Compendent is doing a series of interviews with the staff of Sunridge Community Church in Temecula, California. The purpose of this series is to get a sense of how a growing Christian church has put together a group of uniquely gifted individuals to help the church make an impact in its community, and who can also help their operations run more smoothly.
For this interview we sat down with one a longtime member of the church, but a relatively new member to the church staff, Lisa Owens, Director of Outreach.
Explain your current role at Sunridge Community Church.
I am the Director of Outreach. In this role I provide direction and leadership among the congregation in the ways that we can be full and intentional witnesses of Jesus and the good news of the Gospel in our words and deeds.
You have been a part of Sunridge for many years as a congregation member and volunteer, what made you decided to join the staff at the church?
I felt God calling me to offer the gifts and resources that He has given me to the body of Christ at Sunridge, my church home. To me that didn’t necessarily mean being on staff, but the fact that I get to do this as my job means it gets a big share of my time and energy and allows me to invest in more comprehensive ways. It’s been an unexpected gift to be a part of this staff family, which causes me to grow personally and professionally every day.
What unique skills or perspectives do you think you bring to the Sunridge staff?
I’ve had the tremendous gift of extensive international travel, specifically spending time with brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, and it is a joy to share how God is at work in far off places and unfamiliar contexts. Knowing that we see just a teeny tiny part of this vast and diverse expanse of what God is up to in the world brings a necessary humility to church life and my own spiritual walk. It has also been a privilege to connect with people of other faiths both here and abroad, and that has given me a heart and openness to seeking to understand those who are different from us.
My seminary education at Fuller gave me a wide context of mission and all that it has entailed through the history of Christianity, as well as how it is understood and lived out across time and space. It exposed me to ideas and perspectives that challenged and equipped me to missionally engage the world and to help me inspire and equip others to live out this calling. It encouraged me to link arms ecumenically and break down man-made walls of division in the church. I’m also coming to this job with 19 years as an active member of Sunridge, and with that comes a depth and variety of ministry experience and perspective in life groups, women’s ministry, MOPS, children’s and student ministries, and as the wife of a former elder.
What’s your favorite part about your position and being a part of the staff at Sunridge?
My favorite part is walking with people as they discover and experience the joy of being ambassadors of Christ in the world, fulfilling their missional calling, in all the diverse ways we do that here as a body. It is also a supreme joy to be a part of this staff, where we link arms to serve the body here together every day with genuine love for each other and tons of laughter.
How does your role help Sunridge fulfill its mission of “Helping People Find and Follow Jesus”?
Every part of our lives, both as individuals and a congregation, can be evangelistic when we seek to live them to the glory of God and in submission to the Lordship of Christ. So basically I get to be thoughtful and intentional about the ways we can help people who don’t yet know Christ to recognize him in their life and in the wider world, and I get to help people who do know Christ follow him is his mission to reconcile all of creation to our loving Father.
Sunridge just celebrated its 30-year anniversary. What is your favorite memory of your time at the church?
My favorite part of being a member of Sunridge has been the community that we have developed over the years – people that we have loved and been committed to through many seasons of joys and struggles. When we began here, we started in a life group full of couples in which the wives were pregnant with their first babies. This past August those same families gathered again to pray over those kids as they went off on their freshman year of college. The church is called the family of God, and that is what it has proven to be for us – our family.