Ocean Community Church: A Congregation of the Reformed Church in America

gathering in Manahawkin, NJ since 1982

Sunday Services: 9am (informal contemporary) and 11am (formal traditional)

1492 Rt 72 West, Manahawkin NJ 08050   office: 609-597-5151 






OCC is involved in mission in a variety of ways

First, as part of the Reformed Church in America’s ten year plan, we have worked to become a missional congregation. Mostly that means that we try to think more often about others than ourselves. When we make decisions, we try to value what will be beneficial to others, especially those who are not yet disciples, instead of what our own tastes and preferences are. That affects decisions about programming, worship, music and community involvement. The style of our early service is shaped by that commitment.

Second, we contribute $6000 yearly to the Protestant Church in Oman, a Christian presence for over a century in a Muslim nation. The PCO is somewhat unique in that the Sultan of Oman is positive towards their ministry, and even gave them property on which to build the church. The Reformed Church in America has a long history of mission in the Muslim world, and has built positive relationships which are so critical for winning a hearing for the gospel.

Third, we contribute almost $20,000 a year to the Reformed Church in America through our yearly assessments (about $100 for each confessing member). These funds support national staff, seminary education, and a variety of programs that seek to develop leaders, support revitalization of existing congregations, and support church multiplication.

Fourth, we engage in regular service to our community through our food and clothing ministry, and our participation in the Family Promise homeless housing project. These engage many volunteers from our church and the community.

Finally, there are periodic involvements such as our interest in the work of David Elliott, a Wycliffe Bible Translators missionary, who is participating in a fundraising run that is focused on human trafficking issues, particularly with children in Cambodia who are being sold.

Well, maybe that is not the finally. Finally we are all individually in mission. Jesus calls us to be witnesses who share with others the good news of new life. Sometimes we do that in words, often we do that in actions. As we carry the name of “Christian” in the world, we really do it through whatever we do.

Let us pray together for the power of God to fill our missional living!



Our local congregation depends on the giving of our members and friends for our operating expenses to be met.  Each year in November our congregation meets to review the spending plan developed by the Consistory. We commit ourselves to it, but then as Thanksgiving and Christmas come, and a new year starts, we forget about it. Each month the Consistory reviews bills paid, offerings received, and struggles to make choices about what parts of our plan to keep and what parts to let go. We’d like to reach the point where our plan is fully supported through offerings, which would allow us to begin to explore additional staffing in the areas of youth and children, music and visitation.

From the Bible’s perspective, especially the New Testament perspective, giving is to be something that emerges from a grateful heart. 2 Corinthians 9:7 is an important passage in this regard:

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

At OCC we do our best to avoid pressure tactics that lead people to give reluctantly. We hope that people will give regularly, cheerfully and proportionally because they value our ministry, and see giving as part of their spiritual response to God’s grace in Jesus Christ.


A focus on intentional spiritual growth

As we move into 2011, our focus as a worshipping community is on intentional spiritual growth. To be a disciple of Jesus is more than attending worship services, or participating in service projects. It is to have a central life commitment to an ongoing transformation of thinking and acting. It is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in a process of growth in grace and godliness. One of our goals is to have every member of our worshipping community actively involved in some practice of spiritual formation, some exercise that leads to spiritual growth. Each of us can know what we are working on, and how we are asking others to help us in working on it.

A summary blog posting on our website has links to the three Sunday messages that started our year. You can watch both the Scripture reading and the messages there again to be reminded of what we are trying to do and how you can take part.

Beginning February 20, we’ll move into another phase of this emphasis as we spend the weeks leading to Easter considering the traditional “seven deadly sins” along with the Beatitudes. What is particularly helpful for this series is a recent book by that title, authored by a pastor who is engaged in missional church in Colorado. Those who have started to read this book remark how he is able to say things in a fresh way that makes you think.

The focus on intentional spiritual growth is really only part of our whole goal as a community of faith. Intentional spiritual growth allows us to be useful to God in the work of mission. When we are prepared, we can be active in mission in a new way. We know the Scriptures, our lives have been reshaped so that more of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are habits for us (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control). We show up in the world as people who are humble, meek, merciful, pure, peacemakers whose desire is to help others experience some form of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.

If you are not participating in a spiritual growth group of some kind, I’d encourage you to consider starting (this spring when we can be regular about meetings!). New gatherings will be forming for Monday afternoons and Thursday evenings. Existing groups meet on Tuesday nights and Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. Being part of a group is part of our pathways to leadership. When we participate in spiritual growth with others, it requires us to learn how to maintain unity in the face of difference, and how to both receive and give ministry.


recap on intentional spiritual growth series

To start the year, we took three weeks to focus on a commitment to intentional spiritual growth. Growing out of studies done at Willow Creek, we encouraged every member to consider finding a spiritual practice to work at in order to grow in ability to be involved in God's mission. There were three messages, and these are on our vimeo channel (January 2nd from Romans 12, January 9 from I Timothy 4, January 16 from 2 Peter 1).

Our hope is that every member will be able to identify something that they are working on as their next step in discipleship.

Here were some of the exercises we discussed:

Bible study: Knowing Scripture is a key practice for Christian growth. I recommended using a good study bible, and am recommending the ESV Study Bible as an excellent option. We also talked about using a reading guide, and there are many examples of this avaiable (paper and even email).

Reading Christian literature: You have to be a bit careful, but overall Christian Book Distributors has reliable and good materials. If you would like help filtering through the good and the bad or finding something specific about an interest you have, ask Pastor Phil. Zondervan is also a pretty reliable source.

Using Christian multimedia: There are audio bibles, online bibles, software for bible study (logos and olive tree) that can be used on PC's, Macs, ipads, ipods, mp3 players, ipod touch, smartphones, etc...YouTube, GodTube (with Hillsong United) and Vimeo offer much in the way of online sermons and music videos. Pandora Radio can provide unlimited free listening to contemporary Christian music.

Participating in a small group: We have a variety of opportunities for fellowship and study and service.

Getting involved in outside efforts: International Justice Mission, Greenfaith, Protestant Church in Oman

Exploring regular and proportional giving: Jesus taught us that our hearts would follow our investments. Investing regularly and deliberately in the financial life of the church is a practice that changes our hearts!



notes for sunday, january 23

this sunday we welcome elder dave kirk as worship leader. pastor phil will be on long island leading a three day retreat for the consistory of his home congregation (New Life Community Church, RCA). Dave will be starting our "Moses" series, and Pastor Phil will continue it on January 30th. A special opportunity will be Dave bringing special music from Ken Medema (the Moses song): don't miss it! On Sunday evening, January 23, Pastor Phil will be back to lead the youth membership class at 7:00pm. Remember that this coming Thursday night, January 27, will be the information meeting about the Kids Hope USA project.