Thanks for taking a few moments to read through this short update about what Jesus is doing in Ventura.
Sherry and I have gotten a front row seat seeing Jesus work and change the lives of people in Ventura, and we are more confident than ever that this is where God is leading us and that he is starting and continuing something very special in this city.
These verses are resonating in me as I write this update:
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:35-38 ESV)
How tremendously simple does this seem? Philip explains the good news about Jesus, and the Ethiopian Eunuch sees water and asks why he shouldn't be baptized right there! I love that sort of Gospel knee-jerk!
We take heart the mission Jesus gives to his church: make disciples, baptize them, and teach them!
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)
In this update, you'll find some stories about new life found in Jesus, updates on our journey as a new church and how you can participate. My hope is that you read this update you'll be encouraged, challenged and stirred to action.
First Wednesdays - In March, we started taking the first Wednesday of each month and just hang out and enjoy each other and build new relationships. We sought out a space where people can invite friends and meet some new people. These times have been so refreshing and fun. It's been a great "front door" to our community, especially before we have Sunday services up and running.
Prayer Walk - On March 18, we led our first prayer walk through downtown Ventura and it was incredible to lift up the city, other churches and believers, and our mission in Ventura up in prayer and see how God is speaking!
Multiplying Community Groups - We started our second group a little over a month ago and it's been exciting to watch those in our community embrace this calling to reproduce for the sake of reaching more people for the gospel. We are starting a journey of apprenticing and preparing for two more Community Groups by the summertime!
Baptism - Anthem Ventura had its first baptism last week! We are so thankful for the work that Jesus is doing in and through his people! Stephanie's story is an amazing one, and it was such a special moment for us to gather at Sanjon beach to pray and celebrate her new life together! We are asking God for more stories like this!
WHAT'S COMING UP
Launch Team Meeting - April 30th 6:30PM
We are currently building a launch team to help start a new church in Ventura. If you are interested in joining our launch team or learning more, you are invited to our first launch team meeting on Thursday April 30th from 6:30-9:30PM. If you're interested in coming that night, let us know! Dinner will be provided. And if you're unable to make it, please be praying for us during this incredibly formational and foundational time! Get more info here: anthemchur.ch/LaunchTeamMeeting
Upcoming Prayer Walks
The resounding feedback from our last time walking the streets of Ventura and praying was to have more of these! Stay tuned, but our next few prayer walks will be joined and possible led by other pastors and churches in the city. Stay up to date with future prayer walks by heading to anthemventura.org or byfollowing us on Facebook!
Interest / Vision Meeting - Early Summer
We are still working out the date, but early summertime we will be having another Interest / Vision Meeting to share the gospel, the heart and story of this new church and how those interested can get involved. If you or someone you know might be interested in hearing about a new church for the city of Ventura, please stay up to date with anthemventura.org for future details.
HOW YOU CAN PARTNER WITH US
This may seems strange because some of you do not even live in Ventura County, but there are a variety of ways you can support both us and Anthem in this new gospel adventure.
1. Pray for us
We have seen Jesus work in crazy ways over the last month - in part because of your prayers! Please continue to pray for us, our new forming team and the mission Jesus has us on. Also be praying for other churches and believers in the city.
We have a goal to raise $25,000 by the end of this summer. If you would like to contribute toward that goal, click here to give online and select ‘Ventura’ from the dropdown. If you’d rather give via check, you can make the check payable to ‘Anthem Church’ and in the memo line be sure to put ‘Ventura.' Mailing address: 390 Arcturus St. Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about giving toward this new church.
3. Join us
If you live in the Ventura area, or would consider moving with us to help start this new church, please get in touch with us via email:email@example.com and I would love to have those conversations with you!
4. Share our journey
As you see things pop up online, or stories you hear that are compelling, we ask that you help us spread the word. We’ve already gotten to meet some people via pure word of mouth, and it’s such a treat to see how God uses people to orchestrate those meetings.
Phew! I know this was a bit lengthly, so kudos for making this far, but we couldn't leave out these amazing stories God is weaving together in Ventura.
As you think of us, please pray. Sherry and I are aiming to move to Ventura this month! This has been a long time coming, and we're excited to see how God opens up more opportunities as we continue to do life in a deeper way with the people in our community.
Thank you for tracking with us, praying for us, and supporting us in various ways! We love you so much!
Bert, Sherry & Calvin