God Is Doing Something Big!
We are stepping into being brave and bold and are humbly ready to do the work of authentically engaging race and discipleship together. Many of you live this reality - many of you are also committed to this work - we see you! We need you! Learn more and how you can join in this creative, growing, kingdom-sized vision below.
Who We Are
- DJ Johnsen (pastoral connect)
- Jeff Atlas (founder)
- Shomari McLemore
- Forrest Mori
- Sarah-Sue Wadell
- Jon and Stacy Peterson
- Rebecca Boa.
Many within the Oceanhills church body have felt a call to lean deeper into the biblical call to engage racial injustice for some time. In the spring and summer of 2020, following the high profile murders of George Floyd and others, Jeff Atlas and several members of this new team started conversations asking how Jesus would want us to respond and what we should and could do here in Santa Barbara and at Oceanhills - Not just in the short term, but in a sustainable and congregational way. The R&D Team was founded in 2020 to be a place to organize and encourage various forms of conversation, engagement, and discipleship aimed at long-term transformation and kingdom-sized goals. Building on the commitments our church already has, we have found many others are also called to this ministry and ready to humbly learn and lead together - God is doing something new!
Following Jesus and His Gospel, the Race and Discipleship Team exists to encourage, educate, and equip Oceanhills to respond to God’s call for holistic discipleship, reconciliation, and racial justice in our church, city, and country.
We do this through providing opportunities for spiritual formation, biblical teaching, gatherings and trainings, and constructive dialogue among staff, leadership, and members of the congregation. Our team is here for anyone who is either eager or simply curious to explore how we, as God’s people, can be discipled both individually and collectively to respond to racial injustice as a central part of our faith and personal growth.
What We Are About
- The biblical values of compassion, justice, and love – this team is crucial for helping our church truly Love Everyone Always.
- Fostering a teachable spirit through trainings and tools to help us all engage scripture, prayer, and be transformed spiritually by seeing faith and race realities more clearly
- Supporting people exploring their own beliefs, histories, wounds and hopes around faith, race, and discipleship – and as they hear different realities from others
- Providing various opportunities in safe spaces to engage, ask questions, and learn about the impact of race and culture here in S.B., in the church, and beyond
- Developing leaders and spaces for authentic community for both the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and white communities of Oceanhills, in order to process and be encouraged in our own stories and in our biblical call moving forward
- Being a resource for the staff and leadership team as they navigate potentially challenging conversations and plan strategically for race and discipleship, as well as be available for those who want/need to have a deeper conversation or understanding
What We Are Not
- Experts or people who have this all figured out
- Forcing change or short term reactions
- Guilting or shaming people into being activists
- Unbiblical or an “issues group”
Ways to Engage
We have some ministries active now and others coming later - check back here for updated information. Any questions or ideas you want to share with our team, please contact Pastor DJ at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeff Atlas at email@example.com.
Race Class and the Kingdom of God
There are two six-week courses from Arrabon on Race, Class and the Kingdom of God. They are a perfect entry point for people interested in race and discipleship. Together they provide a biblical and theological basis for looking at reconciliation in our time, tools for gaining a shared biblical understanding of community, as well as practical tools for fostering reconciliation. You’ll gain a greater understanding of what God envisions for his people, helpful language for navigating complex conversations with friends and family, and a renewed sense of hope for the church.
- Next class starts April 2022
For BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) folks who seek a safe space to get to know one another, grow in faith, and grow in relationship together, by processing issues of identity, ethnicity, faith, justice, and community.
We plan to meet online every other week, beginning Thursday April 8th until early June.