This article is written by Althea Rood of the Anchor of Hope Church in Dodge Center, MN. Hope you enjoy this picture of how God is at work in and through one of our local SDB churches participating in the SDB Church Revitalization Grant program.
Several years ago, our church (Dodge Center SDB Church) started the revitalization process. We knew that we wanted God to make us better Gospel catalysts in our community so we embarked on the process of self-examination. We did become stymied in the process but God has been faithful and we’re moving again.
One of the things that God did was to give us a new name, new signs, and new logo…one that we believe speaks of what we have to offer our community. We are the Anchor of Hope Church, a Seventh Day Baptist congregation. Our desire is to offer the deep abiding hope found only in Jesus to our community. (Hebrews 6:19—“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” )
With the name came a new mission statement…one we would use to determine our ministries:
INVITE people to know Christ
INVEST in people’s Christian growth
INSPIRE people to reach out
These are good beginnings but the real transformation is yet to come. At our April business meeting, the church voted that we apply to the SDB Memorial Fund Grant for a grant to help us purchase the Emotionally Healthy Discipleship Course for our church. (The Memorial Fund is making $1000 grants to churches to help with their revitalization process.)
This course consists of two portions: (1) Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and (2) Emotionally Healthy Relationships. We believe that these courses will enable our church to become a place for people to deepen their faith and to learn to communicate our faith to others. The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course introduces people to a transformative spirituality with God and the Emotionally Healthy Relationships Course teaches practical skills to launch people into a transformative spirituality with others.
This two-part course uniquely combines growing in love for God with growing in love for others.
In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, people are encouraged to slow down their lives to develop their own personal relationship with Jesus. Topics include how to:
- Confront the Crisis of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality
- Know and Become Your Authentic Self in Christ
- Discover How Your Family of Origin Affects You Today
- Find Your Way Through “Walls” to Grow into Maturity
- Enlarge Your Soul Through Embracing Grief and Loss
- Integrate Silence and Sabbath to Slow Down for Jesus
- Grow into an Emotionally Healthy Adult
- Design a Lifelong Plan to Live in God’s Love
In Emotionally Healthy Relationships, people are equipped with practical relationship skills to love others like Jesus. Topics include how to:
- Learn Healthy, Life-changing Communication Skills
- Stop Allowing Unclear Expectations to Hurt Others
- Discover How Your Family History Impacts Relationships
- Explore How God Is Meeting You in Your Emotions
- Learn How to Listen and Be Present to Others
- Stop Lying About What You Are Really Feeling and Thinking
- Get Tools for Mature Conflict Resolution
- Create a Plan to Love the People in Your Life
The course has been developed by Peter and Geri Scazzero. If you’d like to find out more about this course or their ministry check out: www.emotionallyhealthy.org Peter and Geri comment: “The Church is Facing a Crisis, we’ve settled for a shallow Christianity where:
- We rarely multiply mature disciples.
- We live hurried lives, unable to slow down and be with Jesus.
- We pretend to be something on the outside that we are not on the inside.
- We remain emotionally and spiritually immature.
- We allow a lack of self-awareness to harm our relationships.
- We are unable to process sadness, anger, grief, and other emotions.”
Our other present focus, in addition to deepening our commitment to God, is to develop ministries to reach into our community. We have held several focus groups to discuss our passions, gifts, and interests. Soon we hope to meet with one of our denominational leaders to help us set some ministry goals.
Please pray for us as we pilot the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course with a small group this summer. Our hope is to make the course available to everyone in our church this fall. May we learn to grow much deeper in our love for God and may it show in our relationships with each other!