Here is one reason we meet in a school: we are students (disciples), learning how and what it means to follow Jesus.
Recently, our faith community has been in a time of transition. It was time for one chapter of our story to come to a close, and for another to begin. For us, this meant moving away from an environment in which we had been growing comfortable, and becoming a church on the move again. In this time, we have remembered the stories of the Exodus, and the journey of Jesus and the disciples, and the movement of the early church.
The name of our church, Journey Community, evokes movement, transition, transformation. We journey toward God and with each other. We don’t want to be “Sit-in-a-chair-once-a-week Community,” instead we want to be faith-in-action! We gather for worship and we gather to grow in community and as disciples, so that we can go out into the world and serve and love and share.
For the past few years we have gathered for worship in the chapel of Central Seminary. We have and will continue to partner with seminary students in ministry internships, but as the church has grown and as the Seminary is entering a new construction phase, we also have realized that while the chapel was a great starting place and Central was a generous host, our faith community was also ready to move into a different neighborhood. We have an opportunity to go, and it is a great opportunity!
As a way to transition into a new neighborhood, for the time being, we are gathering for worship in Overland Park Elementary School. Recently I had a friend whisper to another, “… but I don’t do church in a school.” As we have transitioned, some of new friends are beginning to share the journey, yet others have not continued with us. This is a part of the journey of life. I just hope that the current building we are utilizing for ministry is not a barrier, but instead an opportunity for our faith community to connect and learn together, and share the journey. After all, we’ve been “doing church” in a school all along (meeting in a “seminary”), and wherever we meet we try to follow the example of Jesus, who taught students on the footsteps of a synagogue (school), and the town square, in homes, on the road, in borrowed spaces.
We meet in a school because we have been welcomed there, because it gives us opportunity to connect with and serve the neighborhood, and because we are all students learning how and what it means to follow Jesus. We don’t do church, we are the church. The journey we share will take us into coffeehouses, homes, workplaces, pubs, and places we have not yet realized. After all, faith community is a journey, not a destination… Whenever and wherever we gather for worship, we create a community in which all are welcome and all are invited to share the journey, wherever God may lead.