The Journey Church of Aberdeen, South Dakota hosted Christian music success, David Meece on April 16, 2013. Meece shared his powerful testimony of living the life of a child music prodigy in a house with an abusive father.
The Journey is not a traditional church. In fact, members and regular attenders take pride that The Journey is the “un-churchy” church of the Aberdeen area. The fellowship started as a church plant supported by the Christian and Missionary Alliance, but denomination is not the focus. The Journey was founded with the mission of “Loving God, Loving People” and bases teachings on Scripture and the love of Jesus Christ.
When Meece’s agent initially contacted The Journey, leaders knew they had a chance to provide a rare opportunity to the entire community. Over 80 people from area churches attended The Journey that evening. His ministry was powerful, but that was not the most popular topic of the evening.
“How do they have church without pews?” many guests whispered to each other, “You can’t have church with tables and chairs. This inappropriate for the house of God.”
The Journey strives to provide a comfortable atmosphere where anyone can come learn about the love of Jesus Christ without pressure or guilt. The best way to do that was to break the mold of using traditional pews and create a relaxed atmosphere with casual tables and chairs arranged throughout the sanctuary.
What defines a church according to Scripture?
You will find that Scripture does not give specific guidelines for the physical appearance of a church. Christ did not provide us with a seating chart when we gather as believers.
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church…” Colossians 1:17
It is pretty clear that Jesus Christ did not demand we build our gathering spots according to physical dimensions. He called us to gather in his name and support each other to develop a relationship with Him. You can sit in pews, sing hymns, and hear a sermon. That isn’t a guarantee that you have the closeness with Christ that he desires. Examine your expectations of “church” to see if they align with what Scripture lays out for us.