire a personal connection with God, but who have genuine questions, doubts, and concerns.  Andy makes a case for the fact that adults don't become followers of Christ by getting all their questions answered.  In most instances, something happens that shrinks those questions.  And that something is always personal.  You don't have to understand everything to believe in something.  If you or anyone you know has some genuine questions about having a personal connection with God, this is a great 4-week series to attend.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday, and as always, if you have any questions or concerns about Watermarke Church, please don't hesitate to ask.

Gavin Adams, Lead Pastor

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hey there Watermarke Family!

We are so excited to be able to finally introduce you to the new Lead Pastor of Watermarke Church. Just last week Gavin Adams accepted an offer from the Elders of Watermarke for the position of Lead Pastor.

For those not familiar with the beginning of this transition process, please see the details at the very bottom of this email that were sent out to all volunteers earlier in the year.

Gavin comes to us from Southside Church, another North Point Strategic Partner, in Peachtree City, Georgia. He has been on staff there for the past three years, most recently as the Family Ministry Director. Gavin has done an incredible job growing the Family Ministry environments at Southside. Southside Church is one of the most successful Strategic Partner churches, so Gavin is bringing some great experience to generate excitement and momentum at Watermarke.

Gavin's first day at Watermarke will be Sunday, November 16. However, he would love the opportunity to meet many of you prior to that. So you are invited to come to an open house at the Watermarke NEW office location (see below for address and directions) on Tuesday, November 11, between 7 pm and 9 pm. If you don't get the opportunity to attend the open house, then plan on seeing and hearing from Gavin on Sunday, November 16.

This is a very exciting time for Watermarke. The Staff, Elders, members of the Advisory Group and I are all extremely confident that Gavin is going to help Watermarke reach the tremendous potential that it currently has.

Next Sunday (11/9) will be my last Sunday as a part of Watermarke staff. It's been an honor and a privilege to have been a part of Watermarke the last three years. My next steps are not completely clear yet, but I am currently pursuing a couple of opportunities that God has placed in front of me. Sabina and I would appreciate your prayers as we seek to follow God through this transition.

Thanks so much for your patience through this process. God's timing does not usually align with our timing, but His timing is always perfect. Praise God for answered prayer and an amazing new leader for Watermarke Church!

Steve Mazac
Lead Pastor

Watermarke NEW office address and directions:

303 Hickory Ridge Trail
Ste 160
Woodstock, GA 30188

From 575, head east toward Roswell on Hwy 92 (exit 7) for about 2 miles
Make a u-turn at the light by the Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge dealership
Turn right into Hickory Ridge (immediately before the Shell station)
Make your first left, and we're in suite 160 down on the left

*** Previously sent email to all Watermarke volunteers on May 22, 2008 ***

Last fall we began analyzing each staff person to discover their strengths and then try to reposition them into those areas in order to be the best stewards of each person's skills. This led to Wyndi being promoted to Family Ministry Director, leveraging Andy Jones' communication skills in Xtreme and the main service, and using Tara's creative abilities in the Service Programming Department.

This led me to the discovery that I was not playing to my strengths as the Lead Pastor. I brought it up to the staff and mentioned that I felt that Watermarke needs another person as Lead Pastor. Someone who would be playing to their strengths would be much better for the organization. This led to a meeting with the Elders and ultimately the formation of the Watermarke Advisory Group which is made up of the following people:
David McDaniel - Watermarke Elder
Scott Tanksley - Watermarke Elder
Steve Miller - Watermarke Elder
Steve Mazac - Lead Pastor/Watermarke Elder
Donald Wise - Strategic Partnership Director for Watermarke at North Point
Wyndi Beck – Family Ministry Director
Mark Fernandez – Lay leader - Stewardship Team member and Community Group leader
Wes Mitcham – Lay leader - Community Group leader
Aron Schatz – Lay leader - Xtreme small group coach

So far, the Advisory Group has met to determine what the next Lead Pastor should look like as far as characteristics. Here are some of them:
- Vision caster, inspirational
- Connected/invested in Cherokee County
- Strategic thinker/planner
- Ability to challenge staff and leaders
- Clearly decisive

We then created a list of potential candidates from within Watermarke Church, the other Strategic Partnerships, North Point Ministries, and those outside of these organizations. In the last few weeks we have been talking with each candidate to see if they would be interested in being considered for the position of Lead Pastor at Watermarke Church. On May 29, the Advisory Group will be meeting again to see who the candidates are who will begin the screening process. At that point, we will begin the screening/interviewing process. We would like to have the next leader in place by the beginning of August which is typically a time of regrouping for Watermarke and a great time to build momentum. Of course, we realize that as we seek God in this process, His timeline could be different from ours and it could take longer.

Once the interview process is completed, the Advisory Group will make recommendations to the Elders and the Elders will ultimately make the decision on who the next Lead Pastor will be for Watermarke.

A few important points about this process:
* I am not going anywhere until this process is complete and the new Lead Pastor is up to speed in the position. I don’t have a specific end date so I will be here as long as it takes to make sure everything goes well.
* This is a process initiated by me as I looked at what is best for Watermarke Church as an organization.
* This is a great church model to weather this kind of transition as we are not a personality-driven church. We have been through this before and it was quite smooth.
* During the transition and after the new Lead Pastor is in place, we will continue to follow the same model for all our ministry environments because we are still a Strategic Partner of North Point. So, Andy Stanley will continue to be our primary teaching pastor.
* We will still be pursuing the building in Woodstock as a potential home for Watermarke.

The Elders, staff, and leaders involved in the process are very excited about the positive momentum this will create for Watermarke and how it will set us up to lead even more people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.