A FAMILY OF CHURCHES
Anthem is a family of churches helping people find their way back to God. The Anthem family of churches is united around shared mission, vision and values and submission to the Lordship of King Jesus. In our cities, we are working to obey Jesus in helping people find their way back to God.
The church is not a building or a weekend event, but a people. We aim to live out the Gospel in our cities throughout the week in community, and gather together each weekend as a collection of believers, a family, celebrating together, worshiping together and sitting under the authority of Scripture together.
Our dream for the future is not that one church be built up, but that Anthem would be a part of a reproducing church movement throughout the world. We believe that God has uniquely called and prepared us to reproduce at all levels: artists, leaders, community groups, services, campuses, churches, and networks of churches. To do this, we believe that the culture of Anthem must be centered around not just doing the work of the Gospel, but reproducing the work of the Gospel.
We want to see everyone take ownership of the mission of helping people find their way back to God and expressing that mission according to their spiritual gifts, financial support, and personal capacity to lead and help. Success at Anthem is not determined by how many people attend, how much money we have or even how many campuses and churches we start. Success is measured by our humility to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit as He leads us individually and corporately.
The mission of Anthem is to help people find their way back to God.
God created us to be in perfect relationship with Him. Sin caused that relationship to be broken, and has caused us to stray away from Him. Wherever we are currently at in our relationship with God, whether we are Christ-followers or not, we need to continue to find our way back to a perfect relationship with Him.
Anthem Church exists to bring glory to God. That’s why we started the church, and why we continue to gather together in various forms (Sunday gatherings, community groups, etc). It is not only our purpose, but the purpose of all people, to give glory to God. The Scriptures share the wonderful news that God is glorified through changed lives. Life change is both an event (salvation) and a process (sanctification). Initial life change occurs at salvation, or re-birth. This is the result of a person placing his or her faith in the work accomplished through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This begins the process of life change. The rest of the Christian life is a sequence of becoming more and more like Christ, namely, “sanctification.” The Bible says this is, in fact, God’s will for us. Both salvation and sanctification are evidences of God’s grace in our lives and are appropriated by faith. We believe that people’s lives can be “changed” by a dramatic event, traumatic news, or an enticing culture. The only kind of change that allows a person to have a right relationship with God the Father is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is this: Christ died for our sins and He was raised to life three days later.
The vision of Anthem Church is to bring a movement of reproducing churches empowered by the Gospel of Jesus to love and serve southern California.
We believe that God has uniquely called and prepared us to reproduce at all levels: artists, leaders, community groups, services, campuses, churches, and networks of churches. To do this, we believe that the culture of Anthem must be centered around not just doing the work of the Gospel, but reproducing the work of the Gospel. We want to see everyone take ownership of the mission of helping people find their way back to God and expressing that mission according to their spiritual gifts, financial support, and personal capacity to lead and help. Success at Anthem is not determined by how many people attend, how much money we have or even how many campuses and churches we start. Success is measured by our humility to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit as He leads us individually and corporately.
The vision of the church is something that we intentionally listen to the Holy Spirit and pursue on a regular basis. This is not permanent or unchangeable, but we believe it is the direction that God is leading us at this point.
We believe the whole Bible points to Jesus. If you visit us at either campus of Anthem Church, we can guarantee that you're going to hear about Jesus and the Gospel, regardless of what book we're teaching from in The Bible.
The result of the work of Jesus in our lives is a recognition that our time here on earth is to exist for the single purpose of proclaiming the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness and into the marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). We will be in heaven, with God, for eternity. The reality is that our eternal life with God has already begun. Yet rather than remove us from this place, God chooses to commission us to this place to help people find their way back to Him. This mission extends into every aspect of our lives. We are missionaries in our homes, our classrooms, our workplaces, our friendships, our neighborhoods and around the world. We will be called and led to different people and different places, but we all serve the same God who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4). We are marked by a distinct purpose, to live on Jesus’ mission to give our lives that this world may know Him.
In the same way that Jesus was sent, we have been sent to demonstrate Christ's love by meeting physical needs and to proclaim the Gospel, meeting the spiritual needs of the world. By seeking to understand the culture we live in and living spirit-filled, missional lives we can help people find their way back to God.
2 Timothy 2:2 is Paul’s instruction that the Gospel be reproduced into the lives of the next generation. We see our responsibility is not only to exist as a body together, but to be perpetually, constantly reproducing the Gospel into the lives of others. We are marked by a culture of reproducing on every level (artists, leaders, community groups, campuses and churches). Our greatest opportunity to extend the reach of the Gospel and continue to mobilize Christ followers is to reproduce at all levels: leaders, community groups, campuses and churches. We place a high value on apprenticeship, and encourage each of our leaders to be training up the next generation of leaders.
Gospel-centered community takes the truth of the Gospel and applies it in a relational setting. We go from being self-centered, self-motivated people to being humble servants of the body by simply applying the truth of the Gospel. When we realize the forgiveness we have received, we grow in the forgiveness we offer. When we realize the grace we have received, we grow in the grace we offer. When we realize the mercy we have received, we grow in the mercy we offer. When we realize how loved we are, we love like our savior. When the truth of the Gospel is applied in community we grow together in truth, unity, love, peace and grace. We will face challenges, there will be times when our patience is tested. We will experience frustrations and even anger with other members of the body. When we are marked by Gospel-centered community, we are driven to peace and forgiveness.
When the truth of the Gospel is applied in community we grow together in truth, unity, love, peace and grace. We will face challenges. There will be times when our patience is tested. When we are marked by Gospel-centered community, we are driven to peace and forgiveness.
Something changes in us when we realize the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, that because of our own reconciliation, we no longer live for ourselves but for the sake of the One who died to reconcile us. This moves us towards greater recognition of our role as stewards of everything, our time, our abilities, our money, our spiritual gifts, our lives are not our own, they belong to God. When we live in this reality, it drives us towards greater generosity. We become motivated by love to use everything
in this life, to seeing God’s glory revealed in this world. We become marked by generosity as people who give sacrificially, joyfully, and faithfully to see God’s Kingdom expanded.
Generosity is not about guilt. Generosity is not about obligation. Generosity is not about paying for services rendered. Generosity is not about supporting an organization. We teach generosity as a Gospel issue. As recipients of this unbelievably generous Gospel, we are being grown into the image of Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh. We are being shaped by the Holy Spirit to reflect the character, heart and mind of God. Evidence of maturity will be a demonstrable increase the character qualities of God in your life. These things will happen over the course of God’s inner-working in you. One of these characteristics that we see in Scripture is generosity.
The leadership of Anthem begins with Jesus. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22–23, 4:15, 5:23). He is the One that we seek and follow as He continues to advance the movement that He started 2,000 years ago through His perfect life, substitutionary death and victorious resurrection. After He ascended into heaven, He gave us His Spirit and established His Church to be led by elders.
It’s His church, and he’s our Senior Pastor. Underneath the guidance of Jesus are leaders who follow Jesus and encourage others to follow him as well. At Anthem Church, our formal leadership structure involves elders, staff, and church members.
We believe The Bible is clear that a group of men are called to be the Pastor/Elders of the local church. Anthem Church is an elder-led church that submits to the authority of the Bible. Scripture uses three words interchangeably to refer to the function of one and the same person:
- “Presbuteros” – Elder (executes God’s justice and government and administrates the affairs of the church.
- "Episcopos” – Overseer or bishop (oversees, a guardian, gatekeeper or watchman).
- “Poimain” – Shepherd or pastor (shepherd the flock, nurture and care for the flock, feed the flock). See Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5,7; 1 Peter 5:1-2
To fulfill all the tangible, practical, spiritual, and leadership needs of the church, the elders have a staff team that supports them in fulfilling the mission of Anthem Church at each church, as well as some staff members who oversee all of Anthem in a central role.
Hi! I'm Matt Larson, I hope you'll find our story encouraging, exciting, and most importantly, God-glorifying! God's done some amazing things with Anthem Church, and we are honored to play a part in his story!
Kristen and I started serving in student ministries together back in 1998 and were married in 2001. We have been serving together for over 15 years, God has been so good to gently grow us and graciously cover our mistakes! We started at Sunland Neighborhood Church with Matt serving as the youth pastor for 4 years. When the opportunity opened up to come home and serve as a high school pastor at EvFree Conejo Valley (now the Bridge), we jumped at it! We loved the idea of doing life and ministry in our hometown, with our families (At the time my dad was the senior pastor and Colleen Thompson--Kristen's mom--was the women's ministry coordinator). We served in that role for 6 years.
Back in 2006 I was asked by the elders to put together an explanation of why my peers (20 something, young families) weren't connecting at EvFree... or any church for that matter. We put together a leadership team to see what we could find about our generation, it's struggles with the church and what it would mean for any church to connect with this struggling generation. After a few months of conversations with our team, one of the conclusions that we had come to (right or wrong) was that church buildings and closed relationships were barriers to the next generation. We needed to start something new and something in a different location than the one that we were currently in. After a few searches online (Googling wasn't a verb yet...), we found that this was a real thing and it was called a multi-site church. I found a church in Chicago that had done a number of new locations and was hosting a practicum on multi-site ministry. I went to our executive pastor and asked him if I could fly to Chicago... in February... to attend this multi-site practicum at Community Christian Church as a learning experience. So, off I went to Chicago to see about how we could take all of the things that we were dreaming about and turn them into a reality.
Day one of the practicum was crazy. The guys at Community started off by sharing everything they had ever done wrong in their starting of 9 locations (their number at the time). It was so refreshing to see a "conference" where the leaders were talking about all of their mistakes. It was also very informing because we were lining up to do about 100% of the things that Community had learned to be big mistakes. I called Kristen from the hotel that night and said that we were about to do everything wrong.
The next day, I stepped out into the lobby for a quick cup of coffee during the first session and I ran into Dave Ferguson. Dave was the lead pastor at Community Christian Church and the director of NewThing, a church planting network. I had read his book and really appreciated his approach to ministry. So I clumsily shook his hand and told him that I had read his book and appreciate his work... We started talking and after about 15 minutes of him asking me questions he cocked his head and asked, "Do you want to plant a church in downtown Chicago?" I said, "Well... I'm not sure if that's what God has for me right now... but..." he said, "Ah, don't worry about that, but you've got to talk to my brother, Jon. Tell him your story, he'll tell you our story and we'll see where it goes from there."
I sat down with Jon and we talked for about an hour. At the end of the hour he said, "Matt, it's great to hear your story... You've got to talk to Brian Zehr. Tell him your story, he'll tell you our story and we'll see where it goes from there." So Jon introduced me to Brian and I sat down with Brian.
Brian and I chatted for about an hour and at the end of the hour he said, "Matt, It's great to hear your story... You've got to talk to Eric Metcalf. Tell him your story, he'll tell you our story and we'll see where it goes from there." So Brian introduced me to Eric and I sat down with Eric. At the end of my hour with Eric, he said, "We do this thing called a 'Leadership Residency', and I think you'd be perfect for it." We talked about the leadership residency for about 20 minutes, basically, I fund raise my salary, move to Chicago and glean from a reproducing church for a year, then move to wherever God is sending me and plant a church.
I told him, "That sounds awesome, but unlikely. I'll pray with Kristen about it and we'll see..." Also known as the "Christian maybe".
I flew home that night (after skipping the entire second day of the practicum) and told Kristen all about my conversations. We decided to actually pray about the residency, though it seemed unlikely. After a week of praying and processing, we chatted again and both of us knew that this was where God was taking us next.
There are parts of the story that I haven't told, other things that had triggered our desire to plant churches, but when all was said and done, God had been priming us for that moment.
We called Eric Metcalf and told him that we wanted to come out and do the Residency. We began a journey of raising financial support and preparing to leave our role in high school ministry at EvFree. In August of that year we packed up our trailer and road tripped to Chicago to start our residency!
It was an excellent year (9 months actually)! God taught us so much and our time with the gang at Community was amazing, refreshing and thoroughly transformative. If I wasn't at the offices at Community sitting in on meetings or grabbing time with different leaders, I was at the library reading any church planting book I could get my hands on or Kristen and I were taking day trips with the kids to Chicago. We prayed, we dreamed and we flew home once a month to cast vision to our friends and family of what it was that God was doing with us in preparation to start a reproducing church in Thousand Oaks.
We landed in Thousand Oaks in May of 2009 ready to put our full attention into starting Anthem Church. At that point, we had a "launch team" of about 50 people that had said they were on board and ready to get this thing going. We had a staff team ready to roll with Kevin Bailey, Ryan Hinkle and myself. We worked hard in the prelaunch days to establish the heart and culture of Anthem Church. We wanted to make sure that we weren't just planting a Sunday worship service, but that we were planting a community of people on mission together!
We meet with the launch team monthly, shared the dream of what Anthem Church could become and worked hard in between meetings to do all the crazy things that new churches need to do, like fund raising and establishing non profit status.
It was so much fun early on to have a blank slate and to dream about the different things in front of us like preaching, worship, community life, kids, students, and on and on. We truly got to dig into the Scriptures and see what we saw in there and put it into practice without years of embedded practices in the way.
EARLY LIFE TOGETHER
From day one, we set out to see a Gospel centered community with a passion to reproduce the church, to live on mission and to be generous as God has been generous with us!
I remember standing up on launch Sunday with Kevin Bailey standing next to me and saying that we didn’t know when and we didn’t know where, but we knew that we would be launching Kevin out next! That set a tone for Anthem that hasn’t left us. We are a reproducing church. One of our primary goals is to raise people up and send them out into their God-ordained mission and calling. We love it. We love everything about it. It feels like the story of the Bible to us and that gets us super excited.
The early years were very shaping in that we never have had anything in excess, but every step of the way, God has provided for us. What we have loved though, is that God continues to press us into generosity even though it’s hard to feel like we have enough. I love everything about that!
Two years ago, we set out on a journey to install our eldership. Starting a church is such a unique season. You have leadership, but the elder leadership is something that really needs to be birthed from the church itself. So we set out on a journey to understand what elders are from the Scriptures and how to implement eldership as close to the biblical story as possible. So we turned to Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch and worked through what it meant for us to implement a Biblical eldership based on a family, consensus understanding rather than a board of directors mentality. It led us into some interesting places of understanding. Our pastors are elders and our elders are pastors. We believe that word to be synonymous. We also see a total plurality of elders, meaning, even though I hold a “lead pastor” title, it is as a leader among equals.
Anthem Church is nearing 7 years old. It has been an incredible journey. We are pretty humbled and awed by what God has allowed us to be a part of. In some ways, we have grown up as a church and are finding some real maturity in being a family… In other ways, we are very much a raw church plant that is scraping by! We love those two components of who we are and what we do!
We have three churches (Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura) and we've planted new churches in Uptown San Diego, South Bay, Chatsworth/Northridge, Downey, and are gearing up to send out our next church plant to Thousand Oaks.
We have seen Community Groups grow to be a critical part of life in the body of Anthem Church.
One of the biggest changes we've made as a church is the move from 'multi-site' to a 'family of churches.'
2 Timothy 2:2 is Paul’s instruction that the Gospel be reproduced into the lives of the next generation. We see our responsibility is not only to exist as a body together, but to be perpetually, constantly reproducing the Gospel into the lives of others.
We are marked by a culture of reproducing on every level. Our greatest opportunity to extend the reach of the Gospel and continue to mobilize Christ followers is to reproduce at all levels: volunteers, leaders, community groups and churches. We place a high value on apprenticeship, and encourage each of our leaders to be training up the next generation of leaders.
For the first 6 years of Anthem’s history, this has meant being a “multi-site” church, one church meeting in different locations: Camarillo and Thousand Oaks. As we started prayerfully preparing to send Bert and Sherry to launch our Ventura campus, we had to wrestle with he nature of the church itself.
Being spread across the county, we came to the conclusion that we could not faithfully walk out the commands of eldership and the church continuing to be one church in multiple locations, for the simple fact that elders in Thousand Oaks would not know the body in Ventura, or the body in Camarillo would not know the elders from Ventura, etc.
What this has meant for us, is we have slowly and deliberately been making the transition from a multi-site church, to a family of churches. Instead of being one church in multiple locations, we are a family of churches doing life and mission together, choosing to share things like leadership, resources, media and finances.
While this may seem like a subtle difference to some, it’s is actually quite profound. This has meant the church structure has changed. There is not one central elder team overseeing various campuses; rather, there are multiple elder teams that work together to shepherd the flock they’ve been entrusted. The reason this process has been and will continue to be slow, is because we do not want to rush developing and seeking out new elders. As God grows his church, he is bringing the right leaders into place. Because this transition will take some time, the churches Anthem Camarillo and Anthem Ventura are under the leadership of Kevin Bailey and Bert Alcorn, respectively, submitting to the collective elders, most of which are a part of Anthem Thousand Oaks. As God raises up elders at each church, those churches will become more independent in terms of governance, but will continue to seek unity, consensus and deference with the other churches.
If this sounds a bit messy, it’s because it is. But family usually is. While honoring the call to be a reproducing church, we are earnestly seeking to model the most frequently used analogy for the church: a family. This is something we will fight for relentlessly, and we ask you to pray with and for us as we seek to obey the commission to make disciples by planting churches.
One of the themes that has run through everything we’ve done and will continue to flow into everything we do is the fact that we are part of a Trinitarian, Gospel-Centered God-Story! That’s a lot of words that basically means we love the fact that God exists in perfect community as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and through this big Gospel story he has invited us to be a part of that community. The Gospel itself makes its’ way into everything that we do all the time. We work to draw Gospel conclusions out of every message that we teach and our discipleship focuses on becoming fluent in the story of God (aka the Gospel).
At Anthem Church, you will hear the word “Gospel” repeatedly because it is the most important truth that we can know and experience. The Gospel is not merely a message that needs to be shared with non-Christians, but also with Christians. It is not something that mature Christians move on from, but rather something that they move deeper into. The Gospel is the lens in which we should view theology, ministry, and all aspects of life.
The Apostle Paul defined the word, “Gospel” concisely in 1st Corinthians 15:3-5 when he wrote, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” Simply put, the Gospel is all about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and the implications it has for us.
The word “Gospel” literally means “good news.” It is the good news of God taking on flesh through the person Jesus Christ and rescuing mankind by His perfect life that we could never live, His substitutionary death that we deserved, and the resurrection that now gives us true life through His Spirit. While the Gospel can be stated in a sentence, it is also the grand narrative that is told throughout the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Gospel is the glorious story of how God is reconciling the whole world back to Himself through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. It is personal, yet cosmic. It is simple, yet infinite.
God's Gospel originates in, and expresses, the wondrous perfections of the eternal, triune God.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. Perfectly equal in their divinity, however subordinate in responsibility; the Son submits to the will of the Father & the Holy Spirit is submitted to the will of the Father & the Son. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in His love and in His holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, He perfectly and completely knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about His eternal good purposes to redeem a people for Himself and restore His fallen creation, to the praise of His glorious grace. (Genesis 1:2, 26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17; John 1:1-5; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:16-21)
God's Gospel is authoritatively revealed in the Scriptures.
All Scripture is self-attesting and, being Truth, requires our unreserved submission in all areas of life. The infallible Word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is a complete and unified witness to God's redemptive acts, culminating in the incarnation of the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible, uniquely and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the supreme and final authority on all matters on which it speaks. (Matthew 5:17-20; John 16:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
THE HUMAN CONDITION
God's Gospel alone addresses our deepest need.
Being estranged from God and condemned by our sinfulness, our salvation is wholly dependent upon the work of God's free grace. God credits His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, thereby justifying them in His sight. Only such as are born of the Holy Spirit and receive Jesus Christ become children of God and heirs of eternal life. (Gen 3; Ps. 143:2; Is. 53:6; Rom. 3:23; I Jn. 1:8-10)
God's Gospel is made known supremely in the Person of Jesus Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus, Israel’s promised Messiah, was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. ( Luke 1:35; Jn. 1:1, 14:6; Acts 1:1-10)
THE WORK OF CHRIST
God's Gospel is accomplished through the work of Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation and being made right with God. (Rom. 3:21-26; Eph. 1:27; Heb. 7:22-28)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to His people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and is present with and in believers through the proclamation of the Gospel. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by His powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them and persuading to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God. By the Spirit’s working, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive His sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is Himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. (Jn. 14:15-27, 16:7-15; Acts 16:14; Rom. 8:1-30; 1 Cor. 12:3; 12-14; 2 Cor. 3:4-18; Eph. 1:13-14, 2:4-5, 5:18; 1 Thes. 1:4-5)
God's Gospel is now embodied in the new community called the Church.
We believe that we are not simply saved as individuals, but that we are saved “into” something called the Church. This is given many different names in Scripture but the primary one is that of a family or the “household of God.” (Eph 2-3) We are to relate to God as our Father and each other as brothers and sisters “in Christ.” This leads to a deep loving community that displays the power of the Gospel to a watching world (John 13:35).
We believe that the local church is an autonomous group of believers who join their lives together by the Gospel. Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the Gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
The local church is governed by the scriptures and operates under the Lordship of Christ with Pastor-Elders leading the people toward faithfulness in Christ. The office of the Pastor-Elder is limited to men as qualified by the scriptures.
(Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 2:9-10)
God's Gospel compels us to Christ-like living and mission to the world.
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With the Gospel, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed. We believe that all Christians are called to a life of godly character, devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and service to Him.
We believe that the Gospel is not only the entry point into the Christian life, but is also the dynamic by which we relate to God. Growing in godliness happens by continually reflecting on the Gospel, or “good news” of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf. As we reflect on this and God’s Word, we become aware of just how big the separation is between our sinfulness and God’s standard. This often happens simultaneously with growth in holiness. As we become more and more aware of just how big the separation is, the Gospel becomes more and more important, the cross becomes more and more central, and, as a result, we are driven to worship, rather than pride or despair. (Eph. 5:18; 2 Cor. 6:14, 7:1, Rom. 12:1-2, Eph. 4:32, Col. 1:22-24)
God's Gospel will be brought to fulfillment by the Lord Himself at the end of this age.
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels, when He will exercise His role as final Judge, and His kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord Himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and His people will be enthralled by His holiness, and everything will be to the praise of His glorious grace. (Matt. 24:29-31, 36-51, 25:31-46; Lk. 12:35-48,16:19-31; 2 Pet. 3:1-13; Rev. 20:11-15, 21:1-8, 22:6-21)
RESPONSE AND ETERNAL DESTINY
God's Gospel requires a response that has eternal consequences.
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the Gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen. (Jn. 5:24, 3:16; Mk. 9:43-50; 2 Thess. 1:9)
While Anthem Church is an autonomous, local church, in which the elders are the highest governing authority, we do not believe it is healthy or wise for a church to be independent. We have formed some strategic gospel partnership that aid us in furthering our mission and keeping us accountable.
EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH OF AMERICA
We are a member of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). We chose specifically to join a denomination/ association because we wanted the theological accountability and financial accountability that comes with being a part of a group. This level of accountability simply isn’t available to an independent church. Organizationally we are, in essence, an independent church. Every EFCA church is completely autonomous. We are not subject to the hierarchical control of any ecclesiastical or denominational body. Each church is self-governed and determines its own affairs. For example:
- Every EFCA church chooses its own pastor
- Every EFCA church owns its own buildings and assets
- Every EFCA church determines its own programs and polity
We are a part of a greater movement of multiplying healthy churches throughout the world. By partnering with the EFCA we are supporting mission and church planting throughout the world on an ongoing basis. In addition to that the EFCA provides us with accountability and assistance in doctrinal and financial matters.
More info here: efca.org
Andy Rogers, Lead Pastor and Elder, spent 8 months with us as a Leadership Resident, before heading to San Diego to plant Restored Church. Restored Church continues to be relationally connected to us a "sister" church on mission together.
More info here: restoredsd.org
Imago Dei Church
Daniel and Crista Jansson, lead planters, spent 9 months with us as a Leadership Resident, before heading to Downey to plant Imago Dei Church. Imago Dei Church continues to be relationally connected to us a "sister" church on mission together.
More info here: imagodei.church
More info here: genesiscollective.org
The ministry focuses on two men who lead ministries in Nepal, Babu and Beki. Beki is a pastor and leader in a church in Kathmandu. He ministers in areas of highest vulnerability. He preaches the Gospel in the prisons, leper colonies, widow homes, orphan homes and the slums of Kathmandu. In addition to all of that work, he pours into church planters around the mountain regions and continues to train up more church planters to see the Gospel advance into the surrounding communities. Babu is an amazing leader who oversees 14 churches in the plains region of Nepal (near the border of India). He ministers to the pastors by teaching them how to study the Scriptures, how to pastor people in difficult times and many other things. In addition to leading these 14 churches, Babu’s home is an orphanage for 60 adopted children. He and his wife Sabitri are raising these kids as their own. They given them a family, an education and a faith that is deep. Our love for church planting led us to partner with Touch Nepal, and now we continue to pour into them because we love Babu and Beki and their apprentice Bikash.
More info here: touchnepal.org
Zoe has spent the last 15 years building a ministry that rescues children out of sex and labor slavery, primarily in Thailand, but throughout southeast Asia. They do this with a heart for the Gospel and full partnership with the local church. They have built a home near Chiang Mai that houses boys and girls that have been rescued. They educate the kids, teach them how to do life and business, share the Gospel with them and prepare them for life on their own. They have a bible school available for graduates that are interested in going into ministry. We partner with Zoe because we wanted to pour our generosity into something that was helping people in their most vulnerable place. Human trafficking is a massive justice issue and something that we are compelled to do from our understanding of God’s heart in the Scriptures. Zoe has been a great resource for us to be in touch with the trafficking issue around the world and we absolutely love being a part of their team.
More info here: gozoe.org
Dark To Dawn
Dark to Dawn is a Ventura County ministry that focuses on resourcing families who foster/adopt children locally. The foster care system is one of the most glaring and obvious needs the our community has for Christians to express the love and generosity of the Gospel into. The Ventura County Foster Care system sees between 60-80 new kids enter each month. Families around the county have volunteered to welcome these at-risk kids into their homes. Dark to Dawn exists to be a resource to Christian families that are opening their home to foster kids, in addition to that, they provide opportunities and resources for the kids that are “graduating out” of the foster care system at age 18. We are partnering with Dark to Dawn because we believe that God has a heart for orphans and while we don’t use that terminology much, these at-risk kids most definitely fall into the category of the “least of these” that we need to be taking care of.
More info here: darktodawn.org