The “boat” is the logo for Beyond Grace Fellowship because of its rich usage during the ministry of Jesus. A boat was the place where significant ministry of Jesus transpired. There are four times when Jesus encountered frail people on a boat; four times when significance surrounded the boat; four times when a walk with God was illuminated on a boat. From these four we gain immense guidance into our own walk with God.
PLACE OF TEACHING – Jesus taught the crowds the truths of God from a boat. It was a place of teaching for Him and we seek to maintain this as the central focus of our church. We desire to sit at the feet of God and to grow in grace from His Word. (see Luke 5:3; Matthew 13)
CALMS STORMS – The disciples were traveling across the lake when a treacherous storm overwhelmed them. While the storm was produced fear in the disciples, Jesus was peacefully asleep! When they woke Him, he calmed the storm and urged the disciples to have more faith. They were amazed that Jesus had power to calm the wind and the waves. We know that Jesus is the only one that can calm the storms of life and we seek to rely on Him through all the experiences of life. His grace is sufficient for our every need. (see Matthew 8:23-24)
FAITH and TRUST – On another occasion, the disciples were traveling across a lake on a boat. A fierce storm arose again. In the dark of the night, when fear was at its zenith, Jesus appears to them walking on the water. He first reassures them. He tells them not to be afraid. Peter asked Jesus to call him out to walk on the water. Jesus did. Peter took a giant step of faith and got out of the boat and walked on water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did the unbelievable. When he was distracted by the wind and the waves, he sank. Jesus lovingly reached out the save him.
The boat represents a place of faith. When eyes are focused on Jesus, the unbelievable can be achieved. Conversely, it also represents the reality of doubt exhibited by the other disciples who fearfully remained in the boat and ultimately Peter who fearfully focused on the wind and the waves. Their weakness was met by Jesus’ intimate saving touch of grace! (see Matthew 14:24-34).
PROVISION – On another occasion, the disciples (professional fishermen) had been fishing all day and had caught nothing. Using their own techniques, experience and expertise they came up short. Jesus enters the scene and tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat – a ridiculous suggestion. Perhaps to humor Jesus, the disciples obeyed and their nets became so full of fish, they couldn’t hoist it onboard. God is the provider for our every need when all our resources have been depleted. (see John 21:6; Luke 5:7).
For centuries the church has been represented by a ship, a boat. It’s an appropriate symbol of an institution centered on the teaching of Jesus - the grace-giver, the one who calms all the storms of life, one who can be relied upon and who meets our every need. It’s an appropriate symbol for a new church desiring to be just that.