VM MLT Ross Naylor-Tatterson says, “I am moving and jumping from project to project and then centering myself in Jesus in my quiet place. Now, I don’t do it perfectly, but I try every day…I follow the sun…”
VM: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me and let us get to know what makes Ross Naylor-Tatterson tick.
Ross: I’m happy to, but I will have to keep up with incoming texts because I am booking a flight to Indonesia right now. To leave tomorrow. I woke up this morning with no idea that I would be flying to Indonesia tomorrow.
VM: Wow! Huge thanks for taking the time to do this, we’ll fly through these questions in 20 minutes or less. What is your service in the Vineyard?
Ross: I lead the Without Walls Church in west Michigan and I oversee the Asia Region as the Asian Strategic Coordinator.
VM: Oh, I haven’t heard any one use that language of a “strategic coordinator” for a region. That’s great! So what does it mean?
Ross: (in his precise vocabulary and awesome Australian accent) There are two main foci. We focus on encourage existing US partnerships and leaders and creating new partnerships in regions other side of water. Then we also focus on working with indigenous leadership teams. We talk about the church planting movement and how it is going and ask what structures they need and support or training they need to keep moving forward. And I also liaise with other AVCs (Association of Vineyard Churches) working in the region as well.
VM: When did you first jump in to Vineyard Movement?
Ross: It was 25 years ago. In Perth, Western Australia I was part of the Uniting Church (a sort of Methodist church), and I was working on staff when we adopted into the Vineyard. John Wimber came over and everything.
VM: So how did you end up over here in US?
Ross: In 1986 I got married to a pretty west-MI girl working with YWAM. We were both working with YWAM and met in Singapore and got married in Hong Kong. Her family is from Michigan and so we settled over here after our YWAM days.
VM: *laughing* So you’re legit.
Ross: Yes. I got my greencard, then I actually became a legal US citizen on the very the day Trump announced his run for the presidency. Not sure if it means anything good or bad, but it is a marker for me because it happened on the same day.
VM: *laughing and nodding* I can see that. Do you have a prayer that you pray daily?
Ross: For me it is more a prayer of practice. If I don’t commence with the peace of God early in the morning, it is difficult for me to find it later in the day. But if I relinquish control early then it is easy for me to constantly return to that place of peace. I must be about seeking God’s presence daily. “Be still and know,” and “slow down,” are good for me because neither of them are normal life for me. I am moving and jumping from project to project and then centering myself in Jesus in my quiet place. Now, I don’t do it perfectly, but I try every day! Specifically I find it nice to set up several different places as quiet spaces. I follow the sun in my house. In my little places. Winter and summer are different places set up for quiet places. Summer is usually outside.
VM: That is really great. Maybe that will help folks who struggle the same way. What is your highest priority for Asia Vineyards and leaders this year?
Ross: My highest priority this year is that I want partnership leaders come to know what a wealth of leaders they have among them in their group of peers, other partnership leaders. There is so much wisdom there. I want them to tap into one another’s leadership skills and wisdom. And I want the same for the indigenous leaders. I get to see the strength of all this wisdom available, but most people don’t connect with others and they can’t see the resources available to them. They are connected to me; I’m like a hub and now I want to connect all the folks to each other.
VM: How do you unwind on your Sabbath day?
Ross: I do Mondays usually. And I like to take elongated time sitting in those places of quiet and peace in the sun.
Then periodically, about once a quarter, I take a 24-hour retreat. I check into a retreat center on Sunday night and check out Monday night. I take a big paper and write down a “brain drain.” That is I write down everything I’m responsible for until my hand aches. I let it all out. Then I ask, “God would you speak to me as I sleep?” and I ask the question, “What have I said yes to that you have not asked me to do?”
VM: I assume then that you get rid of all that He has not put on your plate.
Ross: Yes. If I am doing something He has not asked me to do, it is someone else’s assignment, so I hand it off. Oh, and I do watercolor painting. I’m not an expert. Apparently at 500 pieces you know what you’re doing. I’m at about 12 pieces. And I also read on my Sabbath days.
VM: Oh, another reader! What book do you recommend to challenge leaders to the next level?
Ross: I really like Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby’s book on leadership: Spiritual Leadership: Moving people on to God’s agenda. Oh there is a new one I’m reading too called,
The Virtual Assistant Solution: Come up for Air, Offload the Work You Hate, and Focus on What You Do Best by Michael Hyatt. Really good!
VM: With all that reading do you have a favorite book of the Bible?
Ross: Actually my favorite book is any book I’m reading with Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. I have his 7-8 volume set. Hold on a minute. (Flipping through the book which happened to be right next to him, for a publication date). It’s so old I can’t find a publication date! Any book of the Bible I’m reading with this commentary next to me is my favorite.
VM: I googled it. Henry began his work in 1701, and his ministerial friends finished it for him when he died in 1714. Amazing! So what is the Lord teaching you this week? Besides today when you get to practice missions flexibility as you rush off to the other side of the globe with 24 hours notice.
Ross: Definitely being flexible (laughing). But right now the Lord is taking me through the parable of the sower. Not with His point being the different soils, but He is highlighting the question, “will you be a sower when you are only getting a 25% return rate?” He wants to check my heart and know if I will I keep sowing if I have a 75% failure rate. “Is that good enough for you?” the Lord wants to know. But then He also is whispering that the 30-, 60-, and 100-fold return is actually coming out of that 25% rate. And I say, “Lord, I’ll take that!”
VM: That is such a great question! God’s questions always are. So a few quick questions for you: Futbol or Football?
Ross: Australian Rules Football, Aussie Footy
VM: Steak, chicken, or fish
Ross: Tell me where I am. (I can hear his mouth watering) In the US, steak, wait, nope. Fish. I’d say fish.
VM: Sweet or salty food splurge
Ross: Salty definitely. Pork rinds.
VM: Favorite attribute of God?
Ross: To me, it’s His mercy!
VM: Do you have any unusual talents?
Ross: I have a few fingers I can make to look like there is no bones in them. Do people really want to know this stuff?
VM: Maybe, maybe not. Do you have a favorite new technology or app?
Ross: It’s not an app, but Vanderbloemen’s Leadership Podcasts are my favorite.
VM: Ross, that brings us to the end of our time, right on time. Thank you for giving us this precious commodity today. May you be blessed with peace and plenty of leg-room as you fly, and wisdom and strategic thinking as you interact with others.