Loving The Journey

Weekly Newsletter

February 1, 2023


Hello Journey Friends and Family,

This past weekend was one of the most impactful weekends of my life. For those of you who are unaware of what took place this past weekend, Journey completed the succession process that it has been working on for over three years. The lead pastor baton has officially been passed from Pastor John Hampton to me, Dustin Aagaard.
Friday night was a more intimate gathering of close friends, family, the elders, and our lead staff team. Pastor John started the night by presenting me with an empty five-gallon bucket. He explained that it was his goal that, over the weekend, my affirmation bucket would be filled to the brim. Well, we’ll just add that to another thing Pastor John has accomplished. My bucket was not only full to the brim but it’s been overflowing for days.
I knew the installation service was an important moment for the church to officially close one chapter and began a new one. But I failed to realize just how impactful of a moment it would have on me and my calling as a pastor. My family and I feel so welcomed, loved, and encouraged by your reception of not just me but of this next season of ministry God is calling us into. Thank you so much for how you have loved and welcomed us. We are so grateful.

On Sunday afternoon, my wife, TJ, and I were reflecting on the day and the weekend and I told her, “I wish everyone could have experienced what I had experienced.” I am not suggesting that I wish everyone could become a lead pastor. What I explained to her is that I wish everyone could feel the power of encouragement and affirmation the way I had over the weekend. The prayers, support, encouragement, and affirmation were so powerful for me that it is something I will never forget. This weekend reminded me of the power and truth of the following proverb,

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

That’s how I feel; I’ve got a sweet soul, and here's the exciting news. Everyone can experience what I experienced. The beauty of prayer, support, encouragement, and affirmation is that it’s all 100% free, takes little time and minimal effort, and yet has more ROI (return on investment) than almost anything else we can do. Another proverb I thought about this weekend is this,

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

My bucket was full this weekend because so many people chose to use their words for life and not death, for joy and not despair, for generosity and not selfishness. Thank you for being a church that chooses life.

My bucket was full this weekend, but it’s not intended to stay full. It’s full so I can find someone who has an empty bucket and empty mine into theirs. This is why we keep encouraging one another. Because when we pour ourselves out, we are empty again. Church, may you keep pouring yourself out onto others, and while you are doing so, may God continue to fill your bucket as well.

As you go about your day and week, would you prayerfully consider who can use an encouraging prayer, text, phone call, letter, etc.? You have no idea what God will do on the other side of your obedience.

We’ve got a lot going on over the next several weeks. Here are a couple of things for you to know.
Starting this weekend, we will launch our new service times, so please plan accordingly.

At our Apopka Campus, we are continuing to pray for 300 people to be missionaries and attend the 8:30 service for the next six months to free up seats at our other services so we can welcome more people with the gospel. For those planning on joining us at the Apopka Campus at the 8:30 service, Pastor Kevin Queen said that the coffee is on him. So let’s run up Pastor Kevin’s tab as much as possible.

We are excited for Super Bowl Sunday, February 12th. We invite you to wear your favorite sports team jersey or shirt, bring a friend, and join us for Super Bowl Sunday.

I’m loving the bucket-filled Journey,

Pastor Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church
January 27, 2023


There are many celebrations and festivals mentioned in the Bible. These celebrations were often religious in nature and were intended to honor God and commemorate important events in the history of Israel. It is good to remember that celebrations are a way to reflect on God's faithfulness and provision in our lives and to give thanks to Him.

This weekend we will celebrate the official installation of Pastor Dustin Aagaard as our lead pastor. This is a momentous occasion for us, and we are honored to have him guide us in our spiritual journey.

As the famous quote says, "Choose a leader who will invest in you, empathize with you, believe in you, encourage you, and bring out the best in you." We are confident that Pastor Dustin is that leader for us.

Pastor Dustin brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for the Word of God to our church. He has a heart for teaching and has a way of making the Bible come alive for his listeners. We know that his leadership will be a huge blessing to our church, and we look forward to the growth and spiritual maturity that will come from his guidance.

One of the things that sets Pastor Dustin apart is his ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds. He has a gift for making everyone feel welcome and included in the church community. Whether you are a long-time member or a first-time guest, you will feel at home under his leadership.

It is by no accident that Pastor Dustin started his first series as Lead Pastor about prayer. I have known him for a decade now, and he not only teaches it; he lives out a life dedicated to prayer.

Let me share a few lessons I have learned from Pastor Dustin about prayer:

  • First, prayer is a means of communicating with God. It allows us to share our thoughts, fears, and concerns with Him, and to hear His voice through the reading of His Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Through prayer, we can build a deeper relationship with God and grow in intimacy with Him.

  • Second, prayer is a powerful tool for personal transformation. When we spend time in prayer, we open ourselves up to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Through prayer, we can receive healing, forgiveness, and guidance as we seek to grow in our faith and become more like Jesus.

  • Lastly, prayer is an effective way to change the world around us. God desires to use His people to bring about His kingdom on earth. Through prayer, we can partner with Him in this work by interceding for others, and for the world, and asking for His will to be done. By doing so, we can see real change in our communities and in the world at large.

We know that God is the one who guides and directs our church, and we need to pray for His guidance and wisdom as we navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Let us also pray for our new pastor that God will give him strength, wisdom, and guidance as he leads our church.

As we enter this new season, we are excited to expand our reach to the community by adding an additional service time at our Apopka campus. The new service times are 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30. We believe this opportunity will allow our current people to have more time to serve and invite those who have yet to arrive. As we enlarge our service times, let us also increase our desire to reach more for Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our church community. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful and loving congregation. Let us all work together to honor our new lead pastor and build a strong and vibrant church community.

See you on Sunday,

Pastor Kevin Monahan
Executive Pastor
Journey Christian Church
January 20, 2023


Hello Journey Friends and Family,

This weekend we conclude our series on prayer called Hidden Treasure. We will dive into what “Asking Prayer” is all about. I am asking everyone to bring two different prayer requests to God on Sunday.

1. What is one thing you would ask God for?

2. Who is one person you are praying for?

We want to come together and lift those prayer requests to God and see what He does in and through us. If you were to ask me, what is it that I am praying for? Here’s what I’d tell you.

1. What is one thing I am asking God for?

I am praying for God to give us favor as we launch our new service times starting on February 5th. Our new service times are as follows:

· Lake County: 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
· Apopka: 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 a.m.
· Online: 10:00 and 11:30 a.m.

You may be wondering, “why are we launching new service times?” Great question. Let me assure you that it’s not because we are bored! No, this is a supply and demand problem. At our Apopka Campus, we have seen our in-person attendance grow over the fall and into the new year. PRAISE GOD! You may remember that, before Covid, we had three services at our Apopka Campus, and we are excited to get back to having three services for you and your friends to attend. We are praying for 300 people to be missionaries and attend the 8:30 service for the next six months to free up seats at our other services so we can welcome more people with the gospel. Would you prayerfully consider being one of those 300?

In Lake County, we are seeing God do some incredible things already in 2023. We are believing that a time change will help us reach and serve more people with the hope and love of Jesus.

2. Who is one person I am praying for?

I am praying for just one more person to give their life to Jesus. That’s my prayer every single Sunday. That somebody would meet Jesus for the first time and that it would change everything for them. Maybe that’s you. Maybe that’s your friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor. I don’t know who it is, but I’m praying for them. That’s why I am excited to tell you about Super Bowl Sunday, which is taking place on Sunday, February 12. This is a strategic time to invite and bring someone to church with you. Super Bowl Sunday will be a fun, family-friendly experience that will include football-themed games, inflatables, and more.
Why are we doing Super Bowl Sunday? Because our vision is to be a community of fully devoted followers of Jesus who reach out to love our neighbors, serve the hurting, and develop leaders for ministry. This is one of the ways we desire to reach out to our community with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.

Journey family, thank you for how you are leaning on God in this season. What a God-filled and fun season it is at Journey, and that’s because of you! Thank you for being you. See you Sunday!

I’m loving the prayer-filled Journey,

Pastor Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church
January 13, 2023


Hello Journey Friends and Family,

I don’t know what kind of student you were in high school, but I was a busy student. This is a nice way of saying I rarely, if ever, got ahead of any tests or projects. I often found myself waiting until the last minute to cram as much information into my head as possible five minutes before every big test and exam. And this is where I believe most teenagers learned to pray. Chances are, it would have been a prayer similar to mine, something like this…

Dear God, I know I haven’t talked to you since the last exam, but I, um…I am going to need you to help me out again. If you are real, would you help me get an A on this exam, even though I didn’t study, and I am not prepared? If you do, I will love you forever. Thank you, amen!

I have a feeling I am not the only one that prayed that desperate prayer to God. There is a quote that I have heard before, that says, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” I imagine that’s true. But I would add that, there are no atheists in high school five minutes before a test that he or she didn’t study for.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s what God has in mind when He invites us to pray. Too often, we can view prayer like a genie in a bottle, “Anytime I need something, I just pray.” I can’t imagine what my relationship would be like with my wife, TJ, if the only time I spoke to her was when I needed something. There is a far greater purpose for prayer other than to “get what we want.” Prayer is a powerful part of our relationship with God. Prayer is an ongoing conversation between you and God. Jesus encourages us with these words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Jesus invites us to come to Him, and He will give us rest. Prayer is accepting Christ's invitation and coming to Him, both to talk to Him and to listen to Him. It is an interaction. Not sure how to start praying? I believe experience is the best teacher. The best way to learn how to pray is by praying.

That’s what our current series, Hidden Treasure, is all about. It’s aimed at helping you thrive in your relationship with Jesus like never before. If you feel stuck, confused, or apathetic in your prayer life, I encourage you to join us this Sunday to jumpstart your prayer life in a fresh new way.

Last week, we kicked off a 21-Day Prayer journey and created a 21-Day Prayer Guide that you can download here.
In the Prayer Guide, we start each day by thanking God for what He has done. One of the things I’d like to thank God for is an incredible 2022. For you to get a glimpse of what God did in and through Journey in 2022, you can see our 2022 Annual Report by clicking here.
God is stirring something new in each of us, and I love how you are leaning into Him in this season. Here are several things to help keep you in the loop.

We are so excited to launch our 3rd service at Apopka on February 5th. The new service times will be 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30. We are looking for 300 people to prayerfully make the 8:30 service their service for six months to help us make room for us to point as many people as possible to Jesus during the 10:00 and 11:30 services.

That same weekend, we will also introduce new service times of 9:30 and 11:00 at our Lake County Campus.

There is nothing you need to do on your end, but I just want to give you a heads-up that the Loving the Journey weekly email will move from hitting your inbox on Fridays to Wednesdays starting in February.

I’m loving the prayer-filled Journey,

Pastor Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church
January 6, 2023


Happy New Year, Journey Friends and Family,

WOW! What a special service last Sunday was as we celebrated Pastor John Hampton for his 42 years of ministry. If you missed our sendoff service for Pastor John, you could watch it below.
Here are some highlights from the service:

Click below to watch the Green family sing a beautiful acapella version of “He Leadeth Me.”
Click below to watch Pastor John’s best buddy, Pastor David Vaughan, share a great word.
You can click below to hear Pastor John’s final words to Journey as the Lead Pastor.
Sunday was an emotionally full yet good day. We all have different takeaways we have been taught by Pastor John, but here are my top four.

Pastor John taught me:

1. That discipleship doesn’t happen by accident, it’s intentional.
  • He intentionally discipled me these past five years. I was hired to be a Family Pastor but developed into a Lead Pastor, that’s discipleship.

2. To put my faith over my fears.
  • I watched him time after time do what was in the best interest of Journey and the Kingdom, even when that meant the sacrifice of “his kingdom”.

3. To be a good cheerleader of those around me.
  • He has always been my biggest cheerleader. In the office, behind the pulpit, or on the golf course, he’s always there to cheer me on. What a gift he’s been, a true wind in my sails.

4. That humility is never easy but always best.
  • I think what we all see and love about Pastor John is his humility. What a Christ-like trait he has.

The verse that I think best describes Pastor John is Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.”

Thank you so much to everyone who has loved my friend and pastor so well in this unique season.

Some of you have had great questions regarding the overall process of the succession. Back in early December, Pastor John and I were able to share in more detail on one of my favorite podcasts, “Leaders in Living Rooms, with Sean Morgan”. You can click here to listen.

Please know that my wife, TJ, and I are so grateful for all your prayers and encouragement. They mean so much to us as we start this new season of ministry.

This weekend, I invite you to join us as we launch a brand-new series called Hidden Treasure. We are going to spend some time simplifying what prayer is and how you can grow in your prayer life.

Prayer is a sacred and often misunderstood practice. For a lot of people, prayer can be intimidating. However, prayer is not complicated. It’s simply how we talk and listen to God. I’ve also created a Prayer Guide that will guide us through a 21-Day Prayer Challenge that we’ll start this Sunday.

In prayer, there are no experts, only amateurs. In this series, we're calling all amateurs to gather as we navigate what prayer is and how to do it. I hope to see you Sunday.

Just a reminder that this Sunday, we are back to our normal service times, 9:30 and 11:15, at Apopka, Lake County, and online.

I’m loving the 2023 prayer-filled Journey,

Pastor Dustin Aagaard
Lead Pastor
Journey Christian Church