The Journey Church Turns Eight
Today, The Journey Church (TJC) turns eight years old! This congregational milestone gives us reason to be thankful and celebrate what God has done and is doing in our congregation and our borough as He continues to provide us opportunity to encounter Christ by experiencing community and existing for others in West Chester. Here’s a snapshot of the God’s work in and through this faith-family over the last eight years:
There have been churches in our building for over a hundred years since Westminster Presbyterian built the original edifice at the end of the 19th century. But the last eight years have been a tremendous portrait of God’s faithfulness, presence, and active work among those He has called to commit themselves to TJC.
It all began in 2006, when the previous congregation voted to close its doors and give all its assets to a thriving Riverside Community Church in the hopes that a new gospel-work would be started in West Chester on the corner of Barnard and Church Street. The building sat dormant for more than a year as the planting team made preparations. That’s when the heavy lifting began.
David Pearson, the church planter sent by Riverside to begin The Journey, heeded God’s call to West Chester and began work with renovation teams to update the facility. Pews were removed and replaced with new chairs, the sanctuary’s seating orientation was reversed, and new carpeting and lighting were installed. As renovations continued, tenants, whose presence and funding helped keep the previous church operational, began to move out of the building, opening space for the growth of the new church community.
Finally, after a few once-a-month preview services, The Journey launched regular public worship services on October 14, 2007, with two men on pastoral staff and a host of volunteers committed to being part of this new endeavor.
Those early months and years saw consistent growth as The Journey brought new life and light to the people of West Chester. As the church grew, people came to faith and were baptized. Life Groups were developed to help the congregation continue to encounter Christ and experience community outside of the Sunday morning service.
One of the early missional milestones of The Journey came in 2010 when the church sent its first team to Costa Rica. Twenty five team members were on that trip—most making their first missions adventure outside of the United States—to evangelize and serve people desperate for the gospel.
Several other teams have returned to Costa Rica since that inaugural adventure.
Late 2014 brought a season of change for The Journey as David Pearson and his family once again heard God calling them to set their sights on church planting in Philadelphia. Pearson resigned from his role as lead pastor and stepped away from leading the church just before the seventh anniversary.
It was an interesting beginning to the eighth year of The Journey’s existence and work.
But God was not done.
Less than a month after Pearson preached his final sermon, the Pastor Selection Team and the Advisory Team called it’s first candidate in view of a call to ministry. On November 9, 2015, Raymond Johnson preached to the congregation and, on the recommendation of both of those teams, was voted in as the Lead Pastor of The Journey.
In the last 10 months since Pastor Raymond arrived, we have continued to see God’s faithfulness as we’ve focused the strategy for our Kingdom work more aggressively on impacting the borough in which God has planted us as we have strived to live with gospel-intentionality.
We’ve transitioned from The Journey to The Journey Church with a rebranding effort led by people in our own congregation.
We’ve hosted a pair of Family Fun Days to welcome families in the borough and help them experience community in a laid-back atmosphere.
We’ve witnessed increased stability in our assets and encouraging trends in traditional metrics of growth as TJC-ers invest their time, talents and tithes to advance the gospel here in our community.
In the last month, due to the generosity of Riverside, we’ve taken full ownership of our building and begun some maintenance projects to steward this incredible resource God has provided.
But the greatest resource we have (outside of God Himself) is the people he has entrusted to this faith-family. New people are being invited to visit TJC. Guests are attending, returning, and growing in their understanding of the gospel. New believers are being baptized—we’ve had six baptisms this year already with more on the way! We’re adding new members regularly.
It is a great time to be The Journey Church. We are thankful for his blessings in the life of this congregation. We have seen God’s faithfulness over the last eight years, and as we celebrate those things today, we cannot help but look forward to the days and years ahead as God continues to champion His faithfulness to us in serving the borough of West Chester together.
More in The Journey Blog
January 25, 2018Pastor Johnson Speaks on Human Cloning in National News Story
November 9, 2017TJC and Pastor Johnson Named 2017 John Stott Award Recipient
November 8, 2017Pastor to Speak at Pro-Life Event in West Chester, PA