Monday, November 19, 2007

Journey Church

Church Field Trip #20

Journey Church meets at Lake Worth Christian School (in the gymnasium) every Sunday at 10:10 AM. They have established an interesting partnership with the school involving outfitting the gymnasium with audio/visual equipment. We arrived about 5-10 minutes late, but according to Jerry - the Small Group Pastor, they usually start about 5-10 minutes late anyways. Upon entering, we received two standard greetings and we were funneled to a table where everyone who enters gets a name tag. I like that they make everyone take a name tag, rather than just visitors, but I also have a problem with name tags. They make you lazy. When everyone is wearing a name tag, you are neither prompted to introduce yourself nor ask someone their name. Name tags are self-defeating in purpose.

The worship set only lasted about 15 minutes and it was pretty mellow. There were about 400 people packed into the gymnasium which was dimly lit. The gym floor was covered with a dark protective covering, there was a 12 foot black curtain running behind the entire front of the setup, and the stage itself was lightly illuminated in a "black light" (you know, the purple kind.) I liked the atmosphere. I liked the darkness, and I thought that the black light was an interesting touch. For my own personal tastes, I wish that some of the music had been a little more uptempo and I wish that the worship had lasted longer.

After the worship set, Pastor Scott Baugh introduced us to a missionary to Haiti. The missionary spoke for about 5 minutes about their work and then showed us a short video about their mission trip to Haiti. Scott talked about how Journey Church was going to begin getting involved in microfinance in Haiti, as well as building churches and schools there. He also showed a slide show of church members renovating a youth center next to the school in Lake Worth.

Pastor Scott gave a traditional Thanksgiving "Be Thankful" message. He taught on Deuteronomy 6:10-12, 8:10-18, and 26:1 - Three instances of God warning the people of Israel to be careful not to forget where they came from and what God had done for them.

Here are some excerpts from the sermon:

"What is the source of your wealth? Is it God? Or is it your own hard work?"

"When you are successful, you tend to forget about your dependence on God."

"There is no such thing as a self-made man."

"Haiti is only 2.5 hours away from us, but it is a completely different world from the one we live in."

"This isn't about feeling guilty for being blessed, it is about feeling grateful for being blessed."

He gave us a piece of blank paper so that we could write down what we are grateful for. He then told us that, in the past week, his father has had two strokes and his wife has miscarried their first child. Pastor Scott broke down into tears as he told us about his difficult week. It was difficult to watch. He then used this as an illustration of how, even in the worst of times, there are things that we can still be thankful for.

The Gospel was a complete no show. He didn't allude to it, reference it, or give any other such show of having anything whatsoever to say to those in the congregation who might be lost spiritually.

After the service, Jerry engaged us in conversation for about 10 minutes. He was definitely interested in whether or not "we liked the service" and if "we were coming back." Jerry told us that the church is now 4 years old. They gave us a guest bag that contained some left-over Halloween candy, a pen, a statement of faith, and a sermon CD on Parables.


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