To DC and back: Reflections from Journey Church 20 somethings
It all started with an idea the Mosaic Initiative helped orchestrate, and wow did God know what he was doing! The need to have a small group dedicated to millennials for Journey Church wasn’t just something the members from our Mosaic Team and I felt, it was something our community was also feeling. Together we helped build it to what it is today. Our name, “the 20 somethings” turned into a consistent group that did life together regularly on Wednesdays. We read scripture together, watched videos together, we even started Circle Maker together.
Before we started the book, we had some time apart as a group, it was a holiday break or something came up. This gave us the opportunity to continue to do life/group outside of Pastor Carlos hosting us. Watching the Circle Maker videos together for a few weeks opened up a desire to read the book together. Many of Pastor Mark Batterson’s prayers to reality led us to pray more boldly. Honestly, it was a starting place for a lot of our members to feel comfortable and confident in what they wanted to say to God. Doing the book together allowed us to continue to learn and grow together—about never giving up, praying bold prayers and trusting in God regardless of how good or bad things look at the moment.
Being fortunate is an understatement. We were blessed to be able to provide a trip for a group as large as ours (20-“20somethings”). God provided a way for us to drive 14 hours away, find a living situation for 3 nights that housed all of us, as well as provide food and house necessities during our time away. God allowed for us to be invited to three tours, two of National Community Churches and one of their offices that volunteers use. We were able as a group to explore Washington, D.C. and the beautiful spaces they had to offer—starting with Ebenezers coffeehouse, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the list goes on!
There are many things we can take away from the trip that God provided. A member of our group, Jenny, shares, “Visiting National Community Church was a beautiful experience. I could feel the love that they pour onto their members, volunteers and visitors. One thing that really stood out to me was their care team. They have a care team that is dedicated to taking care of their volunteers, to serve those who serve others. I love this idea! As a volunteer myself, I can see the need for this type of support in my own church. And, now that it is laid on our hearts I can’t wait to see how God uses us to make a care team of our own in our church.”
Aside from calling us to serve together, we took home a special experience from Washington DC that only God can orchestrate. I believe God exposed something in our small group that He wanted us to work on, and we did.
Being in a large group of 20+ is no simple task, let alone traveling with that many people. There were moments where honesty and vulnerability were needed and we dodged the opportunity to have those deep interactions. But we didn’t leave Washington D.C. that way. We created space for God to work on our hearts as a group and he certainly did. We laid honesty and vulnerability on the table and had a beautiful experience of understanding, of exposed pain, of tears and with that we are able to do life together deeply. It was completely necessary for spiritual growth. And, what a humbling moment, as we know it was all God! That is something we have taken back from our experience in Washington D.C. that we will use to break barriers in our community, learning how to understand each other, how to truly ‘do life together’ will make a difference.
God is for us. There is no doubt in my mind, that God is calling us to be part of GOOD change here in our community, simple because we are saying, “Here we are Lord, use us.”
There is more to come for what started out as a regularly meeting small group that meets on Wednesdays. We are more than just the desire to create a third space for God’s glory. God is working in us, to be the people of Waukegan to make a change. The videos, books, and conversations were the spark we needed to get this flame going. Our trip opened up hearts, eyes, and ears for many to get encouraged, to not fear, and to live fearlessly for God's kingdom.
Journey care team is going into effect in the months to come because we believe our volunteers are worth more than gold and deserve to be loved and cared for as God intended. The cafe ministry that will one day grow into a coffee house. Our desire is to use Genesee Theater as a place to hold a service. The ideas and conversations shared during our weekend together are something only God could have orchestrated and we are not going to let it stop here! Together we will rise; together we are all #4Waukegan.
By Jaleeza Quintanilla