God is using our wonderful brothers and sisters to continue to work in and through NAB churches in various neighborhoods, both in North American and beyond. One of the ways the NAB seeks to encourage our fellow Christ followers in their missional journeys is through Blue Ocean.
Dave Steinhart was one of the original attenders of Blue Ocean. Dave passed on his endorsement of Blue Ocean to Drew and Carissa Steinhart. They attended a later round of Blue Ocean as they were busy launching a new congregation for their church. After participating in the three sessions of Blue Ocean, Carissa stated:
Blue Ocean is an opportunity I’d recommend to anyone looking for a way to discover how the intersection of mission and formation is vital, not only to their ministry but also to their soul and spiritual journey. I loved meeting, sharing, and growing with people from all different types of ministries in various stages of life from places across the world. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is invaluable in so many ways!
George Del Grosso was invited to attend a recent round of Blue Ocean. Diving into all three sessions – Vancouver, Sacramento, and Chicago – he commented:
As a new associate pastor, Blue Ocean challenged me in my personal walk with Christ as our congregation strives to become more missional. The content, time of contemplation, and interaction with other pastors and ministry leaders created an environment for learning and growth in areas pastors are facing today as they lead their churches in communities that are becoming more post-Christian.
George is also now deeply involved in The Bonfire, which is for those who are committed to the missional/formational movement in the NAB.
Elton LaBree was also a participant in an earlier round of Blue Ocean. At first a little skeptical of the missional theology, he struggled to come to grips with the practical implications involved, but Elton was diligent and patient and open for conversation. Elton finished Blue Ocean and became a part of The Bonfire movement. Here is what he says about his story of change in the past year:
God often uses multiple factors to contribute to change in my life. It could be that I am dense. Or stubborn. Or busy. Probably all three! So I am finding the events of 2020 colliding with my current reading (Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey) colliding with Bonfire to bring new questions, new pain, and new joy to my life.
New Questions: Just what is the point of in-person physical gatherings of Christians? How does one lead a group of Christians through a time of drastic, unpredictable change? If normal has truly disappeared, now what?
New Pain: The loss of the scorecard. Nickels and Noses should never have been the point, but it was there.
New Joy: I am as lost as ever. And perhaps as found as ever.
God has more for us to learn and to do. As these people were invited to participate in Blue Ocean, we would like to invite you to participate as well. During this year of COVID, we of course cannot meet face to face, but we will be starting a Light Blue Ocean online in February. This will provide an opportunity for many who find travel difficult to participate. In order to register for this next round and join the movement, sign up for a brief informational session on February 2 at 6:00 pm PST to learn more about the content and the timeline.
Blue Ocean is but one of the opportunities that are available to grow in your understanding of what it means to join God on mission. For more information on Light Blue Ocean, The Discovery Project, or Ethos Online, feel free to email either Sara-May or Cam.