March 8 Steward Team Update on Staff Transition

no_photoSteward Team Update on Staff TransitionMarch 8, 2015

Out of our living room conversation on February 26 regarding Jer’s transition came a few questions and comments that we would like to address. This blog will be the first of many in the months to come to update you on the transition and upcoming hiring. Our goal is to be transparent and communicate all that we can in a timely fashion. In this first post, we would like to highlight four specific questions that arose at and after the Living Room Session:

During this transition, what will communication from Steward Team to the community look like?

  • An update from Steward Team will be posted on our blog within a week following each Steward Team meeting (twice a month). This update will focus on our current process and key information our community should know. A link to the post will be found in the Pulse.
  • Monthly up-front updates will take place in our Gathering. The audio will be captured and posted to the blog.
  • Questions or comments about our staff transition can be sent to Ben Johanson ( We will set aside time each meeting to discuss these, and any other, questions/comments that have been brought to our attention.

How did the decision to call Dave as Directional Leader come to pass?

  • Steward Team & Hiring Team knew Jer was considering a transition in the coming years and thus both teams considered each candidate for the Pastor of Community Formation with this in mind. During Dave’s hiring process, Jer’s eventual transition was communicated and he accepted his position with this knowledge.
  • When the timeline of Jer’s transition became clear, a discernment process for Dave and Krissy, Steward Team and staff began in which we prayed and discussed Open Door’s next directional leader. Dave’s skills, passions, embodiment of family and previous experience led to a shared conclusion that Dave’s leadership is what we are seeking in the next season of Open Door.
  • In light of this decision, Steward Team wrote a letter inviting Dave to become our next Directional Leader. The letter affirmed Dave’s call to Open Door and spoke of his leadership up until this point as well as what we see in his future.
  • A transition timeline has been discussed with Dave assuming more of the responsibilities of the Directional Leader over the coming months and a formal commissioning on June 21. Jer will be sent by the community the following week (June 28).

What are your next steps toward hiring?

  • Heidi Brandow is in conversation with Dave and Elizabeth to develop staffing options. The next steps are as follows:
    • Heidi met with Dave and Elizabeth this past week (week of March 2) to develop two or three staffing recommendations, taking into consideration our current staff’s strengths and the present and growing needs of Open Door.
    • During Steward Team’s meeting on March 16, Heidi will present the recommendations.
    • After our meeting, Heidi, Dave, and Elizabeth will meet again to discuss and refine the recommendations.

Where are we at financially?

  • Because of the community’s faithfulness we are able to have these transition conversations unconstrained by our financial situation as we have been operating in the black for the fiscal year.
  • We will be putting new avenues of communication into place to provide financial updates to the community. Our intention is for the information to be accessible both on our website and in our Gathering.

Any questions or comments can be sent to Steward Team’s next meeting is on March 16. Stay tuned!

With gratitude,

Ben, Brendan, Rebecca, Alison, Tony and Heidi

Recommended Reading/Resources for Coin: Jesus on Money

  We're two weeks into Coin: Jesus on Money, our journey exploring how Jesus interacted with money and how we might seek to follow Jesus with our own money. When we look at the teachings and actions of Jesus, it seems that money functions in (at least) three ways:

  1. A window into deeper things.
  2. A tool for our cultivation.
  3. A resource for weaving heaven and earth together again.

We're taking time to dig in and explore these primarily through our Gathering teachings (each week's teaching will be posted here) and two of our winter Circles following Mark Scandrette's book Free: Spending Your Time and Money on What Matters Most.

If you're not able to join one of the Free Circles, we encourage you to grab a copy of the book and work through it on your own or (ideally) with another person. Throughout the Circles, we'll post a few blog updates and stories if you want to follow along with the journey.

In addition to Free, here's a few other resources to consider reading and engaging if you want to dig deeper. [Note: I'll be reading through all of these and posting some thoughts. If you'll be reading along, let me know and I'd love to have you engage in the conversation. -dave]

Do you have any other resources you'd recommend as we think and ask questions about money, economy, and walking in the way of Jesus? Add them below in the comments!

Steward Team Update - December 2014

Note: See this related post for an invitation to reflection on your engagement in Open Door's family life. Friends,

ODC.Logo_2Every fall, Steward Team gathers for a retreat to reflect on Open Door's previous year and to discern direction for the next twelve months. Out of this time together we develop a Thematic Goal that focuses our work moving forward. Our Thematic Goal for 2014 was “To refine current organizational structure and expand paid staff." Key initiatives that emerged included the development of the Circles environment and the hiring of our Pastor of Community Formation, Dave Kludt.

At our retreat this September we celebrated the stories emerging from the integration of Circles and Gatherings and the addition of the Kludt family to our community. As we reflected on our focus for this coming year, the word that rose to the surface was "Family." We've always identified ourselves as "a family of sojourners learning to walk in the way of Jesus for the good of the world" (our identity statement), but we began asking questions like:

  • How does the Holy Spirit weave us together as a family?
  • What are signs of health and areas of growth for our family?
  • How must Open Door’s staff & structure resource the cultivation of our family?
  • What kind of personal initiative is necessary to grow within our family?

With these questions in mind, Steward Team developed this year’s Thematic Goal:To develop clear on-roads into the life of the Open Door family." Already this Thematic Goal is shaping our life together in Circles, our recent teaching series, and the ODC Orientation Circle and Square One initiative, both designed to help us understand who we are and how we can become engaged contributors to the Open Door family. In 2015, watch for an updated website, Winter and Spring Circles, the Discover Retreat (March 13-15), the Selah Retreat (May 29-31), and other exposure points designed to resource our cultivation as a family.

This year, let’s deepen our engaged presence with one another as we join God in what He’s doing all around us. Let’s also commit to intelligent and courageous contributions to what God is doing in and through Open Door. If one of your contributions is financial, please consider a year-end gift and/or commit to consistent giving throughout the coming year. Finally, let’s proactively move toward authentic relationship with one another as we listen for the voice of the Spirit and live what we hear.

We are thrilled and humbled at God's ongoing faithfulness and are excited to move forward together as God's Spirit continues to cultivate us into a Jesus-following family.

With gratitude and anticipation,

The Open Door Steward Team

Ben Johanson, Rebecca Olson, Tony Collins, Alison Knox, Brendan Cheney, Heidi Brandow, Dave Kludt, & Jer Swigart

Note: See this related post for an invitation to reflection on your engagement in Open Door's family life.

Budget, Values, & Giving in 2014-15

It’s with gratitude to God for what He has done and with anticipation for our next chapter that we offer this year’s budget projections, the values behind them, and a clear invitation to join together in funding what lies ahead.

Steward Team has recently approved our FY 2014-15 (July 1 – June 30) budget at $220,300 that calls for a monthly increase in giving of $5600.  This increase reflects our commitment to hire and resource the staff necessary to help us faithfully live out the vision He’s given us.

Key additions to this year’s budget include:

  1. Salary and benefits for Dave Kludt, Pastor of Community Formation
  2. A salary increase for Elizabeth Hunnicutt, Pastor of Worship
  3. The inclusion of paid child-care for ODC Kids

As Steward Team, we believe in this investment in our Staff for three reasons:

  1. Increased Soul-Care & Formation :: We want to see an increase to and deepening of the soul care and development of The Open Door Community.  Our staff team exists to support, encourage, and release the community to care for & contribute to the formation of one another.
  2. Deepened Experience of Spirit :: We want to deepen in our experience of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit increases among us.  We believe that God has strategically placed Jer, Dave, and Elizabeth here and now, each with a unique set of gifts, to guide us in this deepening.
  3. Expanded Mission & Movement ::  We want to see Spirit-saturated Circles of Jesus followers embedded throughout the East Bay who are Rooted in Christ, Woven together as family, Extending sacrificial love, and Cultivating others to be and do the same.  Our staff team exists to equip, resource, and mobilize those Circles.

We believe strongly that this investment in staff and this increase in budget is necessary and that all that is needed to fund our future already exists within our community.  Will you join Steward Team in giving courageously and consistently as a response to what God has done for us and as a way to join Him in what He’s about to do?

Here are the three primary ways to give monthly to The Open Door Community:

  1. An offering box is available at each gathering.
  2. Mail your contribution to 860 Bancroft Road; Walnut Creek, CA 94598
  3. Online at (“The Open Door Community”; ID: 812-632-9836)

Thank you for your courageous generosity that has made this next step possible.  For questions concerning Dwolla or to inquire further about giving to The Open Door Community or our budget, please email Brendan (Treasurer, Resource Team).

Humbly Yours,

Open Door’s Steward Team :: Ben Johanson, Rebecca Olson, Brendan Cheney, Kara Lynch, Tony Collins, Charlene O’Brien, & Jer Swigart

New Circle: Economic Discipleship

On February 6th, we'll be launching a Circle that will utilize Dave Ramsey's resource, Financial Peace University, to help us to think, plan, and practice biblically with our finances.  By the end of this 9-week Circle, you will be equipped to budget, give, save, invest, and spend wisely. Contact Nathan to RSVP & pre-order the resources for this Circle.

Take a read of the McKnelly's story.  It's a journey from debt to freedom and generosity:

What would it look like if we trusted more in God than in earthy things? What would it mean to make ourselves accountable for the money that God has entrusted to us?

Hebrews 5:13 says - Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

In 2011, our family found ourselves in just over $20,000 in debt. None of this was what some would call "good debt" like owning a house or getting a degree, but was from credit cards and car loans. We borrowed all this money and had nothing to show for it, but large interest payments and barely making ends meet at the end of the month.  It was misuse of God's money, plain and simple. When we found ourselves with only $30 dollars left at the end of the month and all of our cards maxed out.... We decided to go to a finance class and get our spending under control. Through that class, we heard about the infamous Dave Ramsey and we were intrigued. After reading his book The Total Money Makeover we signed up for his online version of Financial Peace University. After taking the course we got on a budget, seeded our first emergency fund with $1000 and started throwing as much money as we could at our debt. We were debt free in April of 2012!

In our whole adult life, we were never able to make the claim of being debt free. Since getting a loan for our wedding, we've always had debt looming over us... so you can imagine how freeing it was to write that last check and be able to cut up all of our credit cards. We'll never be in debt like that again!

When we were in debt, we weren't able to give to our community. When we started our budget we were only able to give 1% of our income to tithes, and it was embarrassing. Essentially we were saying that our love of money & desire for stuff was more important than God, our own formation, the formation of our community, and the transformation of our context.  We were poor stewards of the resources God had entrusted us with. When we were finally out of debt and able to write that first full tithe check, we felt like we heard God more clearly and no longer felt like we had a dark cloud of dread looming over us. We could freely worship and freely give because we weren't wasting our money on stupid stuff.

We want that for our community. We want the subject of finances not to be a source of dread, but of opportunity to give to His cause. Whether that be through tithing, mission work or giving the homeless guy down the street a warm meal. Worshiping God with our finances results in our formation and the flourishing of our context. Join this Circle and experience freedom.

Details: December 22, 24, & 29

Tonight! December 22 :: Serving instead of Gathering!!!

Tonight, we will be serving together at The Bay Area Rescue Mission in place of our weekly worship gathering.

bayarealogo What will we be doing? Serving, Eating, & Cleaning up after a meal with the hungry, homeless, and recovering. When is our shift? 4-8pm How do I get there? You could either go directly to The BARM (123 McDonald St., Richmond, CA) or meet at St. Paul's Parking lot @ 3pm to carpool. What should I wear? Dress warm as we'll be serving the meal in an outdoor tent. Is this kid-friendly?  Absolutely. Contact Darrell with questions or for more information.

Christmas Eve, December 24 :: Serving @ City Team

Join an Open Door Team on Christmas Eve Day as we serve together at City Team in Oakland.

What will we be doing? Serving & Cleaning up after a meal with the hungry, homeless, and recovering. When is our shift? 12:30-2:30pm How do I get there? You could either go directly to City Team (722 Washington St. Oakland, CA) or email Heidi for carpooling options. What should I wear? Dress comfortably.  We'll be serving indoors. Is this kid-friendly? Absolutely. Contact Heidi with questions or for more information.

Sunday, December 29 :: Back @ our Gathering...


On the 29th, Jer will be giving his annual "Retrospect" talk in which he will reflect on a year's worth of personal cultivation through relationships & experiences.  Don't miss this evening of teaching through story.

New Hire Communication & Year-End Giving

Our elders are committed to resourcing our mission of cultivating followers of Jesus in 2014.  Our next step is to expand our paid staff from 1.5 to 2.5.

  • 1.5 Staff will equip & mobilize us to become a Worshiping Family.
  • 1 Staff will equip & mobilize us to become a Family on Mission.

Click Here to listen to Brendan's 15 minute explanation. Click Here to read more details on our Blog. Click Here to email Ben Johanson from Steward Team with any questions or for more information.

Here are 3 ways to join together in funding the work that God is calling us to in 2014!

  1. Seed this next step with a year-end gift.  Year-end gifts can be given at our gathering on the 29th and online anytime before December 31.
  2. Contribute monthly to what God is doing.  Start with a set percentage of your annual income or a day or two's wages per month.  You can set up your online account here.
  3. If you are already partnering financially, would you consider increasing your monthly giving by a set percentage or by one day's wages per month?

Open Door's online account number through Dwolla is 812-632-9836