You may have seen the colorful postcard in your mailbox just a few weeks ago announcing the Feb. 11 launch of the new Journey Church. It probably stood out among your other mail because the announcement of the new church’s inaugural series, Desperate Households, bore striking resemblance to the Desperate Housewives television series graphics.
The phrase on the postcard, “Everybody has dirty laundry,” seemed to call out to real people with real problems. Unlike stereotypical churches of yesterday, which perhaps seemed a bit sterile for the messy issues of life, Journey Church seems to be inviting the “messy.”
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/A-8fxmH_VBg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]Further revealing the blend of the sacred with the secular, the church’s next series was called: Losing Your Religion (and rediscovering church). If losing your religion while still seeking spiritual guidance sounds interesting, you must meet the man behind this new revolution in church life and learn how one pastor’s bold dream is turning into a beacon for the Fishers and Geist communities.
Chad Pfiefer was the lead pastor of a somewhat traditional church in Northern Indiana until an unconventional vision was birthed in the heart of Chad and his wife, Angela, in 2004. They began imagining a church that breaks all church stereotypes and simply helps people navigate through the good, the bad and the ugly parts of life’s winding journey.
“We’ve found that a lot of people are interested in God; they’re just not interested in church,” Pfiefer states. “Some have left the church, many have been confused or disillusioned, and still others just don’t understand how to connect to God.”
A series of events began to set their ideas into motion, and soon Fishers/Geist was one potential location on a short list of communities that might host this new venture. Chad traveled to other locations, including Charlotte, NC, but only one community resounded. Fishers would be the home of Journey Church.
Blazing a new trail inevitably invites isolation and risk, but as the dream took shape, a leadership team began to form around Chad and Angela that would help them bear the weight of the enormous torch they were about to carry. This team of individuals raised their own financial support for a year and, in the summer of 2006, the Pfiefers and their core leaders relocated to the Fishers-Geist area to launch plans for Journey Church.
“The community seemed interested in something fresh,” the pastor recalls, noting that the provision and manpower that came together helped confirm and cement the ideas that had been planted in his imagination months before.
After once-a-month services starting in November, Journey Church “launched large” at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School on Feb. 11 with 267 people in attendance at their first meeting.
“Our goal was not to pull people from other churches in the area,” Pfiefer notes, adding that an estimated 65 percent of the church’s attendees have not had any church background of significance.
While Pfiefer has not canvassed other churches for members, he has found local churches in the area to be supportive and helpful in various practical ways, offering skills and manpower whenever and however needed. Musicians have come from the Genesis Church (a four-year-old Noblesville church), and other help has come in various forms from the Pfiefers’ previous church, New Life Community Church, in Marion.
This summer, the leadership team anticipates the launch of affinity groups for singles and families. These small group settings will provide opportunities for small circles of people with similar interests to gather for topical discussions about shared challenges and Bible studies geared to their specific needs.
For all those “desperate households” in the Fishers-Geist community – or perhaps for those who just feel lonely and want to find a place to plug in – Journey Church might be a safe place to investigate faith and have fun while you’re at it. Services are held at 10:30 a.m. at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High on Olio Road. More information about Journey Church, their staff, their story and their unconventional approach to spiritual life can be found online at www.journeychurchwired.com.