Maren Fleer

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Before coming to Anthem, I would have argued that I was a dedicated Christian who loved Jesus but there was no evidence of this. My idea of what it meant to be a Christ follower was very legalistic and shallow. I had grown up going to a Lutheran church with my family where I developed a mindset of “if I’m acting the part and doing all the right things, then I’m a good Christian.” I was often guilty of judging others based on their actions because they weren’t doing the right things a good Christian should do. I typically thought I had my life all together and that I deserved a spot in heaven one day for my impeccable good works.

When I got to college, my life didn’t change much. Most of my college career was spent hanging out with friends who didn’t know Jesus or even have a desire to know Him. I began to search for things of this world to fill me up such as getting a boyfriend, having lots of friends, and getting a good education so I could make lots of money in the future. By God’s grace, I met my husband, Zach, at a bonfire and I say to this day that he saved my life, not only because my pants caught on fire at that bonfire (and he put them out), but also because he became the spiritual leader that I never knew I needed!

Since then, God has used multiple moves across Missouri to draw me nearer to Him. In June of 2013, Zach and I moved to Stockton, Missouri and after only six months, Zach and I packed up and moved to Kansas City. That move was the first time I had really experienced God’s plans for me unfolding, but I still had this shallow idea of what it meant to be a Christ follower. That’s when I began desiring to grow in my relationship with Christ but I found myself overwhelmed and not sure how to grow.

I started to become discouraged because I had absolutely no guidance on what it looked like to be a woman overflowing with Jesus’ love. That’s where Anthem came in! We moved back to Columbia in June 2016 and through interesting connections (that only God could have planned) we visited Anthem Church before it even became a church! The second I stepped foot into the Hayek’s backyard among some of the people who were committed to starting Anthem, I immediately felt that this church was our home. For so many years, I had felt alone and without much of a church community. Finally, I was surrounded by people who loved Jesus and were committed to helping people strengthen their relationship with Christ and they were already committed to doing that with me!

Throughout the last year, I have been challenged in more ways then I could have ever imagined! Zach and I joined a connection group where I learned that I need to be in the Word daily. Eventually we were given the chance to lead a connection group and through that I have truly learned the value of discipleship and how important it is to constantly be pouring Jesus’ love into others’ lives. We got a chance head overseas where I not only was able to share the gospel, but I was also challenged to live a life radically for Jesus back home.

I don't think I'd be where I am in my faith today if it weren't for people taking the time out of their lives to pursue me and show me what it looks like to be a woman who loves Jesus. The growth I've experienced was mostly because of the discipleship I have received from many wise and Godly women at Anthem. Now, as I look at what it means to be a Christian, I have confidence in my faith and I can use that to pursue others and walk with them as they grow closer to Jesus. I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with a church like Anthem!