The following comes from public documents dating back to our beginnings in 2007. We’ve put them here so you can get a flavor of who we are and how we started. God was in this from the very beginning and our desire is to continue to follow the One who started us on this journey… wherever He leads.
The Pine City Evangelical Free Church’s Plant
This dream could not have become a reality without the willingness of the PCEFC Elder Board to listen to the call of God and step out of the box. It is the belief of the leaders that we can achieve something in Pine City that can glorify God and further the Kingdom in this area.
Journey North Church is a dream:
…of a church that knows how to celebrate God and is fun for all ages.
…of a church where kids wake their parents up on weekends because they can’t wait to be there.
…of a church that’s known in this area as a place that lavishly dispenses God’s grace in many practical ways.
…of a church that is seeker sensitive and purpose driven, but not a clone of any other church… just following in the footsteps of others who have followed Jesus.
…of a church that loves lost people so much we would sacrifice our own comfort in making them feel welcome.
…of a church that values technology in order to capture attention and communicate to as many people as effectively as possible.
…of a church that will be known for its stories of real life change.
…of a church that produces fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
…of a church that is a loving community of people with a shared vision for how we do things… following together the call to join God in what He’s doing here.
…of a church that God will use so greatly that in years to come, hundreds will point to us as the place where their spiritual journey began, where they found a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, where they found healthy relationships with others on the journey in a biblically functioning community.
We want to reach, teach, and connect people… we will love God and others…
Our desire is to be BOTH biblically accurate and culturally relevant. You can be biblically accurate without being culturally relevant. And you can be culturally relevant without being biblically accurate. We happen to want to be both! We will never change the Message, but the methods must adapt to the culture. In other words, the Message is chiseled in stone and the methods are written on a chalk board. So it may be a little different than the way it’s always been for some.
The new church will be a Purpose Driven Church. We will be members of both the Evangelical Free Church of America and the Willow Creek Association. We are thankful to Saddleback Church in California, Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, North Point Community Church in Georgia, along with other churches and leaders who have been willing to think outside the box. We will make use of these resources to further the cause of Christ in this community.
We know that the church plant will not be a fit for everyone. That’s OK and as it should be. That variety is good and necessary. It gives the whole community more choices and opportunity to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ
At Journey North Church there is a freshness and a freedom in the air. It is a place of new direction, new life, new horizons, a new community of faith. We invite you to come along on the journey for the adventure.
Journey North Church isn’t just about going to a great church… it’s about being the church. It’s not just about being a different church… but about being a church that does things differently.
We’d love for you to be a part of Journey North. Together we’re on a journey towards the destiny that God has laid before us.
Church the way you always hoped it could be!
The vision is to reach out to those who don’t attend church, those who have been burned out by church, and those who have a passion for a different type of church through LOVING GOD and LOVING PEOPLE… and having a BLAST doing it!
It’s a wild ride, so if you choose to get on – buckle up!
It’s funny how often God gives me illustrations to use at just the right time… at least for me they’re good illustrations… I hope they work for you, too. I was just trying to come up with a way to explain a few things concerning what Journey North Church is doing, how we’re doing it, and why we’re doing it.
I know there are some questions out there. Good questions. Questions that need answers. For instance, one of the questions that comes up fairly often is, “Why can’t we just start having church services right away. Why all this talk of ‘Preview Services’, ‘Launch Team Activities’, ‘Come Back Events’, ‘Launch Date’, etc.?” Again, very good questions… and those questions will all be answered in depth very shortly… but for some people, at least some more information… now… is important.
I understand that. But before I attempt to give some answers, there is something that probably needs explaining. Something that to me is very important. Something that I hope will help you understand a little better why you may not have heard everything you would like to be hearing.
The following fact may or may not be obvious to everyone: I am (was) the Pastor of Pine City Evangelical Free Church. Some of you are saying, “That’s obvious!” Some of you are saying, “But you’re the Pastor of Journey North Church.” I understand the confusion… believe me! Here’s what’s happening: I am finishing one role and working into the other. It’s a process. And it’s a process that I want to be characterized by what I pray has characterized my almost 8 years here: integrity. I answer to God. But I am observed by people, also. First and foremost, I want to be able to stand before God and know that I did my best to live a life of integrity. And then I want to be above reproach before people.
My last Sunday at Pine City Evangelical Free Church will be August 12, 2007. I have been trying to carry out my responsibilities and finish strong there. There are a number of torches that need passed. I have been trying to always do the honorable thing and always go the extra mile. At times it has seemed to be the equivalent of two full-time jobs. There has been a tremendous amount of work done by a number of people to start the ball rolling for Journey North Church. Beginning August 13, we will be moving full steam ahead on preparing to launch the new church. In fact, the following Sunday, August 19, there will be a meeting. In essence, for those interested, it will be beginnings of the Launch Team. It will be a great time to fellowship, hear the vision, get the details, have your questions answered, and celebrate what God is doing. If that’s where God is leading you, be at the Fur Post at 10:00 am on Sunday, August 19. And while you’re putting dates on your calendar… on the following Saturday there will be another get together at Timberline Campground in Sturgeon Lake. It will be a combination fellowship, informational, Q&A, potluck, campfire, sign-up time. Complete details on both of those events (including maps, times, what to bring, etc.) and everything else that is being planned will be out shortly.
Now that some of you get it a little more… and some of you are thoroughly confused… let me clarify some of the strategy I mentioned at the beginning of this long explanation.
Remember I started off telling you how sometimes God gives me good illustrations? Well, just before going back into the office today, my kids informed me their computers were not accessing the internet. And they both needed to do some stuff online. That problem brought something to mind. I’ve been doing computer stuff for more years than I can remember. Sometimes problems can be solved by simple changes or repairs. Sometimes I can just sit down and make a few corrections or check some cables and have things back up and running again. Sometimes it takes a little more effort. Sometimes things are so goofy that more drastic measures are called for. Sometimes the only way to get things going again is to shut it down… make the repairs… and reboot. The main reason we are not just “doing church” again right away is because, for us, there is a reboot needed!
It’s going to take a lot of effort to start up again… with what amounts to a new operating system… to start up again the way God has called Journey North Church to go. Does that make sense?
In order to accomplish that, here’s what we’re going to do:
Gather a Launch Team who are completely sold out on the vision… who are on the same page and excited about being in on the ground floor of this new thing God is doing.
Have Launch Team Activities to put together the nuts and bolts of doing church in a different way. To fellowship and worship and plan and pray and have a blast doing it.
Have Preview Services (3 of them) to invite the community in order to build momentum and excitement for the ultimate launch of this new church. Those Preview Services will also allow us to work on honing and polishing up our services. We want to really shine in two main areas to start with: our weekend services and our children’s ministry. That’s not all we’ll do. But that will be where our major focus will be for a time… in order to attract the crowd that will be reached and discipled into a core. There will be time in between those Preview Services to have Launch Team Activities to sharpen things up.
Another thing that will take place between the Preview Services will be Come Back Events. Those are events designed for the Launch Team to invite those who visited the Preview Services. It gives them a setting to come to that allows them to get to know the staff and leaders, to clearly hear the vision for what we’re doing, and to have a chance to join the Launch Team.
Roughly following that process… Launch Team Activities, Preview Services, Launch Team Activities, Come Back Events, Launch Team Activities, Preview Services, and so on… will enable us, Lord willing, to be able to launch large… with the same effect on our community as a rocket launch… the excitement builds… the ground shakes… the roar is heard all around… and we head towards our God-given destiny… in a new, God-given direction… having rebooted and our programs running smoothly…
One of main advantages of rebooting and starting completely over is that certain things can be hard wired into the very DNA of the new church. Things that we believe are crucial if we’re to fulfill the mandate God has given us. From the very start, Journey North Church will be about reaching people. Gathering a crowd and turning them into a core. Taking people who are far from God and helping them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Helping people reset their compasses for “True North.” Being from the very beginning a church whose focus is outward. We want to be about the harvest, not just about maintenance. Allow me to quote something I saw recently:
“Jesus of Nazareth came on a mission. He was not looking for the well, the found, or the righteous. His mission was not about starting a ministry that would produce programs to be consumed by nice, attractive, middle-class, white, suburban, couples with 2.5 kids. It wasn’t a country club with nice, painted, iron gates that Jesus inaugurated. It was a church that Jesus founded with its calling to storm the gates of hell. The church he founded was not a place for people to get fed and fat, but a place to be equipped and sent. Church is not a building or destination, but a people who are on mission: to join the Savior in seeking and saving those who are lost.”
Does that make any sense at all? This was never about just continuing on a little differently. It was always about following God and joining Him where He’s working in this new thing He wants to accomplish. It was always about reaching a lost community with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at any cost… even our comfort. In the words of Chris Rice:
C’mon Becky, let’s go for a ride
If I’m driving too fast then I apologize
But there’s a world out there that we left behind
Full of souls as important as yours and mine
Looks like a reckless road, and a sacrifice
And I’m crazy scared it may cost our lives
But then I remember Jesus died
So c’mon Becky
Let’s go for a ride
We’re so thankful for the blessings, but maybe we could lay ’em aside
I get a feeling we might be headed for the time of our lives
So hop in and hold on tight
It’s a wild ride, so if you choose to get on – buckle up!