A church aimed at younger individuals and families will begin formally meeting at McPherson Middle School beginning in January.
A church aimed at younger individuals and families will begin formally meeting at McPherson Middle School beginning in January. Journey @ McPherson, an extended campus from South Hutchinson Mennonite Church, has been meeting for two months at The Well on Sunday afternoons, and growth has caused the church to look at other venues. A kick-off event will be Jan. 27 with children-centered groups meeting at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m.. Organizers anticipate at least 75 to attend. The church is not a plant, but rather an extension of an already two-campus church in South Hutchinson andYoder. “We want to be a bridge across cultures and socio-economic differences, but we primarily see ourselves reaching young families,” Jim Ostlund, campus pastor, said. Ostlund moved to the area a few months ago. He has 12 years of ministry experience, with time spent in McPherson County, campus ministry at Azusa Pacific University, and pastor roles in Pennsylvania. Once he moved back to the area, he reconnected with old acquaintances. “A number of the students I pastored here in McPherson County in the early 2000s were now young families and feeling like the church was missing the mark for them,” he said. “I was watching a number of them walk away from the church. That was frustrating for me as a pastor, and I just wanted to see if there was a way in which we might rejuvenate church life for younger people across this region.” Oslund said the church will have a different structure, such as instrumental music, children participating in worship and streamlined leadership. Small groups will continue to be a large focus. “We're trying to find ways we can offer a different approach in the Kingdom of God in using an Anabaptist theology, but a little more practical way that's more accessible to younger people,” he said. “We want to be a people that are seeking to connect with folks that are far from the church and far from God, and we want to be a resource to the community.” The church already is working with local pastors and groups within the community and has plans for service. One area already explored is the Food Bank, which would include volunteer hours, technology upgrades and help with Spanish-speaking community members. “Most young people are not interested in making a lot of money, they're interested in making a difference,” he said. Their vision, as said on the letter to the McPherson district when applying for use of their facilities states their vision. “The purpose of Journey @ McPherson is to invite persons into a relationship, a lifelong journey, with God. We welcome everyone into worship, into an opportunity to connect with fellow believers in a community of faith, into spiritual growth and living after the example of Jesus, and into a life of service and Christen love to our neighbors, our communities and our cities.” Ostlund said he does not know if the church will eventually build their own facilities. For right now, they are focused on those who have already established a relationship together as small groups. “We're coming here because we have a base here,” he said. “For whatever reason, it continues to grow, so we want to offer it to more people and places. We are part of a larger church that hopes to impact McPherson County.” South Hutchinson Mennonite Church is in the process of changing its name to match that of its other campus. To learn more about the church, visit www.journeymennonite.org.