What am I designed for? What would be the best environment to prepare me for the future? How can I feel more confident in my Christian faith? How do I scratch the itch for adventure and still stretch and grow?
These are some of the questions that most every young man or woman ponder as they roll through their college age years. And of course, the answers may vary.
Watching the growth, confidence and developing maturity of the students who are now wrapping up the first year of the Anchor House experience, it is obvious that those questions which prompted them to come aboard have been answered.
As they brush the sand off their feet and empty their rooms to return home, they will be different young men and women than when they came nine months ago. Along with the photos on their phones will be a trunk full of memories and the sense that they have experienced what it is like to have been a band of brothers and sisters in a deeper way than they could have imagined. Along with tanned muscles will be the strength of their convictions and understanding of their faith.
Currently dozens of more young men and women are lined up to take their place for 2023-24. It is a small school that holds only 40 students, but perhaps it is the place where God is directing you to get the answers you are asking yourself.
If so, this would be a very good time to make that decision…while there are spaces still open.
We don’t want to grow our Bible school…at least numerically.
When was the last time you heard a school say that? Well, not growing past 40 students is part of the intentional design of the Anchor House.
Here are some of the reasons why.
We don’t want to have our students lost in the crowd.
The Anchor is a school, but it is also a community, a family and a band of brothers and sisters. At a smaller number the relationships go deeper and richer.
We value that.
We want our students to be useful and to get their hands dirty in ministry.
Because on top of daily studies, each Anchor House student is being mentored in an area of ministry which they chose, a smaller crew means that the experience has a high touch value that can only come when the apprentice is handed the tools of that particular ministry and invited to try it themselves.
We want to have wide arms and a small footprint.
Kauai is a small place. Things happen here mostly by relationship. With a mobile number of students we can quickly build relational bridges with local residents while not becoming a massive mob when we show up at a local beach or at our local restaurant for a slice of Hula Pie.
We want our students to have a chance to interact personally with our teaching staff.
The Anchor House pool of talented speakers and teachers covers the gamut. Got questions about the Bible and science? Where else would you get a chance to sit at the same lunch table with a renown Christian astrophysicist and personally ply them with questions. Where else could you find yourself playing your instrument next to one of the best-known worship leaders in the world or lounging in the sun and picking the brain of a brilliant author, inspiring thought leader or daring missionary?
That’s why 40 students are the limit.
We hope you are one of them. We are filling up fast for the 23-24 school year. Pray about it and if God gives you the nudge, send in your application soon.
Whether you are considering a gap year, not quite sure exactly what you want to do at this stage in your life or simply eager to drink deep of Spiritual wisdom before you launch, we would invite you to consider a few reasons the Anchor House might be just what you are looking for.
1. The Opportunity For A Firm Foundation of Faith
The world is not a particularly friendly place for someone who wants to spend their life trudging behind Christ. There will be a lot of people who will contest your faith on many levels. A year at the Anchor House will give you the tools to offer well thought out and rational answers which are Biblical and intellectually sound to those who may challenge the integrity of what you have put your trust in.
You will hear from and spend time with some of the most respected and gifted men and women in today’s Christian world.
2. The Chance To Be A World Changer
The Anchor house is a place for those who want to put what they believe into action. It is a place that will give you the tools to handle the Word of God with confidence and stoke your imagination to explore what skills, gifts and abilities the Creator has built into you for the purpose of living out His love and life through you to help change the world.
3. To Have The Adventure Of A Lifetime
The location of the Anchor house on one of the most beautiful and varied places on earth will give you a chance to explore and experience wondrous things for the first time. From the marvels under the ocean to the breathtaking vistas of the Na Pali Coast or the Waimea Canyon, the jewels of God’s creation are right at your fingertips.
Layered on to the beauty of nature is the opportunity to experience new cultures, new food and a cadence of life unique to the islands.
4. To Make Amazing Friendships
The Anchor House is a small school experience with only 40 spots for students so making friends is easy and getting lost in the crowd next to impossible. Your fellow students will come from all walks of life and backgrounds and by getting to know them it will make your life richer.
5. You Will Come Home With The Ability To Be Useful
One of the unique things about being part of the Anchor House crew is that you will have personal mentoring, much like an internship in a specific area of ministry of your choosing led by local experts in that area of service. Wherever you end up in life you will have a resume of experience doing ministry that will help bless the community of faith that you are part of.
There are lots of ways to stretch, grow and learn. Some people are self-taught using the tools of books, media and observation to develop their skill. Many take the traditional role of higher education in a college of four years or more. A growing number harken back to the old method of apprenticeship and shadow a craftsman until they develop the skill to replicate their trade. And for some it is a uniquely different mishmash of all of these methods.
The learning experience at the Anchor House promises to be a delightful mishmash. Almost weekly a guest lecturer, experts in their field, will fly into Kauai and impart their knowledge via book studies of the Bible, apologetics or Christian living.
These teachers, along with a cadre of local talent will live and eat at the Anchor House and be available for deeper conversations after class.
In addition students will be personally mentored by team experts in a specific area of ministry of their choosing such as youth ministry, children’s ministry, worship, sports ministry, camping ministry and media arts. This part of the experience is outside of the classroom and imbedded deep within the local community.
And of course there is the growth that comes from meeting new people from all over the world and doing life together for nine months on an island 3000 miles from the nearest landmass.
To be among the forty students for this once in a lifetime experience will truly be something uniquely different…and wonderful.
In 1992 I found myself huddled with my family in our dark, humid garage as a class 5 hurricane tore through our Kauai island home.
When the eye of the storm passed overhead we scurried out of our hiding place during those few minutes of calm to survey the damage.
Just up the block there was a home sitting atop of another. There was debris and wild destruction all around but mercifully no one was injured.
Except for a few scrapes, one home in the neighborhood seemed virtually untouched; it was the home made entirely of cinder block that even a monster hurricane couldn’t hope to move…and it became the refuge for many as the winds reappeared.
As a father, a veteran youth worker and a Pastor I often feel as if I am back in the swirling wind and banging sounds of a hurricane. Not a physical one that wants to tear apart a dwelling, but a cultural one that wants to tear apart the soul.
Those winds seem to blow the strongest against young men and women of college age who are still in the midst of constructing their lives and it seems as if the footings and materials which once would hold our young people firm in the faith have either collapsed or are in need of fortification.
Many of us sent our kids to Christian schools or colleges hoping that the foundation would be reinforced there. But to our dismay, we noticed even many of those places of influence are now being tattered as they try to hold fast to a Biblical worldview and more than a few have suffered fatal spiritual damage.
But this isn’t the first cultural hurricane that I’ve been through. I was in the fury of another cultural storm way back in the mid 1960s.
I came of age when the social fabric of those who had built successful lives after the second world war was being torn apart by their own children who now played around with drugs, free love and sang about world peace.
As Southern Californian surf kid I was in the epicenter of these changes and challenges but fortunately I became a Christian at the beginning of what is now christened as “the Jesus Movement” and while Woodstock was happening I somehow ended up at a one year Bible School (Capernwray) in the United Kingdom.
It was a pivotal moment for a young man still under construction.
There I rubbed shoulders with men and women who, unbeknownst to me, were among the brilliant lights and intellectual heavy hitters in the Christian world; F.F. Bruce, Dr. Alan Redpath, Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Major Ian Thomas, Corrie Ten Boom and others who helped add support and structure to my rather immature faith.
Thinking long and hard about the present torrent pounding against the Christian faith which we hope has been imprinted on our children, it seems to me as if we (both in a church context and a family context) need not to rail against the wind but offer a stronger defense to it by way of deep, polite, thoughtful conversations which are geared not to tell our young people what to think but rather help them learn how to think. We ought not hide in our basements but ignite the light that offers illumination of well thought out Biblical teaching and sound reasoning. We should stop wagging our fingers and start telling better stories paired with more authentic Christian lives if we want to melt the cultural storm and reinforce the hearts and minds of our young adults.
Rather than moan and wring our hands about the madness around us, our little church community decided to try and do something about it.
We would create a one-year experience of intense, challenging and adventurous Bible exploration to help add to the spiritual cement of young people before they launch in a career or head off to college. Each week we would bring to our school one of a huge variety of devout, brilliant Christian teachers and thinkers to imprint sound Biblical truth and intellectual reasoning into our students. We are calling it The Anchor House because it is meant to offer that which will hold fast during a storm.
What specifically does a school of the Bible teach?
Well, naturally a Bible School teaches books of the Old and New Testament.
During this coming year of school at the Anchor House our students will be immersed in the books of Romans, Luke, Exodus, Hosea, 1st Peter, Philemon, James, 1st Kings, Isaiah, Ephesians, Ecclesiastes, Daniel and Nehemiah… to name a few.
Along side of these core main course studies students will learn about relationships, Kingdom economics, apologetics, science and faith, comparative religions, missions & culture, Christian living, Jesus in the Old Testament, Worship, how to teach the Bible, discipleship, hermeneutics and more.
And then there is the “hands on” stuff.
Depending on which area of ministry is signed up for, a student might find themselves learning how to create compelling stories behind a camera or with a computer, they may learn how to direct wild and wacky games for Middle School kids or they may sharpen their skill in teaching Bible stories creatively to children, putting together a rip roaring weekend retreat for young adults, creating and recording original worship music or making connections for Christ on a basketball court.
On top of the goodies being brought by visiting and local scholars, the Anchor House crew will learn what it is like to live in community and to navigate a uniquely different culture.
And some nights our crew will simply be munching popcorn at our fabulous and provocative “Movies That Get You Talking” night or raising their voices in an evening of praise.
Of course this doesn’t even take into account the various adventures around the island that are the real dessert of the Anchor House experience.
So as you can see, the menu is a full one and if you have a hankering for what is being offered, make your reservations now, seating is limited.
When one thinks of the island lifestyle one rarely thinks of “nose to the grindstone” industry or streets full of well heeled business people walking fast paced and head down into their sky scraper cubical.
Instead we see visions of sun-drenched people lying in hammocks swinging in the gentle trade winds and being serviced by attractive ladies holding trays of iced beverages in coconuts with umbrellas sticking out of them. All are well tanned with nowhere to go and nothing to do…except relax.
The reality is somewhere in the middle.
The true rhythm of the island is that of hard working people…who also know how to relax…or “hang loose”.
People have to get to work on time, but they also will politely wave in waiting cars on the slow two-lane highway. And there is “island time” but it simply means a “bit more relaxed” not “throw away your watch”.
And appropriately, the Anchor House has tuned its teaching schedule to the rhythm of the island.
We will get down to business all morning and then after lunch let our students run loose to enjoy the sun, surf…or hammocks.
Our evenings will get busy again in school related things because, frankly, the sidewalks are rolled up after dark on Kauai and night time is “feeding time” in the ocean.
And to make sure that our students respect the island’s working folks, we will take Sunday and Monday off (not Saturday) so that the people who live here have a little more space on their favorite beach.
So you can get an idea of what the “typical” school week looks like we have posted a sample. But keep in mind that an actual week at the Anchor House could look delightfully and wonderfully different.
Perspective is everything. Most of us live in a very small world full of experiences, customs, ideas and actions that we assume most everyone else shares as well. Of course all you have to do is to travel a bit and you’ll find out quickly that there are lots of differences in how people act and think. And a good swath of those people assume that most of the others in the world think and act as they do. This is because being earth bound creatures we all have limitations and boundaries that tend to inhibit us from seeing things from other people’s experiences let alone God’s perspective.
The apostle Paul noted that even for Christians we “see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror” and it is only in our eventual exit from this ball of dirt that we will be able to have God’s angle on all things. But that doesn’t mean we are stuck in small thinking. The Anchor House experience is one of a journey to a place where a student can better see things as God does, a place where vistas are unhindered by the tangles and weeds of our small thinking world. A place where the hard questions suddenly become less difficult due to the introduction of a timeless and undiscovered perspective. This does not mean trying to fit Kingdom concepts into the small cheap container of modern culture but rather helping young men and women scale the big ideas of historic Christianity in order to see more clearly both the chaos of the world’s form of wisdom and the magnificent wonders of God. The view is truly better up here, the intellectual air cleaner and the expanse of God’s power and thoughts greater. Perhaps you or someone you know would like to take the climb with us. The journey starts September of this year.
That’s what the learning experience is like at the Anchor House. With both visiting guest lecturers and Anchor House team teachers you will be challenged, inspired, awed and encouraged with Bible teaching that will invite you to go further up and further in.
Thirty paces from the back porch of the Anchor House is a whole different world; acres and acres of untouched land now strewn with cactus and mesquite trees and inhabited by a small herd of cattle and goats as well as lots of chickens. (This land is government owned but leased to a local cowboy) Looking out at this scenery one might think they landed in Texas rather than Hawaii.
With the arrival of explores and traders the island population were soon adding steaks and drumsticks to their menu of boar meat and fish and licking their lips for other exotic goodies their world had never known. Hearing the mooing and bleating from the other side of the fence with the ocean in the distance, will remind students that in spite of what they see and hear…they are not in Kansas anymore, especially if they spin around to see the banana patch and coconut trees sprouting around the Anchor House property. Diversity abounds both in the natural surroundings as well as the student body who come from different places and backgrounds and bring their accents, experiences and culture into a place where the culture of the Kingdom of God is the thing that unites us all.
We put a time-lapse camera on a pole near the Anchor House construction site.
The idea was to give people an inkling of our progress as well as having a documented record of the whole project that we can watch in awe when there are students pouring out of the spaces where only sticks of lumber now appear.
We think it is interesting to watch the stages of development of any project and for that matter, even a person.
All of us are works in progress…and as continuing works in progress there may come a day when our personal construction comes to an end that God gives us a time-lapse glimpse of how we grew and flourished…or for some, sadly, how they sprouted and then deteriorated.
But for right now, the view from here is, as C.S. Lewis once said about the progress of faith; “Further up and further in”.
So please keep checking back to see what is happening with construction of the Anchor House. We hope it might someday be you pouring out of what is currently sticks of lumber.
Our faith starts individually as a full surrender of ourselves to the will and desires of God, but very soon we find that we are commissioned to live out our faith with others who have likewise put their trust in Christ.
And this is where it gets interesting in both a challenging way and in an enriching way.
God does amazing things with individuals but He does even more amazing things with a group of people.
A soloist can make wonderful music by they can never achieve the stunning complexity of an orchestra.
In the same way many hands can make not only quick or “light work” but magnificent work as well. Witness the fact from the video above where dozens of people showed up to plant the panax hedges that line the road of the Anchor house. (A job that took only a few hours rather than a few days by a solo worker)
As we travel shoulder to shoulder with other believers we find that some of our unrealized, but annoying “rough edges” get rubbed off. This is often how God uses other believers to do His transforming purposes.
At the Anchor House there is no escaping being part of God’s big team, a team that will sometimes unwittingly scrape against your rough spots but also a team that will help mold you into His image.