An open letter to our Journey family and friends

Dear Journey family and friends, From time to time, there are some things on my heart and mind that I like to share with everyone connected to Journey. That includes all of our guests, attenders, volunteers, leaders, staff members and others that know us from a distance. Increasingly, that community includes pastors and Christians around Chattanooga that are watching our little church and constantly asking me questions about…well…you. I am constantly amazed with the people I bump into that have specific questions to ask about Journey that I don’t even know and have no idea how they heard about us! Regardless, your influence and the environment you have helped to create is stirring people all around us.

Right now we are going through a transition of sorts and our leadership team has been working behind the scenes for several months on some pretty big stuff about to hit Journey in the coming weeks. Often when that is the case, it may appear that not much is going on, but I assure you that where we are headed is significant. As we prepare for that, I wanted to share a few things with you.

1. Deidra and I are so honored to be a part of this community. The idea for Journey may have been birthed before we knew most of you, but it has grown to become so much more. We love you all and KNOW that God has huge plans for us in the future.

2. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the investment that you have put into young families at Journey. I know of no other church that has the ratio of adults to children that Journey does. While I know our constant pleas for additional volunteers may seem desperate, none of us have experience in a church that ministers to so many kids every week compared to the number of adults that attend. Wow. THAT is incredible! Thank you! (And if you want to volunteer, let me know) 🙂

3. We are so thankful that you have helped us to create an environment where you can come as you are and be cared for and accepted. This is one of the reasons that I believe so many churches are watching us. This has been and will always be one of our core values. It helps us to stay focused on reaching out to people who don’t attend church.

4. We have done several things very well in our short existence, but there are some significant holes in our ability to create a movement in our city that honors God and leads many people to live life as a devoted disciple. This is where my heart and our leaders hearts live. We want to be an authentic community of faith that makes a real difference in our community. We want to see the hopeless gain hope, the disconnected to form solid relationships to Jesus and others, the lost to be found, and the Christ follower to grow significantly in their faith, and for the Church to share grace with our community.

5. In the coming weeks, you are going to be seeing some BIG changes at Journey in some core areas, but in others you may hardly notice a difference. We are still committed to imaginative creativity, high energy and spirit led worship, phenomenal children’s ministry, authentic relationships, and reaching out to the uncurched/dechurched in our community. We want to push the envelope and we want to be real. We are, however, changing how we lead and direct Journey as well as the primary fuel for discipleship, the art of growing as a disciple of Jesus. This is the very core of who we are as a church. It is the reason we exist and everything we have ever done has been to lead people to this end. We’ve been setting up this change for the last 4 weeks in our current series. Sunday we are taking it up a notch and I want you there. Seriously. This Sunday.

I know people attend Journey for different reasons and many times you will choose whether to attend based on the topic of discussion. In the next 2 weeks I am going to do my best to detail where we are going very soon and what this will look like. As we begin to implement these changes, you will begin to see the results infiltrating everything we do. That is how significant I believe this will be. I have been praying for each of you and for Journey since we were introduced to each other and God has been consistently telling me that He is about to do something huge in our midst this year. I believe that we are on the verge of this and that all of us are needed to fully realize what God is doing. That is why I am asking you to commit to being at Journey for the next 2 weeks. After that, some of you will be ready to engage in what is about to happen and some may not. If you are ready, we may just create history together in our city for the kingdom of God. Please be patient with us as we deal with the transition in leadership and in working out all of the details. I PROMISE it will be worth it and the very best is yet to come. Finally, thank you for the impact you are making in our church. You are awesome!

Love you deeply,

Mark

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