A Story 20 Years In The Making

A Journey Begins

A dream for a church to reach unlikely people with the truth of the gospel and the love of Jesus was planted in the heart of Darrin Patrick. In June 2001, Darrin and Amie packed up their life in Kansas City and relocated to South St. Louis with 2 other couples and began a church in his basement.

The Early Years
2001 — 2004

The early worship gatherings had a fair share of makeshift locations until Darrin met Slade Johnson, the pastor at Hanley Road Baptist Church. This Pastor had a heart for church planters and invited The Journey to use their space for their services. One year later, the church was in a church building.

Between 2002 and 2004 the church community grew from 100-300 people and the need grew for more space.

In the City,
For the City
2004 — 2006
As the congregation continued to grow, The Journey Tower Grove opened its doors in the heart of South St. Louis in 2005.

Multiple ministries were launched and housed there over the course of the next few years, including Mission St. Louis, The Luminary Center for the Arts, and Karis House.
Movement to
2006 — 2016

Over the course of the next 10 years, 3 more Journey locations were launched. There was a deep desire to see Truth in Context—people worshiping and being on mission where they live, work, and play.

Rapid Growth & Underlying Unhealth
2006 — 2016

The growth and multiplication in that 10-year season was both beautiful and miraculous. People walked into churches and met Jesus. Unlikely Relationships were forged in the church and in the city. Lives were being changed by the Spirit of God.

At the same time, congregational growth often out-paced the capacity to develop leaders and care for people well. Video preaching left room for mission drift, relational distance, and isolation. The isolation impacted our Founding Pastor most of all.

After a long season of troubling leadership patterns and interventions, Pastor Darrin Patrick was removed from his role as Senior Pastor in an unanimous vote of the elders across all Journey locations on April 13, 2016. While there was complete agreement, this decision was accompanied by incredible pain and sadness.

Our Why
2016 — 2018

Executive Pastor Jeremy Bedenbaugh stepped into the senior leadership gap and used his unique shepherding gifts to care for this flock. He and other ministry leaders launched an initiative in early 2017 to rediscover our "Why," which included listening sessions with groups throughout The Journey to discern the church's calling.

Before stepping down from his role in 2018, a new Vision and Mission was cast to honor what the church had been and where it needed to move in the years to come.

for Mission
2018 — 2020

After two years of prayer, reflection, and a full search process, while Pastor Tim Holley served as Executive Pastor and Pastor Curtis Gilbert served as Preaching Pastor, Pastor Curtis was hired as the Senior Pastor of The Journey in January 2020.

By God's grace, a long season without a Senior Pastor followed by a global pandemic had left room for many difficult and important conversations amongst the leaders about patterns and structures that had contributed to organizational unhealth.

Alongside the elders and staff leadership team, Pastor Curtis began pursuing and implementing many of the needed and desired structural changes, particularly ones that would move the needle toward the flourishing and empowering of each Journey church.

The past two decades of mountains and valleys remind us of God's faithfulness in the midst of our flaws and failures.

What started as a small group of people in a South City basement is now a family of many churches throughout the St. Louis region that is seeking to build a diverse community, centered on Jesus Christ, wholly enjoying his grace, faithfully embodying his love for one another, and boldly engaging our culture with His truth, from our neighborhoods to the nations.