I don't know about you, but I (Pastor Ryan) love Fall! Sweater weather, football, school, pie, awesome colors - sign me up! More than ever, I'm excited for this upcoming Fall, mainly because I'll be working full-time with our Anchor ministry as your pastor! I'm really excited to be able to serve in a greater capacity with what God is doing in Oneonta through Anchor. Now that I'm able to spend more time in service to our church, here are a few things that are going to be popping up this Fall around Anchor!
In short, we're gearing up to grow wider and deeper as a community in Christ. These plans are an attempt to grow in our knowledge of God, so that we might be disciples who grow deeper in love with God, and cast a wide net of discipleship and service to others in our city. Here are a few ways that we're going to do that.
1. New discipleship classes
I believe one of the key purposes of church is to love people by teaching them the truth about Jesus using the Bible. (This is one of the many reasons why we have sermons every week at Anchor). I've personally grown so much through listening to preaching and taking classes with pastors who are much smarter than I am. In an effort to grow deeper as disciples of Jesus, we'll be starting a few classes that will aim to teach the bible to all people: whether they've been a Christian for years, or have never considered Christianity. Be on the lookout for:
- Core Christianity: Based on a book by Michael Horton, this will be a class for new Christians (and a great refresher for not-so-new Christians) that teaches the basic foundations of our faith. This will answer questions like - Can we trust the Bible? Is Jesus the only way to Heaven? What is the Trinity? etc.
- Bible Doctrine: Based on a book by Wayne Grudem, this will be a systematic theology class for Christians who want to grow deeper in their understanding of what the Bible teaches. The class will focus on seven main sections: The Doctrine of the Word of God, The Doctrine of God, The Doctrine of Man, The Doctrine of Christ, The Doctrine of the Application of Redemption, The Doctrine of the Church, The Doctrine of the Future.
- The Reason For God: Based on a book by Timothy Keller, this will be a series of discussions about the book, which explores popular arguments for and against the existence of God. This will be a great class for people who are not yet Christians, and Christians who want to build up their apologetic muscles.
You can check out and register for classes here.
2. More ways to serve
At Anchor, we believe that church is about more than just showing up, being entertained, going home, and forgetting about God until next Sunday. We like to think of church as a Thanksgiving gathering of family members who all come together to contribute to the meal and feast together in love. This Fall, there will be even more ways to serve than before!
We have lots of opportunities to serve in church: door greeters, musicians, guest services, small group leaders, food preparation, children ministry workers, and more! If you're interested in signing up and connecting with us about these opportunities, let us know here.
We'll also have lots of opportunities outside of our church walls to love and serve our community. We'll continue our monthly service opportunities (like raking leaves, free car washes, etc.). We'll also be partnering more with the Redemption Movement's Kindness Station and #OneontaRides service. Here, we'll have the opportunity to offer safe transportation to students who have had a little too much to drink downtown.
3. A focus on church membership
Have you ever tried to marry somebody who doesn't want to marry you back? Awkward. A family won't grow unless its members are mutually committed. At Anchor, we want to be "in it to win it" with our church family, and we want to offer another way for people to grow closer together as they grow closer to God. Church membership is key to this kind of relationship.
Membership to a local church is for all Christians. You won't fully love Jesus without fully loving his church. It's kind of like telling your wife, "Honey, I really love your face, but the rest of your body is so terrible that I don't want to be around you." We truly believe that God wants to bless Oneonta, NY through Anchor, and that He wants you to be a part of that.
We're starting membership classes soon! Click here to register.
4. Opportunities for leadership growth
Let me be totally transparent here. Even though I have more time to work for our church and be able to get a whole lot more done, I still can't do it all by myself. We are blessed with many people who have stepped up to lead various ministry teams, and we're looking for more!
Do you believe God has called you into leadership? Later this Fall, we'll be launching a training program in order to equip leaders to be key decision-makers, bible teachers, pastors, elders, and more around here.
5. A sermon series on 1 John
I'm pretty giddy about this one. Starting mid-September, we'll be going through the book of 1 John together at church, and exploring what God has to say to us through John's letter to the Church. Through this series we'll be looking at ways that we can practically live out our faith in Christ in every day life, such as what to do when you totally blow it and sin, how to love people like God loves them, how to know whether somebody is preaching the true gospel, how to overcome fear, and more!
6. Growth in our mid-week ministries
According to a recent study, it's a proven fact that you can hang out with Christians during the week as well! :)
We've got a lot of ways that you can connect with our family mid-week to encourage and build one another up in love! Here are a few fun options, which coincidentally all start at 7pm on their respective days:
Mondays - Lighthouse Ladies Ministry, Men's Ministry, #MyAnchorGroup Young Adult group (23-35)
Tuesdays - Prayer Ministry
Wednesdays - Tabernacle of Praise Dance Team
Thursdays - BASIC College Ministry @ SUNY Oneonta
Fridays - Youth Group (12-18)
Click here for more information about these groups.