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TOP 2 QUESTIONS

Updated: May 9, 2023

WE GET ABOUT STARTING A "NON-TYPICAL" CHRISTIAN CHURCH


Well if you made it here then you want to know 3 things.


  1. What in the world is a "non-typical Christian Church"?

  2. What's the #1 thing people ask you?

  3. Tell me more about #1....

Ok, maybe some of you want to know the 2nd question people ask us too.

There have been countless books, studies, and endless debates about what does or does not constitute a "church". In the land of fancy church lingo, it's called ecclesiology. It is a difficult word to pronounce and an even harder one to spell! In a nutshell, this word is referring to all things related to the study of the church. Big "C", like all believers in history, and, little "c" as in the local gatherings of believers.


Without disrespecting this important area of study, let's start by breaking it down to its simplest form. A Christian Church can be described as a local community of believers that gather regularly to pray, support, and spur one another on to learn what Jesus taught and live out what they learn.


If you ask people in North America what a "church" is today, most would say something like:


- A place they attended as a child.

- Maybe they'd name the local "brands" in their town, like the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, etc.

- They may tell you about the place they attend now.

- It's certainly possible someone would tell you that it's something that's corrupt or a place that wants your money or...


[ How would you answer that question? How would your friends?]



ADJUSTING THE METHODS WITHOUT CHANGING THE MISSION


Going through the pandemic forced all of us to adjust. As a Senior Pastor of a local church at that time, we were certainly forced to adjust. We adapted to the rapid changes and then kept adapting. Then over the next couple of years, I leaned in and started studying the new ways that people were connecting, building community, spending time together, and learning on the internet. Many of them weren't necessarily "new ways" but they were being adopted by far greater numbers of people and technology was evolving quickly to meet the growing needs of people looking for these things in the digital realm.


At the same time, God was speaking to my wife and me and leading us to look at some very old-fashioned ways of making disciples, person by person, home by home, and group by group.


We read several books at the time that were influential, "Megachurch to multiplication", and "Miraculous Movements" were two big ones for us. We prayed. We studied. We spoke with people we trust and respect and through it all, we continued to get a sense God was leading us to step out of the box and consider blending some very old (Like book of Acts) methods of making disciples and doing church with some very modern technology (YouTube, Web, Insta, FB, TikTok).


The short version is that we really felt like God was asking us to step out and plant a hybrid church. But not in the way you may think. "Hybrid church" wasn't even a term anyone had really heard of before the pandemic. But during that time many churches adopted this idea that they were solid, established brick-and-mortar churches that wanted to start putting their stuff online. Then, beyond just "putting stuff online", they wanted to actually put some effort into connecting with people online. Which usually amounted to little more than someone posting lots of stuff on social media about what was happening at the physical building and why people should come there.


But we sensed god calling us to flip the script on the hybrid church model all together.

Instead of starting with a physical building and doing stuff online to get people to come there, we decided to start reaching people online, meeting them where they were, inviting them to start learning the Bible, meet Jesus, and encouraging them to connect with us via zoom, facetime, email or phone calls. Then, over time as we (and others on our team) develop relationships with them, beginning to coach them to start studying the bible for themselves. And ultimately begin meeting in person with others like them who want to learn the Bible and follow Jesus and His teachings.


And with that, The Journey Church was born. An online church, designed to meet people where they are, help them learn the Bible, and spur them into the local community with others who want the same. Admittedly we are a work in progress. Admittedly we are trying to reach people who are not interested in attending a traditional brick-and-mortar church building, (at least not to start). This is what I think most would call a "non-typical" Christian Church. We believe the Bible. We preach Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. There is no way to salvation apart from faith in Jesus. We would most likely line up with traditional Christianity that's existed for the past few hundred years. We're not on board with the popular progressive Christianity of the day.


Where we differ from a "normal church" is primarily:


1. Where we go to find and connect with people. (Predominantly online, but not only)


2. Where we invite people to "come and see" what we're all about. (Website, YouTube, etc)


3. We focus on a "Learn and Do" approach, rather than a "Sit and listen" style so common today.


4. We worry way less about nailing down the recipe for the perfect church and focus way more on inspiring people to learn the Bible, put their faith in Jesus, and trust that the Holy Spirit is able to help guide and lead people on their journey even if we're only in their life for a brief season.



ON TO THE QUESTIONS ALREADY -


When we share with people about what we're doing we tend to get some common questions in response.


The first one usually goes something like this. "Wow, that sounds pretty neat... and here comes the question...


#1. How do you guys make money doing that?

Our response is rarely what people want to hear. Most people want to know about our grand business plan. They want us to have some magic formula worked out that they could maybe follow. They want to know we have money coming in and we're all covered because that would let them off the hook for feeling any responsibility to help support us. Let's be honest, when another believer just tells you how much they believe in what you're doing and how excited they are for you and then finds out you're trusting God to provide... Well, that person has to do a quick heart check, "Do I really believe in what they are doing or did I just say that to be nice?"


Because our answer to question #1 is always, "We're trusting God to provide for our needs and supply the money for our expenses." And, "Yes it's hard." And, "Yes, I get worried and start to think of ways to make money and my great wife reminds me to pause, pray and ask God for direction first instead of jumping to solve it my way."


People love the "story" of people like us selling it all and trusting God. Going on the road, sharing the gospel as we go. Using technology to reach people in new and interesting ways. Different people get excited about different parts but rarely do we talk to anyone who doesn't light up just a little bit about this ministry and where they sense God leading us.


But being excited about it, believing in it, or even just liking the story all fall short of actually putting some skin in the game and asking how they can help. Some have joined us in prayer. A few have joined us in a more concrete role on the team. Some have supported us financially and a couple are doing so regularly. But most people stop at liking the idea.



Question #2 usually sounds something like,


#2. So what is it exactly? How does an "online" church work?

This often leads to a great discussion about teaching the Bible, following Jesus, and thinking outside the box about helping engage with people where they are rather than sticking with a traditional one size fits all approach that the church has had for so long. Some people see it instantly and are drawn to the idea of trying something new. Others are bothered and a few seem offended.


We asked some friends and acquaintances to review some of the videos we have been making. We asked for feedback. We genuinely wanted to hear how the teaching hit them, what they thought about the way they were filmed, the locations, etc.


One friend forwarded the request to his pastor and to his credit, the pastor watched a few of the videos and sent a thorough and thoughtful reply. He offered a few kind words, then some honest feedback about a concern for using the word "awesome" for God only (I probably said several things were awesome without even noticing). And he shared his concern about whether or not what we were doing could actually be a church. And shared how he even struggled to think of an "online church" as a church at all. Then the email concluded with him sharing about how he had a few guys come to mind as he watched the videos and he thought perhaps they would connect with the teaching and the style. He forwarded the videos to them and encouraged them to check em out. That's what I call a "Team Jesus" response to what we're doing.


Yes, we're thinking outside the box. Heck, we literally jumped out of the box, sold everything, and are attempting to do ministry, preach the gospel, make disciples, and start other churches - all outside the box.


WANT TO KNOW MORE?


Please click the link and jump over to our webpage & youtube channel and check us out. Read through our other bogs, watch our content, and see for yourself what we're up to.






Want to jump on a zoom or phone call? Awesome- (oops there's that word again) - We'd love to connect and get to know you, hear any questions you have or pray for you.


Reach out to us at Info@jointhejourneychurch.com



 

Just to make it easy on you --- Here are a few of our videos that other folks seem to really like. Check em' out and we'd love to hear what you think.







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