When Are You Going to Build?

contractorI was out for a walk with my dog last night when I was stopped on the trail by a guy who lives down the road. He knew I was connected with Journey and asked how the church was doing. We stood there politely chatting for a few minutes when the question that EVERYONE asks finally came up: So, when are you going to start building?

For some reason people always want to know when your building is going to happen. It’s the magic gauge by which to measure the success of your church.real” church – you know, weeknight bible classes and mom’s groups and Sunday school and ladies auxiliary groups and on and on and on. Perhaps it’s so that you can move on from the theater so you can start to do ”

At Journey, we’re taking a different route. We’re not planning on building any time soon. People (outside of Journey) are always surprised when I say that we’re planning on staying at the movie theater for a long time – like maybe forever. At Journey, we’re not going to be a church like your parents and grand parents might have been used to.

  • We’re not going to offer adult Sunday school classes – we’re going to teach people to use their Bible’s and study as a family and a small group.
  • We’re not going to start up programs for every demographic and interest group out there – we’re going to encourage people to get into small groups.
  • We’re going to keep our focus on those who aren’t here yet – so often, the church gets too tied up in the needs of those who attend that they forget about those who aren’t there. We’re purposely not starting programs that people might have been used to at other churches because we want everyone to understand that we’re here for those who aren’t. It doesn’t mean we don’t offer opportunities to grow, but we offer them in a way that makes it ok to bring a friend and open up conversations that will continue into their lives.

At Journey, we’re exploring what it would mean for us to become multi-site. It’s an exciting prospect that our Core Leadership Team and our staff have been talking about the past few months and are getting excited about. We’re no where near ready but we’re taking our first steps looking at the possibilities and considering what it means for Journey. Does it mean that we’ll never build a building? Probably not. Eventually there will be a building on our property in Byron Center, but it might not be what everyone expects. And it does mean that we will be at the theater (or theaters) for a long time – perhaps indefinitely, with no single location being the “main” campus.

We’re definitely challenging the typical ideas about church for our community – and I think it’s a good thing!

About Matthew Starner

Matthew Starner is pastor of Journey of Faith Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they help people take their next step on their journey with Jesus.

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