Brian Jones on Why Selah Matters

As our annual Selah retreat draws near, I am reminded of how essential extended time in community with others is to our Oneness.  It's as though the Spirit does something profound in us as we simply unplug from the pace of our everyday lives and retreat together in an incredible place.  Selah is our annual community-wide retreat that takes place in the scenic Marin Headlands.  It's a weekend filled with friend-making, delicious food, playfully competitive games, breathtaking hikes, and much more.  It's an experience carefully designed with just the right amount of structure that is fit for the entire family.  Click here to read more about Selah and/or to register. Brian Jones is one of the biggest, most outspoken ambassadors for Selah.  For him, this is a weekend intentionally set aside to encounter God and each other.  He wouldn't miss it and he doesn't want you to either.  Take a read of his impassioned plea:

Let me read your mind…

It’s too expensive – I can’t afford it.  It’s too long.  I’m really busy right now.  The weekend is my only chance to catch up on stuff around the house.  I can’t stand “bunking” with a bunch of other people in a large room on a small bed.  I’m introverted – being around a bunch of people I don’t know makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t really know people at Open Door, I’d be by myself – who would I talk to for two days …  I’ll go next time.  I’ll go when I have more money.  I’ll go once I know people better.

These are myths, deceptions deliberately put in your mind by the Enemy.  Not outright lies, mind you.  He knows those would be readily identifiable and overcome.  But these myths have seeds of rationality behind them, are thus believable, and therefore become “truths” to us.

For example, “It’s too expensive.” or “I don’t have the money for it.”  Myths.  We all have money for things that we prioritize.  I see and hear it every day.  And so do you.  If it’s a priority, if it’s emotionally important or significant to us, we find the money for it.

Selah matters because it is a declaration that our lives and choices will not be dictated by the concerns of this world or by the myths and deceptions of the Enemy, but by the Values of the Kingdom of God. 

Selah is a necessity because it is in this brief weekend that we get to experience the blessing and privilege of living in community as illustrated in Acts 2 & 4.  As Jer might say, “we flourish because we are dedicated to the flourishing of others.”

If nothing else, Selah is a choice to sacrifice what I want, what I think is best for me, or what is comfortable for me, and to focus on benefiting others.  It’s a tangible, actionable way to walk in the way of being a disciple of Jesus by laying myself and  my personal concerns down.

Selah is a non-negotiable for me.  It’s a unique opportunity to build life-sustaining friendships, to get to know others on a deeper level, to step away from the noise of everyday life and hear what God is saying – and in so doing, to refocus, get recharged, encouraged, and re-energized. 

***My hope is that you will go.  If you’re on the fence, my hope is you will choose to go – or at least find me at the next gathering and talk to me about your hesitation.  If you’ve already chosen not to go, my hope is that you will reconsider – prayerfully ask yourself why you’re choosing not to go…and if it’s based on your wants and needs over the needs of others who just might need you to be there that weekend.***

I know one thing for certain.  If we’re serious about being disciples of Jesus it means we must be a community that is united and considers the needs of one another above our own needs.  Selah is a perfect springboard for making what we’ve been dreaming, visioning, and talking about a reality.


Serving Internally (AND) Externally...

Last Sunday, Elizabeth and I invited The Open Door Community to consider our shared life together as a family.  As is true in every family, our shared life is informed by values and is filled with the mundane as well as the high-octane. The values of submission, simplicity, & generosity inform how we manage our family finances, how we communicate to one another, how we learn & worship together, how we raise our kids, and how we live in Christ, with community, on mission for the sake of the East Bay.

Our experience of family life is possible because members of the family roll up their sleeves and tend to the "family chores."  As is true in every family, the family chores are rarely sexy, but they are necessary.  And, as is equally in true in every family, when everyone in the family participates in the chores, the family flourishes.

There are people in our family who have had their sleeves rolled up and who have borne the burden of the family chores for quite some time.  They are extraordinary men and women who, as a result of serving, have deepened in their relationship with God and with each other, as well as in their desire to see the East Bay saturated with Jesus.  Their tireless service has contributed to OUR formation and to OUR equipping for local and global mission.

We are unspeakably grateful for you...we see Jesus in you!

In order for the high-octane, formational shared experiences that we value to continue, the family needs ALL of the family to enter into the mundane.  As we bear the burden of our shared life together, we deepen in relationship with God & each other, and the watching world discovers a different kind of community that worships a different kind of God.  That is, as we eagerly maintain the unity that is ours in Christ, the watching world discovers the truth about who God is.

So, along with the portion of our family that is serving, Elizabeth & I invite YOU to enter into both the high-octane and the mundane of our family life so that our family might flourish and so that the East Bay would continue to discover the Jesus we follow.

Each need is briefly explained below and each role has been sustainably created such that you would serve once a month (12X/year).  We wholeheartedly believe that EVERYONE can serve 12X/year!

1.  ODC Kids Team Members.  Our family is growing quickly and the formation of our kids is our shared responsibility.  Will you join a once-a-month ODC Kids Team?  Email jaci(at)

2.  Sound & Media Technicians.  Both of these roles are so valuable in the context of our gatherings and can be learned.  No prior experiences is necessary!  Email elizabeth(at)

3.  Front Porch Tribes.  Be a part of our community of hosts who actively seek to initiate a culture of belonging.  Will you join a once-a-month Front Porch Tribes Team? Email faye(at)

Below are three specialized volunteer roles.  For a volunteer job description, email jer(at)

1.  ODC Kids Coordinator: The purpose of this position is to coordinate the implementation of ODC Kids. This volunteer position serves on Lead Team.

2.  ODC Communications Coordinator: The purpose of this position is to manage and direct Open Door’s external communications. This volunteer position serves on Lead Team.

3.  Budget Analyst: The purpose of this role is to champion Open Door’s budget through ongoing & thorough analysis.  This volunteer position serves on Resource Team.

Finally, there are other teams that you can serve on:

1.  ReCreate Team: Help Open Door create open-invitation environments where we eat, rest, & play together.  Email rebecca(at)

2.  Prayer Team: Join in the Prayer fabric of our community every/any Tuesday evening from 7:30-8:30pm @ 400 Orchard View, Martinez.  Email chris.schwass(at)

3.  Retreats Team: Assist in the development an implementation of Open Door's retreats (Discover, Selah, Core Team, etc.). Email jaci(at)

4.  Gathering Team: Bring whatever medium of art into the teaching and corporate worship of our community. Email elizabeth(at)

Friends, join in on what God is doing internally and externally for the sake of the East Bay learning to walk in the Way of Jesus for the good of the World!