LAKE WYLIE — The journey continued for Kenny Ashley earlier this month, breaking in a new home for his Lake Wylie ministry. Ashley can’t say for certain where this latest stage of service will take him or how long it’ll last, but he’s excited to see what God has waiting.
Ashley, pastor of The Journey at Lake Wylie, and his congregation held service at Oakridge Middle School for the first time on March 10.
“We had 170 people there; had a lot of new folks,” he said.
Through Easter, the church will spend Sundays going through Ashley’s popular Lay Aside Every Weight series, a seminar he’s offered previously on forgiveness and healing from hurt. Ashley hopes the series will be a good opportunity for people to check out the fellowship and see if it’s for them.
For Linda Grayson, the journey has been personal and collective as she began attending Ashley’s services in 2007. He spent several years as associate pastor at River Hills Community Church before starting Journey in 2011, which met at Crowders Creek Elementary School.
“It’s a church that teaches you to love people,” Grayson said. “To love God through loving people. To accept people as they are. Everybody is in a different place in the journey.”
She and husband Johnny attended the first Oakridge service with anticipation. The group is thankful for Crowders Creek school, but also noticed a few bells and whistles at the middle school.
“It’s very exciting,” Grayson said. “It’s renewing. Everybody just had such an uplifted spirit.”
Patty Snearly is another long-time Journey participant. The church doesn’t talk about membership roles, but about providing a welcoming place for anyone who shows up. Snearly said the latest move should position the group well moving forward.
“I see it as steps up from the very beginning,” Snearly said. “It’s a better situation to hold a service. It’s a more permanent situation - for now.”
Easier access to parking and a larger space are helpful, Ashley said, but perhaps the main draw at Oakridge is space to put service gear during the week. Not having to pack up and move each Sunday afternoon makes life easier not only for Ashley, but for the people who’ve chosen to take this journey with him.
“Anything you can do to take a load off your volunteers is a wonderful thing,” he said.
Journey services are held at 10:30 a.m. Sundays at Oakridge Middle School. For more information, visit thejourneyatlakewylie.com.