At its center, Christmas celebrations are all about the story of the Incarnation – the God who chose to close the distance between us and him so that we might know him better. Jesus could have chosen any number of ways to save all of creation. That he chose to be incarnational speaks of his desire to be with us, to be Immanuel. As followers of Jesus, we must desire to become increasingly more like him. Following his example, we must strive to live incarnationally, entering into places where God’s name is not known so that we might proclaim the Good News through our words and actions. By giving to the Ministry Resource Fund, you will help sustain the ongoing missional/formational training for incarnational ministry taking place because of Blue Ocean, Light Blue Ocean, Discovery Project, and Ethos, in addition to many other ministry efforts.
After his involvement with what would become Blue Ocean, Ric Olsen caught a vision of what it would look like for The Beacon, the church he pastors in Orange, California, to embrace the incarnational aspect of Jesus. “We rearranged our sanctuary so that the Lord’s Table is always center, and always present,” he said. Simply rearranging the orientation of the sanctuary – replacing the pulpit with the Lord’s Table – helped them to visually and practically realign themselves away from church as a production and focus instead on Jesus.
As followers of Jesus, we must desire to become increasingly more like him. Following his example, we must strive to live incarnationally, entering into places where God’s name is not known so that we might proclaim the Good News through our words and actions. By giving to the Ministry Resource Fund, you will help sustain the ongoing missional/formational training for incarnational ministry taking place through Blue Ocean, Light Blue Ocean, Discovery Project, and Ethos, in addition to many other ministry efforts.
Not only has The Beacon rearranged their sanctuary, they have rearranged how they perform ministry throughout the week. Ric said, “This change made all the difference in the world in how we see each other, our mission, and the purpose of our gatherings on Sunday mornings.” They have moved from seeing the church as a destination to seeing it as a sending organization, empowering their Community Groups to live as families of missionary servants sent as disciples to make disciples. They are impacting their neighborhoods for the Gospel.
This kind of reorientation has been happening – and continues to happen – all across the NAB. GracePoint Church in Lodi, California, is just beginning to understand what it means to practice incarnational ministry. They recently launched a Missional Living Team in hopes that the church body will see the challenge and the need “for groups of people or for individuals to go into their neighborhoods and start developing relationships in their neighborhoods or in their places of work or wherever they hang out with people,” said Linda Opp. Like Ric Olsen, Linda and her husband, Steve, the executive pastor at GracePoint, also took part in missional/formational training through the NAB, joining in the 2019/2020 Blue Ocean cohort.
It was their experience at Blue Ocean, Linda said, that “changed our view – going from the attractional view of the church to the reaching out view of the church.” The Missional Living Team is still in the beginning phases, but they are planning in the near future to host a Discovery Project, in partnership with First Baptist Church of Lodi, with the goal of inviting more people to understand what it means to be incarnational like Jesus. “It’s a paradigm shift,” said Linda. “When people start thinking differently, then things will begin to change.”
Whether it’s Blue Ocean or the Discovery Project – or even Light Blue Ocean or Ethos – there are a variety of ways within the NAB to discover what it means to be on mission with God, especially at the local level. For the past number of years, hundreds of NAB pastors and leaders have received a renewed theological vision of the church on mission with God, serving as a sign, servant, and foretaste of his Kingdom. They have learned what being incarnational truly means. Whether it’s through ongoing support or a one-time gift of $50, $100, or more, your donation to the Ministry Resource Fund will help supply resources, training, and support to leaders across the NAB, helping them to reorient their lives and their ministries around following Jesus’s example of being incarnational.
If you are interested in learning more about Blue Ocean, Light Blue Ocean, Discovery Project, or Ethos, contact Cam Roxburgh, VP of Missional Initiatives.
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