We Are Here Now

WE ARE HERE NOW: What We Practice

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There is an eternal movement of the Holy Spirit which leads and guides us individually and as a greater community of faith to view each moment, each breath as faithful encounter. The spirit encourages us to be intentional and present every moment of every day. It is a practice where we:

LISTEN: Listen to God, to each other, to our neighbors, and the world. It is deep listening and attending to the brokenness in the world and how God's redeeming word restores it. Dwelling in the Word and the world, the polarities God's life and the brokenness of the world come into focus.

POINT: Listening to God focuses our perspective on what God is up to in the world and in us.We point to the Spirit at work declaring God's activity in us. BUT the world also engages us - pointing out to us where God is moving. That movement of God's spirit inspires us to respond.

DO: When we listen to and observe God in us and the world, we are enveloped in God's movement. We become God's humble partners in the good work of justice and mercy. As we respond, we reflect on how God is working in our midst which moves us back into listening.


It's a beautiful rhythm of the spirit of which we are an intentional part. It is a rhythm that guides every conversation, decision, and struggle. The intention is in the practice. And the practice grows the muscle memory, making it a natural filter for every faithful moment of life.


Peace and promise, Pete Erickson


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five years from now you’re in a hot air balloon, one hundred feet above Mount Olivet’s campus, on a Sunday.

What would you see?

What would you smell?

What would you hear?

Imagine the same scenario, but on a Tuesday - and ask yourself the same questions.

Over one hundred people participated in this visioning exercise between December 2014 and February 2015, and the results brought to light several common themes:

  •  The property around Mount Olivet was described as having no boundaries, or seeping into the community, like a glacier melting from the building outward.
  • People of broad diversity filled the building and the grounds with music, laughter, talking, and also silence. They were engaged in a wide array of activities, from study and prayer, to connecting socially, to groups working on service projects and in the gardens.
  • Smells of baking cookies and bread, coffee, vegetables in the garden, fresh mown grass, grilling, and even Axe body spray mixed with Old Spice and Doritos were present.
  • The overall feeling was a vibrant community full of energy and anticipation; a safe and judgement free zone; a community gathering place full of delightful sound but with space for silence and reflection.

The compilation of these many vision descriptions resulted in the following Vision Statement:

Led by the Holy Spirit, Mount Olivet is a community that engages and dwells with God, each other and the world. Nourished in spirit, body and mind, sharing faith through action, words and song, we create an experiential community that fosters diversity. We use both indoor and outdoor space for joyful noise and quiet reflection. Our community allows us to safely explore and use our callings, and grow in congregation-led mission inside and outside the walls of Mount Olivet. We love and care for God’s whole creation and show concern for people who will come after us.

We believe this vitalized vision is what God hopes for our future as a community. How do we get there?

Three yearly goals were written to help us: 

  • For MO members to understand their passions/talents as a gift from God to be shared with the community for the betterment of life for all.
  • Learning and practicing our trust in God
  • Individually and organizationally MO will endeavor to learn about and set to practice the embrace and nurture of diversity in our community.

This is the work of the congregation moving into God's preferred future - all of us - together!

For as in one body we have many members, and not all members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.     -Romans 12:4-5





Peace to all, Kirsten Kessel, DM

WE ARE HERE NOW: Our Identity. Our Mission. Our Vision

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Over the last three years Mount Olivet has been listening, experimenting and discerning who we are and how God is calling us to be bearers of his love and compassion in word and deed.  During this time, we have discovered our core values and what makes us unique.  Through our discovery, we have created an identity statement reflecting what we have learned.  This identity statement clarifies who we are, and helps us articulate our unique call in the world. 


We are a community who:

  • BELIEVES in the life-giving God revealed through Jesus, who shows up in daily life, engaging us with God’s work in the world.   
  • EXPERIENCES a faith journey together with openness and compassion, wonder and expectation, trusting in the promises of Christ.
  • PRACTICES being church in the world by listening to God and neighbor, pointing to God’s active presence, and doing what God calls us to do.

 Our mission is our work, what we do.


Finding our place in God’s unfolding story by dwelling in God, connecting in community, engaging in our callings in the world.

When we live in our identity and do our mission we become our vision.


A Community Partnering with God in the World

Where do you find a connection between your response to the initial question and our identity, mission and vision?


God's Peace, Pastor Beth

Watch a video of the presentation on Sunday, June 7, 2015.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clUvYesUo50&w=560&h=315]

WE ARE HERE NOW: Framing It Up

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Mount Olivet has a unique identity and sense of mission as well as a particular hope for the future. This has become clearer over the past four years as we have engaged in a process called Partnership for Missional Church. It is time to assess what we've learned, so we can confidently move forward. But identity, mission and vision do not happen in a void. We are wrestling with certain questions and realities that the world gives to us. The following are six key questions that shape our understanding of ourselves. How do we go about answering them?

Where can we find a life-giving narrative that gives us a solid center in this world?

As churches move further and further to the periphery of our communities, a moral and spiritual void grows. Multiple narratives promise to fill the void: social, political, and market ideologies; the promise of technological and scientific progress; the exhilaration of the information age; personal achievement and status climbing. While none of these options have provided the center that people and communities need, Jesus’ story is just that center. Yet all of us feel the constant pull of the other scripts!

How can we connect in community in a culture of disconnect?

As participants in a world of exponential choices, information, and distraction, we often feel paralyzed, fragmented and alone. It is the irony of our age that we have more options for connecting with each other than ever before but are as disconnected, and sometimes lonelier, than ever. An increasing number of people simply lack the grounding experience of a community gathered around something that matters – something like Christian community.

How can we experience a relationship with the living God at work in the world?

As countless individuals struggle to find meaning and an experience of God, many assume Christian faith is either a body of knowledge or a moral test. It is not. A living and gracious God is among us, inviting us into relationship with him as we journey through life. This is a God needed by those who suffer and struggle (which is everyone!). God’s Word is not merely printed on a page. This Word is alive!

How can we reclaim the sacredness of a world we assume is already lost?

When we look around us, we assume the sacredness of God has no place in a world as compromised, fallen and profane as ours. But God made this world and is at work in it, which means sacred ground can be found anywhere. That God shows up in the most unlikely places and people is an invitation to pay attention and be ready to connect.

How can we celebrate and embrace the rich diversity of the world that God created?

As we find ourselves living in an increasingly diverse world with endless possibilities for partnership, far too many assume the worst in their neighbor and adopt an us/them way of looking at the world. Since God created our world and blessed it with diversity, we know that God is at work through and in diversity.  

How can we as God’s people be more than mere consumers and make a difference in the world?

As the chasm between culture and church grows, faith communities struggle with how to find their footing again. Living in a consumer culture, many congregations adopt a consumer-driven model of faith, dependent on a product that church professionals produce, while others hope we’ll magically return to 1950. In the meantime, God is at work in the world doing a new thing and looking for people who want to partner with God to make a difference. Do you want to be a part of this movement in the world?



How do you resonate with these questions? Do you think they seem relevant to what you know about our world and Mount Olivet? Please respond and let me know if you think these six considerations point us in the right direction!

GoIMG_2617wd's peace, Pastor John

Watch a video of Pastor John's presentation in worship on Sunday, May 31:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i30NOvu4W04&w=560&h=315]