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21 January, 2008 / theexpositor

Reflections on my journey, to The Journey

I made the trip to St. Louis for a couple of reasons, but first and foremost to meet Darrin Patrick for myself. The lead pastor of The Journey and I had exchanged several emails over the course of a year and at some point he extended an invitation to me to come and see for myself.

As much as I looked forward to meeting Pastor Patrick, I wanted to look him in the eye and apologize for a harsh and judgmental spirit. I wrote a blog article back in January 2007 concerning an event hosted by The Journey called Theology at the Bottleworks. Although I would still strongly disagree with any ministry that would incorporate any tool to reach people that would detract from the message and integrity of the Gospel, Further research and conversation, and prayer, led me to the conviction that I jumped to conclusions in some ways. I also was convicted of the Lord that I was not exhibiting the compassion and mercy I should have as a believer.With that I made some phone calls which eventually led to a meeting with Pastor Patrick and my attendance at the Bottleworks meeting. More on the Midrash in a separate post, but I wanted to share a few thoughts concerning The Journey. Pastor Patrick and I had supper together Tuesday evening and shared a very candid conversation about The Journey, Acts 29, Mark Driscoll, the Emergent/Emerging Church and most importantly ministry in general. We talked how we must be deliberate in proclaiming the Gospel, the challenges of reaching a postmodern culture, the meaning and application of true contextualization, handling criticism and a whole lot more all crammed into a two hour supper. 

I am aware everyone doesn’t have the opportunity or means to travel to another part of the country and ask questions of such notable leaders as Patrick or Driscoll, but we decided to make the commitment and I am glad we did. People, we have got to get away from thinking that the style totally defines the message and motive. We must stopping using the proverbial broad brush in painting all ministries who do not do it they way we do it as being wrong. We must examine each work and judge it on it own merit. 

Let me make some comparisons; would we so willing to write The Journey off if they were singing Southern Gospel-style songs in worship rather than a contemporary style? Would we make so enthusiastic in condemning The Journey if the style of dress of the leadership and congregation was jeans, boots and western shirts? Probably not. 

I grew up in a church where the only person who wore a shirt and tie was the pastor, and that was okay. My Dad wore jeans or kaki pants to church and only wore a suit for wedding or funerals, and sometimes not even then. And although we were ignorant (and I don’t mean that as a judgmental comment) on many doctrinal points, we ministered in the knowledge we had, loved the Lord and people. The point is it’s not the style but the substance and I sincerely believe the substance of the ministry of The Journey is truly committed to the purity and integrity of the Gospel. 

Some may say, and have said, ‘well that’s not the way we do it’, or, ‘that’s not the usual way of doing things’. Well let’s face it, the circumstances faced by The Journey, and many of us, are not normal or the usual. I will not get into why the current conditions exist. That will be the subject of a future article and radio program. But there must be a way to reach people in these unusual and abnormal conditions and sometimes radical circumstances require a radical approach, especially in the day and time where a large majority of Americans, and even those who claim to Christians, have an incorrect view of God, or no view whatsoever. What are we going to do to reach these people? 

Just as the Apostle Paul used different approaches to speak to different cultures, we must do so as well. But just as the Apostle Paul never ever compromised the Gospel, we must be as committed to the integrity and intent of our ministry as well. Would I do everything just as Darrin Patrick and Mark Driscoll have done in St. Louis and Seattle, if I were ministering in Vicksburg, Mississippi? Maybe not. But again, are we being faithful to the Message. 

I am thankful for the chance to meet Darrin Patrick and to get a small glimpse of what they are doing at The Journey. I will be returning there for another visit soon and the next time to worship with them there on a Sunday. Meanwhile I encourage each of us to examine ourselves. Are we writing and commenting on the issues and subjects to contend for the faith or to draw attention to ourselves? Whether we mean to or not, sometimes, many times, we wind up pointing to us instead of pointing to Jesus.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael / Jan 21 2008 15 42

    Thanks Mike, we loved having you and look forward to your next visit.

    Thanks again for your encouragement and humility.

  2. iggy / Jan 21 2008 16 55

    Mike,

    I really appreciate your new direction and tone.

    There are issues out there, yet much that is considered “discernment” is not and in fact interferes with what some of us are doing. I wanted to thank you for being one that will step out and meet the people most are content in just attacking from afar without full knowledge of what they are attacking.

    Blessings,
    iggy

  3. Brett S / Jan 21 2008 22 45

    Seems like many Americans have advanced far beyond all this talk of “Thy Will be Done”, and sacrifices, and crosses. All this Christianity stuff doesn’t sound particulary entertaining to them.

    [“When people think they are smart – even when they are smart – there is nothing anybody else can say to make them see things straight, and with Asbury, the trouble was that in addition to being smart, he had an artistic temperament. She did not know where he had got it from because his father, who was a lawyer and businessman and farmer and politician all rolled into one, had certainly had his feet on the ground; and she had certainly always had hers on it. She had managed after he died to get the two of them through college and beyond; but she had observed that the more education they got, the less they could do. Their father had gone to a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade and he could do anything.” Flannery O’Conner – from “The Enduring Chill”]

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