Metro East August Newsletter

By Metro East on August 1st, 2018

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Metro East Family,

What the heck do Metro East Journey elders do? I oftentimes ask myself the same question, so I thought I’d spend a few minutes today trying to offer up some context, background, and insight into how the elders function here at Metro East. Before I jump into specifics, I thought I'd include what the Bible has to say about the qualifications of an elder: 

"The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil." – 1 Timothy 3:1-7 

I also found this link to offer a fairly succinct explanation of the specific responsibilities of church elders and encourage you to check it out.

Before I go any further, this church would not exist without the unbelievably incredible Metro East staff. They do more for this church and its people than I could properly give them credit for. We are all better because of them. Thank you, staff, for your sacrifice, your care, and your love for Jesus and His church!

A little background for those who might not know...The Journey is an elder-led church (as opposed to a senior pastor-led or a membership-led church) and I, Anthony Hodges, and Pastor Curtis Gilbert currently serve as elders here at the Metro East location. While Pastor Curtis is employed by The Journey, he was first called into full-time vocational ministry and is biblically charged to lead this church. Myself and Anthony are lay leaders (or volunteer leaders as I like to think of it)—we’re not on staff, we’re not employees of The Journey, we don’t get paid, and we, like many of you, serve the church in our spare time. Each of The Journey locations have local elders and the overall Journey church is led by a Board of Elders.

Prior to installing Metro East elders, our church functioned under a local leadership team with the support, guidance, and oversight from elders at The Journey's Tower Grove location. Though I view my role as significantly different from Pastor Curtis' (God’s still working on me with this), Pastor Curtis describes the Metro East elder team as a team of equals and that he (Pastor Curtis) also happens to preach.

Now, if I’m honest, this was a very uncomfortable role to voluntarily step into. Years ago, however, Brian Woodward (former leadership team member) really put it in a perspective that I could accept—he said that, as a Christian, every person should strive to live out the qualifications of a deacon and elder, whether or not you formally serve in these roles, and we should all strive to give more of ourselves for the benefit of others. His perspective really hit home for me and, ever since, I’ve grown uncomfortably comfortable (or comfortably uncomfortable) in this role. I attribute the joy and gratitude I’ve experienced to people of this church—you pray for one another, you care for each other, you are committed to growing God’s kingdom here on earth, you “lean into” the challenges of walking in this world, and you sacrificially give of yourselves for the benefit of others. It makes it really easy to serve when you get to serve alongside such an incredible group of people who are “all in” and I’m grateful for all you do! 

Some of the things we’ve been involved with as elders (or previously as a leadership team) has ranged from the seemingly insignificant to the fairly weighty (e.g. decisions on service times and locations, participation in the process to purchase our current building, the selection of Pastor Curtis as lead pastor, care situations with members, hospital visits, benevolence, larger congregational care, spiritual development and growth of our congregation, financial and budget considerations, deacon and staff care and support, prayer for our church, support and care for Pastor Curtis, etc.). We try to meet about once a month but we engage much more frequently than that through various formats. Aside from these local Metro East rhythms, all of The Journey elders try to meet on a quarterly basis.

I think all three of us would unanimously agree that there isn’t anything unique about us that makes us more qualified than others to serve. We each simply felt a conviction and calling that brought us to the point of pursuing eldership and have since found ourselves in a season of life to continue to serve in this capacity. We are truly humbled by the opportunity to serve! Our prayer continues to be that God will make known and rise up more local leaders to serve not only in the role of elder, but also as deacons, community group leaders and/or hosts, Journey Kids teachers, and every other internal ministry opportunity at The Journey.

So, my ask of you today—please be in prayer about how, when, and where God might call you to serve The Journey Metro East and/or its surrounding community. To our regular attendees, I’d encourage you to pursue membership. To our members, I’d encourage you to volunteer and serve in one of our internal ministry opportunities and seek to get involved with a community group, if not already. To those currently serving, is God calling you to lead in your respective service areas? To our parents of Journey Kids—consider if you have the bandwidth to serve in Journey Kids alongside the teachers and small/large group leaders. Wherever you find yourself we want to walk alongside you and offer up our prayer and support to you as discern God’s call in your life.

Thank you for all you do!

Chad Biehl

We're excited to welcome Timothy Harakal and his team to The Journey! Their work will focus on discipling and equipping our Journey community to engage culture with the truth of Jesus from our neighborhoods to the nations.
Are you or anyone you know ready to be baptized? There will be a short meeting during the second service for anyone interested. The class will give you a better understanding of what baptism is and help you identify if baptism is the next best step in your discipleship process. Sign up now
We would love for you to join us the first Sunday of every month for our all church prayer night at 5:30 p.m. See you in September. This is an informal event where we pray for personal, church and global things going on in the world around us. Kids are welcome to participate! 
Join us for a swim party August 12 from 2-5 p.m. at 2819 Rentchler Rd., Belleville, IL 62221. Don't forget, we will be going back to our regular rhythm on the 2nd and 4th Sunday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. starting in September! 
Thank you to those who gave highlighters! We collected over 300 packs of highlighters and were able to serve 275 children and 82 families. 

Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers Training

Join us on August 25 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Childcare is available for those who register. Sign up!

Our hope is not only an improved experience for the children but also an easier, clearer teaching method for our volunteers. Finally, we hope to, with these changes, offer you the resources to grow in your own Bible study and teaching abilities.

Will you pray with us and prayerfully consider joining the Journey Kids team? We are in need of 28 volunteers to keep all of the classrooms up and running. Each week, we are in need of Journey Kids team members to invest in children by teaching, leading, and caring for those in Journey Kids. We would love for you to join us! There are opportunities to serve on the weekends as well as behind the scenes. Email Josh if you are interested in serving at
Calling all members! You are invited to attend our next members meeting. It will take place immediately following the 11 a.m. Sunday service on August 26.

You are a vital part of this church – please come and hear about the great things God is doing in and through our church! Childcare will be provided for those who register.

August song of the month! 
Friends! We know how much you all love your coffee. We have some exciting changes coming with our coffee which means we need your help. To ensure we can continue providing coffee on Sunday mornings we are looking for 8 more volunteers to help out. Email Corrinne Watson at if you would like to help out. 
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