Questions for Mike and Sky
We did not include the few theological questions that were asked of Mike in this list. If all goes well Mike will be joining the Eldership Team and they, as a group, will be the “keepers of the doctrine” at King’s Harbor Church. Please keep in mind that the Elders did vet Mike theologically and they also invited two of the Pastoral Advisory Committee (local Pastors who came alongside and served KHC during a particularly difficult season) to interview Mike as well.
All that to say, if you have questions about where KHC stands theology, please visit our Doctrinal Statement webpage. To see where KHC currently lands on the 5-continuum secondary issues click here. If you’d like to know more you can contact the Elders and/or make an appointment to speak with one of them.
Questions for Mike…
Questions related to The Village Church:
Is there any current or future anticipation of affiliating with “The Village.”
The Village has been a gift to me professionally and even more so personally. There will always be a relational connection, but I do not think there will be a specific organizational affiliation.
Since your lead pastor, Matt Chandler, has also been part of leadership and involved with Acts 29, what are your thoughts on Acts 29?
I think Acts 29 has been and will continue to be an important voice in regards to planting churches. I am thankful for their evaluation process for pastors and church planters and the brotherhood their network aims to provide. This is a great potential option for a network affiliation.
What are some take-aways from your time at the Village Church that you might find useful at KHC, both for yourself personally and for the church itself?
Regarding takeaways for myself, soul care has been game changing. Being mindful of caring for my own heart and have places to confess sin and the safety to struggle with those whom I work beside is crucial.
I think for the church, I love how The Village operated in an active voice regarding the questions our culture was asking. I would love to see KHC develop a similar voice.
With great men and incredible staff of the village church and an opportunity with people who know you to pastor a large church in Texas, why are you leaving the church community you know, to come to a church in CA you do not know? How do you know the Holy Spirit is leading you to KHC?
I can’t say enough good about the way that the Lord was generous to me with my time at the Village. I think the Lord used the staff and elders there to affirm my call and readiness. But I also know that the Lord used that season to prepare me for this season.
Historically, the Lord has moved most profoundly in moments when I have felt an unusual peace in the midst of uncertainty or chaos. Throughout this process I have the Spirit giving me an unusual peace even though I am stepping into a new context and a bigger role than I have ever experienced.
Affiliation In General
At one time we were affiliated with Foursquare, and currently we have no affiliation. Do you have thoughts on KHC affiliating in the future?
I have hopes of affiliating with a denomination and/or that would embrace our Spirit-filled heritage and would hold us accountable to Gospel-centrality and biblical fidelity. I’m not sure who that will be.
Can you describe how you would be accountable to the Elders? How do you see your role in the church in contrast to theirs?
Organizationally, the elders and I will be developing ministry objectives and revisiting them regularly. The open communication about these will create great synergy and accountability for me.
Organically, my accountability partner Trent will have all the contact info of the elders. As he and I meet weekly, if there are any habitual patterns of sin that I am not fighting faithfully, he will have the right and responsibility to share that with the elders. I also intend to be open with the elders regarding struggle and sin and confess those things to them quickly.
How do you see the first year going at KHC and do you have any particular vision for the church?
I am hopeful for this first year at KHC. I am thankful for Gregg’s faithfulness and the stability he has fostered among the church. In this first year, I want to further instill vision and identity into the people of KHC and develop our unique understanding of how the Lord has called us to serve the South Bay. Our ability to live out the Scriptures and walk in humble vulnerability is crucial for this first year.
How will you bridge the gap between those who do and do not embrace Calvinism?
I think there is a hope to remind both groups of believers that they agree upon more in Gospel than they disagree regarding secondhand issues. I also always want to point the body of believers to be charitable and humble listeners and let the Word speak for itself, beyond theological positions that are often summary statements of what the Scripture says.
How do you think your experience as a Pastor Resident will help you during your tenure at KHC?
The greatest part of my resident experience is seeing and participating in the ways that our team of elders functioned. Understanding both the organic nature of pursuing consensus and the organizational demands of shepherding and guarding doctrine were gifts to me.
Do you feel that books/movies such as “The Shack” are okay- to help us have “open minds” about who/what God really is?
Disclaimer: I have not read or seen the Shack.
I always want to put things like the Shack in their proper place. They are not authoritative in any way and should not be used as a source for shaping an individual’s theology.
With that said, while the Shack is not authoritative truth, I think it points to things that are true. I think the response to the Shack gives us a unique insight into the how our culture perceives the Lord and gives us an opportunity to point them to how the Gospel presents a more true and beautiful vision of what they are seeking.
Traditional and Biblical sexual identity and ethics are today considered outdated and even oppressive. How would you maintain biblical standards of sexuality in your church while at the same time ministering grace and truth and love to those that are confused or uncertain about them?
This will be the increasing challenge for the church as Christian morality because less normative in every segment of culture. I think where we have often misrepresented the Gospel is we have missed the element of joy that the Lord intends for those who obey him. Obedience without joy is drudgery and joy without obedience is false. Proclaiming the Christian sexual ethic in the context of the Lord’s desire for our joy and flourishing is a different conversation than just rules. I also think being better listeners to those who would oppose our sexual ethic and being gracious in our Biblical response is crucial.
What is your priority for racial diversity in the church?
As important as I believe racial diversity is, it is not the Gospel. However, I do believe that it is a fruit of the Gospel. One of the most profound elements of New Testament theology is that people who were once not a people are now one new man in Christ (Ephesians 2). It seems that as the vertical reconciliation with the Triune God takes place, it equips men and women to reconcile across all demographic lines. Therefore, we should strive for this to be true among us.
How to you view the concept of truth? Telling the truth? Are feelings more important than truth?
Truth is an objective proposition that exists beyond interpretation or agreement. While feelings are important, they do not diminish or alter truth. Feelings are important indicators of how someone is interacting with truth, both positively and negatively, and while we speak truth we must be aware to respond to feelings rightly and guiding our hearers to truth.
Any particular focus you want to see KHC implement tangibly or intangibly?
I would love to develop the ability for KHC to live as community groups on mission. The ability for individuals to be confident in their Gospel fluency and the readiness of the church to receive those who are hearing the Gospel outside of our walls is an exciting prospect.
As a pastor how important is it to stay informed on what is happening in the church e.g. youth dept., music dept., etc.?
I believe the sign of a good leader is to not know all the details, otherwise so much of what an organization does runs the risk of being bottled necked.
I want to serve our team, but I also want to trust them to lead as God has gifted them. I think collaboration and feedback are key, but once parameters have been agreed upon, I want the staff to feel supported and free to use their gifts without fear of me hovering over them.
Can you share with us your most profound “God Moment” in the process of bringing you here?
I recently had a call with a brother who leads a church planting network in New York. In the course of our conversation, he said to me, “Sometimes the Lord reveals himself at Damascus (Acts 9), other times he reveals like Emmaus (Luke 24),”- meaning sometimes the Lord reveals in a sudden, dynamic way and other times, you walk with him slowly and realize how is he moving over time.
This process has been Emmaus. And looking back and seeing the Lord’s hand through all of this has been humbling.
Do you have plans to continue education for a degree in theology?
My hope is always to be a life-long learner, but I am not sure if that will take place at a seminary. This journey towards becoming a lead pastor alongside Sky and I’s hope for children soon have caused me to place a hold on continued education for the foreseeable future. That will be a conversation that the elders will consider as we discuss my professional development plan.
Do you feel willing, as much as possible, to commit to KHC and the South Bay for the Long Term? (My concern is that you might outgrow us quickly and move on to bigger and better once you get a handle on things here.)
Thank you, I think this question is such a charitable view of my potential. I am humbled.
Author Zack Eswine has commented that the seductive lie of American ministry is “bigger, faster, more famous”. So often the measure of good for us in Western culture is how renowned our church can become. May the Lord save us all from this. As much as we can, Sky and I want to be deeply rooted among a people for a long time. As the Lord wills, we want to grow old with a church where our kids were raised and we got to watch the Lord transform a city over time.
What are some ways you make time for one another and your marriage when the weekends are often workdays for a pastor?
I strive to be home when I home. By this I mean, I try to detach from email and try to strictly limit my meetings that take place in the evenings.
Sky and I try to have slow Saturday mornings where we can have breakfast or brunch together. We also try to have at least two evenings during the week where it is just us- whether at home or dinner somewhere.
How do you guard your marriage?
It is all the little things. Sky has access to my computer, phone and iPad. We have friendships and older couples who we lean into for counsel. We work hard at being friends and I heed her voice when she expresses concern.
I also have great accountability among the brothers I walk with that calls us to ask one another the tough questions regarding temptation and sexual purity.
Questions for Sky…
Please describe for us how you pursue your personal relationship with God?
That’s a great question. I think my answer may reflect how many of you would respond-
- Study. I try to be in the Word on a regular basis without it becoming a ritual or a checkmark on my list. What has worked for me is the app, “She Reads Truth”. There are several plans and helpful tools within this app that have helped me to understand His Word and who He is, and to be in a rhythm of reading and growing.
- Prayer and Worship. This may seem silly, but I love to utilize my commute to and from work as a time for worship, focusing on Him, and lots of prayer! I always tell people- I’ll be praying for you every morning and afternoon! My commute was a stressful part of my day that turned into a really sweet time between me and the Lord. I also occasionally meet with a mentor in Dallas to have dinner and pray with afterwards. I’m praying that the Lord would bring me a mentor at KHC so that I can continue to mature- have a better prayer life, learn how to love deeper, learn how to know Him more.
- Community and confession. Spending time with other believers and confessing where I am weak. Confessing my sins with other believers, including Mike, has shaped better accountability in my life. I work with so many faith “giants” that have served in Bible Translation for years. Those people have become my mentors and have changed my life through their mentorship.
All this to say- sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I don’t read my devotional and I’d rather listen to pop music on my commute to work and I don’t make the time to be in community. Even though I work for an incredible ministry and my husband is a pastor, sometimes I get discouraged and become complacent in areas like my time, money, and energy. My hope is that when I stumble, I stumble forward hoping to be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Philippians 3:9).
How involved will you be at KHC? Active in Women’s Ministry? Would you be attending church and active with the congregation or more of a silent/behind the scene wife?
I want to know you and be known by you. To me, this means truly being in community with the women at KHC. While I realize the same depth of relationship with everybody is impossible, my desire is to know you and your story, whether that’s going on a coffee date, opening up our home for dinner, etc. My desire is to be known by you- that I would be more than a name and face to you, that you would know my passions, that you would be able to speak into my life, etc.
I want to serve you (the women of KHC) well. If the Lord sees fit to place me in Women’s Ministry, with joy, I would serve in that capacity.