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  • Baptist Beacon

What the Incarnation means for your ministry

by Seth Springs



WATERFORD, MI – The Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) family is a diverse one. Across our network you will find churches of different sizes, ages, models, and ethnicities. But, with all our differences, the Gospel is greater, and continues to move us forward together. One Gospel-infused word that we often hear this time of year is the word “incarnation.” And, no matter our church’s size, age, model, or ethnicity, the Incarnation has serious implications for our ministry.

While you won’t find the word incarnation anywhere in your Bible, the Latin verb incarno means “to become,” and this perfectly describes what we see prophesied throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled by Jesus in the New. As John writes in his Gospel, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). Jesus came for us by becoming one of us. Out of love for us and a desire to please the Father, Jesus felt what it was like to be hungry, to be thirsty, to be tempted, to lose a friend, to be betrayed, and to die. I love the way Paul describes this great act of love in Philippians 2:5-8…


Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,

who, existing in the form of God,

did not consider equality with God

as something to be exploited.

Instead he emptied himself

by assuming the form of a servant,

taking on the likeness of humanity.

And when he had come as a man,

he humbled himself by becoming obedient

to the point of death—

even to death on a cross.

Did you notice how the Apostle started his poem? “Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.” The incarnation speaks to the way we live. The incarnation speaks to the way we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, whether we’re a new church or an established church, whether we call ourselves missional or attractional, the incarnation speaks to how we relate with those who are yet to experience this Gospel reality for themselves.

There is plenty of room in our network for the missional church and for the attractional church, but what could happen in our state if every church adopted the same attitude as Christ Jesus and became an incarnational church? What kind of life-change could we see if each church asked the question, “How are we strategically placing ourselves within our community this Christmas season” and planned accordingly? Every church can become a neighbor. Every church can put on flesh and minister to those within arm’s reach. Every church can empty itself, assume the form of a servant, and make a Gospel difference in its community.

As pastors and ministry leaders, we set the pace. Here are a few ideas of how families in every church, no matter size or model, can live incarnationally this Christmas season:

  • Deliver Christmas treats to the few homes around you. (You may even include a handwritten note expressing your care for them.)

  • Invite a neighbor over for a holiday dinner during the month of December. (Biblical hospitality opens the door for great conversations!)

  • Volunteer at a Holiday Event already happening in your city. (It’s not too late to jump in and you’ll be surprised how much a couple extra volunteers means to those organizing the event.)

No matter your church’s size or shape may the incarnation speak to the way we do ministry this Christmas and beyond.


 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Seth Springs started Transformation Church Waterford four years ago after moving from North Carolina. He and his wife, Taylor have been married for 9 years and have 3 crazy, beautiful children, Layla (6), “D” (3), and Lily Joy (3).




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