Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why start a new church?

Why start a new church like The Journey? Why is The Journey Needed?
The 21st century cries for a relevant expression of faith and spirituality. The Journey will be one such relevant expression. As the members of The Journey live life with Jesus, we will introduce Him to others in order to love and glorify Him. We will also love others and introduce them to Jesus in hopes of bringing them onto the narrow road. We will strive to see that everyone we encounter will follow Jesus as their guide and not have to travel the road of life alone.
A brief overview of Lubbock County shows a huge populous of wanderers and passengers mixed with a small percentage of pilgrims. According to the current Texas State Data Figures, Lubbock County has a current population of 251,443 people. According to the Malphurs Group, about half of those are “unchurched” (125,721). This figure was reached by a comparison of the church attendance rolls of evangelical churches in the county. However, this figure must be adjusted because most of these churches are not actually seeing 100% of their members in regular attendance. It has been suggested by many that the average church actually sees 37 – 40% of their rolls in attendance. This means that in Lubbock County, about 46,500 people are active in their church, leaving over 200,000 people unreached or unconnected.
Add to this that the Texas Tech University system is projecting an increase in enrollment over the next three years of 20,000 students, and it becomes easy to see that Lubbock needs relevant expressions of faith.
New churches are a proven way to reach people. With the vast number of disconnected wanderers and passengers in Lubbock County, a new church start based on a relational model makes sense. We feel that it is best to put this “new wine” into a new wine skin. Since our model of ministry will be relational-based ministry, we desire to structure differently from the normal church start so that we can build this into the DNA of our fellowship. To attempt this kind of ministry shift in a traditionally structured church could be very problematic.
The Journey will provide two styles of church multiplication. First, we will grow the core of The Journey as a cell-group ministry. That is to say that there will be many interconnected small groups that will make up the body of The Journey. These interconnected small groups will provide the relationship soil for individual ministry while remaining part of the larger body for congregational-styled ministry. As The Journey grows, we hope to provide the resources, personnel, and training for a simple church network as described below.
Second, we will be proactive in planting simple churches. Simple churches will be church bodies that function independent of the larger body. They will be places where Christ has been taken into a “pocket” of our culture, and done there in that place. We expect this to look like the New Testament house church of the first and second century.

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