Once upon a time, a place known as The Pilgrimage started in 2012 in Myrtle Beach SC.
That’s right, in the same year that John Cusack and the Mayans said the world was supposed to end (the movie 2012 in case you don’t get the pop culture references). We figured it was a good year to start a ministry.
It was a church, but it wasn’t really a church.
We met weekly. Sometimes we had chili. Sometimes a sermon. We watched movies. Every now and then there was music. Every Sunday evening, we broke out padded swords and fought before church.
I felt like I was doing what God wanted me to. Maybe all God wanted out of me at the time with church was a short term thing to reach a few specific people. If that’s the case, it was a success.
Then our focus changed. We became Kapow Church and focused our ministry on reaching people at comic book and pop culture conventions. We did ok and reached a lot of people in a short time with a thing called Nerd Church.
Then I moved to Chattanooga TN, thinking I was going to move Kapow Church there and do even more than before.
Everything fell apart. Nothing took hold in Chattanooga, and we ran out of money. Kapow Church in Myrtle Beach fell apart when we left. Two years later we moved back to Myrtle Beach, heavy in debt and living in a warehouse.
Now, I write this in 2020. The world fell apart this time, with the coronavirus pandemic. Churches everywhere closed, and Sunday worship moved into the home, mostly online. During this crisis, God has been speaking to me again. He’s been speaking to me about how church is done and how the physical church has barely survived the virus, given way to fear instead of practicing boldness, been persecuted by the government and media, and pushed into obscurity by being considered a “non-essential” activity.
Something has got to be different. I feel God pushing me to do something different.
I feel like all of the learning experiences (failures and roadblocks) with The Pilgrimage and Kapow are a direct result of me not stepping wholeheartedly into my calling from God. I was afraid to be bold in the beginning, and The Pilgrimage quickly came to resemble regular church, even though I knew that wasn’t what it was supposed to be.
I’m doing it differently this time. I’m going to be bold. I’m going to piss people off, burn sacred cows (metaphorically), and question beliefs and traditions.
Call it a church, a ministry, or even a cult…The Pilgrimage is back.