A long, long time ago (back in February 2020) many of us were sailing along comfortably in life. We went to school or work, and made plans for Easter or a summer vacation. It would be a year, so we thought just like 2018 or 2019.
Some of us were not so lucky. We found our boats in rougher waters--perhaps in the midst of a turbulent relationship, or dealing with serious stress.
And then a global storm blew-in unlike anything we have ever experienced. While none of our boats handle the swells precisely the same way, every one of us now contends with waves. Some of us are listing; others are in real danger of sinking.
Navigating the waters during this pandemic presents a new challenge to all of us. We may feel disoriented as we try to make sense of new realities like social distancing and masks. Isolation is a live issue for many. Some of the normal routines and outlets that once enabled us to keep our bearings have been lost. While we may have thought we could just wait-out the storm or keep rowing until it blew over, the Coronavirus has proved itself remarkably persistent. It appears that we are in for rough waters for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that this pandemic has not caught Jesus by surprise. As a seasoned sailor himself (a veteran of many a storm) he invites us to take courage and tether ourselves in him.
This is the goal of the Anchor Initiative - to anchor our security and hope in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:23-25 states,
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
As a church family, we take seriously this call to hold on to Jesus for dear life. Refusing to trust in our own strength and instincts, we commit ourselves to:
- Form community with other like-minded, Jesus-anchored people
- Find time in our lives to meet with Jesus and his people.
- Forge habits that will keep us anchored no matter how long the storm lasts.
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As a church leadership team, we're committed to helping everyone in our church family anchor themselves. We plan to do this in a variety of ways through the Anchor Initiative. You will notice that we're going to do some things differently.
- For starters we've already mapped out all the things that we want to be talking about throughout the year during our worship Gathering. We can boil them down to like four key competencies that we think God wants to help us practice:
- Cultivate resilience so that we bounce back through life's storms
- Learn to hear and discern God's voice more clearly
- Read scripture responsibly and regularly.
- Live on mission so that our neighborhoods, workplaces and communities experience the presence of Christ through our lives.
- These themes are going to be the focus of what we do, not only at worship gatherings, but also at JAM kid’s ministry, Fusion youth ministry, Adult Life groups and other ministries. We as a leadership team are developing a toolbox full of great resources to help you stay anchored.
- Lastly we want you to invite you to be an active participant on a daily basis. This simply means embracing what we are call the 3-2-1 process:
3) Form a group of at least three people in your life to help you stay anchored to Christ. This might be your family, a cohort of families, a couple of good friends who you can share your life with. But whenever whoever it is this is your Anchor Crew.
2) Find the time to be with Jesus and his people. We say two times a week to help you do two things. One time is to just worship God together as a Crew. (Maybe these are online watch parties of our worship gatherings.) Second time is to touch base with your Crew to hold each other accountable and to Spur each other on towards love and good deeds.
1) Forge one habit that will help you stay anchored to Christ. Throughout the year you'll have opportunities to try new habits as they relate to the four core competencies. The way to grow is to choose to do an action everyday that's going to help you build resilience, hear God's voice, go deeper in scripture and live on Mission.
As you form Form a group, Find the time and Forge a habit which anchors you, we believe that God will strengthen his grip on you through this storm and whatever waters come after that.