Although Journey Community Church was officially started in September 2004, the dream of JCC began long before that! Several years earlier, Mark and Becky Schmechel, natives of Wisconsin, felt God asking them to move back from Colorado to plant a new church in the De Pere area. Mark went on staff at Oakbrook Church in West De Pere for two years with an agreement to help their ministries and in turn for them to help plant JCC. The partnership worked out well. The Schmechel’s envisioned Journey to be a place where people who had been turned off by church could come and ask their questions, while also challenging those who are further along in their journey toward maturity in Christ.
A launch team began to assemble in November of 2003 with about 8 people. In summer of 2004, JCC held three “preview” services to give the community a taste of what this new church would be like. Meanwhile, a team of people committed to the new church began to prepare for the church’s grand opening by getting key ministries up and running.
JCC held its “Grand Opening” service on September 12, 2004. We were so encouraged to have a good turnout (and quite frankly, just glad that anyone showed up!). Over the years, the church has steadily grown in numbers and life transformation. Contemporary music, relevant and down-to-earth messages, laughter, creativity, coffee, and a casual environment became some of the distinguishing marks of the church’s services, attracting a wide range of ages from college kids to retirees. Small group Bible studies, community involvement, service projects, and a commitment to help more new churches get started were also a part of JCC’s “heartbeat” since the very beginning.
Today, there are around 250,000 people in Brown County. We believe JCC is strategically positioned and prepared to see hundreds more people attend and make JCC their home. Ministries have expanded, new people are coming, we are looking to purchase property in the future, and plant more churches.
Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.” God certainly has done amazing things through Journey Community Church, a place where lives are being changed. We are so excited to see what He does in the future… and we hope that perhaps you will be a part of it!