IMPORTANT LETTER FROM PAULJuly 27, 2023
Dear Journey family,
20 years ago (January 1, 2003) Matt & I began working full-time in preparation for the start of The Journey in October of that year. It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years! It’s been an amazing 20 years and I’m so grateful for each one of you who’s been a part of that journey. I’m writing to you today sharing probably the hardest decision Jen & I have ever had to make: September 10 will be our last Sunday at The Journey. We are filled with anticipation and excitement at the next steps for us & deep sadness and uncertainty at what it means to not be a day-to-day part of this community at The Journey that we love and have called family for two decades.
You have been so gracious and kind to our family over these 20 years. Our children grew up here, began life with Jesus here, were loved by you here. Thank you for loving our family. Thank you for letting each of us be ourselves and grow with you over these years. Thank you for inviting us into your families, to your spiritual journeys, to weddings and funerals and to laugh and cry with you.
Over the last months, there has been a sense that our time at The Journey might be coming to a close and that God may have something different for us in this next season. There has been no discontent with The Journey, nor any issues with our staff team or board. We have not pursued other opportunities, but prayed with an open-handedness with The Journey and our future. In the past 9 months we had three opportunities presented to us that were unexpected. After several months of discussions and prayer, we believe that God is leading into a new season for us where we can continue to be used by God to further His Kingdom.
Jen and I will be moving to O’Fallon, Missouri and into another pastoral role. I will also be playing a role in Converge Church Planting efforts. This will also put us closer to family. This is a big transition for us and for The Journey, but we know that our faithful God goes before us in all the details that are yet to be figured out and that He goes before The Journey in the months and years ahead.
We have such great confidence in our team at The Journey. You are supported and led by a great Staff team. We are so thankful for each one and our Lead Team. They are the best and the retention rate of our team speaks to their passion and commitment for the mission of Jesus. I’m so thankful for Matt and Stephani Lewis who took this adventure with us 20 years ago. We are unicorns in ministry - Co-Lead Pastors who stayed together for two decades. I firmly believe that is because of our mutual commitment to first and foremost be about God’s Kingdom, not our own. I’m also especially thankful for college friends, Mark & Jen Rhodes, who were willing to join us 16 years ago and lead with integrity and Jesus-centeredness.
Our Senior Staff and Lead Team will be communicating with you in the weeks ahead as we move forward with this transition. I’ll look forward to touching base with as many of you as possible in the weeks ahead. I hope you can join us for my last Sunday on September 10. We love you all and are so grateful for the years of joyful, challenging, but beautiful ministry we have been able to have with you. You will be deeply missed. We are clinging to our faithful God & thankful that in Jesus, good-byes are never final. We are praying for you all and will be cheering you on from a distance.
With much love and affection for you,
Paul & Jen Urban