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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Friday, June 15, 2012

What is the Solution?

Al Roker was in Baltimore AND the O's swept the Pirates. What a big day for the city.  I celebrated with a crab, Mac & Cheese hot dog at Camden Yards. Sorry friends, I'm not yet to the point with instagram where I'll take a picture of every meal I eat.

On another note: I heard this today and could not stop thinking about the possible implications- .  

"The culture is us. It’s you. You’re a participant. How could you possibly be the solution.”

Praise God. 

This has been my biggest struggle over the journey of church planting. I didn't have to grow to love my location. I've loved Maryland all my life. My biggest journey is this: what do we have to offer ANYBODY - (them, us, rich, poor, black or white). It's not that I don't know my giftedness; this feeling isn't some exercise in false humility. Simply put, the journey to church planting has been an opportunity to pull the curtain back from the daily "churchy" life we were living and ask ourselves: "what impact are we really making?" Are we busy shuffling another group of Christians from one church to the next - trying to create the best show of preaching that "feeds" the loudest group of people on the communication card? Or, are we really helping people under the gospel, exposing the fruitlessness of idolatry and the hope that is found in Jesus.  

Whether it's in the context of the "safe" suburbs, or in the vastness of the "scary" city, there's a huge difference between being a church that celebrates the solution and being a church that acts like it is one.  The failure of EVERY man-made institution to address the real needs of a city in dignity based ways is obvious. May our new church be not just another man made institution.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'd send you all that I'm thinking

After an evening of singing medley of 90's R & B tunes to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary, the month of May comes to a close. Oh KC & Jojo, thanks for saying what we all feel.

Here are a few highlights from the month gone by: 

To start the month, I spent a weekend in Brooklyn with the Church! of Park Slope. This church launched by starting not just a church, but a cafe right along the main street of Park Slope (Postmark Cafe). It  is a great church with a great coffeehouse. Brad and Joy are great examples of how to be the church in a place that's less than welcoming to their picture of church. Every time I was in the cafe, it was busy with people from the community.  The church gathers on Sunday morning at a local community center, but has recently started a Sunday night service at the cafe. This evening service (appropriately called Dinner Church) was a great time of discussion. As we went through the service, there was a steady stream of folks who stopped in, thinking the cafe was open for business. While none actually stayed, it was a great indication of the presence that Church of Park Slope has in their community. You can learn more about them here: 

Last weekend, Amber and I paid a visit to Buffalo to visit the Village - Buffalo. This church, started last Fall by our friends Jeremy & Audra Hazelton, is right in the heart of Buffalo's Elmwood Village Neighborhood. It was great to see the new church doing so well. Both their family and the churches family are in the process of expansion, as Audra will have their 3rd child this month. 

The homes of Elmwood Village are made for community. Much time was spent in Elmwood Village on porches and in the street playing KanJam. Neighbors spend time on one another's porches, and are in one another's homes. The Village Church provides the same level of hospitality with a greater intention. The leaders of the church know their neighbors and help engage a greater mission. I was challenged and encouraged. Some buffalo wings and a trip to Niagara Falls brought the trip to completion. Read more about The Village Buffalo here

As KC & Jojo bring May to a close, my little red book is full of ideas and best practices. Each day we move one step closer to making these dreams and thoughts in a little red book into a reality in South Baltimore. 

The month of May came to completion with one more piece falling into place: our first committed church partner for the new project. 

God's working here. Please keep praying for us as we move where He's going.