Frequently Asked Questions
You describe your church as ‘Jesus centered’ or ‘centered set’. What does that mean?
Reservoir exists to help as many people as possible discover the love of Jesus, the joy of living, and the gift of community. We find that the teaching and practice and person of Jesus is a clear and compelling picture of the divine and helps guide us toward the joyful life and rich community we want as well. So we aim to center our church’s teaching and practice around the teaching and practice of Jesus.
That said, we’ve observed that most churches and organizations tend to also have all kinds of other hidden values and norms and expectations for who does and doesn’t belong. We call that policing of who’s in or who’s out, that kind of anxious struggle to conform and belong, bounded set. And that is not our way. We welcome everyone, without exception, to belong in our community and to find their personalized faith journey. You will not experience any pressure to convert or conform at Reservoir. We will invite you on a faith journey, not command you. Your story will be heard, not judged. We find this creates a safe, welcoming, and diverse community and represents what we understand to be the winsome, welcoming way of Jesus as well.
I’ve noticed you use the phrase ‘third way’ to describe your approach to controversial issues. What’s third way?
Third way for us means our church doesn’t always need to take sides on controversial issues. It’s an alternative to policing people’s consciences and making definitive statements about what’s right and what’s wrong for all people, at all times.
The idea comes from a text in our scriptures, near the end of the book of Romans, when a first century faith community is having disagreements over first order moral issues that are tied to their cultural and religious backgrounds. The scriptures urge that community to welcome one another, to honor their own consciences without judging one another’s, and to prioritize love and unity and inclusion over insisting on their own way. We apply this case study and these principles of community and spiritual practice to contemporary controversial issues. We encourage our members to actively and continually discern God’s path for their lives and to trust that their neighbors will also do their own work in this regard. This principle results in a community that is humble, diverse, and inclusive, rather than uniform in our beliefs and practices.
What’s your policy on LGBT inclusion?
When we say that everyone is welcome at Reservoir without exception, we really mean it. We are a fully inclusive community. LGBT people are welcome as members, leaders, and staff (ordained or not) in our community. Members of our pastoral staff officiate same-sex weddings. We are verified clear on Church Clarity, an organization that asks churches to be upfront and honest about whether they are fully welcoming and inclusive of LGBT people.
Because of our third way practice, we don’t require that all of our members or leaders share the same views on sexual identity and practice. As a result, we have people in our community with all kinds of takes on many important, contemporary life issues, sexuality included. Even with this diversity, as a community committed to full inclusion and the dignity of all people, our LGBT members report a consistent experience of being deeply valued, trusted, and respected.
What’s your policy on women in leadership?
Since the founding of our church, we have celebrated the contributions and leadership of women at every level. We have female (as well as male) pastors, preachers, worship leaders, and Board members. Additionally, in our teaching and practice, we are very interested in dismantling expressions of patriarchy in religion – worshiping a God who is neither male nor female, but who has created all people in the full image and glory of God.
What is available for kids at Reservoir?
We have programming for kids most Sundays of the year and children are always welcome in our main Sunday service. As in all parts of our community, we seek to create a safe space for kids to ask questions and follow their own spiritual journey. Our Kids Church program for babies through fifth graders emphasizes worship, story telling, art, and play. Kids get space and time to ask questions and process what they’ve heard in story circle. Our youth group experiences for middle and high school students focus on integrating God’s story into our understanding of the world and our lives. We hope our children’s experience of Reservoir will be one where they discover the love of God, the joy of living, and the gift of community.