Christmas is the season we celebrate the incarnational God, when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 ESV). Jesus invites us to also be incarnational, living as His representatives in our neighborhoods. Churches like Colonial Village Baptist are beginning to understand that this kind of incarnational living is an outgrowth of a missional life. Because they are living as people who have been sent by God into their neighborhoods, people like Ryan are finding refuge in these churches.

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Ryan is a veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, so being in a new space full of strangers can be overwhelming. To assist him during stressful times, Ryan has a service dog, Slugger, who goes everywhere with him. When Ryan and Slugger began visiting Colonial Village in Lansing, Michigan, veterans within the congregation rallied around him to show that the entire church welcomes both him and Slugger with open arms. Through this love, care, and support he was shown by members of the church, Ryan recently chose to be baptized by both pastors, Reverend Randy Morgan and Bryon Morgan. It is not unusual to see Ryan worshiping during a Sunday service while Slugger stands up on a pew next to him, wagging his tail as the congregation sings.

When a church undergoes a shift to understand the Gospel as missional and incarnational, they can’t help but manifest that change in how they treat everyone around them. All across the North American Baptist Conference, churches and leaders like Colonial Village and its pastors are recognizing that they will not grow or thrive if they continue to do church the way it has been done for the past fifty years. Instead, in an effort to be Christ’s representatives in their neighborhood, they have been attempting to put into practice some of the suggestions from Cam Roxburgh, NAB’s VP of Missional Initiatives.

The NAB International Office seeks to provide every NAB pastor and leader who desires it with the resources and training to equip their people to be representatives of God incarnate in their neighborhoods. One of the main sources of funding for this kind of missional training is the Ministry Resource Fund, which supports the continuation and further expansion of the missional efforts within our conference. Your gift will also go beyond the missional movement to play a part in supporting church multiplication, pastor and board development, leadership formation training, the establishment of long-term partnerships between churches in North America and their sister churches around the world, and many other ministry efforts.

Above all, every gift to the Ministry Resource Fund is directly supporting the incarnational ministries of pastors and leaders throughout the NAB. Thank you for choosing to take part in this missional movement with us.

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