• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
  • General Contact
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Incarnational Ministry

Every Christmas we celebrate the incarnation of Christ—the wondrous fact that the king and creator of the universe would take on flesh and be born into a “low-income family,” live as a displaced refugee in Egypt, and eventually lay down His life on the cross. Christ’s earthly ministry was one of sacrifice. Isaiah describes Him as “a man of sorrows acquainted with suffering,” who “bore our grief and carried our burdens” (Isaiah 53:3-4).

Nothing about Christ’s earthly ministry protected His status as Son of God and creator of the universe. In fact, as Philippians 2 says, “though He was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” The incarnation of Christ meant taking on the appearance and the sufferings of a hurting people. It meant abandoning the comforts and privileges that were rightfully His in order to demonstrate God’s love not just for hurting people, but for GOD’S ENEMY.

Christians, as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), must realize our lives and ministry ought to reflect the truths we preach about our Savior’s incarnation.  Obviously none of us is leaving our heavenly throne to live among mortals, so what does it look like for us “already mortal people” to show a watching world the life-changing reality of Christ’s incarnation?

In Philippians 2 Paul says it ought to look like this:

“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, and participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy be being of the same mind [....] Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the very form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, ....”

It is important to note that Paul does not call us to BE Christ—He calls us to “have this mind among ourselves which is ours IN Christ Jesus.” We are never called to be saviors; we are only called to point to our Savior, and He is the one who gives us the mind to do so.

Having this mind among us first means that we lay down our privilege and our position for the sake of others. Instead of defensively trying to protect our safety, power, comfort, or wealth, we are willing to lay those things down for the sake of another. If this sounds dangerous or counter-cultural, then you are hearing it correctly. This is not a call to liberal politics; it is an exhortation toward Christ-likeness. It is important that as Christians we constantly examine our hearts for places where we have idolized our personal comfort, space, money, culture, or rights. Our Savior, the one with the most rights of anyone, willingly laid them all down so that sinners like you and me might have the “right to be called children of God” (John 1:12).

Second, it means that we willingly enter other people’s pain as reflections of a Savior who took all of our burdens and knows all of our suffering. Paul exhorts the Galatian church to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). This means listening to and walking with others even when their pain makes us uncomfortable. Often our quick attempts to fix people or situations come from the instinct to avoid pain. We use “helpfulness” as a protective distance—dispensing band-aids rather than carrying burdens. On the other hand, “entering in” requires that we first feel the hurt of someone else before offering solutions. It asks us to walk in their shoes before we try to give them new ones, and it usually leaves us crying out to our Heavenly Father to heal wounds too big for us to handle.

Have you ever considered listening to someone who has experienced the hurt and oppression of racism in America—not entering into a debate, but actually seeking to help them bear the burden of that pain? Or have you considered applying the biblical concept of gleaning in your life—intentionally not reaping all of the profit that is “rightfully yours” so that others might find work and dignity on the margins? Maybe your family is called to use your vacation time and money to go on a mission trip to learn from and encourage our brothers and sisters in another part of the world. While reflecting the incarnation of Christ will look different for each one of us, we know that whatever form it takes, it will look like radical self-sacrifice as we lay down our “rights” for the sake of others.