The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 17, 2012

Journey service celebrates 1st year

By Kara Van Pelt
Register-Herald Reporter

— What started in Beckley just one year ago has grown into a huge success.

The Journey worship service at The Place at United Methodist Temple began with only a handful of people, but now hundreds are showing up and this Sunday is one you won’t want to miss, according to Pastor Cliff Adkins.

In addition to the Sunday service, written and video testimonies from the congregation will be shown, with individuals explaining how God has worked in their lives, Adkins said. And there is a cool surprise afterward, he added.

And everybody is welcome.

“From the beginning we wanted to make it feel like a large living room and we constantly strive to put the focus on God,” he said. “We try to communicate that it’s not all about showing up to church on Sunday, but what you do every other day and every other hour. We strive to have people to live what we teach.”

Adkins said the style of Journey’s ministry is based off the church in the Book of Acts. We strive to create a true church family who seek out people in need. He adds that the ministry also follows the Christian law of never knowing what God will give you on a day-to-day basis. The service also boasts a casual, relaxed attire and atmosphere.

“The concept of the Christian faith is more than a one-time prayer or an emotional moment. It is a journey, and people are at different places throughout that journey,” Adkins explained as Journey just began. “I want to create an atmosphere where anyone anywhere is welcome, whether it is a drug addict or a 75-year-old grandmother. I want people to feel they can come as they are and be loved as they are,” Adkins explained when the ministry began a year ago March 13.

“Each week we dive into the gospel and we find out what it means to us but, more importantly, what it looks like when we leave,” he continued. “Every week, we are exploring and striving to learn from each other and to continue discovering what Christianity looks like in daily life, so we want Sunday to also look like daily life too because we are trying to figure out what does Christ look like today in our world.”

Adkins said God is always attempting to reach us in our daily lives, and when you open yourself to the concept, you can see the hand of God everywhere.

He attributes the success of Journey solely on God.

“Really the big thing that I tell everybody is this: I never want this ministry to be about me, or UMT, doing a good job. It’s God who is blessing and we are just thankful to be a part of it. I think God is constantly looking for ways to get involved in our lives, and we are just so grateful that He has blessed this service.”

Adkins says members of the congregation often extend invitations to others, which has helped the ministry grow, and tells of his own experience in inviting a friend.

“I was inviting someone the other day and they said, ‘I know, I should go to church,’ and I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, I’m not inviting you to church because it is a good thing to do. I was inviting you because this group of people who meet in the gym every week take care of each other and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?’”

Now come join in the journey, he said.

— E-mail: kvanpelt@register-herald.com