Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sojourn turns 10

A nice article on Sojourn Community Church from Peter Smith in the C-J last weekend-- on the occasion of their 10th anniversary...

In excerpting from the article, I've decided to stick with its demographics, history, and a little bit of its mission. For the interview parts of the article, please click through...

Sojourn Community Church started small a decade ago — and resolved to stay small.

“We were against ‘The Man,'” recalled lead pastor Daniel Montgomery. “Most of our visions of ‘large' were churches that were primarily driven by attendance, building, cash.”

Not that Sojourn didn't want to reach people. But the twentysomethings worshipping in rented spaces around the Highlands figured they would grow to 150 members — 250 tops — and then subdivide, starting new churches elsewhere.

While they have launched new churches, both in Louisville and around the country, “We had to make more room for more people — or we had to turn people away,” Montgomery said. “So we made more room.”

Now at its 10th anniversary, which Sojourn celebrated Sunday, the church draws close to 2,400 worshippers each weekend at three Louisville locations.

With attendance rising 40 percent in just the past year, the congregation has passed the 2,000-worshippers-per week threshold that researchers use to define megachurches — or congregations with large attendance, staff and program offerings. About 10 other Louisville-area congregations fit that description.

Sojourn blends conservative theology, high-octane worship music, casual dress, an embrace of the arts and a strong emphasis on community service — reflected in its use of Louisville's fleur-de-lis symbol in its own logo.

...the church bought the former Isaac Shelby Elementary School at 930 Mary St. in Germantown in 2006....Having outgrown its worship space there, Sojourn plans to move its Sunday services to the nearby former St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church...Sojourn has launched two suburban campuses, in northeastern and southeastern Jefferson County at 8509 Westport Road and 11412 Taylorsville Road. Montgomery said the goal is to “radicalize the middle class” toward community service rather than consumerism. And it hopes to launch a fourth campus next year in downtown New Albany, Ind.


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