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14 COVER STORY: GRACE BOMB CHRISTMAS Teaching Pastor Pat Linnell challenges us to get off the bench and leave our Christian bubble this Christmas season by demonstrating the grace of Jesus through loving our neighbors.

12 LEADERSHIP PROFILE: ALLEN SMITH Just a few weeks into his new job as Bay Area’s Missional Community Pastor, Allen Smith unpacks his story of coming to faith in Jesus and shares about his passion for ministry.


6 BRIAN’S EDITORIAL: PURSUED BY GRACE Annapolis Campus Pastor Brian Hopper recalls the story of receiving the greatest Grace Bomb of his life - the gospel message of Jesus.

20 EVERY ONE A MISSIONARY: SANTI DAVID High-schooler Santi David shares about his passion for serving at Bay Area, illustrating how we can all live on mission at every age and stage of life.

We appreciate your comments and questions. Please email us at and a staff member or elder will respond within 48 hours.

Gatherings: Saturday, 5:20 p.m. & Sunday, 7:50, 9:20, 11:20 a.m.

MAGAZINE CREDITS EDITOR Meredith Thompson ART DIRECTOR Josh Shirlen ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Arianne Teeple LEAD DESIGNER Jake Williams SNACK MASTER Josh Burgin CONTRIBUTORS Abbie Hoekstra Michele Rollins

On the cover: Grace Bomber Pat Linnell Photo by Josh Shirlen

ELDERS Barry Willhite Bill Plenge Bill Smith Chris Heacock Don Wiley Greg St. Cyr J. Upton John Taylor Keith Riniker Ken Gilmore Merrill Hoekstra Peter Godfrey Rich Heath Roger Ishii Tim Grossman Tom Hogan Warwick Fairfax

884 Chesterfield Rd. Annapolis, MD 21401


BAY AREA LEADERSHIP Allen Smith, Missional Communities Pastor - Brent Squires, Student Ministry Pastor – Brian Hopper, Annapolis Campus Pastor – Craig Fadel, Easton Campus Pastor – Gail Wiles, Children’s Ministry & Weekend Experience Director – Greg St. Cyr, Lead Pastor – Janet Graves, Women’s Ministry Director – Jason Barthelemy, Odenton Campus Pastor - Jerry Shirlen, Financial Administrator – Jocelyn Sacks, Missional Community Director – Jonathan Madrid, Worship Leader – Josh Shirlen, arts – Leanne Lane, Care Network Director – Meredith Thompson, Communications Director – Michele Rollins, Short Term Missions Director - Pat Linnell, Teaching Pastor – Ron Dutton, Operations Director –

For a comprehensive list of all BACC staff, elders and deacons, please visit D E C E M B E R GO&MAKE 3



ne of the reasons we love Christmas at Bay Area is because so many people visit for the first time. Nothing brings us more joy than welcoming guests. Perhaps a neighbor or someone at work invited you. Maybe you found us online or came to Trunk or Treat. We’re glad you are here! We put a lot of effort into the Christmas season because we want you to feel loved and have an encouraging worship experience with us. As I write this month’s Letter from the Lead, you are on my mind. Here are a few things I’d like you to know about Bay Area Community Church. First, all of us have struggles. We are needy people. Name the struggle: cancer, financial pressure, issues at work, relational hurts, family challenges, disappointments, the loss of a loved one… we can check all the boxes. You’ll meet real and relatable people here who can empathize. Yet in the midst of real-life problems, we challenge each other to focus our eyes on Jesus, not our problems. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the problems aren’t real and serious. It’s just that God calls us to focus on Him in surrender and faith. Surrender means turning all the anxiety and uncertainty over to Him. Faith says “yes” to whatever He is telling us to do. Faith says, “I do believe God is in control, He loves me, and He will work things out for my good if I trust Him.” As we focus on Jesus, He gives us peace and wisdom to walk through the hurts and struggles, knowing that He is with us. At Bay Area, you’ll constantly be challenged to focus on Jesus. Next, all of us need friends. Most of us, if we slow down long enough, come to the painful discovery that we are lonely. We long for friends, yet the lifestyle we lead works against true community. Here is some good news: God wants to be your best friend. He created us for an intimate, personal relationship with Himself. Yet our sin has alienated us from the One who loves us and has our best in mind. Out of

love, God takes all the initiative in sending Jesus to die for our sin debt so we could be reconciled with Him. The Lord is to be your best friend. But it doesn’t stop there. The church is to be a place where true friendship can be found. We are actually referred to as “brothers and sisters in Christ.” That means we are to relate like a close-knit family. Even the closest families don’t get it right all the time, and we don’t. But we are striving to help everyone (that includes you) find a community of true friends here. Finally, all of us have a desire to make a difference in the world. “Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?” are deep-seated longings of the soul. It’s our natural tendency to look for significance in the pursuit of lesser things. Certainly material possessions, wonderful vacations, and athletic or work accomplishments should be viewed as grace from God, but our heart-cry is never satisfied in them. You were made by God, for a relationship with God, to be used for God’s purposes in the world. At Bay Area, we’ll do all we can to help you make a real difference in the world. We do this by challenging you hard to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” When you put Jesus on the throne of your heart, God will use you in great, awesome and fulfilling ways! There is so much more I’d like to say to you but just know this: We’re glad you are here! Whether you come just one time or end up making Bay Area your home church, you’ve blessed us this Christmas season by sharing in the worship of the Incarnate Son of God who loves you, died for you, knows all about you, and has a wonderful plan for you. Bay Area exists to make passionate, maturing followers of Jesus from here to the nations. We welcome you to lock arms with us in this life-transforming, worldchanging mission. Merry Christmas!

From here to the nations,

Greg St. Cyr Lead Pastor

Greg St. Cyr is the lead pastor at Bay Area Community Church and a monthly contributor to GO&MAKE.


By Brian Hopper


henever we listen to Pat talk about Grace Bombs, we hear amazing stories of generosity and kindness displayed to friends, family and even strangers. Those stories are not only impactful, but also real glimpses of grace – those unearned displays of goodness. When I think of bombs, naturally my first inclination is to think of something horrible and destructive. That’s what I like about Grace Bomb – it changes my perspective from something evil and destructive into something equally drastic, but good. Years ago, my girlfriend (now wife) Suzi and I were the recipients of a Grace Bomb that had such an impact on us, it changed the trajectory of our lives. At the time, we didn’t know about grace bombs (Pat wasn’t around then to coin the phrase), nor were we aware of what real grace looked like. But a couple with two small children Grace Bombed us consistently enough, and graciously enough, that we responded to their love and friendship, which led us to a new relationship with Jesus. Suzi and I were living together, I had just graduated from culinary school, and we had opened a restaurant/catering business, which was our dream. Six days a week, sometimes 20 hours a day we worked and served the people in and around our town. Suzi ran the front of the house with our small waitstaff and I ran the back of the house with our cooks and dishwashers. We worked hard, and we had a blast. There were lots of regulars who came in to eat every week, but one family in particular stood out; they got to know Suzi first, and eventually me. As our relationship with this couple, Doug and Debbie, and their kids grew, we began to notice that they were different, in a good way. They would engage Suzi in conversation, take the time to stay longer and chat, and genuinely cared about how we were doing. This kindness drew us to them; we could feel its authenticity. Eventually, we began to spend time together on our day off, calling or visiting them at their house for dinner. It seemed weird at first because we really were unsure why they cared so much about us. But they were normal and fun and we liked them, and in these times together our friendship really took root. I recall Doug asking me one day about when I was going to marry my girlfriend. At first I was shocked – my own family hadn’t broached this conversation. I didn’t have an answer to his question because it had been easier to not think about commitment, but his challenge to me stuck in my head. One thing that stood out to us with this family was that they prayed. They prayed over meals and they gathered the family to pray at the end of the day. Sometimes we were there in those moments and were welcomed. Suzi grew up in a traditional

church so prayer wasn’t out of the ordinary; I had no connection to God but had witnessed prayer in her hometown church. However, the way our friends prayed stood out to us, as if what they prayed mattered and as if God was listening. We always left feeling better than when we’d arrived. And that was what ultimately made a difference. One day they asked us to join them on a weekend couples’ retreat with some other friends. We wanted to go, though admittedly were a little hesitant – we didn’t know the others and it isn’t easy to get off for a weekend when you own a restaurant. But God arranged it, and that weekend turned out to be a game changer. It was a fun time hanging out with our friends, but it was on Sunday morning that God changed both our life trajectories. They had invited us to attend a church service that morning and we decided to go. The sermon was on Romans 8 and the security of God’s love, and it had a profound impact on us both. So much so that afterward, when there was an invitation to anyone who had never made a decision to follow Christ to come forward, we went forward. By this time we understood that it was Jesus who had made our friends’ lives so appealing. We wanted to be secure in Jesus’ grace and to be able to show it to others, so we gave our lives to Christ. In hindsight it was easy to see that Doug and Debbie, all along, had been showing us the love of Christ – modeling it to us, serving us, while accepting us where we were. They consistently Grace Bombed us until we got to the place where THE Grace Bomb – Jesus – exploded our hearts. The impact of Grace on our lives made us want to change, and the Holy Spirit provided the way. I finally proposed to Suzi, we began to change our lifestyles to reflect the life that Jesus wanted us to live, and we began to Grace Bomb other people. We eventually sold our restaurant, moved on to other jobs, and began a family, but those months and the impact of one family committed to loving and serving people was the best Grace Bomb we’ve ever experienced. We are grateful for Doug and Debbie and remain in contact with them to this day. We don’t always know the impact a Grace Bomb can have. Sometimes it’s simply a kind act that makes someone’s day a bit better; other times it’s a consistent love that literally changes a person’s life. What we do know is that by Grace Bombing people freely and generously, as Jesus does for us, we make a difference.

Brian Hopper is the Annapolis Campus Pastor at Bay Area Community Church and a regular contributer to GO&MAKE.


Did you know there are several ways to give at Bay Area? In addition to cash or check, you can give via:

A recurring gift with your credit or debit card, or bank account transfer.

The Bay Area app

Giving Kiosks in the Annapolis Campus lobby OFFICE BAY CAFÉ EAST EXIT



In June 2018 we launched a 24-month generosity initiative called Unrivaled; through June 2020, all giving will go toward our goal of $16,500,000.

You can learn more or give online at







As men and brothers, we stand in a line, shoulder to shoulder, facing into the wind of everything life hurls against us - not out of obligation for one another, but out of a common drive to live and walk in truth together.

God ‘n Grits is an opportunity for you to meet other men, gather around good food and conversation, and maybe walk out with more than just a full stomach and a few laughs.




Bay Area Annapolis auditorium


12 Ways


Whether you’re in a drive-thru, a toll booth or a line in a store, an easy and fun way to Grace Bomb someone is to pay for the order of the person behind you. Sometimes this will even trigger a pay-it-forward chain reaction!

To Grace Bomb Someone This Christmas Season


By Abbie Hoekstra and Meredith Thompson



Shovel a neighbor or friend’s driveway. It’s that time of year where the unpredictable weather can leave our cars blocked in by snow. Be a blessing to a neighbor and shovel their driveway when you clear yours so they can go on to be a blessing to others!

ach Christmas, we find ourselves in the spirit of giving, and what better season is there to expand that generosity by GraceBombing the people we encounter in our day-to-day routines? If you’re ready to embrace this tool for everyday neighbor loving but need some inspiration, look no further. Below are 12 simple ways to load, listen for the Spirit’s prompting, and let ‘er go in order to point people in our lives to the grace of Jesus!


Pay for the person behind you.



Leave a generous tip.


Bless another family at the tree lot.

If your waiter is having a less-than-ideal shift, you can brighten their day by leaving a large tip and a kind note on your receipt.

Finding the perfect Christmas tree is a fun family event. Consider making it a new tradition to Grace Bomb the next family in line at the tree lot with an already paid-for tree!




Write a thank-you note to public servants.


Thousands in our communities work tirelessly every day to help keep us safe and well cared-for. Make it a family activity to write notes of appreciation for police, firefighters or nurses and deliver them to their workplaces.

9 6


Babysit for free. It can be hard for parents to find time to accomplish everything during the holiday season, let alone find time to spend with each other. This Christmas, Grace Bomb a parent or couple in your life by giving them a night off and offering to watch their kids for free.



Show your appreciation for your kids’ teachers and coaches.

Our mail carriers and post office workers work hard to make sure our packages are delivered by Christmas. Thank them by leaving a small bag of goodies and a Grace Bomb card in your mailbox or dropping off some coffee and donuts at the post office.

Remember the underappreciated influencers in your children’s lives – teachers, coaches and youth leaders – by giving them a token of thanks that matters. Let your child help pick it out, or better yet, make it themselves.

Host a meal for people outside of your circle.

This season we celebrate the ultimate Grace Bomb: Jesus.

Often, our holiday calendars are booked with dinner parties and fun events, but this Christmas season we can take the cheer a step further by hosting a meal for people outside of our typical social circles. Consider the elderly or a neighbor who might be lonely, and invite people you don’t know well into your home to share a meal.

Express gratitude to the people who get us where we need to be. This Christmas season we can be extra aware of the sacrifices made by the people who help us get to family. Whether it’s a flight attendant, Uber driver or hotel concierge, show your appreciation with a small gesture of grace through a sweet treat or thank-you note.

Surprise your mail carrier or postal worker with a holiday treat.

Leave a written encouragement for a friend or stranger to find. People tend to feel the loneliest and most insecure around the holidays. We can combat this by reminding people how loved they are with notes of encouragement. Leave a note on your coworker’s windshield, your roommate’s bathroom mirror, or the pants pocket of the jeans you tried on at the mall.


Share the Gospel. This season we celebrate the ultimate Grace Bomb: Jesus. God sent His one and only Son to live and die so that we would be saved and have eternal life with Him. Take a leap and share the good news of great joy with someone this Christmas season – it’s the best gift you could ever give them.

For more inspiration on how you can drop a few Grace Bombs, check out the submitted stories at





ALLEN SMITH By Meredith Thompson

arly in his college years, Allen Smith experienced what he calls a surprise conversion after growing up a Southern boy who believed he was already a Christian. He went to church throughout his happy childhood in El Dorado, Arkansas, raised by a mom who was a believer and a dad who was a nominal Christian. Yet it wasn’t until he was faced with sharing his faith in Jesus that he realized he didn’t yet know Him personally. Allen explained, “In my dorm the Campus Crusade for Christ leader lived next door, and he asked me if I wanted to go evangelize the dorm. I had never done that before, but I said, ‘I have nothing to do, so sure.’ He said, ‘Well I need to train you first,’ and as we went through the booklet I remember thinking, ‘Why have I not heard this before?’” In church, he had learned a lot about Jesus and life’s do’s and don’ts, but he hadn’t heard much about grace or the gospel. At the end of the booklet that Cru used to share about Jesus, Allen discovered a salvation prayer, and his life was forever changed. Within a few short days he knew something was different. Gone was his desire to be a part of a fraternity and other student organizations that solely offered worldly gain, replaced by new desires and a conviction to apologize to people. “Simultaneously, I had a huge appetite to read Scripture. I had never read the Bible before, so I dusted off the Bible that my church gave me for graduation and I read the whole thing over a couple months,” he recalled. “I was a molecular biology major, and instead of studying chemistry and all the other boring classes I had to take, I remember spending hours in the library reading the Bible.” With undergrad behind him, Allen again found himself with an insatiable appetite

for spiritual growth and little interest in academic studies as he considered a career in medicine. When he spent a year as a medical missionary intern in Guatemala, he packed his MCAT book and a book on systematic theology and ended up tossing the former in the trash. Though he enjoyed medicine, Allen routinely found himself distracted during his internship: Every time he was in an operating room, his heart was burdened to know whether the person knew Jesus or was plugged into a church. Ultimately, he was compelled to go into ministry. Back in the states, he proposed to his girlfriend Sandi, whom he met at Louisiana Tech. Nine days after they exchanged vows, the Smiths moved to Mississippi, where Allen enrolled in seminary to pursue his Master of Divinity in a missions track. Next, the Lord led them to serve as vocational missionaries in Peru. They left the states with two daughters, and returned years later with four. While in South America, the economic downturn back home impacted funding for the ministry they were a part of; during a board meeting one day, a leader asked Allen and the others present, “Can we do what we’re doing without the money?” No one answered, but God used the question to awaken Allen in the weeks that followed. Back in the states on furlough, he dove into Scripture and began to research how to have a sustainable ministry that wasn’t heavily dependent on externa funding. His pursuit led him to deeper questions about the nature and mission of the church as a whole, and in 2010 Allen said he was reintroduced to the Great Commission. “God used that season to bring strong conviction that the church is the main instrument to advance His Kingdom throughout the world, and the basic unit

of mission is making disciples,” he shared. “In reality, we were doing so many great things [in Peru], but we weren’t doing the best thing … making disciples.” With this fresh perspective, Allen’s fellow leaders allowed him to restructure the church they had planted in Peru with groups similar to Missional Communities as its backbone. Allen devoted his efforts to training and equipping leaders as discipleship became a primary focus. Allen, Sandi and their four girls – today ages 8 to 16 – returned to the States in 2014 with a desire to help bring a missional, discipleship focus to churches at home. Over the last four years, that’s what they’ve done, and today Allen says he works in his dream job: Missional Community Pastor at Bay Area Community Church. A few weeks into his new role, he shared his heart, echoing Bay Area’s vision of Every One A Missionary: “I am convinced that if the church’s basic mission is to make disciples, the most natural context for that is in the Missional Communities that make up a church. What I’m passionate about is training people how to be missionaries. A lot of times when people think of missionaries, they think of people in other countries, but the more I’ve lived as a missionary, the more I’ve realized it’s a family endeavor – it’s the body of Christ [reaching out together].” An equipper who loves seeing others flourish, Allen spends his time outside of church with his family, traveling and seeking adventure. A voracious bookworm, he also spends copious hours reading and exploring libraries and bookstores. Allen inherited a deep love of music from his father, who was a DJ, and he has passed that passion on to his girls. He most enjoys meeting new people, learning their stories, and discovering their unique personalities.



By Pat Linnell

Benches and Bubbles On the first Christmas night, the world was lit up when heaven came barreling into earth as God put on flesh. Now, it is the great privilege of the church to keep that tradition alive. But two words might be stopping you from carrying out this great mission of bringing more heaven to earth, and they are not words that you’d expect: benches and bubbles. This Christmas you are cordially invited to jump off the bench or pop those bubbles. This Christmas we encourage you to experience Jesus and represent the light of Jesus in a dark world like never before. This Christmas we are embracing the unexpected, pushing beyond cultural norms, and leveraging the element of surprise to point our neighbors to Christ. This Christmas as a church, we are lighting up our neighbors by Grace Bombing as we celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God, the ultimate Grace Bomb to have ever been dropped. It is going to be great. Let me explain.


and Prophets by telling us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Using a Grace Bomb card to give a surprising gift as the Spirit leads can serve as a natural bridge from the bench to the Golden Rule – like training wheels that get you riding toward the Great Commission.

Getting off the Bench For many of us we are somewhat familiar with the Great Commission of Jesus to go and make disciples (Matthew 28). Yet our participation in this command from the most excellent person to have ever walked the earth is largely aspirational. Most church attenders are riding the bench, not intentionally positioning themselves in a manner in which people in the real world would be able to come to know about Jesus, and figure out how to follow Him. These “churchy” activities are left for a minority of “professionals,” while the majority of believers spectate, hoping to catch some inspiration and motivation in their walks with Jesus from the seats. The problem with this as a spiritual growth strategy is that it largely excludes exercising the faith we are learning about. Faith is active, and without a living faith it is impossible to please the Lord. This problem gets compounded by many church attenders not even knowing how to begin to exercise faith in life beyond the bench, pew or blue chair. Merry Christmas, and welcome to the simple tool of Grace Bomb to get you moving. The natural bridge from the bench to the mission of Jesus in Matthew 28 is the Golden Rule of Matthew 7, where Jesus summarizes the Old Testament Law

The progression is most natural, isn’t it? Crawling is the natural step before we learn how to walk. Wouldn’t it make sense that before we have the courage to share the good news of Jesus, we would show the good news of Jesus? I believe this is God’s posture toward all of us – He leads with grace and kindness. Today, the sun is rising on the good and the evil, and God is providing health, protection and love to the nations so that they would perhaps reach out and find Him. It is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance. God loved us first. Loving people in ways that say, “I am here, and I care,” begins to point to the God who says the same thing at Christmas, all while giving us the fruit of joy that follows obedience.

Popping the Bubbles Now some of you reading this are saying, “Amen, let’s get more spectators in the game!” because you are already in the game. You are serving, giving and helping out in the church, maybe working for the church, and are using

your God-given abilities to build up people and make disciples. If this is you, I am truly thankful to God for you! While this servant posture is living out your faith in real ways, I have learned something over the past 15 years in working inside of the church and it is that it can become easy to confine our neighbor-loving to those inside the walls of our beloved church home. There have been many times I have personally justified not taking time to practically love my neighbor as myself because I do that “for a living” or I do that “at church.” We can unknowingly harden the borders of our serving to the extent that we start living inside of a church bubble. And let’s keep it real, there are worse bubbles we could be living in. Yet, this was no doubt the critique against the priest and the Levite in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, the “godly” people who busily rushed past the opportunities that showed up on their way to church. Grace Bomb is a tool for you also, serving as a reminder and reason to lovingly disrupt someone’s day who lives outside of the bubble you might have gotten used to. Use a card to pop a bubble. As I’ve learned, this exercise of representing Jesus in the world actually brings more life and excitement to your work inside of the church. Crossing those kinds of lines is what the first Christmas was all about.

“God loved us first.” 16 GO&MAKE D E C E M B E R

The Ultimate Example: When Heaven met Earth When we say we want to Grace Bomb people, we are also saying we want to be like Jesus and do what He did. Jesus crossed the line of what was expected, of what was necessary. He was the most surprising gift ever to be given, and upon His incarnation that very first Christmas, God told the world: I am here, and I care. What an amazing thing when heaven came crashing into earth. Humanity has never been the same. To be clear, Jesus did not begin to exist when He was born on earth. The Bible tells us that Jesus has always existed along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. This timeless and immaterial being entered into our time and our flesh material some 2,000 years ago to bring about salvation. The pattern of Jesus crossing the lines of leaving heaven and walking on earth continued in His ministry as He went on to cross the lines of natural law through His miracles, and crossing cultural mores by bringing His message to the least and lost. Jesus’ norm was to do the unexpected, and to surprise people by love. This led Him to complete his mission by His sacrificial death on the cross and triumphant resurrection – the final miracle that backed up all of His claims. In a passage most dear to the Christmas season we see God’s heart of loving us jump off the pages: She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means God with us) Matthew 1:21-23. As Joseph is being told in this dream, we learn that the incarnation, that Christmas, is God’s way of saying I am here (God with us), and I care (He will save people from their sins). Heaven crashed into earth, and then heaven told us to go and do likewise.

“The joy that follows obedience in loving our neighbor is a gift to be received this year.” It’s our turn For the entire month of December we seek to be reminded afresh of this great grace that God dropped on us by sending Jesus. The megaton bomb to end all bombs turned out to be a baby who came into the world crying and naked, only to leave this world crying and naked, all by design. His life has the power to completely change yours, and it is this

life and love we represent in practical ways with those in our everyday walks of life. The joy that follows obedience in loving our neighbor is a gift to be received this year. The small taste of grace that is experienced when getting a Grace Bomb is the gift for our neighbors, a gift that gently points them to the God who is there and who deeply cares. Practically speaking, Grace Bombing is simple: Load, Listen, Let’er Go! Take Grace Bomb cards all season long and keep them on you. They serve as a reminder of who Jesus is to you, and that you have opportunities every day to love your neighbor. Then listen. Listen for the small still voice, that prompting, nudge or leading of the Holy Spirit that gets impressed on your heart to take action. And let’er go – give your gift of time, words, effort or skill, or even your treasure (Grace Bombs are not always about money!) and use the card as the leave-behind, the ice breaker, to interrupt your neighbor’s otherwise normal day. In the spirit of spurring one another on to love and good works, let us know how you are being led to Grace Bomb people at And if you need some ideas of how God has led others, read or view some stories that are also posted online. The stories are a celebration of obedience and a source of inspiration. This Christmas season doesn’t have to be ordinary. You don’t have to stay on the bench or in the bubble. Giving gifts doesn’t have to stay in the confines of what is expected or culturally acceptable. The first Christmas reminds us that God is all about crossing the line, breaking the rules, and doing the unexpected so that we all might find love and be blown away by Jesus. Let’s join Him in that mission. Let’s show the world God is there and that He cares, by first showing the world that you are there and you care. Prepare yourself for action, lock in your target, and disrupt your neighbor with love, no strings attached. Let’s elevate the conversation of grace, and let’s all have a very merry Grace Bomb Christmas.


Worship At Bay Area: An interview with Worship Leader Jonathan Madrid

ith the busyness of the Christmas season upon us, it can be easy to get wrapped up in planning family get-togethers, attending office parties and buying gifts. Yet, it’s important not to get so busy that we lose sight of one of our primary ways of connecting with God - worship. Below, Worship Leader Jonathan Madrid shares about worship at Bay Area and how we can maintain a posture of worship during the Christmas season.

 hat is the purpose of Q: W

worship and why is it so important? What does the Bible say about worship?

Worship is a response. It’s ascribing A: worth or value to somebody or

something and bowing down to it. In a biblical context, Jesus says the Father is looking for worshippers who worship in spirit and truth. This means they think correctly of God. God is Love, yes, but He is also Judge, Creator and King of kings. Worship is the correct understanding of God and the heart’s response to that understanding. You can’t have one without the other. Isaiah 58 talks about how all these people act righteously, say the right things and sing the right songs, but their hearts are not in the right place. We have to know who God is and allow our hearts to respond to that with worship.


Q: What stance does Bay Area take on worship?

 verything is driven by this: An A: Eencounter with the glory of God

shifts perspectives. So everything we do from the lighting to the slides, to the song choice, to the fonts and the key of the song is done with the intention of setting the table so people can encounter that. At Bay Area we have three values that inform the “why” behind what we do. The first is that everything is Word-weighted. Every song we sing is fact-checked with the gospel. The second is that we want to engage and not entertain. It can’t be too concert-like, but it also can’t be boring. The music needs to be full enough so no one feels selfconscious so they can sing and sing loud. The third value is keeping purpose over preference. We don’t want anything that will distract people from the overall purpose of the gathering, which is to declare the word of God together. This is communal worship.

 hat does it mean to Q: W

have a good posture for worship?

To be present. We have to remember A: that God is present, that His Spirit

Worship is the correct understanding of God and the heart’s response to that understanding.

is all around us. So if the Spirit is present, shouldn’t we also be present with it? The Bible says to seek the Kingdom of Heaven first and everything else will be taken care of, so not to focus on the past or fret about the future, but to be present. Jesus isn’t asking to be first in your life, He’s asking to be everything, to be the filter through which we see things, think and act. To say that I’m putting Him first means there’s a competition. There should be no competition! He is holy, set apart – there is nothing that can stand next to Him. To be present is to be constantly aware of the kingdom of God in our lives, making Jesus everything.

Q: T alk a little bit about inward and outward posture.


 hat we say and do outwardly W reflects what’s going on in our hearts. I’m not asking you to do anything that the Word is not already asking you to do. We are told to sing loud with joy, to clap hands, to raise holy hands, to dance. We have to get away from this notion that God wants us to be comfortable. What He says is that He’s going to stretch us and refine us, making us into the person we are supposed to be. When we have a deeper knowledge of who God is, it has to change us. If you have an issue with stepping out of your comfort zone in church where it’s safe and the norm, are you really out being bold for Jesus with your neighbors, at work or at school? What the world finds most attractive is passion and authenticity. People will come into church who have never heard the Gospel before and will see passion and be like “I don’t know what this is but I have to stay here.”

Q: D  uring the Christmas

season, it can be hard to come to church without being distracted. How can we fight against this?

 ake a moment to just sit still in A: Tthe chaos and look around and see

His goodness in everything, being present in the very moment. We have to choose to believe God is good because of the very fact that He sent His only son to die for us so that we could be redeemed and have hope. Come into the gathering with a posture of expectation to be spurred on somehow. You will be encouraged or spurred on and will also take part in the spurring on of others.

 hat does worship look Q: W like outside of church?

ultimate calling is to be A: Oa urdisciple. Worship is not

understanding what is happening but choosing to believe that God is at work. You can’t come to church and have that be your only encounter with God. Like what Greg says, “a chapter a day for the rest of your life.” Use what you’ve received in church to spur you on in the rest of your week. Worship ultimately is surrendering your life to something. What are you going to surrender it to? Choose to submit your life to the rule and reign of God.



SANTI DAVID LIVES OUT EVERY ONE A MISSIONARY STUDENT EDITION By Abbie Hoekstra ive years ago Santi David and his family moved to Anne Arundel County, a big life change after living in Prince George’s County for the first 13 years of his life. At school, he didn’t know who to hang out with and ended up making some bad friend choices that got him into a little trouble. He and his family had been coming to Bay Area before moving to Anne Arundel, but Santi never really felt connected. Clinging to the biblical truth from 1 Corinthians 13:7 that “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things,” Santi’s family drew him closer and surrounded him in the midst of this transition. He remembers sensing the Lord holding his hand through that time and opening his eyes to the plans God has for him. In the past year and a half, so much has changed. He is excited about coming to church and Student Ministry events and is being mentored by a Student Ministry leader, who has been showing him how to be a more faithful follower of Jesus. Santi said it’s one thing to be able to recognize that a change needs to be made and another to actually make those hard changes in our lives. Santi sees the difficulty, but ultimately justifies the change, saying “its beneficial to me and my walk, whether I can see it now or not.” He is learning things about himself that he hadn’t realized before. Namely, he has discovered a passion for serving at Bay Area. A 17-year-old junior at Old Mill High School, Santi is a member of the varsity swim team, the lacrosse team and a French horn player for the concert

band. Aside from his involvement at school, he is involved in a large capacity at Bay Area, serving in everything from Children’s Ministry to missions. Two years ago he got to go on a mission trip to Ghana, where the team helped with a Bible conference. This summer he plans to go to El Salvador with a Student Ministry team. On Sunday mornings during the 11:20 a.m. gathering, you can find Santi in Children’s Ministry helping out with the 3- to-5-year-olds. On Wednesday nights you’ll find him at Amplify, Student Ministry’s weekly gathering for students, serving as an usher. This past summer he was a counselor alongside Student Ministry Pastor Brent Squires at Victory Jam for rising eighth-grade boys. Santi cites this as one of his favorite times serving at Bay Area because of the relationships he developed with two middle school boys in particular. “I got to show them what it’s like to be a follower of Jesus and help them mold their lives so they can be honoring to God,” Santi said. He watched them grow in their relationship with Jesus, while also forming a relationship with each other that grew into a great friendship. Santi still hangs out with these two guys, and he likes how his relationships with them have held him accountable to be an older follower of Jesus who lives out the very things he encourages them to do. The importance of serving is something that Santi’s parents have always talked about, but it is through actually serving that Santi has come to understand its impact and seen his heart for ministry

grow. Within Student Ministry, there is a leadership team made up of about 15 students who are excited about what’s going on in Student Ministry, come to all the events, and are involved in other serving capacities. They meet monthly to plan events and retreats in the upcoming season, mostly working out big-picture goals that the Student Ministry staff then puts into motion. At this meeting they also engage in a time of fellowship. Santi, a member of the leadership team, talked about how special these meetings are because, though a member of the Student Ministry staff is present, they are entirely run by the students. His advice to those looking to get involved in serving is to explore different opportunities and find that one thing you’re especially excited about. Santi emphasized that serving is “something anyone can do, you just have to look for places to serve. Just get out there and serve!” He encouraged those who haven’t thought much about serving to give it a try. Santi ultimately recognizes that serving is “what God wants, and it has helped my relationship with Him grow deeper.” He noted that the Bible talks about how faith without works is dead (James 2:17), and that if we want to truly know and learn from God, we need to be actively living out our faith. Bay Area’s vision statement is Every One a Missionary, highlighting that we all have an opportunity to live out a life on mission for Jesus, whether it be in the global mission field or right here in Maryland, whether we’re a child, student or adult.



ach December, followers of Jesus around the world pause to remember an incredible miracle - the creator of the Universe taking on flesh and dwelling among us. God’s great creativity is reflected in Christmas traditions around the world, and yet through them all you can see the unity of the body of Christ as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We asked a few of our global partners to share about their Christmas traditions in places like Belize, South Sudan and Southeast Asia. As we gather in Annapolis and Easton, they will gather around the world with the same message – God is here and, through His great love, He has come to rescue us.


Roaring Creek, Belize Belize has six major ethnic groups: Creole, Maya, Mestizo, Garifuna, Spanish and East Indian. Each of these groups has their own Christmas traditions! In the Creole culture on a Christmas morning we would get up around 8 a.m. and have breakfast. After breakfast, families exchange gifts, if they can afford it. As a child, sometimes we got gifts and sometimes we didn’t. In the afternoon, families will go visit family members in the area. It’s a time to catch up and be

thankful to God for guiding you through the year. As followers of Jesus, we would normally end the day at a friend’s house – playing cards or watching a movie, while those who aren’t Christians might use it as a day for drinking or partying. Christmas is a day to spend with family and to express our gratefulness to God for His guidance.

Korie and Alicia Williams

Bor, South Sudan The Christmas celebration is always a unique event in South Sudan, and it is marked with some festivals. Before Christmas Day, there is a Youths’ Carol in which children gather together to sing and perform dramas with an intention to create Christian awareness and awakening among the community. On Christmas Eve, Christians march along public roads. Here, Christians, especially the youngsters, joyfully sing hymns and Christian songs and play musical instruments like drums as they move along. It normally brings traffic to a standstill. It is an evangelistic event, a sort of Christian crusade that always attracts the general public.

On the evening of December 24, most Christians spend the night in the churches, worshiping until the morning of December 25. After the Christmas celebration, we gather in various churches either before or in the first week of new year to thank God for having been with them in the past and asking Him to bless their future. Here people sing, pray and share meals together. It is a joyous day to gather and thank God for all He has done.

Stephen & Elizabeth Mathiang

Southeast Asia Evolution, opportunity and intentionality mark our Christmas holiday. From our earliest days with a new baby, we celebrated in simple ways. Christmas trees weren’t to be found in our location, so with the turnover of expats, we bought a small, pre-loved, two-legged tree, which we proudly mounted on a box and wired to a window. Over the years, our Christmas collection has grown, and rediscovering the décor is a seasonal highlight. Living overseas, these decorations help our children mark the passing of the year and create traditions that connect us to one

another. Advent wreaths and books are cherished traditions as we sit on the sofa with twinkling lights and fans spinning full bore in the tropical heat. The commercialism of Christmas has been slow to reach overseas. Other holidays like Ramadan, Diwali and New Year’s compete for attention. We are blessed in not having to compete with commercialism and secularism, and can focus on the events of this special season – the birth of our Savior. Certain times of the year provide more natural openings to share about Christ.

We intentionally use this season to have our Muslim friends in our home and share the Christmas story. Our Middle Eastern friends are curious to see our tree, have their pictures taken in front of it and examine our decorations. One curious group of Iraqis marveled at our nativity scene, asking why the wise men were wearing traditional Arab robes. Even though our Christmas isn’t white, it is merry and bright. May you open your heart and home wide this year to share Christ’s love with those around you.

Family H

One day, people from every tribe, tongue and nation will gather together to worship God (Revelation 7:9) but even now, God is gathering a people for Himself from all over the world. Bay Area’s global partners are committed to our mission of making passionate, maturing followers of Jesus from here to the nations – not just on Christmas but every day of the year. To learn more about our global partners or ways to get involved, visit D E C E M B E R GO&MAKE 23


HAPPENINGS OUR MISSION Making passionate, maturing followers of Jesus from here to the nations

YOUR FIRST STEP New to Bay Area or want to get involved? Join us at First Step, a fun, one-hour gathering where you’ll learn about who we are, what we believe, and what your next steps are to get plugged into community and serving at Bay Area. Coffee, snacks and KidCare are provided. Take your first step at Bay Area by signing up today to attend one of the gatherings in January.

YOUR NEXT STEP If you are a part of Bay Area and are wanting to take your next step in your spiritual journey, Next Step is for you! Next Step is a twoweek gathering designed to help you grow as a disciple through community and/or serving. Join us the second Sunday of the month to connect in community or the third Sunday of the month to check out our serving opportunities. You can join either week or attend both to meet others and hear our heart behind community and serving.

BECOME A MEMBER For those who would like to learn more about partnering with us through membership in our mission of making passionate, maturing followers of Jesus from here to the nations, our next Ministry Partner Orientaion (MPO) is Sunday, December 9 from 12:30-4 p.m. To find upcoming dates or register for First Step, Next Step or Ministry Partner Orientation, go to bayareacc. org/nextsteps.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE BAPTIZED? For more information, contact: K-5th: 6-12th: Adults:

CARE NETWORK Sometimes life hands us struggles: loss of a loved one, serious illness, parenting difficulties, divorce, addiction and other challenges. These difficult circumstances can cause us to isolate, yet Jesus never intended that we walk through them alone. The Care Network is a free, confidential, Jesus-centered ministry for those seeking assistance. Call or email to set up a time to talk. We desire to provide hope and healing through a variety of resources both inside and outside the walls of Bay Area. Info: Phone: 443.837.3718

DEMENTIA CAREGIVERS SUPPORT Sunday, 1/13, 2-3:30 p.m. Alzheimer’s disease is life-changing for our loved ones and those who are caregivers. The Dementia Caregivers Support Group provides a place to connect with others who understand what you are going through. This will be a place to talk through challenges and learn about resources. Info:

DIVORCECARE: SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS SEMINAR Monday, 12/10, 6:45-9 p.m. Wondering how you will get through the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas? Are you dreading these holidays, knowing that things have changed and that happy memories from past years can’t be recreated? This seminar is especially for people who are separated or divorced. You’ll learn how to deal with the many emotions you face during the holidays, helpful tips for surviving social events, ways to give your kids a good holiday experience, and how to discover hope for your future. Info:

DIVORCECARE SUPPORT GROUP 1/7-4/8, 6:45-9 p.m. Are you separated, in the process of


divorce, or already divorced? Don’t walk through this difficult time alone. DivorceCare is a support group led by trained facilitators who have experienced divorce and rebuilt their lives through the help of this group. Each week the group features practical information, biblical teaching and encouragement to help you move forward. Info: Register:

IMAGO SAFE CONVERSATIONS LEARNING COMMUNITY Sundays, 1/13-1/27 at 11:20 in Dock B Discover a proven method for spouses to communicate in a safe and loving way. Safety is non-negotiable for a thriving relationship. Come learn a new way to talk and listen to your spouse, a way to eliminate all negativity, and how to deepen your connection through affirmation. Info: Register: learningcommunities

MARRIAGE MINISTRY SERVING OPPORTUNITIES Have you been married 10 years or more and have a desire to Serve Like Jesus in our Marriage Ministry? We are looking for couples to serve on the REFOCCUS team as facilitators to you come alongside couples who desire to grow closer in their marriages. The Marriage Enrichment Team is also looking for couples to assist in a variety of events this year. Info:

ENGAGED? We want to partner with you as you establish a strong, Jesus-centered life together. Through premarital mentoring you’ll be paired with trained marriage mentors who will equip you with the tools and resources you’ll need to succeed in marriage. Info: premarital.ministry@


Missional Communities are a great opportunity for people to connect in community where they are loving God, serving others and growing spiritually together. Info:

COMMUNITY OUTREACH GIFTS FOR CHILDREN Join us in our annual effort to bless children in need with Christmas presens this year! The last day to turn in gifts purchased is Sunday, 12/9. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, email

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY FAMILY CHRISTMAS BLITZ Sunday, 12/2, 4:30-6 p.m. Join us for Family Christmas Blitz at Bay Area Annapolis. This event is for the whole family, and it’s a great opportunity to bring your neighbors and friends. Christmas Blitz is a mashup of rocking Christmas music, extreme games and crowd participation. Your family will not want to miss this exciting, fast-paced time together. Blitz will be a fun, family Christmas memory! Register:

PAJAMA PARTY Sunday, 12/30, at all gatherings The Deep Blue will host a pajama and movie morning at all three gatherings at our Annapolis Campus for kids ages 3 and up. Babies through 2-year-olds can join in on the pajama fun and expect activities at each gathering. Have your kids dressed in their best winter PJs for a fun-filled Sunday!


SPECIAL EVENTS TEAM MEMBERS Our Special Events team has a need for adults to work periodically for wedding and funeral events at Bay Area. Individuals will serve as liaison for the family, vendors and church staff working the events; assist with set up and take down, trash removal, and clean up; as well as opening and securing the building after the event.

SATURDAY CHILDREN’S MINISTRY COORDINATOR 20 hours per week. The Saturday CM Coordiantor is responsible for successfully implementing Children’s Ministry during Saturday night gatherings. This includes preparing environments, leading and training volunteers, and overseeing the gathering each week. For more info and to apply:


GO Take the next step in your walk with Jesus and share God’s love in one of 12 locations worldwide. Learn more: Interest form:

SEND Whether you can travel on mission this year or not, there’s still a way for you to be a part of what God is doing among the nations through Bay Area. Give:

PRAY We’re looking for committed people to pray for our missionaries and global partners. This team meets second and fourth Sundays at 10 a.m. in the Prayer Room. Info:

On June 1, 2018, Bay Area began a two-year generosity initiative called Unrivaled that will fund our ongoing ministry at all campuses, construction of our new student center and children’s addition, and expansion of Christ’s reach from here to the nations. Our two-year giving goal is $16,500,000.

Pray for short term missionaries:



Average weekly giving in October 2017: $451,093 Average weekly giving in October 2018: $594,415 Giving participation in October 2017: 874 families/individuals Giving participation in October 2018: 821 families/individuals

24 hours per week. The Digital Communications Coordinator will serve on the Communications Team with the Communications Director. Their primary responsibilities will include managing and updating Bay Area’s website and social media accounts, as well as assisting with digital marketing and other communications projects.



You can give toward your Unrivaled commitment through the offering during the gatherings, online at, or by texting BACC + amount to 30131 (ex: “BACC 50” to give $50).

Our KidCare team has a need for adults who have a heart for kids. We provide KidCare for all ministries and various events year-round. Want to join our team of paid workers? Email KidCare Coordinator Ellyn at ellyn.


Our primary goal in Unrivaled is 100 percent engagement - that every person at Bay Area would ask what it means to put God first in their finances. To make a commitment, pick up a commitment card at an information counter or go to


Info: Questions:

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP MEN’S MORNING BIBLE STUDY Tuesdays, 6-7:30 a.m. in room 236 MEN’S EVENING BIBLE STUDIES Sundays, 6-8 p.m. in room 235 This study is geared toward helping men draw closer to Jesus while discussing and discovering God’s answers for the challenges men face at home, work and in society. Info:

Thursdays, 7-9 p.m. in room 235 Join Bay Area men to spend time in the Word and prayer, for fellowship and discussion, and for discipleship. Info:

MEN’S BREAKFAST Saturday, 12/15, 8-9:30 a.m. Join us for The Line: God ‘N Grits, a men’s monthly breakfast on the third Saturday of the month from 8-9:30 a.m. in the auditorium. The Line is an ipportunity for men of Bay Area to gather around good food and maybe walk out with more than just a full stomach and a few laughs. Register: D E C E M B E R GO&MAKE 25

SERVE LIKE JESUS INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT SERVING AT BAY AREA? Below, you’ll see a list of some of our most immediate serving needs. For a complete list of serving opportunities, and to sign up, go to

teaching on a relevant student series, and grade/gender-specific breakout community groups with adult leaders. Info:

MIDDLE SCHOOL CLUB678 Friday, 12/7, 7-9 p.m. Club678 is our monthly middle school hangout night. It’s a free, high-energy evening full of themed activities, games, prizes and more. Info:


WOMEN’S MINISTRY Register for studies and events at

QUILTS FOR KIDS Saturday, 12/15, 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in The Docks Join us as we make quilts for kids. Bring your sewing machine and we will provide the quilting fabrics. Bring your lunch to eat together. Info:

who saw them brought life-changing results in their spiritual journeys. And, the same can happen in your life as we meet God in this study. Cost: $15. Info:

“SERMON ON THE MOUNT” BY JEN WILKIN Tuesdays, 1/22-3/26, 6:45-8:30 p.m. We will learn what Jesus meant when He taught about our becoming a citizen of the kingdom of Heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asks us the same questions He asked His original audience. How should a disciple relate to sin? To others? To the Law? How does a disciple think, speak and act? Cost: $15. Info:


KidCare is available for ages birth preschoolers for Wednesday morning Well participants with advance registration. Cost $60/1 child, $80/2+ children. Space is limited. Info:


MISSIONAL COMMUNITY Being connected with others helps us grow in our love for God, for each other, and for our neighbor. You can find out more about Missional Communities online at missionalcommunities.

RIDES FOR MIDS Do you have access to drive into the Naval Academy? Are you interested in occasionally being called to pick up midshipmen for the 9:20 a.m. gathering? We would love your help! Info: Phone: 240-429-6252

STUDENT MINISTRY AMPLIFY Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Amplify is a mid-week student gathering. Each Wednesday will begin with an optional $5 dinner and hangout time at 6 p.m. The teaching portion of the evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. Each week will feature our Student Ministry worship team, Biblical 26 GO&MAKE D E C E M B E R

Join this group of senior women who support one another, love Jesus, and grow in their discipleship.

12/10, 10:30 - noon Join us for a Christmas Brunch potluck followed by singing Christmas carols together with guitar by Dana Toon. Info:

SIMPLY RETREAT: “BEHOLD YOUR GOD” Saturday, 2/2, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. When was the last time you were still enough to hear God speak? We invite you to experience our annual half-day retreat for women. Sarah Meehan de Solorzano will lead us through a deep and thoughtful morning focused on the truths of who God is, who He says we are, and how to respond during this extended quiet time with God. Cost: $20.

THE WELL WINTER BIBLE STUDIES “EYE TO EYE” BY MARILYN ANDERES Wednesdays, 1/23-4/10, 9:30-11:30 a.m. This study will cover both Old and New Testament narratives highlighting face-to-face meetings that people in the Bible had with God’s love, truth and power. Seeing the God


FIRST STEP 12/9, after the gathering If you are new to Bay Area Easton, new to faith, or unsure what your next step is, First Step is for you! First Step is a fun, onehour gathering where we talk about all things Bay Area Easton and help equip you to take your next step in following Jesus. Coffee and snacks are provided. Take your first step at Bay Area Easton by signing up today. Info and registration:



You shop. Amazon gives. Shopping online this Christmas? Consider using Amazon Smile. When you do, they will donate a portion of your purchase to the charity of your choice. Select Bay Area Community Church and support our ministry with every purchase you make. D E C E M B E R GO&MAKE 27



SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23 @ 4, 6, 8 P.M.



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GO&MAKE ISSUE #63 (December 2018)  

GO&MAKE ISSUE #63 (December 2018)  

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