What is Blue Ocean?
Blue Ocean Faith is a movement started to reach out to people who wouldn't normally think about attending a church:
The Blue Ocean Faith movement grew out of an experiment. A group of people set out to start a church in an area where church just wasn’t a thing: Cambridge, MA. Blue Ocean Strategy is an approach to business, that looks at approaching the market in a different way. The founders of the Blue Ocean Faith movement took this approach and applied it to meeting the needs of their community.
As Blue Ocean Faith has grown, we’ve developed nine perspectives that shape the way we do church:
1. We need connection more than we need answers.
We recognize that connection to others and to something bigger than ourselves is more important than having the answers in life, especially when we don’t have the answers!
2. Everyone is us.
We recognize the deep relational richness that comes by including everyone!
3. There really is something going on out there.
We have a mystical side. The universe is richly relational, which points us toward a relational being, larger than ourselves.
4. By and large, we flow easily within secular culture.
Secular culture, like religious culture, is just a culture, with good and bad qualities. Both have a richness to offer and we seek to learn from everything we encounter.
5. There’s no bad news in connecting with God.
We wonder if God’s most-central mission statement towards us is “to do us good with all God’s heart and soul.”
6. Jesus has proven to be a particularly helpful North Star.
We often contribute to this “everyone is us” world by describing how we’ve found particular help by falteringly redirecting ourselves Jesus’ way.
7. We grow by taking our own unique, high-risk journey.
Everyone’s faith journey is unique and valuable. Recognizing this, we try to encourage one another along the way through rich relationships.
8. My drive to judge other people is a big problem.
Many of us come from backgrounds in which good people are expected to “draw clear lines” against evil people. But we’ve found that our quick urge to judge people has in fact been the bigger problem for us.
9. Everything is shot through with meaning.
God’s reality is much bigger than we can grasp. When we recognize this and allow room for wonder, the possibilities for growth and insight really do prove to be immense.
An extended version is available at: http://blueoceanfaith.org/about/perspectives
We also have six distinctive ways that we approach our theology, our way of thinking about God, Jesus, and the Bible:
1. Our primary framework is SOLUS JESUS.
We respect and appreciate the Bible, but recognize that Jesus is the living Word. Jesus is our primary authority. Everything else hangs on this framework.
2. Our primary metaphor is CENTERED-SET.
A metaphor is a helpful way to use a picture to illustrate a point. Our metaphor of Centered Set means that we don’t draw boundaries to say someone is “in” or “out” of our set, rather we are looking for movement towards whatever is at the center of the set. When Jesus, who is alive and communicating, is at the center of the set, spirituality comes alive.
3. Our approach to spiritual development is CHILDLIKE FAITH.
We take seriously the idea that as children, we are not called or qualified to judge other people. We trust that God as a loving parent will patiently guide each of us in our faith journey.
4. Our approach to controversial issues is THIRD WAY.
We recognize that there will always be controversial issues over which well meaning, sincere people will disagree. Third way means that we choose not to judge or treat with contempt those who hold a position different than ours. In regard to the current hot button of LGBTQI inclusion in the church, all are included in the same way regardless of sexual or gender preference.
5. Our approach to other churches is ECUMENICAL/ CONVERGENT.
While our background has largely been evangelical and renewalist, we learn from all Christendom (and beyond).
6. Our approach to culture is JOYFUL ENGAGEMENT.
Blue Ocean churches joyfully engage culture, knowing that, where there are people, there is the image of God.
The book pictured above, Blue Ocean Faith, by Dave Schmelzer is a great introduction, not only to Blue Ocean Faith, but to these six distinctives. We often have these on hand to give away to anyone who is curious about Blue Ocean Faith.
Or, for a quicker look and a bit more information than we have here, you can go to http://www.blueoceanfaith.org/about/theological-distinctives/