How did Journey get started?
Journey began in the summer of 2004. Rick Diamond was on staff at a large church, and chose to leave and begin something new. A group of friends said, "Let's all do this together." Some people said they'd rock the babies; some people said they'd help with worship; some people said they'd help with the teenagers and children; some people said they'd show up every week and just be part of it.
Many of us spent a long time and a lot of prayer and work thinking and talking about what it would be like if a group of people said to God, "You tell us what to do, and we'll do that." And we meant it. That's still what we do.
We focused on Jesus' commandment to love God and to love others as we love ourselves as God's beloved.
It grew - in numbers and in depth of commitment. People brought friends. We all learned more and more about Love and being a community.
We met at a YMCA for 2 1/2 years, and then moved into the Warehouse on Christmas Eve, 2006.
What's Journey's governing structure?
Journey is a community, so we don't have a hierarchy of those with power and those who serve them. Rather, all of us participate together in making decisions. We ask God what we can do to fulfill our vision - to love God and to love the world. We meet in ministry teams and do things that fulfill our vision. Our ministry teams tell representatives, called Shepherds, what's happening. The Shepherds talk about it, pray about it, and communicate with their ministry teams. The Shepherds' job is to communicate, listen, pray, and serve. When decisions need to be made in terms of money, personnel, policies, etc., the Shepherds pray and ask God what to do, and then share those decisions with the entire faith community.
Why isn't Journey affiliated with any denomination?
There's nothing wrong with denominations - millions of people find their faith as part of the large groups (denominations) that Christians are arranged in. We find that denominations are often defined by their doctrine or rules. In other words, you belong to a group based on what they believe or don't believe. What rules they have or they don't have. To be guided by and beholden to those things doesn't help us fulfill our vision.
We celebrate traditions of worship and belief from many Christian denominations and beliefs through the centuries. We use whatever helps us fulfill our vision. We're not restricted to only thinking about and doing the things that any one group of Christians have chosen.
What are Journey's doctrines and beliefs?
You can see About Journey for more information on what we believe. But our basic belief is that God is good, God is Love, we are God's beloved, and we are commanded to love God and love the world. We follow Jesus, who gave that commandment to his followers. Jesus is our picture of that Love, and that's what we use as our guideline.
Jesus talked a lot about love, and forgiveness, and greed, and relying on God for direction and peace and everything we need. He talked about being spiritually awake and living a life that he called "The Kingdom of God." Jesus didn't talk much about a lot of the issues Christians argue about, so we don't spend time worrying over those things. We figure that if we obey Jesus' command to love God and love the world, the rest will take care of itself. That's what we focus on.
We don't emphasize "right belief" as much as we emphasize being loving, forgiving, trusting God, believing in and following Jesus. And lots of traditions are all about believing the right thing (and then of course they all argue about what the "right thing" to believe is). We're convinced that at the heart of Journey is what was at the heart of Jesus, and what is at the heart of the entire Bible. So in that sense, we're very traditional ... we just may not say it the same way other folks do.
What are Journey's beliefs about baptism?
Baptism means one thing to us: that all of our lives belong to God.
We baptize in basically two ways:
One, we baptize children symbolizing the dedication of their lives to our core belief that our lives belong to God. In this, we also dedicate the children's families, as well as ourselves, to help that happen in those children's lives.
Two, we baptize older children and adults signifying the beginning of a new spiritual life when they feel led in their souls to make their life focus following Jesus.
We don't decide for people how much water to use or when to use it. Different people's faith traditions mean different things to them about these questions. We honor each person's feelings about that. We baptize in worship gatherings, or after them, with a bowl of water or in a swimming pool or in a lake.
What are Journey's beliefs about communion?
Christ's body was broken for us; that means that Jesus was willing to die and in doing so, demonstrate the love of God for the world (bread was the Jewish symbol of God's providing all people everything they need). Christ's blood was shed for us; that means that Jesus' death was a celebration of life (blood was the Jewish symbol of joy, of life, of God's presence with all people).
Everyone is welcome to receive the bread and juice which symbolize the body and blood of Christ. We don't require that anyone have any distinctions - church membership, a certain age, a level of church education - in order to receive communion. Jesus didn't talk about those things. "Whenever a few of you are together, I'll be there," he said; "celebrate this meal and remember this." So that's what we do.
What is Journey's theology of money and giving?
We believe that every person belongs to God, and that everything in the universe belongs to God. That doesn't mean God owns everything - that means that God is in everything. Our culture is very consumeristic, materialistic, and self-focused. We think that's very unhealthy; Jesus taught very clearly against it. The early Christians were committed to letting go of possessions and sharing everything, especially to care for the poor.
Giving money away makes people healthier. It unplugs them from the matrices of our culture - spending time and energy on acquiring more stuff, assigning personal value based on wealth and position, and believing that security comes from possessions or earnings. We believe that God gives people their true identity, as God's beloved. We believe that God will provide for every need. We believe that everything belongs to God, because ultimately this life is a journey and all people are on earth not to get, but to give away. We say give it away to those that need it - anywhere, not just to Journey. We are simply one of the places that can take people's money and redistribute it to those in need.
Journeyers give money to Journey in order to:
pay our staff so that they can devote their full time and energy to helping us all fulfill the vision of this faith community;
provide the space for Journey worship and group gatherings;
provide funds to our Strength team.
From our beginning, Journey has always given 10% of its income to our Strength team, which finds ways for all of us to give food, clothing, and shelter to those in need.
No pastor at Journey knows who gives what money. This enables our pastors to relate to us regardless of the way the world defines people.
Journey does not tell you how much to give. In the Bible some guidelines say to give God 10% of our income, as a way to remind ourselves that nothing belongs to us, and to honor what is most important. But we don't insist on any amount.
Jesus said to give everything to God, and to the Kingdom of God, and everything we need will be given to us.
We don't take out loans. We don't base our activities based on budgets. We choose to trust that when we are obedient to what God tells us to do and to be, God will provide whatever is needed. That works for us.
What are Journey's beliefs about reading and understanding the Bible?
We believe that the Bible is a record of hundreds of people's experiences of God over thousands of years. That record came specifically from within the Jewish world. We read the Bible because it is important; these many people in many cultural and historical contexts had profound, mystic experiences of the presence of God.
We believe the Bible has not one thing to say, but lots of things that it explores. Poetry. Story. Hebrew thinking. Early Christian thinking. Jesus' teachings. So, the Bible for us isn't one thing; it's more than that.
We don't have any standard for how someone should view the Bible - as literal or symbolic, as the inerrant word of God or infused with the writers' humanity. We also don't have any thoughts about how much someone "should" know about the Bible. (We don't like to "should" on each other.) Some people have gone to church studies all their lives and have very definite views; others haven't ever studied the Bible. It doesn't matter. We're all exploring it together. You don't have to "know" anything about the Bible. Who knows anything about it anyway? It speaks to everyone in different ways. That's part of how God works.
We like digging around in it and asking questions about it. It enriches our faith to think about the background of many traditions - Christian and non-Christian.
We respect our fathers and mothers in the faith. We respect other people's beliefs and traditions. We believe that there's plenty of room for lots of ways to understand God.