Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why Anchor?

We've been asking the question around here: "What's Next for Anchor?" In seeking an answer, I've continually gone back to our written statement about our purpose. It says that we are about encouraging more people to follow Jesus. The supporting statement is that we will equip those Jesus followers to build up one another and reach out to seekers.

This is a primarily relational statement. It means that the highest value we hold is a relationship with Jesus. Anchor is successful when people follow Jesus. How do I know if someone is following Jesus? The only sure way of knowing is to have a relationship with that Jesus-follower. Most other definitions of "knowing" end up leading to some form of legalism.

It's hard to imagine an individual who follows Jesus that is not also helping other Jesus-followers stay true, as well as come alongside seekers and help them find truth. Jesus-followers, almost by definition, help other Jesus-followers and Jesus-seekers. This ought to have a very practical element to it.

It comes about mostly by conversation, conversations about how we live in light of what Jesus teaches. And the conversations can only occur at the pace of one's soul. There's no point in pressuring somebody to conform to a way of living that they are not ready to accept. But pressuring and encouraging are not the same.

The first two definitions Paul gives for love is: patience and kindness. This applies to our conversations, our attitudes, our own conforming and the conforming of others. Encouraging others to follow Jesus is the work of a lifetime. It's hard work, but it's the hard that makes it good.

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