In 2006, a group of twelve missionaries met for prayer and planning in an underground chapel in Kentucky. This team of young families, singles, and college students began to dream of a church that would be on mission with God with the distinct vision to develop and deploy disciples who would labor for Jesus in a lost world.
Over the first five months of 2007, each of these twelve missionaries uprooted themselves from the suburbs of Louisville, KY to move to Summerville, SC to plant the Journey Church. The first on the ground were the two leading church planting families: the Jernigan and Browning families.
In March of 2007, the church had its initial Bible Study in the Brownings’ home. As the rest of the team arrived and new team members came on board, the Brownings’ home became far too small. The leaders came to an agreement with College Park Baptist Church to use their fellowship hall as Journey Church’s first public meeting space.
Starting in June of the same year, Journey Church launched its first core group gathering with worship. With discipleship as the church’s core means of ministry, Journey soon started its small group ministry. The leaders challenged the core team to invest in people, not as projects but as strategic friendships. With these relationships at hand, on September 30, 2007, the Journey Church had its first public worship service at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church at 5:00pm, extending the body to around forty people.
Close proximity to Charleston Southern University led the team to invest in college students and young families. Over the next two years, the church grew to over 100 attendees, and Journey began its process of planting new churches.
With a growing church and a budding mission strategy, the incarnational mission plan allowed the team to reach new people every month. Journey was soon going to outgrow its location. In October of 2009, a handful of young families and college students raised over $168,000 to move into our first permanent location on Treeland Drive. On April 4, 2010, Journey Church had its Grand Opening at our Treeland location.
Now in their first permanent home, the church grew quickly in numbers and impact on the community. As the church focused on planting more churches, partnering with schools, and performing service activities in the community, hundreds of new people joined to the church family.
In 2014, after planting 4 churches and growing to over 500 worship attenders, a fresh new vision was cast which the leaders entitled Vision 2020. The Vision 2020 initiatives focused on this question, “By the year 2020, what do we hope to see God accomplish?” From that, three major objectives were established: become a leading church planting church, see the family redeemed in our community, and deploy 1,000 missionary disciples into our world.
From its very first year as a church plant itself, Journey Church has invested in church planting. With five churches planted in the church’s first seven years, the goal established by Vision 2020 is to plant 9 healthy churches by 2020. Planting healthy churches requires a great deal of investment. Journey Church has committed itself to invest in the families of church planters through annual marriage retreats, to invest in church planters through a church planting coaching center (Cypress Project), and to invest in the financial health of its church plants by significantly investing towards our church plants’ budgets. Learn more about our 2016 church plants, Hope Church and Compass Church, here.
Redeeming the Family
From the beginning, Journey Church has been focused on ministry strategies that help families in our geography. But Vision 2020 provided the church with several fresh objectives for ministries that will work toward redeem families. Journey Church recognizes that families need help at all stages of life. To encourage the community at large, we want to offer conferences, sermon series, and events that assist in keeping marriages strong. Second, Journey Church recognized that many families need more help that sermons or events can provide. One major goal of Vision 2020 is to launch a Journey Counseling Center to see even the most troubling family situations to experience redemption. Currently, Journey partners with Your Story Counseling to accomplish that goal.
Deploy 1,000 Missionary Disciples
With Jesus’ Great Commission, the church was given its primary objective: to develop disciple-makers and to send them to labor in a lost world. In the development of Vision 2020, the audacious goal of deploying 1,000 missionary disciples was birthed. This dream propels the vision that Journey Church is a launching pad not a hotel. Understanding that healthy churches multiply and grow, the leaders of Journey Church began to plan for expansion. Part of the process of deploying 1,000 people is training 1,000 people. Another part of that process is having a place for these individuals to be trained. In 2014, plans began to be made and finances invested in planting Journey Church’s first campus (Goose Creek) and planning for a new Ladson building to be completed in the next few years.