Dare to Disciple
A 22-year journey comes to an end with the beginning of another.
The Beginning of a New Journey
By Jay Baines
On September 25, 2011, Journey Church: a Free Will Baptist Fellowship, held an official launch service in the Fire Hall in Magnolia, Delaware. Journey Café opened at 5:30 p.m. for dinner and fellowship followed by a worship service.
This moment was the fulfillment of a vision that began in the late 1980s, when New Castle FWB Church in New Castle Delaware sent 20 people, under the leadership of Pastor Richard Atwood, to plant a new church in nearby Townsend. In 1989, the Townsend FWB Church was born. Built into the very DNA of this church was the desire and vision to one day reproduce itself and start another church further south in Delaware.
For years, the leadership of the Townsend church put funds aside in the annual budget to help prepare for this endeavor. After 22 years, the Townsend church has become the parent of Journey Church.
In October 2010, the deacons and I reached the conclusion that it was time to see this vision through. We started a weekly Bible study in the home of a family in the target area. More than 30 people from Magnolia who attended Townsend Church became the core launch team for Journey Church. April 3, 2010 marked the first get acquainted meeting and Bible study. We hosted a cookout followed by prayer and Bible study, and 57 people showed up that evening.
Each week thereafter we gathered for Bible study with 30-35 people attending. We began searching for a place to meet, and after many phone calls relocated to the Magnolia Fire Hall. We named September 25, 2011, as the official launch date with two pre-launch services planned, one in July and one in August.
We began to advertise and used Outreach, Inc. to send 5000+ postcards to the targeted area in addition to newspaper ads and invitation cards that people used personally to invite guests. We began to promote and ask the Townsend Church to be praying for these pre-launch services. It is vital to have the support and participation of a parent church, especially in the early days.
I am grateful that the Townsend church congregation and leadership supported the idea of my being pastor of both churches for a while. This will help the church become established without the heavy financial burden of a full-time pastor’s salary. I personally believe that many churches are capable of planting other churches using this model as a guide. We now have three Free Will Baptist churches in the small state of Delaware using this model. It is our prayer that God will be glorified in this endeavor.
What are the results of all the preparation?
108 people attended the official launch service, 60 from the targeted area. The first offering was $1,040.00.
One first-time visitor rededicated her life to the Lord and promises to be back.
People from Townsend Church and Journey Church are united for the common purpose of building God’s Kingdom.
Many unchurched and unsaved will hear the gospel as we live out our mission: Love all; Serve all; Worship One!
Our prayer is that other churches will catch the vision and get involved in church planting. We are learning as we go, but it is exciting to see daily what God is doing on this Journey. If we can encourage and serve you in any way, give us a call or email us at www.journeychurchfwb.org. If you would like to support us for a year or two, please contact Free Will Baptist Home Missions. They will be glad to tell you how to get involved.
About the Writer: Jay Baines is pastor of Townsend Free Will Baptist Church in Townsend, Delaware.