Jan. 6 will be the first day westerly members of The Journey Church gather at West Wilson Middle School in Mt. Juliet for one of two morning services.
“We knew at some point we would eventually kind of come to this crossroads where we would probably multiply and start a new campus,” said TJC’s lead pastor, Erik Reed. “As we looked at the demographic of our church, we saw we were reaching people from all over the county.”
Reed said hundreds of people come from nearby areas like Mt. Juliet, Hermitage and even as far as Donelson, as well as more remote areas in Wilson County like Watertown and Alexandria. With attendance near 1,500 and five weekend services, the current location was bursting at the seams.
“As we looked at it, we said rather than building a bigger building and saying hey let’s see if we can draw more people from outside the city, instead we said, what if we take the people coming from outside cities and send them back to their area. We’ll still be the same church; we’ll just be in multiple locations,” Reed said.
The Mt. Juliet campus will have live music and the same children’s ministry program as TJC Lebanon, and current technologies will allow the church to stream the sermon over the internet.
Reed said the decision for him did not come easy, but he ended up meeting a North Carolina pastor by the name of Bobby Harrington, who turned out to be a major resource of multisite church expertise.
“We were at a training hanging out with some other church leaders discussing the idea of multisite. At the time we didn’t know yet that we would be starting multisite a year and a half later,” Reed said.
Harrington wrote his dissertation on the theological and practical implications of remote video teaching, and he was able to give Reed and other leaders at TJC some sound advice on the subject, part of which was the inclusion of a campus pastor.
“We want [the Mt. Juliet campus pastor] to be a part of the culture of the church, especially if they’re coming from the outside. They need to be a part of the culture of our church and the DNA of our staff and they need to be working with the groups that will go plant this campus in January long before January comes,” Reed said.
The application portal for the TJC Mt. Juliet campus pastor position will close May 25, and Reed said people from both inside and outside the church have already applied. They will begin the interview process around the end of May and hope to have someone in place by August 1.
As far as the long-term plan, meeting in West Wilson Middle School is merely temporary while the second site gets its bearings.
“We’re going with a core group of 300 not to stay 300, but we hope it grows and reaches people. You have to be careful going to a permanent facility because you don’t really know where you are until it kind of gets down the road a little bit. That will determine what kind of facility we need,” Reed said.
TJC Mt. Juliet hopes to move out of the school in a few years, and after that, a campus in Watertown could be on the horizon.
Interest meetings for TJC’s Mt. Juliet campus will be held at the Lebanon location, 212 Leeville Pike, June 10 at 5 p.m. and July 22 at 5 p.m. Visit tjclive.com to connect with the church.