The Promise of the Pond

In a recent podcast interview I conducted, my guest and I talked about the “lifeboat theology,” a theological view with different names but fairly common in the 20th century. This view holds that our primary responsibility is to save people from the sinking ship of the world around them (the “culture”), get them saved, and then ensconce them safely in the lifeboats of our churches.

Don’t get me wrong – if anyone appreciates the blessing of salvation, of being rescued out of the darkness, it’s me. But I’ve always found this “lifeboat” position difficult to reconcile with Jesus’ exhortations to be “in the world, but not of the world,” and to be “salt and light.2019-National-Conference-PP-ad

As my guest and I discussed this, he made an intriguing observation. “In addition to saving drowning souls, what if we cleaned up the lake that was helping so many to drown in the first place?”

In other words, the pond we swim in has a lot to do with what we aspire to and who we become. That pond is the accumulation of everything from our relationships to where and how we spend our time.

Henry Cloud, in his must-read book, The Power of the Other, argues convincingly, that high-quality relationships help us bust through ceilings to our capacity. They impact everything from our psyches to our neurological wiring, enabling us to be and do things we might never have dreamed possible.

Metaphorically speaking, Cloud is talking about the best kind of pond we can swim in.

After more than two and one-half years into my role as CEO of Pinnacle Forum, I’m absolutely convinced that there is indeed a promise of every pond, either good or bad. If we swim with people who are devoted to Christ, are serious about maturing in their faith, and are intent on advancing the kingdom of God in the culture, we will rise with them – even as they rise with us.

I have found that just by being around such leaders, doing life together, talking about the books we’re reading, encouraging each other, sharing our joys and our struggles, that my life is blessed and better for the experience. I’m a better man and a better servant of God.

How are you spending your time? With whom do you spend it? Is your pond one that lifts you and others in it to higher depths, or is it holding you back and even pushing you down?

Would you like to unpack this with me? Then I look forward to corresponding with you.

My email is


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