Hey Journey Church family,

We miss you, we’re praying for you, we hope you’re doing well. If there is anything we can do to support, encourage, or pray for you please let us know. We can’t wait to meet together again face to face. Last night we had a Town Hall meeting on Facebook Live. We wanted to highlight a few of the items that we talked about in that video (although we’d encourage you to watch it if you can). We specifically spoke about the process for re-opening on-site gatherings and what you can expect at The Journey.

There is a tension that we know you have felt. People have very strong opinions about the re-opening of our economy, political parties, our President, our Governor. We want to lead with unity, with grace, with kindness. This is the first world-wide pandemic of our lifetimes and as followers of Jesus we’re called to love one another, even where there may be disagreements. Let’s lead the way for our community in loving those around us. As we meet with our Lead Team, talk to health officials, dialogue with other churches, and seek God’s wisdom on how to move forward, we are holding in tension these values:

*As Americans we have a Constitutional right to assemble and gather for worship and no mayor, governor or president can usurp that Constitutional freedom. No human authority can “close the church”.

*As a follower of Jesus we are also called to obey our governing authorities except where they may be in direct opposition to commands from God.

*As a follower of Jesus we have the responsibility to lead, love and live like Jesus.

In Philippians 2 it tells us to “in humility value others above yourselves” and “look after the interests of others”. It says we are to have the “same mindset as Christ Jesus”. What was that mindset? He laid down his “rights” for the sake of others. With those values of rights and responsibilities in mind: When we gather again in our facilities we will do so with your health and safety in mind. There will be several protocols that we will have in place to protect you and your family. We will detail those as we get closer to re-entry. What you are longing to get back to won’t be the same as it was pre-Coronavirus. Prepare yourself for that. Because of the measures taken (social distancing, contactless entry and exit, etc.) it will “feel” different. We will continue to have a high-quality experience online. If you feel it’s safer to have your family at home, we want you to know that’s okay and we support you and you’re not less spiritual than those who come to physical gatherings. If you come to a physical gathering, we want you to know that’s okay too and it doesn’t mean you care less about people’s health because you come to a gathering. Remember – unity!

As The Journey is one of the larger churches in our area, many churches may re-gather in person quicker than we do because of size restrictions. We are okay with that. You can be too. We are still the church whether we are meeting in a facility or online. We will be good neighbors to our community, love and care for our most vulnerable, and take a measured approach to re-entering.

Over these months our church has not ceased to function simply because we haven’t gathered physically in our facilities. We have had multiple online experiences like Network Connections, Online classes, Journey Kids, and more. We continue to pray, encourage, challenge. We have continued to share hope and spread kindness: making masks, distributing food, responding to the physical needs of our neighbors and friends in this challenging time, helping our local organizations who are reaching out to the most vulnerable. In short, we have continued to love our community and one another and will continue to do so.

At the current time most directives have included phased approaches to re-opening based on sizes of gatherings and including things like extreme social distancing measures, masks recommended, and more. So, we will take all those into account as we look at potential re-entry times. We will start with small group watch parties, then larger group watch parties, and then larger gatherings for services at our facilities. Because of all of this, we do not have a date yet for our re-opening of on-site Sunday services. We know this may frustrate some. Others may celebrate that news. In all of this, know that we are trying the best we can to make decisions that honor Jesus, and care about the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of all those who call The Journey their home church. We are so thankful for each of you. We truly are “better together”!

 We have a community that is watching how we do this. Let’s lead, live and love like Jesus. Let’s walk in unity even if we don’t fully agree. Let’s love each other well, give grace, be kind, live with generosity toward others as we follow Jesus together. Let this time be our finest hour. Missing you all, Matt Lewis and Paul Urban Co-Lead Pastors