Fellowship, laughter and love can be found at Journey Church in Valrico, a place where “Loving God…Loving Each Other…Serving the World!” is their vision.
“We feel God gave us that [vision] and we try to let that drive us in all we do,” explained the Rev. Dan Reid, pastor of the church and a Bloomingdale resident.
“We have a simple structure in all we do. Inside our church, we are focused on being a community. God has called us to be a family, and that means we operate differently in all we do. When we go through difficult times, we are there for each other. We walk through those times together, we encourage each other, and pray for each other constantly.”
Weekly services, held at 9:30 a.m. Sundays at the Campo Family YMCA, are upbeat and band-driven, according to Reid, offering real-life applications based on Bible teaching. Currently, 70-90 members attend services on Sundays.
“It is small enough to feel comfortable right now, but we feel it will continue to reach others,” Reid said. “We welcome anyone to join us any time."
To be a member of Journey Church is a commitment, and the requirements are fairly simple: you must be a Christian, you must be baptized as a believer in obedience of Jesus, you must believe in the Journey Church’s statement of faith, and you must attend a new member class.
“We believe Jesus Christ is the answer or has the answer to all that people are going through,” Reid said. “We want to help people find Jesus and the direction He brings to their life.”
Journey Church offers a variety of groups that foster authentic community, discipleship and real relationships. Current groups include a youth group, ladies’ Bible study and men’s Bible study. In the fall, Journey Church is planning to facilitate a Truth Project group and a marriage builders group.
Because “serving the world” is part of Journey Church’s vision, church members participate in volunteer activities quite regularly, such as leaf raking in the community, raising funds for the Campo YMCA, handing out bottles of water in the community, feeding the hungry, helping with back-to-school outreach and providing ministry to widows.
Coming to faith in Jesus in his late 20s, Reid grew up locally in a pastor’s home.
“I know the power of knowing Jesus, and I want people to know Him personally,” he said. Reid has been married for almost 21 years and has three children who are very active in the church and the community.
“God called me from our church in Washington state to start and lead Journey Church,” Reid said. “My ultimate goal at Journey Church is to see the members and attenders at Journey grow to become passionate followers of Jesus. I also want to see those outside Journey — both Christians who do not have a church to call home and those people who know they aren’t Christians — to see Journey as a safe place to seek and learn, to ask questions and find Jesus to be all we know He is. We also want to see Journey grow to be a more significant force in our community, bringing hope and health to many in increasing ways.”
According to Reid, Journey Church is a place where you can come and grab a cup of coffee and a pastry in the café and come and check out the claims of Jesus Christ.
“The environment is casual so you can come in jeans or shorts or dress up if you like. We are less concerned about those kinds of things and more concerned about people knowing Jesus and being a part of a community of faith.”