Intro to Watsonopolis

Watsonopolis is a place where the Watson family posts their writing, reflections, images and videos.

Most of the stuff we post are our own thoughts, wonderings, and stories that emerge from our lives, our living, the world around us and the world within us.

You'll find us reflecting on our travels, our faith, justice, and what it means for us to live well in 21st century America. 

You can follow us on twitter & instagram:
@watsonopolis
@LRodWatson

 

 


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Malibu, 2016After falling in love, getting married and finishing seminary, we settled into a Christian learning community in one of California’s poorest neighborhoods in downtown Fresno, Ca.

During our 5 years in Fresno, Lisa was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a campus minister at Fresno State University and urban project coordinator with the Pink House, an intentional Christian community and urban ministry training center. Through these two unique roles, Lisa trained and discipled college students and emerging urban leaders.

Matthew was on staff as a project director with One by One Leadership, a faith-based nonprofit community development organization. Through his role at One by One, Matthew trained pastors, church leaders and volunteers in effective outreach strategies and volunteer management best practices. Matthew also served as a lay pastor at Fresno, First Baptist Church and adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific University.

After visiting the Faith Alive Foundation in 2005, in 2006, we were commissioned by church and our Fresno community to serve in Jos at Faith Alive.

Nigeria, 2006In Nigeria, we served alongside a community of medical professionals, ministers, volunteers and other people of peace locked in a fight against HIV/AIDS in central Nigeria. During our time there we saw people fully live, die with honor, marry the person of their dreams, open businesses that help those living in poverty, love Jesus and hate the brokenness in the world.

 

 However, our time in Nigeria was cut short. During a brief trip back to the US in 2007, we discovered our visa application was rejected and the door for us to return to Nigeria had unexpectedly closed.

In the midst of this disappointing news, our alma mater, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary hearing about our situation, tapped us on the shoulder and asked if we’d be the Missionaries in Residence for the Fall 2007 semester and teach classes in their school of Missions. So we spent a season living in the San Francisco Bay Area, training future pastors and missionaries and sharing our stories and lives with the next generation of congregational and community leaders. You can see a bit more about that journey here.

Then along came a young, wild congregation from the land of Elvis, B.B. King and Barbeque that caught our attention. They expressed a desire to love God and genuinely love their neighbors; those close by and those far away. They asked if we would want to join them. We said yes and after 10 years in California, our growing circus nestled on the banks of the Mississippi in a little place called Memphis.

During our years in Memphis, the Watson family grew from 3 to 5 and Lisa began a new adventure where she started a ministry to care for immigrants, refugees and the undocumented and later joined the staff of the Christian Community Development Association where she led the efforts to provide training and tools for pastors and ministers serving in marginalized communities.

Memphis shaped us in ways beautiful and deepened our heart for the unpredictable and expansive Kingdom of God. And yet, God wasn't done sending us places. 5 years after settling in Memphis, we were sent out again, this time as church planters to Washington, D.C. 

The White House, 2014Initially we joined with a young, vibrant congregation in the heart of D.C. The District Church showed us what it could look like to be rooted in a neighborhood in the nation's capitol faithfully proclaiming God's good story and joyfully displaying God's good love to the people that call this majestic city home.

Eventually, we planted a new church out of the District Church - Christ City Church, which is where we find ourselves now. Matthew is pastoring Christ City, a young, neighborhood church in Washington, D.C. that is looking to see God's Kingdom on display in each life and every sphere of life. 

To that end, Matthew & Lisa do their best to live and love well in the streets and alleyways of the city that has captured their hearts, prayers and imaginations. This blog chronicles many of those experiences.