Friday, May 15, 2009

Press Release on Otter Creek's New Preaching Team

Otter Creek, my home church, has released a press release on our new teaching team, Josh Graves and David Rubio.

New Preaching Team Joins Otter Creek Church

Brentwood church hires Josh Graves and David Rubio to reach post-modern generation and reach out to local community and beyond.

Nashville, Tennessee (Vocus/PRWEB ) May 15, 2009 -- The Elders of the Otter Creek Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, announce the hiring of Josh Graves and David Rubio as a new Preaching and Teaching Team.

We want to minister to needs wherever they are, but we are particularly interested in reaching our local community. These two young ministers are uniquely equipped to reach the post-modern generation within a few miles of our building that has not embraced Christianity.
Otter Creek is committed to addressing the challenges Christians face in today's culture. As a body, members are facing challenges hardly imagined a few years ago. And while Otter Creek is in what is known as the Bible Belt, on any given Sunday more people in this community are not in church than are in church.

These two very gifted, young ministers offer an opportunity to address these challenges in unique and creative ways. In addition to multiple services on Sunday, Otter Creek will be using new venues and new media to reach the post-modern generation. The Elders recently made new models for spiritual development through Bible study a priority, and this minister team is an important step in that direction.

Executive Minister Phil Gibbs says, "We want to minister to needs wherever they are, but we are particularly interested in reaching our local community. These two young ministers are uniquely equipped to reach the post-modern generation within a few miles of our building that has not embraced Christianity."

This new team is essential and necessary to the teaching ministry of the Otter Creek Church. Having these two men working together committed to God's Word provides an essential accountability and even motivation to pursue a deeper understanding of scripture and its application in the daily lives of the members of Otter Creek.

"In Josh Graves and David Rubio, we have two young, gifted communicators who can effectively connect the message of Jesus and God's eternal purposes with this generation and the generation to come in the greater Nashville area," says Fred Ewing, Otter Creek elder.

Elder Wayne Tomlinson includes, "The desire to meet our culture with the message of Jesus will place these ministers in many venues to share and teach the gospel of Jesus. The youthful energy of this minister team will provide leadership for the entire congregation as we strive to minister to the needs of our own members, others within the community, and people on the margins of society."

Starting at the end of the summer, Josh Graves will be the Teaching and Preaching Minister and will lead the Preaching and Teaching Team. Graves currently is the Teaching and Young Adult Minister at Rochester Church of Christ in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He earned his Master of Divinity at Lipscomb University and served as a Preaching Intern at Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville. Graves is working on a Doctorate of Ministry degree at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, and is in final edits of his book, Jesus Feast. Graves played college basketball at Rochester College, and is a Kansas Jayhawk fan. He is married to Kara and they celebrated the birth of their first child, Lucas, last week.

"Reaching a postmodern culture demands a fresh imagination. Relationships, grass-roots response, and risk-taking are in," says Graves. "I am eager to partner with David Rubio, the elders and entire ministry staff of Otter Creek church in this new chapter. Otter Creek has a long history of being Christ's church in the Nashville area. This new phase will be an energizing time."

Graves adds, "In an age when most Protestant churches are experiencing significant decline, Otter Creek has grown substantially over the last fifteen years. The leaders have a vision to continue to reach the surrounding community instead of playing it safe. That's why we're moving at this time in our life to join the Otter Creek journey."

David Rubio currently is the Youth Minister at Otter Creek Church of Christ. Rubio is beginning a 15-month transition from youth ministry to adult ministry. He will continue as the Youth Minister until the fall of 2010 when he will move full time into Preaching and Pastoral Care. Prior to his six years at Otter Creek, Rubio served in youth ministry positions at churches in Birmingham and Memphis. He earned his bachelor's degree at Harding University and recently completed a Master of Divinity at Harding Graduate School of Religion. Rubio was a track athlete at Harding, and is a Memphis Tigers fan. He is married to Becky and they have three children, Madeline, Benson and Charity.

"How difficult would it be for one preaching minister to find the energy to lead and teach effectively while also having the time to know and love the members of such a large congregation?" Rubio asks. "When you add the challenge of sharing the story of God at work in the world--our story--with the community around us, the task simply appears too much for a single preaching minister. I believe this team approach will actually help to energize our entire staff for the adventure of ministry both inside and outside our congregation."

Rubio adds, "Since my favorite thing about ministry is relationships, the partnership approach to the preaching ministry is a perfect fit for me."

Hiring a new minister is an important step for any church. Almost a year ago, Otter Creek set out on the journey to hire a lead minister. Initially a subgroup of the Elders led the process and last December the elders were joined by other members to form an Evaluation Committee. Both the Committee and the Elders, who had ultimate responsibility for the decision, have spent much time working through this process.

As leader of the preaching and teaching team, Graves will teach two or three times a month and Rubio will teach one or two times a month. In addition to Josh and David, the church hopes to continue to hear occasionally from gifted speakers like Drs. Lee Camp and John York as a part of a broader preaching and teaching team.

For more information about the Otter Creek Church, visit

The Otter Creek Church is a Christ-led, Spirit-powered, Grace-motivated family of believers. Our mission is to:

  • reach up through worship and holy living
  • reach in by fostering community and maturity
  • reach out through service, witness and influence

God is changing the world through us as we become Christ's presence in this place.

Any thoughts?


Jeff said...

I'm surprised you didn't get any comments Phil.

As a member of the business community putting press releases out all the time, I initially felt a little weird seeing my church enter into that form of communication. But, in this day of constant information processing, it seems like a good thing to do. I just wonder how many of those seeking are keeping an eye on the wires and say "Yes! that's the kind of church I'm looking for!"

All said, I thought it was a good press release. I did lose count of the number of times "postmodern" came up.

Preston said...

Sorry I'm so late in responding, Phil. I don't check the blogs like I used to. But I echo a point Jeff brought up. Issuing a press release is an odd way to let the world know that your big, white, rich suburban church is now postmodern. It just makes sense, though, if you're accustomed to wearing a suit and tie, managing employees, sitting in board rooms, and talking about customer satisfaction and profit margins. Kind of reminds me of Dr. Evil trying to get a hug from his son Scott: "I'm hip. I'm cool. Stop looking at me like I'm friggin' Frankenstein." Otter Creek seldom disappoints.

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