Ancarrow..the blog

Welcome to "Ancarrow...the blog," a place for us to share some random thoughts as we help start new churches in MD.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Winning Ugly

Crabcakes and football, right?  As you can imagine, we are among the many in this city who are ecstatic about the Raven's Super Bowl victory. The improbable wins, coupled with the naysayers and critics, made victory all the sweeter. From listening to people make snide remarks about Ray Lewis (everyone is an expert, after all), to watching Peyton lose another strange playoff game, to the 2nd half shut down of Tom Brady (complete with pouty face), to watching the Ravens almost blow it in the Super Bowl while the younger Harbaugh came unglued about a "no call" that was consistent with every other "no call" in the flow of the game. (Interestingly enough, he had no complaints about the personal foul "no call" on his defender on the previous drive). Each week was tense, drama-filled, and lacking in the bravado that creates media darlings out of the top-tier QB's in the league. You undoubtedly could find a local Baltimorean who is convinced that the black out was a conspiracy to even out the game or prevent Baltimore from winning.

Here's a view from our neighborhood:

I believe you can learn a lot about a city by looking at its sports teams, particularly on the national stage.    The city of Baltimore is no exception.  It's a place that values loyalty, and relishes its role as an under-dog.  In the post-game celebration, Joe Flacco equated the style of victory to the city itself, saying, "We don't make it easy for ourselves..." If you live here, you quickly find out just how true the statement is. Truly, as the city paper said a few weeks ago: Baltimore is a place where winning ugly is a beautiful thing.

Now, back to the celebration.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Church to be Named...

There's no bad ideas in brainstorming, right?  Here are some submitted names for the Baltimore City Project that didn't quite make the cut. Which of these potential church names is your favorite?

1.  Christ Ripken Church
2. St. John's Hopkins House of Mercy and Hope
3. First Church of Immanuel Ben Carson Baltimore
4. Church of the Star-of-Bethlehem-Spangled Banner
5.  Armour of God Church
6.  Domin-O-Say-Can-You-Sea-of-Gallilee Church
7. Baltimore Church of Praise God, Hail-Ray-Lewis!
8. I'm-Not-Even-Greek Orthodox Church of Baltimore (Wire references FTW)
9. Plague of Locusts Point
10. He-Gave-it-all-timore

-Courtesy of Dr. Ken Camacho. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

These Days

Here's an update on what our life looks like these days...

  • Finishing well at Revolution. We are eager to begin working on this new church. However, we are working hard to leave well in Annapolis. The move into the elementary school (logistics & volunteer team expansion) was my last "major" project.  There are, however, ongoing loose ends to be tied up. This will continue to be a balancing act, as Revolution deadlines are already beginning to intersect with new "the Church with no name in Baltimore" deadlines.  The lack of a name demonstrates one of those deadlines. We love Revolution, and are committed to finishing well. 
  • Enjoying Baltimore. Rhythm and routine are important to all families - but we feel that's especially true of us. We knew B'more very well before we lived here, but are discovering new things we love about the city every week. This will only further refine the kind of church that is planted here in 2013. 
  • Being a good neighbor. We are trying to learn the names of the people on our block. We're figuring out who is outgoing and loud. We are learning who doesn't like the "new" side of the neighborhood.  While this process can sometimes be daunting, it's also pretty fun.
  • Hosting a home group. Each week, there is a group of us gathering to study God's word and live in community with one another. This has been a huge blessing. 
  • Getting involved in the community. There are a variety of ways to do this. I've coached soccer, Amber is active with the PTO and has applied to substitute teach. We frequent some restaurants and coffee shops, trying to figure out how others who live here perceive the community. 
  • Talking about Baltimore City & the new church with whoever will listen. In the past month, we've been able to connect with big & small crowds in a variety of places from the Northeast to the mid-west. Some times, it's yielded the sounds of crickets. Other times, it's yielded prayer. It's even brought us a few potential team members.
  • Hating the Steelers. It's Steelers week, you know. I always, and still do, loathe the black and gold, despite the respect I have for the organization. 2 of the next 3 Ravens games are against the Steelers. The Ravens D isn't what it was, and Flacco is inconsistent on the road. The next three weeks are for the division. GO RAVENS.
  • Getting away. As this year comes to a close, I realize that I have run at a blistering pace. While I traveled much, I rarely took time off. I've been trying to remedy that a bit before we are in full-on prelaunch mode. We'll get away this weekend to celebrate Amber's birthday, and will spend some time with family over the next few weeks. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Revolution.

This weekend, Josh Burnett and I will head to NYC to teach a Church Planting Class for students at Ozark Christian College. While I am mostly apathetic in the "what is the most awesome of the Bible colleges," I think this class is one of the cooler opportunities out there. We'll have an opportunity to teach and share stories about what God is doing here in MD. Additionally, we'll be able to do the "If I could turn back time..." segment, and hopefully spare at least one teachable person a heartache or two.  If you can forgive my Cher reference, please continue reading.

We officially started this journey two years ago. I can remember when Tim, Josh and I sat at Panera the day after launching Revolution Annapolis, wide-eyed and exhausted, thinking, "what are we going to do now?" Faces have changed, teams have grown, and I'm now just a little over two months away from the full time work of venturing out to start a new church. There is so much to celebrate. Some days, I think we're starting to figure it out. Other days, I know we're not even close.

Maybe it's because my time at Revolution is coming to a close. Maybe it's because I haven't written in two months and I don't feel like writing another blog about how October was strange in its massive amounts of travel, the death of my grandmother, and the preparation for Revolution's move into a new facility.. Maybe it's because I don't want to spend my time thinking about what to name the church in Baltimore (if this was easy for some of you church planters, please share your secret). Regardless of my motivation, here are my favorite Revolution memories so far, in descending order:

5. Feed 40K. There have been bigger feeding events since, but the line of people continuing to come in the door will forever be burned into my brain. While logistically it was my worst nightmare (as a details guy), in my heart I've never been so overwhelmed by seeing people come together to do something.

4. Preaching my first sermon at Revolution. Largely, I remember this because when I closed my eyes to pray, an angry, intoxicated man rushed the stage and threw a note at me.

3. A night of LR when Dr. Kenny Camacho used American Transcendentalism to clarify doctrine.

2.  Revolution's first baptism service. I can remember being  blown away by the spontaneous applause in the room .

1.  Two friends standing in front of the church sharing how God saved their marriage.

Revolution has many more great moments in its past - and plenty of other great moments to come.  Happy Birthday, Revolution Annapolis

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Month in Bmore

Exactly 23 days ago, we took the next round of steps to planting a church in 2013 . We moved to Baltimore City. While we will remain with the staff of Revolution Annapolis through the end of the year, we thought this move would give us a glimpse of one possible church planting scenario in 2013 - which is planting a church in South Baltimore. This is an area we certainly have a heart for, and one that we think is ripe for a new church. However, having never lived in a city, we found living here first to be a necessary piece of our cultural research.

Finding a house to live in proved to be a terrific challenge. We looked at numerous places, and made a a variety of offers on the ones that didn't look like college dorm rooms or dungeons. One rejected us because we had kids - another because someone outbid us. The process was exhausting, particularly when presses against the tapestry of Emery needing to start 1st grade somewhere this Fall. When we finally found a place, (right next to the park and school we wanted to be nearby) a neighbor told us that we were unsafe - and had not business moving our kids here (right in front of my kids, by the way). While we see things a bit differently than this person - it was an off-putting start to our adventure. 

No matter how prepared you seem to be,  moving is emotionally and physically exhausting. We're coming out of the clouds - and starting to feel human again (just in time for the Honda to break down - woot). We're figuring out our neighborhood - what we like, what we don't, and where we fit.  I've been to Baltimore probably over 500 times in my life - but as with any place, it's different when you live there.

Here's what we love so far.
1. Walkability.
2. The O's. By the way, it's almost September - and the O's are still alive!
3. Harborcue
4. Emery enjoyed her open house and is excited about school.

Here's what's hard so far.
1. Figuring out where we fit in with the neighborhood. We have met other families, but none are on our block.
2. Parking.
3. As of today - the Honda. It needs major repairs (Head Gasket -boo). Decisions need to be made.

Pray for us in these ways:
1. To build a rhythm as a family that allows us to finish well at Revolution while engaging our new neighborhood.
2. Cultural Agility
3. Wisdom, vision, and discernment as we begin the next phase of our plans for 2013.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dresser & Bed Frame

We need to share a few more pieces of furniture with the rest of the world prior to our Aug 1 move to Baltimore. email me at to declare them yours.

6 Drawer dresser - originally purchased from Value City Furniture. Dark Cherry "Caribbean Breeze" finish - Made by Progressive Furniture, Inc. Mirror is detachable. Dresser dimensions are 5 1/2 (w) X 2 1/2 (h). Mirror dimensions are 3 ft, 7 in (w) by 3 ft, 3 in (h). Bed frame is a queen size sleigh bed - mattress & box spring NOT included. Head board is 4 ft. tall.