“We will dwell in soul environments; knowing, living, and telling the love story of Jesus to the world.”
The 12 DNA Strands of Journey
There are 12 DNA Strands that we have identified which are a beautiful expression of how God has shaped us in the relational exchange of a community of people.
In most of the great stories we know, the starring role, the central character had a vision. A vision to conquer, to explore, to win, to be the best, a vision to discover something or find someone. A vision gives passion direction. We will be, we must be a visioneering church. Our initial vision is to create and shape a community of Christ-followers that experience God, and live on mission. Our hope is to live a full life, enjoying the blessings of God. We chose to engage culture and look forward to meeting those who would partner with us in sharing the love story of Jesus. [ TOP ]
God’s design for his followers and their relational connection is called the church. The purpose of the church is to fulfill His divine mission of reconciling the world to Himself through His son, Jesus.
Those that have decided to follow Christ and accept His sacrificial death as payment for their offenses against God have entered into a new reality, a reality of the Kingdom of God here on earth. The church is the assembling of these kingdom participants for community, worship, formation and mission.
The church is not and cannot be a kingdom in and of itself. It is a place of love and connection, a place of worship and healing, a place of learning and growing, a place of serving and meeting needs. Yet it is foremost a place of sending. We are to live missionally as sent ones, engaging the culture we live in, bringing the powerful love of God to all that we come in contact with. [ TOP ]
Though man was created, relationship was not, it has always existed at the core of the Trinity. We were brought into a story of relationship, of community. This story reveals the great love God has for His creation and calls us to respond to that love. John Mark records Jesus’ words, ‘…so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy… Love others as well as you love yourself’.
Too often, the human condition is defined by loneliness. People desire to be loved, to be heard, to be connected. By reaching out, by loving vulnerably and humbly, we have the opportunity to serve each other through community. Love equals belonging.
‘Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’ -Margery Williams ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ We must seek to create and live in environments were those around us can become real – these are the places we call soul environments. [ TOP ]
Decades ago, an archbishop described worship this way, “The submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose – and all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin”. You are a worshiper. I am a worshiper. Author Louie Giglio defines worship this way, “Worship, in essence, is declaring what we value most. As a result, worship fuels our actions becoming the driving force of all we do. Worship is the activity of the human soul”. Everyone has an altar, it may not be something you see in our living rooms, then again, it may, but it exists most assuredly in our minds, hearts, and souls. When we fail to express worship to our Creator, both privately and publicly, we live with a disrupted spirit. There is a nagging sense that something is not right. An intimacy lost. Satisfaction fleeting. Purpose and direction undiscovered. The expression of worship is the smile of the soul. [ TOP ]
Formation is the journey we embark upon when we begin to follow Christ and seek to live a life that is increasingly reflective of Him. John, quoting Jesus, his best friend and mentor, wrote this, ‘The thief [villain] comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’. Our journey will be difficult, strewn with losses, marked by scars, and missteps. It will also be filled with celebrations and victories and smiles.
The beautiful thing about this journey is that we don’t travel alone. God is loving and shaping us, Christ is interceding on our behalf, and the Spirit is our daily comfort and guide. We have also been giving earthly companions: our church, our village, our family, neighbors and friends. Together this forms a powerful fellowship that journeys with us as we go.
We are formed in many ways. We must be diligent and disciplined as we study the sacred thoughts and directives of God written in the Bible, worship together, learn and listen to each other, serve those around us, and give ourselves to the mission of loving others to the person of Jesus. [ TOP ]
‘…You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill… Now that I have put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand, shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.’ – Matthew, disciple and personal friend of Jesus.
Our purpose is to guide men and women into a discovery of the person of Jesus Christ. We will do so by serving them at their point of need, and speaking to them of the epic story that they unknowingly are apart of, believing that their lives will be eternally transformed by the love of God displayed through us. Jesus is so compelling, how could one not want to surrender to his creative design?!
To accomplish this mission, we must be aware of the needs all around us – in our church family, our neighborhoods, and around the world. This cannot be a programatic approach, where we are prompted by guilt. It must be a position of the heart, out of which flows the love of God through our words and deeds. Missional living must be normative, rather than something we do in order to check a box. [ TOP ]
Erwin McManus boldly writes about the role faith plays in our journey. ‘The center of God’s will is not a safe place but the most dangerous place in the world! God fears nothing and no one! God moves with intentionality and power. To live outside of God’s will puts us in danger; to live in his will makes us dangerous.’
Too often the church has attempted to clean up spirituality by enforcing extra-biblical suppositions in order to create an illusion of certainty. While there is logic and rational to our journey with Christ, we cannot remove all mystery and doubt. There are so many things we do not and cannot know for certain. We walk in faith, knowing in part, trusting for the rest.
When we attempt to claim certainty, we cloud the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God placed in his followers. Too often people trust an institution, or even other people for life direction. While it is appropriate to ask others for information, advice, and wisdom, we must understand it will always contain flaws, it cannot be perfect. We may experience fear, apathy, and laziness, but these are all subplots to what is really going on. When we fail to live by faith, we refuse to believe that God is big enough. In contrast, the Spirit of God is an all-knowing guide. Our faith must express itself through belief and hope in the unseen reality of God. [ TOP ]
‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’ Paul wrote this words to the Galatians, who were struggling with living in the new freedom in Christ. It may sound a bit redundant – we were freed to be free – yet it is a necessary reminder to us all. So often we want to trade freedom for comfort, for familiarity, for control. Freedom is an amazing gift that can utterly terrify us.
God’s artistic creation of the world recounted in Genesis chapters 1-2, describes a world of freedom. The villain of this story, disguised as a serpent, deceived our ancestors and as a result, mankind traded freedom for bondage. Yet God in his loving fashion offered a new way to freedom. He inserted Himself onto the pages of his own story and Jesus, His son, spearheaded a rescue operation by sacrificing his life so that we could be free.
For the ones who have received this freedom, there is a sense of destiny, a calling, and a purpose that resonates within. We must not, we cannot, wait for life to show up at our doorway. The mission lies before us, not in the comfort of what we know, but in the faith journey of what we don’t. If you are enslaved to the lies of disrupted culture, find freedom. If you have been set free, become what you were meant to be. [ TOP ]
We believe that the family is a powerful place of learning and growth, created by God to be a picture of His kingdom on earth. We also know that families can let us down, and damage us in incredibly destructive ways. One of the powerful truths of the redemptive plan of God is that when we enter into a relationship with Him through Christ, we are brought into a new family, the church. While this family can also let us down, it can also be a place of healing, of love, of support. Journey seeks to be a family for those in need and to support and encourage the families we are connected to.
We also hold that our children are not just our tomorrow, they are our today! They are our most precious of all gifts, and so we will not simply place them in childcare, their contribution to the kingdom will not be discarded. Instead, we will channel their zeal, and explore with them the mysteries of God, allowing them to shape our awe and spur our enthusiasm.
Journey is not a church speckled with programs to rescue your children from the world but a church where your children are equipped to flourish righteously in it. We refuse to enable our kids; we refuse to dumb down the expectations and adventure offered through Jesus. We will love and empower our children to imprint their world today, believing that by doing so they will stay engaged tomorrow. [ TOP ]
When we contemplate the life of Jesus on earth, it is impossible to shake his compassion for broken people. He modeled this with his life and taught us that he was here not for the healthy, but the sick. Entrenched in our DNA is the need to serve, and to give of ourselves. The church will not impact culture by condemning but by loving.
The Bible encourages us to esteem others more highly than ourselves. When we give of ourselves we discover less self-pity and much more gratitude. ‘We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.’ -Mother Theresa.
Partnering with Journey translates to a church experience of service in all shapes and sizes. Much of the beauty of the church is found in our diversity [ TOP ]
Author Ron Martoia defines culture as ‘The sum total of the ways we express ourselves and relate to each other in the institutions we build to express ourselves and relate to each other.’ We believe the movement of Christ on the earth, revealed through his followers, the church, is at the center of human existence. The world is peripheral to the church.
Jesus explained that the church is supposed to be salt and light in the community. We are not to cluster in our buildings, protective castles to defend ourselves from evil. Instead we live as sent ones, engaging those we live among, showing love and compassion, serving all. We are to use our minds to embrace the truth and dialogue with those searching for it. With our gifts we will live as artisans, displaying the creativity of God in our differences and uniqueness. We choose not to disappear from culture but to shape it. [ TOP ]
Texture speaks to feel as color speaks to sight. Getting the feel of a church is much more difficult than hearing what is spoken, or seeing what is displayed. Every church has an ethos, an intangible that is unique, unseen, and unspoken. The feel of a church is formed by what a church values. Its quality is driven by what is most important. This is our texture… and as Oswald Chambers has said, “May our reach always exceed our grasp.” [ TOP ]