Anthem Ventura is part a family of churches helping people find their way back to God. The Anthem family of churches is united around shared mission, vision, values, and submission to the Lordship of King Jesus. In our cities, we are working to obey Jesus in helping people find their way back to God.
How House to House Works
What is Anthem House to House?
Anthem House to House is the model of ministry for Anthem Church. That model is built around anthem communities, small groups of people meeting around our city and county practicing the way of Jesus together.
Anthem House to House reimagines space for church so we’re not limited to buildings, and huge teams to facilitate those gatherings. Anthem House to House creates an approachable, welcoming, and inviting space no matter where you come from or who you are. Anthem House to House is for everyone, everywhere; anyone, anywhere.
There are three primary components to House to House:
#1 - Anthem Communities
Groups of 10-20 meeting in homes, backyards, online for worship, teaching, response, meals, and life together.
#2 - CORE Groups
Groups of 3-4, gender specific groups, within an Anthem Community, to grow in intentional discipleship, accountability, and encouragement.
#3 - All Together Gatherings
All the Anthem Communities coming together for a ‘family reunion’ with worship, food, storytelling, vision, and togetherness.
Why are we doing Anthem House to House?
Here at Anthem, we believe the church is a family. Where everyone belongs.
Anthem House to House is church for everyone, everywhere. It's gathering together wherever you are, with others, in person or online, to share life, learn together, respond together, and be the church together.
We are called to share the good news of Jesus with the world, and we want to help people have real, genuine relationships with God and others.
Catalyzed by our current cultural moment, where there are restrictions on gatherings and buildings, we wanted to reimagine church for the future. Rather than being limited by budget, buildings, the teams, we wanted anybody anywhere to experience the good news of Jesus, and anyone anywhere to play an active role in the body of the church.
How do Anthem Communities work?
At an Anthem Community, you will immediately get to dive into the life of our church. Meeting in homes and backyards around ventura county, these spaces are like family meals – but with a lot of intentionality.
Each community is led by community leaders and apprentices, under the oversight of the elder team, who are called to empower and create unique communities of people living out the mission together.
When you come to an Anthem Community, you will experience a family meal, sharing in the Lord’s supper, a teaching from the bible shared by all Anthem communities, a time of worship, response, discussion, and an opportunity to pray and be prayed for by others.
How do I join an Anthem Community?
Find a community near you or one online and join in. A listing of all communities are in our app and on our website. We’ll be saving a seat for you.
How do CORE Groups work?
We are called to be apprentices of Jesus – to be with Jesus, become like Jesus, and do what Jesus would do if he were me. Everything else should flow from that. Instead of placing our discipleship on a list waiting to be checked off, we apply our discipleship to all of life. It is how we do everything on the list and off, it’s how we live.
A CORE group is 3-4 people, gender-specific that will meet regularly for the purpose of accountability, discipleship, encouragement, and cultivation of a lifestyle of apprenticeship to Jesus.
There are three primary aspects to CORE groups:
Confession → sharing struggle and sin, victory and praise. (Galatians 6v2)
As leaders, we need to be the first to be vulnerable. True heart change, trust and knowing each other can not happen without vulnerability. We believe each soul was created with a need to be known and loved. Here we go beyond the behavior and confess and share the heart posture, false beliefs and sinful desires behind our behavior. We challenge the lie “if anyone really knew me no one would love me.”, and believe our brothers and sisters in Christ will embrace and rejoice with our confession. We bring dark things to light and in doing so, we rob them of their power over us. We, together, place them at the feet of Jesus.
Key questions → What are you struggling with? How have you seen the power of God at work this week?
Reading → trusting the Scriptures for transformation. We are listening together to the truth of Jesus from His word. (2 Timothy 3v16–17)
We build each up with the truth of God’s word. God is so good to us, it’s hard to believe sometimes. Having those we know and trust speak the truth of God’s word into our hearts, souls and mind are like streams of living water pouring into us. We build each other up in love with the Scriptures; we speak life, faith, love, identity, and truth over each other. We remind each other the amazing truths of God, us and His goodness. We fight for each other in the face of unbelief, doubt, and fear.
Key questions → What Scripture are you reading? What is the Holy Spirit teaching you?
Encouragement → offering prayer, wisdom to give courage for the days and weeks ahead. (Hebrews 10v23-25)
We pray for courage and faith in each other's lives. We pray for a realization and reliance on the Spirit's leading. We pray against the voice of the enemy. We pray for those in our lives who do not know Him. We pray for strength to apply the heart posture and action needed to live out the love of Christ in our unique situations. Prayer is our life source to Christ, in a community dedicated to each other and to Him, the power of prayer can not be overstated.
Key questions → How can we pray for you? What do you need courage for today?
How do ‘all together gatherings’ work?
All-Together Gatherings are our family reunions. At these gatherings, we meet as one church to worship, hear from the Word of God, share stories of God’s work in our lives, and respond together in singing, prayer, and a meal. We will seek to gather all communities anywhere from 6-12 times per year.
How are Anthem Communities different from Community Groups?
Rather than showing up to a service on Sunday, then meeting up with a small group of people during the week, House to House fuses those two ideas together as one: Anthem Communities. Your community is more than a CG, its church.
Even against best intentions, most people in a traditional model (Sunday Service + Small groups) tend to view the non-relational gathering where little is expected of them as the most important gathering, and then the intimate, relational gathering during the week to be secondary and optional.
Many people in this model feel as though they are apart of a church by attending services on Sunday even though they aren’t discipling anyone, confessing sin, using their gifts, or loving people deeply. Sometimes the traditional model can allow people to hide within the church even though they aren’t interested in really obeying Jesus’ commands.
Shifting the primary emphasis in gathering to smaller groups in homes, backyard, and online, seems to better allow us to focus on what is most important and build a healthy culture of people obeying Jesus.
Ultimately, Anthem Communities amplify the strengths of a CG and integrate more of beautiful moments in the gathered church. By elevating the value and importance of these smaller communities, we are making space for more people to use their gifts, shepherd each other, and equip each other for the mission of God.
How are Anthem Communities different from a house church?
Anthem Communities are guided by the eldership of Anthem Church. All content, teaching, and resources shared is prepared by and overseen by Anthem Church and reflects Anthem Church’s beliefs and theology.
All Community leaders go through a verified approval and training process overseen by the Anthem elder team.
Additionally, where house churches are their own autonomous entity, under their own leadership, and comparatively, Anthem Communities make up Anthem Church, we are all moving in the same direction, leaders are held accountable, and occasionally we’ll gather together as one church for “family reunions.”
We believe there are drawbacks from a classic house church model that runs counter for who God has called us to be: (1) a lack of leadership development, church planting, and reproducing gospel work, (2) an unintentional (or sometimes intentional) pull toward being insular, closed off, and inhospitable toward new people, (3) mission drift (losing focus on the lost in our lives), (4) and radical autonomy and individualism.
Here’s how we’re structuring Anthem Communities to meet those challenges:
#1 - Anthem Communities are led by leaders and apprentices.
When a group reaches capacity, the community will split and the apprentice will start a new group. Anthem Community leaders are always identity, training, and preparing apprentices to lead their own communities, and apprentices are always learning, training, and preparing to lead their community and future apprentices. Groups will reproduce when (1) apprentices are ready to start their own community and (2) intimacy, engagement, and involvement become too difficult because of the size of a community.
Speaking of size, our aim is for Anthem Communities to be between 10-20 adults. Critical mass for a new community is at least 6 adults. After 20 adults (and sometimes before), people can get lost in the mix, gifts aren’t used, and people can become spectators instead of contributors.
#2 - Every Anthem Community will always be open to new people.
No community will ever be “full” - if a community is getting toward capacity, that community will need to reproduce. Additionally, each group will cultivate a strong invite culture.
#3 - Each Anthem Community will have a monthly’ mission allowance’ to spend on those far from God.
This is not the same as our Acts 2 fund, which will continues to be the place for people in the church to receive financial help. The mission allowance is to be used exclusively for reaching and blessing people far from God (paying a bill, throwing a party, etc.)
#4 - Anthem Communities are overseen by the elder team of Anthem Church.
Each Community leader is directly overseen and lead by a member of the elder team, and collectively the elder team shapes the spiritual direction of the entire church. Additionally, part of our regular rhythm will be to bring all the communities together for ‘all together gatherings’ happening somewhere between once per month and once per quarter.
What is the Role of the Elder team?
The elder is the highest level of authority in the church, and the appointing of elders is a biblical command. The key Scriptural mandates can be found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-9. The responsibility of the elder is to provide spiritual oversight.
The number one qualification for an elder is character. We don’t look for who has been around the longest, or who is good at preaching, or who is gifted, or rich, or has connections. With greater spiritual authority comes a higher level of scrutiny, and so an elder is more greatly scrutinized in his character than a community leader.
Each elder oversees their own Anthem Community, as well as a few others, and collectively the team oversees all communities and the church as a whole. The elder team oversees and disciples the community leaders in each of their churches, and also provides spiritual oversight to the communities. If an issue comes up and a community leader needs help, the elder is there to give guidance. With that said, the community leader is the leader of that anthem community, and the elders not there to micromanage the community.
What is the role of an Anthem Community leader?
The key responsibilities of the community leader are (1) to provide spiritual oversight to the community and (2) to reproduce themselves in an apprentice. Community leaders are looking at the community and making sure that everyone is cared for and discipled. They should be deeply invested in developing new apprentices.
Other responsibilities include overseeing the mission allowance, taking care of communication and administrative tasks in the community, helping make sure everyone in the community has to play a role in the community.
Leaders are responsible for creating a culture/environment that is conducive to making disciples who are growing in love and faith. This means taking responsibility for shepherding the community into a gospel culture, a prayer culture, authentic culture, missional culture, generous culture, etc.
Here are the ‘must-haves’ for community leaders:
#1 - Gospel-Centered/Saturated/Transformed
A life not perfect but revolves on who Jesus is and what he has accomplished. They live in light of this present reality and growing in their understanding and application of the gospel. They are able to articulate the gospel and how the gospel applies to every area of life. (Galatians 2:20, John 15:5, 1 Cor 15, 2 Cor 5:11-21)
#2 - Theologically Sound
They do not need to know everything but have a solid understanding of the Bible, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. Leaders need to be founded on the truth of the word of God. (1 Tim 2:4, 2 Tim 3:14-17)
#3 - Committed to Reproduce
God has called us to reproduce in all areas. So that more people may find their way back to God. Starting new communities, especially from existing ones, is usually bittersweet. And it’s bittersweet by design! It should be bitter because that means those people have legitimately entered into real community, and it should be sweet because they have an opportunity to launch a community, that will foster more opportunities for people to grow in our discipleship to Jesus. (2 Tim 2:2, Matt 28:18-20)
#4 - Committed to cultivate a family of disciples on mission together
God is our Father and we are His Family; Jesus is our Lord and we are His Disciples; The Holy Spirit is our Guide and Sender and we are His Missionaries. Each Anthem Community has these three identities:
Family - We are children of God who care for each other as a family. We see God as our Father through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit. Community groups “do life” together. We share meals, resources, pain, joy, and care for one another as the family of God.
The constant picture of the church, more than any other picture, is that of a family. Even in Paul and John’s language when they are writing letters… “Dear son…” “My beloved…” (John 1:12-13; Romans 12:10-16)
Disciples - We are disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus. In a nutshell, a disciple is one who with Jesus, becomes like Jesus, and does what Jesus did. Communities actively encourage each other in the study of Scripture, learning the teachings of Jesus, becoming more like him, and carrying on his mission in the world. Where we go and what we do is meant to reflect who He is and what He is like.
On Mission - We are sent by the Spirit to restore all things to God through Jesus Christ. Community groups pursue active ways to publicly live out our faith and share the gospel and tangibly embody the kingdom of God in our communities. This is often centered around a common mission (local foster care, a specific business/organization, etc.) or a general neighborhood area.
#5 - Committed to leading by example
Leading in such a visible area, our desire is that you model how we want everyone to be engaged with Anthem through being an active member that: (1) does life together in an Anthem Community, (2) prays regularly for Anthem, (3) serves regularly, (4) gives generously and sacrificially regularly, and (5) shares regularly what God is doing at Anthem and inviting people to experience what God is doing at Anthem.
#6 - Committed to being ‘FATHERS’
Faithful → Our desire is that a leader has spent some amount of consistent time (typically at least 6 mos) in a community before leading one, and affirmed by their current community leader. (Luke 16:10; 2 Tim 2:2)
Available → If community leaders are not available it does not matter how qualified they are. Leaders must be available to their community. This goes hand in hand with living life on mission. We must be willing to sacrifice time and comfortability for the sake of the Kingdom. (John 4:1-43, Luke 18:18-23, Luke 22:39-46, Luke 9:23-25)
Teachable → Being teachable is imperative for our community leaders. We must take the posture of a learner, and be able to receive gospel coaching and correction. (James 4:6, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Peter 5:5)
Humble → At the heart of following Jesus is humility - putting others above ourselves, denying daily to yourself. CS Lewis famously said: “humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” We want a humble posture to permeate throughout our church and modeled in all of our leaders. (Rom 12:3, Phil 2:3)
Expectant → We want to model a posture of expectancy in our groups; an expectancy that God hears us, that God responds, and that God actually engages with us! As we approach worship, teaching, community, service, mission, generosity, etc. we are confident that God meets in those spaces and we can encounter the living God. (Ps 119:18, James 1:5, Heb 4:16)
Relational → Making disciples and shepherding must be done in relationship. Our community group leaders need to be able to relationally connect, and assess people and situations well. Without this, it will be near impossible to effectively shepherd. (Luke 19:1-10, John 4:1-43, John 10:1-19)
Sacrificial → Being a leader means sacrificing your desires for the sake of those you lead. That may include sacrificing time, money, your way of doing things, to point people to Jesus. (Matt 16:24-26)
What is the role of an Anthem Community apprentice?
An apprentice is growing in all of the qualities, characteristics, and roles of a community leader. In addition to preparing a training to lead a community of their own, apprentices also function as the number two in the community, providing support, relief, and back up for community leaders.
While every apprenticeship is contextual, we generally follow this guide:
- I do, you watch
- I do, you help
- You do, I help
- You do, I watch
- You do, and start again with another apprentice
How can I become a leader for an Anthem Community?
The best way to learn more and be developed into a leader for an Anthem community, is to join a community then apprentice under a current leader. Each community leaders responsible for apprenticing new leaders and sending them out to start new communities.
The things we look for in an apprentice and future leaders are a deep love and affection for Jesus and his church, humbly, character, and practical time as an apprentice.