Holistic Cultivation

Open Door's Next Horizon Line (and an Invitation into Next Steps)

Each autumn, our Steward Team takes a weekend away together to pray, listen, storytell, and dream about our next steps as a family of sojourners learning to walk in the way of Jesus for the good of the world.

Our time is spent creating space where we can listen to each other, the voices of our community, and the promptings of the Spirit to come to a shared sense of the direction into which we must push forward during the year ahead. 

This year, we've framed this focus as our horizon line.

The horizon is our continual guide as we press into the future. We constantly look to the horizon for guidance, clarity, and next steps. It shapes our conversations, meetings, rhythms, and pace.

We sought a horizon that neither aims too high (trying to accomplish in a year what could take a lifetime) nor too low (setting out to accomplish in a year what might take a week or a month).

A horizon line is not static but dynamic. While we believe we can reach the horizon we've defined for the coming year, once we arrive at that point, we'll seek to discern and set out toward a new horizon that comes into focus as we step into our next season of continued faithfulness in the trajectory God's set forth for us.

As we look ahead to Spring and Summer 2016, our horizon line is as follows:

To further clarify and define how we intend to move toward this horizon line, we've outlined several signposts - defining objectives - that will help move us closer to the horizon.

This horizon's signposts are:

  1. To reimagine our Gathering as a propelling/sending place.

  2. To focus creative connections and storytelling around the extending and cultivating life.

  3. To equip and activate everyday influencers.

  4. To leverage The Global Immersion Project as a continued opportunity for cultivation.

  5. To seed collaboration in neighborhood centers.

  6. To clarify our staff structure and initiate the processed to fill that structure.

We'll continue to clarify, communicate, invite, and co-create the specific next steps in each of these areas we push forward toward the horizon.

We want this to be an initiative of the Open Door family, not just Steward Team! As a first invitation into more conversation and action around our horizon, Steward Team will gather after this Sunday's Gathering at Extreme Pizza to talk more about questions or thoughts you might have about our next steps forward.

If you have any questions, please speak with a member of Steward Team or email Rebecca, our Steward Team Chair.

Entering the Threshold

[Thresholds] constitute the connective tissue that helps bind or separative activities and segue from one space to the next…Thresholds and Transitions mark changes in mood, tempo, and subject matter as people move from space to space. (Scott Doorley & Scott Witthof in Make Space (40).

Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. (Revelation 3:20, Jesus speaking to the Laodicean church)

This summer is a threshold season for Open Door. June marked the beginning of this threshold with a season of sending. This summer we’ll continue to journey through the threshold. 

While Open Door moves through this threshold, you're probably experiencing a threshold of your own (maybe more than one!). Job transitions, moving, navigating relationships, saying hellos, saying goodbyes. Sometimes it can be helpful to name transitions and thresholds out loud: 

"Hi, my name is Dave, and I'm in the middle of _____. It's something of a threshold I'm moving through."

At Open Door, we care and devote ourselves to the cultivation and formation of followers of Jesus. As each of us, individually, is constantly in formation, so our community, the Open Door family, is in constant formation. As we explored during The Immigrants’ Journey, movement and change is intertwined with life - we follow and are formed by a God who moves!

Just as a seed’s journey is one of small and microscopic transformation before life-giving blossoming and fruitfulness, so we seek constant transformation, individually and collectively, into the image of Christ. 

Our name - Open Door - points to the reality that what we do together is navigate life’s thresholds. I’m grateful and excited to navigate these thresholds with you all as we seek to receive and extend the unfolding story of God’s good news in our lives and in all the places we live, work and play!


April 19 Steward Team Update


Steward Team Update #3
April 19, 2015

Future Staffing

After discernment and prayer over Open Door’s upcoming season, Steward Team voted upon and approved a staff structure including Dave’s role and three new positions.  

  • Pastor of Mission and Directional Leader (Dave). In this position, Dave will champion and develop our formation through the ongoing expression of Circles, guide the staff and continue to develop and equip for our ongoing and expanding mission and identity.
  • Pastor of Worship and Formation (new hire). This full time pastoral position will champion and develop our formation through Gatherings with particular attention to worship through music and other avenues of formation.
  • Pastor of Kids and Family Formation (new hire). This part time pastoral position (15-20 hours/week) will champion and develop Open Door Kids with attention to the integration of families into the holistic cultivation of the Open Door family.
  • Admin (new hire). This part time role (5-10 hours/week) will support the infrastructure of Open Door as needed.

More information regarding job descriptions and the hiring processes will be available soon. If you have any questions, please contact a member of Steward Team or email Ben Johanson, Steward Team's chair at ben@opendooreastbay.com.

Steward Team Transition

On April 19, the Steward Team transition process will begin with the intention of having two new members in place this June. Please consider setting aside Monday, April 27 for a day of praying, fasting, and discernment around Steward Team nominations.

In addition to Ben Johanson and Tony Collins completing their terms on Steward Team, Alison Knox will be finishing her role on Steward Team as well due to her impending move to Portland. Former Steward Team member Kerry O’Brien has been asked to complete the remainder of Alison’s term and has accepted. Due to the nature and timing of staffing transition, we have timed this year's transition to have overlap between the welcoming of new members and the transition of Ben, Tony, and Alison to provide additional guidance and leadership in this season.

Nominating (April 19-April 26) 
The Elder transition process will be introduced at Sunday's Gathering and the nomination process laid out. The community is invited to send nominations (name + 2-3 reasons this person is qualified) to Brooke Arnett (brooke@opendooreastbay.com) by April 26. 

Discerning (April 27)
A cross section of Open Door leaders and guides will spend time in prayer and fasting before convening to consider, affirm and discern six candidates from the pool of nominees. The names of these candidates will be sent to Steward Team. On Monday, April 27, you are invited to fast and pray along with this discernment team.

Inviting (April 27-May 24)
Steward Team will meet, pray, and discern over the six candidates, ultimately interviewing and introducing two candidates to Open Door at our Gathering on May 24.

Reconciling (May 24-June 6)
As followers of Jesus, reconciliation is an essential practice. After the two candidates are introduced, the candidates and community alike are invited and encouraged to pursue any reconciling conversations needed to name and address any relational distance that may be present within the Open Door family.  

Commissioning (June 7)
Following the reconciling phase, the two candidates will be commissioned into their term on Steward Team at our Sunday Gathering. 

If you have any questions or comments, send them to ben@opendooreastbay.com. Steward Team’s next meeting is on April 20. Stay tuned!

 With gratitude,

Ben, Brendan, Rebecca, Alison, Tony and Heidi

The Instant Between (A Poem About Falling)

The Instant Between by Krissy Kludt 
Originally posted here.


I cling to the rock
gripping with all my strength
the tiny holds – cracks and ledges just
wide enough for a finger tip
only of the rock
and the air
behind, above, below.
Time passes – moments,
or eons, perhaps –
and then there is nothing but air rushing
by my falling body.
Heavily weightless, nothing moves but the threads
of my hair, winding and unwinding around
one another in the wind,
a graceful dance.
I plunge down deep, feet first
into the warm green water,
silence broken by the cavalcade of bubbles
babbling about me.
Suspended in the instant between
moving down and moving up
I taste the salt, feel it
kiss my lips, sting my eyes.
Then, in a rush, I surge to the surface
and suddenly it is sun, not water, that kisses my face.
I smile
and float,
held by the water, warmed by the sun
on the surface of a vast ocean.


I wake in darkness.
I smell the rich, damp smell of earth
so close to my nose I can hardly breathe.
I can’t move enough to open my eyes.
I hear footsteps
muffled just enough
that I cannot tell if they are distant
or just above my head.
A moment passes –
or eons, maybe –
and I can feel a new warmth
stroking my hair.
I am suddenly aware of my arms
and the power to move them.
I push upward
feeling the damp, rich soil
move through my fingertips.
One by one, my ten fingers reach the surface –
there is no hurry here.
And then I discover my legs –
a slow flexing, a memory of movement –
I have done this before.
My legs push down
toes digging deeper into the soil
surrendering to its rich, fragrant darkness.
Time passes
in the in between
and then gradually
or suddenly –
which, I truly cannot say –
I feel the sunlight on my face:
a second awakening.
I blink the soil from my eyes
too accustomed to darkness
to take in all that light.


I cling to the rock.
Or the ladder, rather,
there so long the rock has grown around it.
The waves batter my back
and again.
For many moments I can’t breathe
I cough the salt from my lungs,
blink it from my eyes –
the ocean has eclipsed all possibility of tears.
I brace myself for another wave –
just time enough to remember how to breathe
and adjust my grip on the cold, ridged metal
between each onslaught.
How long am I here?  I cannot say.
Time passes.
And then someone is behind me.
He is familiar, yet I’m not certain I
have seen him before.
He wraps his strength around me,
clinging to the ladder for me
pressing my body to safety
holding it with his own.
“I will hold you to this rock,” he whispers,
and in that moment I know his voice.
Time passes.  Moments.  Eons.
Gently, he pulls me from the ladder on the rock.
We float backward
He holds me in the swell
as my hands remember how to relax their grip.
“It’s okay,” he says, and I look around.
As he fades into the ocean,
the thought comes to me:
I have been here before.

The Lent Project Week 6: Majority World Diet


Week 6: The Majority World Diet

We are accustomed to eating large quantities of food often and in great variety. The simplicity and small quantity of our food choices during this week's Majority World Diet remind us of the abundance that we live in on a daily basis. During this week we encourage you to pray for those around the world who regularly eat these simple meals or don’t have sufficient access to basic food and water.

During this week, we invite you to:

(1) From Tuesday through Saturday, eat a diet of rice, beans, and oats (ingredients and instructions here: Majority World Diet 2015).

(2) Guided by the provided prayer prompts and the promptings of the Spirit, pray regularly for those around the Bay Area and around the world with insufficient access to basic nutrition.

(3) Catalog your journey using #TheLentProject hashtag.

The Prayer of Examen (An Open Door Adaptation)

About the Prayer of Examen 4.2.7The Prayer of Examen is a daily spiritual exercise typically credited to St. Ignatius of Loyola [1491-1556], who encouraged fellow followers to engage in the practice for developing a deeper level of spiritual sensitivity and for recognizing and receiving the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

At the heart of the practice is increasingly becoming aware of God’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s movement throughout your day.

Practicing the Prayer of Examen

The Prayer of Examen is primarily an exercise in remembering. One is invited, through four movements [presence, gratitude, review, and response], to concentrate on experiences and encounters from the past 24 hours. The beauty of the practice is its simplicity; it is more a guide than a prescription. If some portion feels especially important on a given day, feel the freedom to spend all or most of your time in that portion. The purpose is to increase awareness and sensitivity, not to finish or accomplish a task.

For this practice, a comfortable and relatively quiet location is likely most conducive for reflecting. The experience doesn’t need to be a certain length—as little as ten minutes could be sufficient, and you could spend more time on certain portions compared to others.

It might be helpful to journal your thoughts and recollections or to write out what you notice during your times of prayer.

Consider sharing your experiences: allow encouragement and insight from others to influence you and cheer you on, and when appropriate give the same, together striving to be an ever-faithful “community of contemplatives.”


Begin this practice by recognizing the presence of God. Remind yourself of God’s presence with you and His desire to be with you. Consider praying for the Holy Spirit to help you be attentive to God’s presence. To become more focused, it might be helpful to repeat a simple phrase during this time, like “Be still and know that I am God” [Psalm 46:10].

It’s important to begin this practice in a calm and centered state. There may be days when you’ll need the entire time to remember and focus on the nearness of God. Don’t rush past this portion. Take the necessary time to wait and find comfort in God’s presence.

“Gracious God, in these moments please remind me of your presence and generosity, and give me the wisdom and courage to live gracefully with myself, others, and the world you have wonderfully made. For the sake of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen.”


Take some time and focus on the nearness of God. Open yourself to His presence.

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” [Psalm 145:18]

“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you.” [Psalm 145:9]


“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank You,’: wrote Meister Eckhart, “that would suffice.” (Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness). As you think about the past 24 hours, what causes you to be thankful? Look back over the past day, the big and small aspects of life, and recognize what reasons you have to be grateful. Focus on these experiences and encounters, helping your mind and spirit center on the goodness and generosity of God.

If you’re using a journal, consider capturing your thanks in writing, expressing words of gratitude and giving testimony to God’s generosity and faithfulness. Find encouragement and reminders of God’s goodness, and be thankful.

Looking back over the past 24 hours, for what are you most grateful? What makes you feel thankful? Using simple words, express your gratitude to God.

“Praise be to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.” [Ephesians 1:3]


Over-packed lives can rob us of the opportunity to learn from the past, to see how yesterday might inform today. “Where did the time go?!” we ask ourselves, often struggling to remember what we did just a week ago. Here we can benefit again from taking time to look back over the past 24 hours. By intentionally reviewing our interactions, responses, feelings and intentions, we can avoid letting days speed by. We can pause to learn more about ourselves and about God’s activity in our lives.

Try to look back objectively as you review. Rather than interpreting, justifying, or rationalizing, the intent is to observe and remember. Allow your mind to wander the situations you’ve been in and to notice details. The questions in this exercise should help you bring specific experiences to mind.

When or where in the past 24 hours were you cooperating most fully with God’s action in your life? When were you resisting? What habits and life patterns do you notice from the past day?

“Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul...Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” [Psalm 143:8b,10]


Having spent time remembering, it seems natural to want to respond in some way. Take time to journal or pray, expressing your thoughts on the actions, attitudes, feelings, and interactions you’ve remembered as a part of this exercise. You might need to seek forgiveness, ask for direction, share a concern, express gratitude, or resolve to make changes and move forward. Allow your observations to guide your responses.

Beginning today, how do you want to live your life differently? What patterns do you want to keep living tomorrow?

“Ever-present Father, help me to meet you in the Scriptures I read and the prayers I say; in the bread I break and the meals I share; in my investments at work and my enjoyments at play; and in the neighbors and family I welcome, love, and serve, for your sake and that your love and peace may reign now and forever. Amen.”

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [Hebrews 13:20-21]

God’s peace be yours.