To everyone at Journey,

Deidra and I are so privileged to serve at Journey with so many wonderful people on staff, in lay leadership, volunteers, and the community of people that is our church family. We are thankful for all of your cards, notes, and gifts. In fact, I’ve read many of them several times, already. It is a joy to do life with you and we are thankful for this small group of people that God has brought together.

I’m not sure who decided to observe “Pastor Appreciation Month”, but I wanted to say thank you. To everyone that participated, I can’t possibly communicate how much you warmed our hearts. Your encouragement and love helps us overcome weariness and continue to move forward as a family, as pastors, and as a congregation.

The truth about “Pastor Appreciation Month”, though, is that it only tells a portion of the story.
For all of the comments that are shared with us about our service, there is a community of others that make it possible.

Journey has always been a rag tag bunch of Jesus followers that did things a little differently. Our services, ministries, and events are not carried out by professionals that work together full time during the week. Instead, everyone has other jobs and families that demand their attention. EVERYTHING from making coffee to leading worship, holding babies so parents can worship or serve to small group leaders, kid’s ministry volunteers to administrative pros, letter writers to greeters, student volunteers to prayer warriors is carried out by people that love Jesus and love others enough to give of their very rare free time to love and serve others.

I see our worship team and worship pastor learning new songs and practicing old ones to make sure we are ready to let the cares of the week dissipate so we can sing praises to God. Our student volunteers are investing their hearts and lives into our kids so they know that they have a place and a people that love them and will help them grow.  Our kids leaders and volunteers who selflessly serve even after work when they would probably rather collapse at home. Our small group leaders who open their homes and their lives to foster community, discipleship, and personal growth. Our administrative helpers who “grease the wheels” so everything can run (somewhat) smoothly and help solve problems when we are going off of the rails. Our prayer team that is lifting our entire church and community up in prayer so that we can see God and work as He meets us where we are.

I am thankful for our staff and elders who serve and love. Journey would not be without them and we are blessed for the women and men that show us all what it looks like to love Jesus and follow Him.

Just as an iceberg’s mass is often unseen under the surface, so is the strength that makes Journey what it is and compels it’s leaders to keep moving forward.

Thank you for your encouragement, but thank you even more for being who you are in every corner of our church loving, serving, giving, and encouraging all year long.

I love every one of you.

If you call Journey home and you are still “kicking the tires”, so to speak, let me encourage you to go all in. The church is just a place until you decide that you are going to fully commit to love, give, serve, and grow. Then the church becomes so much more.

Pastor Mark

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