From Church Plant to One of the Fastest Growing Churches in the Country with Joey Salazar

Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Joey Salazar, the Executive Pastor from Journey Church in Florida.

The road to starting Journey Church began four years ago when the lead pastors had a dream of planting a church that would make Jesus accessible to everyone. In 2016 the church was launched in Winter Park, Florida, and this multicultural and multigenerational church is now one of the fastest growing churches in the country.

Joey is with us today to talk about what has contributed to Journey Church’s reaching more and more people in the community over the last three years.

  • A praying church. // First and foremost, Journey Church is a praying church. Practically speaking, this looks like having a prayer team behind the scenes during every weekend service who prays before, during and after the service. These prayers are felt in a huge way over the course of a Sunday. Additionally, nearly every meeting during the week begins with prayer. Keeping a posture of prayer is Journey Church’s way of letting the church body know and letting God know that none of this is possible without Him.
  • 21 Days of Prayer // In addition to prayer being a part of the daily operations of the church, every January the church does 21 days of prayer and fasting. And again each August they do another 21 days of prayer. During these times the church provides resources and opportunities to participants, including a prayer focus, bible verses, and weekly hour-long prayer meetings. Because Journey Church is portable, these prayer meetings take place in the campus chapel of a local university. As a result the prayer meetings themselves become an outreach to university students and staff who are curious and might want prayer.
  • Culture is everything. // Every organization and business has a culture—a set of attitudes, behaviors and mindsets. When Journey Church launched, they were very intentional about defining their culture and what they value. These values are communicated and repeated again and again within their community. By learning how to teach these values and culture in multiple, creative ways and celebrate them, Journey Church has been able to reinforce what makes them unique and raise up leaders that embrace these values.
  • Choose Joy. // Choosing joy is one of the values that Journey Church weaves through everything that they do. By embracing this value, they believe that joy is not determined by a person’s present circumstance or environment, but rather it can be a predetermined choice. They encourage the staff, leaders and volunteers to look for the positive, be problem solvers, enjoy what they do, and have fun while they serve. Ask your leaders how they can be a contagious source of joy and bring joy to their teams as they serve together.
  • Document how you run the church. // Another thing Journey Church focuses on are systems. These processes of how they run the church are documented so tasks can be automated, rather than sitting on one person’s plate. For example, what do you do when a new guest comes to the church? Getting their information and sending a welcome card is part of a system. What is the order for purchasing things at your church? What do you do when someone gives for the first time? One of the systems that’s had a tremendous positive impact in Journey Church is planning out the calendar and upcoming events. This increasingly allows room for creativity and helps people work with excellence.
  • Empower your team. // One of the pastors at Journey Church consistently reminds the staff that they don’t have a task to do, but a team to build. As a church of only 6 staff, but 1100 in attendance, they rely heavily on the volunteer leaders they’ve developed. Journey Church promotes people slowly, but they empower them quickly by training them clearly and thoroughly.

You can find out more about Journey Church at www.journeyorl.com.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.