This past Sunday, Amy and I spent a much-needed and much-appreciated night in St. Louis together. We then got up and worshipped, for the first time, at our sister church, The Journey. I wanted to share briefly my experience there with you. First, the music was super. I expected this. They sang a blend of hymns and modern worship songs, but primarily, as in Karis, they did more historic hymns of the church than anything. Their instrumentation was diverse and their musicians' skills were excellent. Having said that, it made me incredibly grateful for what we have at Karis. We have musicians with the skill level to play there, I'm confident, and we're maybe 1/10 of their size.
Second, the sermon was great. I expected this, also. Lead Pastor Darrin Patrick preached a wrap-up sermon from the book of Philippians, primarily dealing with giving. It was expositional in approach and faithful to the text. He didn't shy away from challenging those present to step up and contribute-- even their money-- to the congregation. Darrin is a gifted communicator. But, above all, it is obvious that he cares what the text says and what the gospel is, and he desperately wants to communicate that.
Third, the congregation was overwhelmingly of a younger demographic. Their new Tower Grove location was packed out, but there were probably fewer than 20 people over 40, I'm guessing. The Journey is reaching younger people with good old-fashioned expositional, gospel preaching and even a bunch of old hymns.
Third, I had a great lunch out with Jonathan McIntosh and his sweet wife Ashley. Jonathan recently served as my Acts 29 Network coach. He is a gifted leader and just a great guy to hang around. We had a great conversation over french toast about our struggles and victories at Karis.
Following the worship service, we ran into an older couple that has been touring the controversial churches in the MBC. They reiterated what they said the previous week when they came to Karis. They said most MBC churches would kill for all of these young people. They were appreciative of the content of the service. They were very, very supportive.
If you're in St. Louis, visit The Journey. If you're not in St. Louis, leave them alone. Or better yet, follow the friends I just mentioned and see exactly what you're missing out on!
(By the way, Scott Ratliff preached again at Karis, and, I've heard, did a great job. We had 98 in worship, which is awesome for a Sunday still in winter break. I am continually amazed by the community God is building at Karis.)