Why Emmaus?

Why Emmaus?

Emmaus [eh-MAY-uhs]

In the 24th chapter of his gospel, Luke tells the story of two travelers on a journey together to a city called Emmaus. Along the way they fall into step with a third traveler who listens to their story and shares in their conversation. This third traveler shares a perspective that is so life-giving that the two urge him to stay with them for dinner. And as they break bread together they realize – with amazement and joy – that the third traveler is Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!

See the five Emmaus Road Reflection videos below.

We’ve taken “Emmaus” as the name for our community because this story captures our hearts and inspires our vision for what the church could become.

Since 2005, we have been building a new church community committed to sharing life and discovering Jesus.

We’re based in Lincoln, California but have home groups meeting throughout Placer County.

Wherever you find yourself on your spiritual journey, you’re welcome to join us.


Emmaus Church Community started as a dream to create and lead a transformational community of compassion where Christ-followers and spiritual seekers could share life and discover Jesus. The dream locked into time when Nathan and Carmen Oates, with their children, accepted an invitation from their denomination to move to Lincoln, Ca in July of 2004.

Through the fall and winter months dozens of individuals and families began to gather around this dream. We would come together to eat, pray, ask questions, and bring form to a new kind of church:

A Different Vision, Focus, and Strategy

Shaping city vs. building church

What would Church look like if, instead of asking, “What’s our vision for our church?” we asked, “What’s God’s vision for Lincoln, California” and “How could a community of people help to actualize the Kingdom of God in this city?”

Living life vs. doing church

What would Church look like if, instead of asking, “How should I get involved in church?” people asked, “How should I live my life?”

Developing friendships vs. starting programs

What would Church look like if, instead of meeting needs with programs, we sought to meet needs primarily through relationships?

Core Values

Emmaus Church Community began gathering for weekly worship on Sundays in April, 2005.

Sometimes a single statement can catalyze a vision. The disturbing observation that sparked ours was made by Kenda Creasy Dean (in her book with Ron Foster, The Godbearing Life): “The Church is pretty good at behavior modification…but it stinks at transformation.”

We’ve embraced holistic transformation as the first of three core values:


Emmaus Church Community’s ultimate purpose is holistic life transformation. Our passion is catalyzing spiritual seekers and Christ-followers toward a life-long, revolutionary experience with Jesus Christ. Because holistic transformation is our ultimate purpose, our worship gatherings are multi-sensory and interactive. Our preaching and small group discussions apply the teachings of Holy Scripture to all parts of life. And we honor the wisdom, rhythms, and practices of the historic Church.


Individual transformation fuels, and is fueled by, authentic expressions of Christian community. We strive to intentionally share life together, bearing each other’s burdens and celebrating each other’s joys. Because community is core to our purpose, our worship gatherings are highly relational and highly participatory. We meet often in one another’s homes. We eat together. We share life and ministry.


The expression and end of both personal and communal transformation – the whole point of this church community – is to engage culture with love, mercy, and justice in the name of Jesus. Our mission is to make the world a better place. Our end-game is to bring Kingdom realities to bear on our neighborhoods and our world. Because compassion is core to our purpose, we seek to be a church community that goes to the people. We want to reach people by loving people.

Emmaus Road Reflections

The following are five short reflections on the Emmaus Road story (found in Luke chapter 24). This