Pastor John Hampton

John Hampton
Lead Pastor

Seven Things You Can Expect This Weekend At Our Onsite Restart

As we prepare to welcome people back into our buildings to worship this weekend for the first time in 11 weeks, I thought it would be good to share with you some things you can expect if you are planning to join us.

  1. To be welcomed by a masked greeter. We have a team of friendly volunteers who have pent up welcomes to shower you with! They may be so excited to actually see real people that…well, whatever they do, we’ll do our best to make sure it’s done from a safe social distance. While masks are required for staff and volunteers, we are not requiring them for attenders, but we do highly recommend them. We will have plenty available and they can be picked up at our New Here Centers, which will be stationed outside the main entry doors at both our Apopka and Lake County locations.
  1. Help finding a seat. A vital key to making a cut-back on capacity work during this Phase 1 restart, is proactive ushering. That means our ushers will not ask, “Can I help you find a seat?” They will say, “Let me help you find a seat.” PLEASE, give them your considerate cooperation. We will be asking all non-related groups to sit with a minimum of two seats between them and others. That means in a row of 10 seats a family of four and another couple would fill that row according to social distancing seating requirements. That’s why it’s really important that we cooperate with those who will be doing their best to seat as many as possible, as safely as possible.
  1. Multiple places to worship. As previously announced, we will have not one, not two, but THREE different places for people to worship at both locations: the Worship Center, Adventureland Theater and the Student Center. In all three combined spaces at Apopka, we can hold approximately 450 socially distanced attenders. At Lake County, we can hold 97 using social distance protocols. The best thing you can do to help us prepare safely for each service is to register your attendance for APK here and for Lake County here.

Please keep in mind that all onsite worship gatherings will be family style services. No onsite children’s or student programming will be offered in Phase 1. However, we still have kids and student programming available online.

  1. A touchless environment. We have tried our best to make our locations easy to enter, engage and exit with no or low amount of touching anything. What does a “touchless environment” look like?

Touchless service:

  • External and internal doors will be opened
  • No consumables available onsite—no coffee, no food, no mints
  • No iCard handed out
  • No passing of offering buckets; however, offering stations will be available
  • Communion is pre-packaged and can be picked up before entering the worship areas
  • People will be directed to the next step link online for response rather than coming to the front or sides to pray with someone after the message
  • Baptisms will be done by appointment
  • Restrooms will have newly installed touchless fixtures
  1. A sanitized environment. Did you ever hear, “cleanliness is next to godliness?” That’s not actually in the Bible, but it is in our restart playbook! Actually, in today’s COVID-19 climate, cleanliness can lead someone to Godliness…someone who needs the assurance of Jesus and the reassurance of His people that we take their sanitary safety seriously.
  2. A shorter service. I realize I just made a lot of people happy when they read those words…but don’t get carried away. Shorter means less than an hour. Actually, the service will follow the format of our online service, which usually lasts from 50-55 minutes. And don’t confuse short with shallow. The Lord’s Prayer takes only 20 seconds to pray, but a lifetime to learn. Worship doesn’t have to be long to be life changing.
  3. A jolt of joy at seeing actual people worshipping together in the same building. I understand and support the reasons for temporarily removing ourselves from the physical presence of others in the midst of a highly contagious and potentially deadly virus. That is just a wise practice to stabilize the health of communities. But, let’s not contend or pretend that that is the best way to live. In fact, living apart from people for prolonged periods can be just as deadly and devastating as any disease. God did not make us to be alone or to live in isolation. God created people to experience community and live in unity. He said it’s a good and pleasant thing when brothers (and sisters) are able to do that (Psalm 133:1). Dallas Willard wrote: “God’s aim in human history is the creation of an inclusive community of loving persons, with himself included as its primary sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.” When we come together to worship God with others from so many diverse backgrounds, we experience just a little of what it’s like when up there comes down here and there’s nothing else like it. I have missed that so much. I’m guessing that many of you have too. It will take some time to rebuild our onsite worshipping community. People need time to gain confidence in public gathering places. I get that. But whatever we have to do to get this essential service restarted again is worth it, even though right now, it won’t be like it once was. This weekend is a needed and necessary first step into whatever new thing God is birthing among us. Let’s take it together.

Loving the restart Journey,

Pastor John

P.S. For a visual walkthrough of what to expect at either our APK or LC location, click on the link of the campus you plan to attend.

What to Expect at Journey’s Apopka Campus – click here

What to Expect at Journey’s Lake County Campus – click here