To state the obvious, it was a monumental weekend at Journey. For most of people they were hearing some important news for the first time.
Here’s the news and a brief explanation before I reflect on the service. Our founding pastor Mike Burns, resigned the Senior Pastor position and is becoming our Founding Pastor Emeritus. For those of you unfamiliar with church lingo, titles and positions, the Senior or Lead pastor is normally the directional leader of a church. He has oversight of the whole ministry of the church, leads the staff and oversees the operation. Most of the time in a church that person is also the main speaker / preacher / teacher. In our case I was the teaching pastor and oversaw the weekend services and did most of the preaching. Mike, has struggled with health issues for a long time, especially recently. After lots of prayer, counsel and many long conversations this decision was reached. Yours truly is now the Lead (or senior) pastor and will also continue in my current role of Teaching Pastor. This became effective on August 24.
There are some people at Journey who have been with Mike and Laurie, supporting the early years of Journey from the beginning. We recognize that this is a more significant transition for them while also recognizing that many never got the opportunity to work side by side with Mike. Whichever group you are in, we are all incredibly blessed by the faith and sacrifice that they stepped into in 1993 in starting the church that became Journey.
It was a really unique challenge trying to figure out how to communicate this to the whole congregation. It’s not like we are introducing a new guy (I’ve been at Journey a DECADE THIS WEEK). And because of the nature of the way we set things up with me as the main voice box for Journey, most people who’ve come in the last 5 plus years assumed that I was the Senior Pastor (if they even thought about it). Also, because of Mike’s health challenges it’s been increasingly difficult for him to do stuff from the stage.
We wrestled A LOT with this service and felt like what was needed was to recast VISION and to point out how the story of Journey is one the fires up the “I’d Love to Change the World” impulse in us.
We also wanted to balance the looking back and being inspired by the story of Mike and Laurie’s risky faith that is the reason Journey even exists with launching into our future.
So as I approached this service, I really felt like I had a complicated mountain to climb. But in an unusual way, God, gave me the message for the weekend. I kind of feel like he does this every weekend, but this was unusual. I sat down to work on this message and pretty much typed out the outline in 45 minutes, ONE sitting. That NEVER happens. What you saw on your outline was only one or two words from what I typed right out of the blocks.
For me obviously, there was a feeling of weight but also support and affirmation.
In my next post I will do some Q and A – I’ll answer some of the most common questions that are coming my way. You can add your own; just leave a comment.
I’m stoked and honored to be a part of Journey. Thanks to all of you for the love and prayers.