Well, tomorrow we start a brand new year – the year 2012. If it is anything like the year 2011 for me personally, or for our church, Journey Church International, I’m looking forward to it. In I Corinthians 1:31 the Apostle Paul says “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” Well, I want to “boast in the Lord” by try to recap some of the great moments and ministry of Journey Church International in 2011. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible – here we go:
January 10, 2011: We held our 1st ever “official” JCI meeting in my living room with 14 adults. It snowed 8 inches that evening, but all 6 families that had committed themselves to the vision came and we prayed that God would build a great church to reach and impact Lee’s Summit and Cass County.
January 26, 2011: We held our 1st ever “public” gathering. It was the first night of what would be an 8-week Bible study looking at the vision and mission of our church. Between 40 and 60 people turned out for each study to hear about our new church.
May 1, 2011: JCI has its first “Preview Service” on a Sunday night. It was the first time we ever did Worship and had an entire service. A huge step in our Journey – 76 people turned out and our Core Team felt as if we had the most blessed church in the city!
June 5, 2011: We had our first “Sunday Morning” Preview Service, with real Kids Ministry (rather than simply “childcare”). Although it was a small service in a less than perfect setting (with used rental equipment – we owned nothing at the time), it felt good to have church on Sunday morning. Finally felt like we were a real church.
July 10, 2011: In our July Preview Service we saw 3 people become Christians. From the very beginning of our church we wanted to be a church that saw people far from God become Christians – that process began this day. 9 people would become Christians at JCI before we even celebrated our Grand Opening service. Very cool!
September 18, 2011: We celebrated “Grand Opening” at JCI with more than 100 first time guests from our community. Our church was officially open to the public and off and running. Even though our church is only 3 months old – I want to celebrate some of the highlights of 2011.
The mission of our church is “To see people far from God become passionate Christians who make a difference in the world”. In the past 90 days, we have seen that mission accomplished in so many ways.
- Nearly 40 people have become Christians by committing their lives to Jesus in the past 3 months.
- 15 people have been baptized, publically declaring their faith for their friends and families to see.
- Nearly 200 bibles have been given away to people in our church that didn’t have a Bible that they could read and study on a consistent basis.
- Over 100 “New Believer” 1-Minute Bibles have been given away to people starting their spiritual journey for the first time.
- Dozens of Christians who have been “drifting” spiritually have recommitted their lives to walk with God more faithfully.
- Hundreds of people looking for a church to call home have made Journey Church International their home church.
- More than 100 adults have begun volunteering in our church at least one time a month. Almost 60 volunteer more than twice a month.
The most-asked question that I get is “what does ‘international’ mean in our name, Journey Church International”? From the beginning, we said that we would have a church that supports ministry globally. This year we have seen our church give nearly $10,000 to global ministry, including:
- Supporting pastor’s wives in the Philippines by helping gift them the basic household items and toiletry items that they were lacking.
- Supporting special needs orphans in Romania who have been rescued from the very poor conditions of state-run orphanages by missionaries who care for them like family.
- Supporting pastors in South Sudan who travel from village to village, often in very dangerous areas, preaching the gospel, baptizing people, and teaching the Bible to new Christians in these villages.
- Supporting orphaned girls in India who have been rescued from female infanticide (the killing of female babies based strictly on gender) through our work with “The Invisible Girl” project.
Even though our church has a strong vision for global ministry, we also realize that as a “local” church we can’t ignore the needs that exist right around us. For that reason we have also seen great ministry done locally in Lee’s Summit, Kansas City, and the surrounding regions.
- Locally we have donated more than $10,000 to feed hungry children in Lee’s Summit through Harvester’s “Backsnack Program” and by helping to stock the food pantry at Summit Lakes Middle School and by helping specific families in great need. We have also volunteered nearly 250 community service hours as a church in local Lee’s Summit ministries and in downtown Kansas City.
- Joplin: What an overwhelming experience it was to take a team of 20 people to Joplin, Missouri 3 days after the tornado struck. It was both heart-wrenching and heart-warming to go and care for the people of Joplin and the aid workers from around the country to do the little bit that we could. We were not even meeting weekly as a church in May, yet we were able to organize 20 people to serve and give nearly $1000 to the cause of taking care of the relief workers on the ground. We have since taken a second trip to Joplin in December and plan to continue to be a part of the rebuilding of that town.
Because we are a church-plant (one that is still trying to grow roots!), we have a passion for other church-plants with vision and mission similar to ours. For that reason we have connected with two church-planting agencies, “The Launch Network” and “The Liberty Church Planting Network”. We have begun to support these church-planting networks in a small way in 2011 with plans to support them in a more significant way in 2012. Between these two church planting networks, more than 30 new churches will be planted in 2012, and we will have a hand in supporting those new works all across America!
Our church is young – and in relation to other great churches in our city, we have done just a very small part to fulfill the mission of God’s church. But we have done as much as we can, and by the grace of God we will do more in 2012. I am eternally grateful for each and every person that came out even one time this year to check out the ministry of Journey Church International or to support the ministry of Journey Church International. You have made this vision possible, each one of you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m looking forward to great things in 2012!
Let’s go Make a Difference!!!