Church introduces itself through Kids' Community Day

The atmosphere was certainly congenial, the weather was positively obliging and it was obvious the kids ruled the scene.
Jul 20, 2009


The atmosphere was certainly congenial, the weather was positively obliging and it was obvious the kids ruled the scene.
It was the first Kids' Community Day presented by The Journey Church, which recently headquartered in Lebanon. Founded in West Wilson County, the Southern Baptist-affiliate moved into new quarters approximately one month ago at Leeville Pike and Maple Road in the former STL Home Center building.
"We like to get involved in community activities already going on plus present original events of our own," said Lead Pastor Erik Reed. "We're having this event today to introduce ourselves to the community and then we hope to find other ways we can be of help or contribute to the community's needs."
The Kids Community Day was set up in the vacant field across from the church. Dozens of kids had a ball from 10 a.m. until noon playing on several inflatables, popping popcorn into their mouths, sipping snow cones and lemonade, getting their faces painted with various designs and capturing prizes along the way. There was also croquet to play, baskets to throw balls into and bubbles to blow.
Founded by Reed and started with about 40 members, The Journey Church met for a while in a small building at Highway 109. Then, they convened at West Elementary School between Lebanon and Mt. Juliet for about two years.
"When this building we're in opened up, we moved here and this is now our home-based campus while maintaining the campus in Providence as well," said Reed. "We have a 9 a.m. service here on Sunday and one at 11 a.m. at Mt. Juliet.
"Those are the only worship services we have although small groups meet in different homes for Bible study."
Reed explained that The Journey s a "Bible-believing church consisting of people who are not here just for themselves. We believe we're supposed to be living and showing the love of Christ, not just talking about it. Mother Teresa said it when she said words should be used only when necessary."
Church official Todd Bates said, "We tend to attract people who have a stereotype belief about what a church is. Then, they find we're something else entirely. We have had de-churched, atheists, skeptics come and find a home.
"In fact, our mission is trying to create experiences for people far from God so they can encounter God. But, at the same time, where believers can also find their God."
Reed added, "We're trying to build relationships with people. Our goal today is to make friends with the community, and in the future, hopefully they will trust us to fulfill their needs."
Shelly Baker, who was serving lemonade and lives in Lebanon, said Reed was her cousin, so it was a natural fit for her when he started the Journey.
"Erik and his wife, Katrina, have a 5-year-old son, Kaleb, and are expecting a baby girl. They make sure the church is very kid-oriented. The atmosphere is so relaxed and we have a full band that plays awesome contemporary music with video messages incorporated within. Nobody cares what you wear or that you have tatooes.
"Even though I live in Lebanon, I go to the Mt. Juliet service on Sundays because I take my mother with me and it's easier for her to go to the later service. I suggest anyone just give it two Sundays and you'll never look back."
Jorie Gerik and Jessica Moses have been members for about a year and live in the Hwy. 109 area. They agreed that The Journey is "more of a modern, contemporary church with a homey atmosphere where you don't feel pressured in any way. We particularly like the fact it's very kid-friendly and appealing and they have lots of activities for the children."
Tiffany Cheuvront serves as women's leader and was coordinator of the Kid's Day event. Her husband, Robbie, is one of the founders of the Journey Church and serves as Worship Leader at both Sunday services. The Saturday fun day drew about a 50/50 mix of Journey members and town folk participants.
"Since coming here, we have seen phenomenal growth and hope to see more and more people," said Reed.
Showing how innovative they are regarding children, Bates was telling how the church owns two of the large inflatables they had out there Saturday.
"Normally, the one with the slide sits outside the classroom door on Sunday morning. Each child has to slide down it in order to enter the room," he said. "When he or she hits the bottom of the slide, they are in their room."


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