When Dan Reeves started a house church in the mid-90s, he had no idea how similar it would be to what he is doing now. Dan serves as the Lead Pastor for Journey Church in Jonesboro, which averages over 600 in weekend attendance. That seems like a far cry from meeting in a living room, but he says the heart is identical. On The Grind he tells Dave and Chad, “I couldn’t imagine that what we are doing now would be so similar to what we set out to do with that house church. That smaller group of folks were joined together in real relationships. And that’s what is at the center of The Journey as well.” What does a large church and a house church have in common? The mission. The mission to reach people by connecting them to Jesus and connecting them to each other is the same no matter the size or the model. Reeves reveals that the key is to marry the mission but date the method. This is a principle every pastor and planter has to keep at the forefront of their ministry.
In college, I remember reading a book called, “An 8-Track Church in a CD World” (available for $2.15 on Amazon). The title alone proves the point! A book that was written about how the church can easily become entrenched with outdated methods is now itself outdated. The irony is amazing! This reveals what Dan Reeves has built The Journey on, and it’s the best advice for planters and pastors alike: Marry the mission but date the method. Commit to the mission long-term but keep the methods you use to accomplish that mission fluid. In other words, keep the mission front and center knowing that methods will come and go with time. The message of Jesus is timeless. We do not need another gospel. But the conduit through which the gospel is carried must constantly change with a rapidly changing culture. Models of church come and go, but the Great Commission is timeless. And just like records have stood the test of time, some methods do as well. But like the 8-track and compact disc, most methods must give way to changing times. Words like Spotify and Apple Music would not make sense to a person living just 15 years ago! And kids today don’t know what a Walkman is (what a tragedy!). Just like delivery methods change over time but a love of music has never been higher, we must keep the main thing the main thing. Fresh expressions of the church delivering a timeless gospel is what the world and our state need most right now. If we don't, we may find ourselves going the way of Blockbuster & the iPod. We can't afford to let an eternal message be undone by an obsolete model. So, go on, marry the mission!