Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TJC Will Never Be The Same

I have been the pastor of The Journey Church for over 8 years now. It has been a wild ride. We have met in a small strip center, schools, and our current building. We have started several campuses in surrounding cities. Those churches have since been planted off as autonomous churches with their own governing elders. In the course of these years, we have witnessed God do some great things. But something different is happening right now. Something is happening that is unlike anything in our history. 

Over the last 6 months, subtle, but massive shifts have been happening in the hearts of leaders, and the vision, mission, and strategy to reach people who don't know Jesus and grow to maturity people who do, has never been more clear. I believe when we look back years from now at the history of TJC, we will look back at where we're at right now and say, "That's it, that's where we transitioned. It was at that point we took off and never looked back."

I say this with all sincerity and excitement: I have NEVER been more excited about where we are as a church, and where we are going, than I am in this season of our history.

Why am I so excited? Several reasons:

1. As a leadership team of elders and staff, we have never been more on the same page and unified about the clarity of our direction and how to get there. God has given us a clarity of focus and a strategy for how we are going to get there. About 5 months ago our elders and staff read Tim Keller's article, "Leadership and Church Size Dynamics." It is such a helpful tool in understanding the different ways churches, based on their size, have to adjust and structure in order to reach more people. As we read the article we began to see a clear picture of things we needed to begin working on.

Those things included:
- preparing our building to better accomadate people and growth
- transitioning our shepherding, discipleship, and care-giving focus to groups
- clarifying the role of elders, staff, and volunteer teams
- creating a clear and simple assimilation processes for people to go from a guest to a fully committed member
- hiring needed staff members for the purpose of raising the quality of our ministries and their effectiveness
- communicating more clearly the vision and direction

We have a clear focus on where we are heading and every elder, staff member, and key leader is excited. Watch a brief video of this here.

2. We are healthier than we have ever been financially as a church. We have over 70K in our FORWARD fund that has been raised for renovations and expansion in the building. In addition to these funds, we have over 70K in our savings and checking accounts, with zero debt. This is a great place to be and positions us to do some amazing things. 

In addition to this, we hit and raised our FORWARD goal several weeks before the finish line! God is doing a great thing in our midst, and the excitement is being felt in our people too.

3. We have a plethora of high quality people with a interest in working at our church. We have several men currently being interviewed for the Associate Pastor position. These are guys who are eager for a change to join the TJC family and be a part of what we are doing. They are willing to pack up their family and move here to do it. This is something to be excited about. We have a church that people want to be a part of.

4. Our mission focuses are active and growing. Our Imago Dei ministry, which focuses on ministering to families with children with special needs, has VBS this week. Our Haiti mission focus has been great with a future trip coming up in a few months. 

5. This last thing is more of a personal excitement, but it is a renewed passion that God has stirred within me for preaching His Word. It is not that I have ever lost a passion, but God has reinvigorated me with a desire to be more evangelistic. I want the messages to be Christ-exalting, but terribly practical to help people's lives. 

TJC exists to show Jesus as incomparably glorious so that to disregard him is incomprehensibly absurd. We want everything we do to show Jesus as unrivaled, without competitors. We want to live, worship, arrange our lives, time, and money in such way that makes Jesus non-ignorable, in Lebanon and beyond. Everything we do, every decision we make, every dollar we spend as a church, is going through the question: does this help us make Jesus look incomparably glorious?

All of these things really only capture a snapshot of the overall momentum that is building at our church. May TJC put a dent in lostness in Lebanon and beyond, help believers mature into Christlikeness, and all of this for the glory of Jesus Christ. Get excited TJC! I am, more than ever before.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Erik

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