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May 31, 2007

A "Ministry" of The Journey Church

A church called "The Journey" was brought to my attention by a friend and since I was not familiar with this "brand" of churches, I went online to see what I could find. My search through cyberspace led to a discovery that this is a growing phenomenon with many churches sharing the word "Journey". One church in particular caught my eye. The list of orthodox doctrinal beliefs on the website was obviously just window dressing. The quote from emergent Erwin McManus that flashed across the masthead was a dead giveaway. It didn’t take long to see that "The Journey" is not the narrow way of the Bible, but a treacherous road full of potholes and stumbling blocks. [1]

Leaders on the Wrong Path

A profile of the church staff reveals the dangerous path they are navigating, a journey that will lead both them and their followers right over a cliff to their spiritual demise. The leadership was asked when they began their own personal spiritual journey – most listed a particular date when they accepted Christ. However, the worship pastor, who must be a bit confused, said his spiritual journey began at birth. It also seems a bit strange that he would choose Bruce Springsteen as his favorite musician. "The Boss" although a great talent, does not even profess to be a born-again Christian, and has a track record of infidelity and broken marriages. Shouldn’t a leader promote someone more in keeping with biblical principles?

Next they were asked to name a book they had recently read. The head pastor listed Night by Jewish author Elie Weisel. There is certainly nothing wrong with being informed of the horrors of the Holocaust, but to endorse a book that glorifies the human spirit seems inappropriate for a Christian pastor. The assistant pastor had just finished Velvet Elvis by emergent pastor, Rob Bell. A staffer in charge of children’s education listed Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

When they were asked to name a hero, several drew a blank. How sad when the Bible is full of heroes! Wouldn’t you expect church leaders to list some giant of the faith or maybe the Lord Jesus? One did name his mother and the head pastor does have a hero. His name is Hiro Nakamura, a fictional character on the TV series ‘Heroes’. Hiro has the ability to manipulate space and time, in other words he engages in physic phenomena and possesses powers unique to God. The assistant pastor couldn’t think of a hero and then on second thought threw out Rocky Balboa as a possibility. The worship leader’s hero is Superman and he expounds on the greatness of Superman’s powers. How tragic when Christian leaders consider man-made characters as most worthy of their admiration.

None of that Old-Fashioned Religion!

The youth program is touted with the slogan "This is not your Grandma’s church!" as if that should be avoided like the plague. This breeds an attitude of disrespect and contempt for their elders. I shudder to think what other "values" they are teaching the youth.

Drinking from a Tainted Well

The real kicker was an event for the men of the church called "On Tap". The "requirement" for attending this group is to be over 21 and "a person who wants to think or at least think about thinking and have a beer and some suicide wings with other guys" at a local restaurant. Great! The church is promoting alcohol consumption as the manly thing to do. What kind of message is this sending to the boys in the church? Quite by coincidence, after I had discovered this "wonderful" ministry, I noticed that a fellow discerner, Ingrid Schlueter of Slice of Laodicea had highlighted another "beer ministry" by a Journey church in St. Louis.[3] Ingrid states so well, "Church is to come together for the purposes of singing the praises of the Lord by redeemed souls, hearing His Word read out and then preached. It is not for discussions of postmodern art, racism and global warming and suds. Church should not require designated drivers." [4] [Also see Ingrid's article, "NOT Your Grandma's Church" for more details on this trend.]

The Journey – A Movement

Journey groups are located from coast to coast. They are eclectic in that they are apparently free to choose their own way of doing church. It is not clear if they are connected. Some have women pastors, some are Willow Creekers, some are affiliated with denominations, some nondenominational. Yet there seems to be a common thread - elements of emergent and purpose driven philosophies, psychology, and mysticism. Emergent authors are widely promoted. Journey Churches have descriptions in common: "cool", "hot", fun-fun-fun and more fun. Experience is at the forefront. One group has a summer activity called "God on Film". One of the movies on the schedule is a new release from the makers of the blasphemous "Bruce Almighty". This one is called "Evan Almighty" God is robbed of His deity, and portrayed as an elderly black man. [2] The Church seems to have lost its reverence for God and His holiness - a perilous path. Beware of The Journey.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 16:25

Highly recommended reading:
From Which Well Are You Drinking?
Exposing the Dangers in the Emerging Church Movement
By J. David Winscott
Foreword by Pastor Chuck Smith
Short 44 page booklet
Order from





Sherry Neese:  The only child of an alcoholic father and abusive, mentally-ill mother who disowned her, Sherry received Christ through a radio broadcast as a child. He has been faithful to sustain her through many challenges in her walk of faith. She is a wife, mother and “Mimi” to her grandchildren. She is active in foreign missions and evangelism and has a special heart for those who are emotionally hurting, especially children. The Lord has given her a burden for the Church in these last days, to expose error and speak the truth in love to all with an ear to hear.

Sherry Neese can be reached at