What I Am Loving About the Journey
November 9, 2017
It has been almost four months since I’ve joined the Journey team, and I’d love to share with you some of my journey to get here, and some of the things that have stood out to me about Journey.
Three weeks after I left my previous church, Melissa and I visited Journey for the first time on April 1 (no joke) of this year. After attending the service and having a conversation with Pastor Roddy, we walked out, and I looked right at Melissa and said, “This is exactly where God wants us to be.”
At the time, we were in the early stages of figuring out where God was going to place us for our next ministry post, and were considering half a dozen churches. From that point on, considering other churches became a matter of doing our “due diligence” because I knew in my heart that Journey was where we belonged.
Over the next 60 days, Pastor John, Pastor Roddy and I had several conversations, and God continued to affirm our calling to Journey. On May 31 – the night before John left on sabbatical – I got a call from him, and he said, “This is the last call I am going to make before going off the grid. We want you to join the team at Journey.” Needless to say, we were “over the moon” with excitement and that his call was the final confirmation of what God had been showing us for nearly two months.
I want to say thanks to all of you for how you have welcomed Melissa and me to Journey, and for the overwhelming love we feel from our new church family.
I also want to take a few moments to share some of the things I love about Journey after four months on the team – many of which helped us make the decision to come here and join all of you on the journey.
1. We have an exceptional worship team. Many of you may have only attended Journey since you started coming to church. Many of you have been here a long time. Many of you have never had a church experience like we have at Journey. Because of that, I want to tell/remind you just how good our worship team is. I have served at two churches with excellent worship, and have experienced many more in my many years in ministry, but the truth is that I would put our Journey worship team up against any I have seen. Pastor Jeremy has done such a great job building and growing this team, not to mention his own talent. What we have is unique, and I am thankful for that.
2. We have exceptional teaching. One of the things I loved right off the bat at Journey was the level of teaching, and the intentionality and excellence with which Pastor John shares the Scripture each week. But, it does not stop there. The thing that really blew me away was the “depth of the bench.” We have teachers who step in when John is out who could be lead teachers somewhere else. It is a true gift to have that depth in addition to Pastor John and what he brings each week.
3. There is an emphasis on Kids and Students. Even though Melissa and I are “empty nesters,” we have always had a heart for Kids and Student Ministries. Here are a few reasons why this is so important:
- The median age at which people accept Christ is 11 years old
- 63 percent of salvations happen between the ages of 4 and 14
- 85 percent of salvations happen between before the age of 18
4. Journey believes in overseas missions. I have a special place in my heart for missions. Over the years, I’ve been on close to twenty mission trips to places like Cuba, Haiti, and Guatemala. Journey’s commitment to missions (including two of the places that I especially have a heart for) was another reason that we knew Journey was our home.
5. We are always baptizing people. One of the things I love most about being a pastor is getting to baptize people, and be part of their celebration of the decision they made to accept Christ. I love that we offer that opportunity every service and, not only that, we baptize someone almost every weekend – sometimes 130 at a time.
6. There is a healthy staff culture. One of the first things I noticed about Journey was that when I was introduced to various staff members (before they knew who I was), everybody seemed very happy to be on this team. After I came on staff, I realized that there were some unique qualities about this team that explained that – their chemistry, their commitment, their willingness to serve each other, and their love for Journey and all of you. It is an honor to be part of this team.
7. We have a beautiful facility and a commitment to sound financial practices. I don’t have to explain that one.
8. Roddy Conner – one of the kindest and wisest men I have ever met. I knew right away that I had a lot to learn from him and wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.
9. Last but not least, the thing that clinched the deal for me is the humility of our Lead Pastor, John Hampton. It is a unique person who can pastor for 37 years, hear all the accolades that come along with that, experience the ministry success that has happened under his leadership, and remain humble – not just act and sound humble – but actually be humble.
All this to say, I wanted to share with you what a unique thing we have in Journey Christian Church, and how honored Melissa and I are to be on the Journey with all of you.
Executive Pastor of Operations