Getting Ready for Take-off!

Some exciting stuff has been happening at Journey over the last several months. God’s been at work to get us ready for our next steps together and we’re excited to get going!

In August, we entered into a partnership with the Five Two Network – an organization in our church body that is aimed at helping churches start new things to reach new people. As we’re looking to move from Celebration Cinema to a permanent space on our property in Byron Center, we’re essentially starting a new church. Journey will be the new church in town and this partnership will help us leverage that newness to reach people – not just church people, but people who are far from God and need to know their Savior Jesus.

To help with that process, leadership also took advantage of a new program in our District called “StratOp” (Strategic Operations) that helped us assess where we are, where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. It was an intensive three-day process that members of our Core Leadership Team, Elders, and Team Leaders participated in.

It’s exciting that both of these programs were newly available to us and that Journey got invited to participate. Leadership saw both of these as opportunities that God placed before us at the right time!

So what’s next? 

At our first Launch Team Gathering this week (don’t worry if you missed it – there will be more!) we shared what some of our next steps are. The StratOp process helped us define 4 key areas where we need immediate attention, and we’re forming teams to start to address those areas.

  • Staffing. In order to grow and function healthier, we need to reduce how overextended our current staff is. This team is tasked with assembling a plan to address our immediate, intermediate, and long-term staffing needs.
  • Evangelism. Also needed for growth is developing a culture of evangelism and a clear evangelism process. This team will bring us recommendations to help us, but they won’t be the only ones who are actually doing evangelism – that’s everyone’s job!
  • Discipleship. We’re all about helping people take their next step on their journey with Jesus, but we can do better at helping people know how to discover and take those steps.
  • Family Ministry. This is a new field for us, and this team is looking at how we go beyond the usual children’s ministry and youth ministry stuff to something that builds up and equipps the whole family.

You should know that in our planning time, we listed about 30 different things that we need to focus on as we grow, but these four quickly rose to the top as primary areas to address. As these begin to gain traction, other items from our list will move into their spot on our workbench.

Our StratOp Team standing by their wall of notes and tools!

Our StratOp Team standing by their wall of notes and tools!

These teams have a lot of work ahead of them, and as such, they need some time to do the research, assemble the plan, and figure out how we get things rolling. Please keep them in prayer over the coming months as they get to work and as new and renewed ministries get humming. 

What can you do?

In the days, weeks, and months ahead, there will be lots of opportunities to be part of the process as we get ready for a new launch in the Byron Center community. As we go together, here are some ways that you can be part of what God is doing among us:

  • Attend Launch Team Gatherings. These will be held occasionally so that everyone can be on the same page and offer their input and support. It’s okay if you can’t make them all.
  • Pray. Even if you feel like you can’t do anything else, prayer is important, and we want to cover our next steps together in prayer.
  • Invite. Odds are good that you know someone who doesn’t go to church or doesn’t know Jesus. (If not, you might want to get out more!) It’s our responsibility to invite people to join us on a journey of following Jesus together. Yep – it can be scary. But it’s why we’re here!
  • Put others first. As we strive to create a welcoming and inviting place for everyone, take a moment to put the needs of others before yourself. An easy and pain-free way to start is to give up your cherished seat. When guests come, the place they probably would like to sit is on the aisle near the door. Don’t make them climb over you or have to walk all the way around to the other side. Put their needs first and choose a spot that leaves those prime seats available.
  • Dig in! The days ahead are full of excitement and possibility. It’s a great time to be part of what God is doing as we discover what it means to follow Jesus into a new community. Dig in! Find ways to serve, ways to pray, ways to encourage, and ways to just be part of what’s happening. It’s going to be challenging at times, but doing great things for God’s Kingdom usually are!


  1. John Vander Kolk says

    Enjoyed the Launch meeting, looking forward to more!

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