At Journey Church in Three Way, Tennessee (near Jackson), lead pastor and church planter Jeremy Brown likes to ask, “What would we do if we didn’t have to do anything?” That approach led to Journey meeting at the Fun Zone—West Tennessee’s premier indoor inflatable party center—in the early years of its existence. Every Sunday morning, a team of volunteers from the church would deflate and roll up 13 large jumpers before setting up for worship. Afterward, volunteers would unroll and reinflate the jumpers.
Brown liked the message the Fun Zone location conveyed to outsiders. “No one who came to visit Journey expected ‘their grandma’s church’ when we were meeting in the Fun Zone!” he said with a laugh. When the time came for Journey to find a new, more permanent home, Brown wanted something unusual—something that still wouldn’t look like “grandma’s church.”
Journey purchased 14 acres next to the Fun Zone and then purchased a 16,000-square-foot Sprung structure to serve as the church’s new home. “It looks like plastic, because it is,” Brown said. Some congregations use Sprung structures as temporary facilities while building brick-and-mortar buildings, but Journey plans to use its structure long term.
Since relocating from the Fun Zone to the Sprung building, Journey has attracted more visitors—both on Sunday mornings and during the week. Brown said many people, especially men, are curious about the building. “They want to come and check it out. They want to touch it! They want to see what’s inside.” (The interior is fully finished, with walls, plumbing, and electricity like a regular building.)
Naturally, the structure’s cost per square foot was lower than a traditional building, and the free span of the facility allowed Journey complete freedom and flexibility with the interior design. But for Journey Church, the greatest benefit is the impact the building has had on the surrounding community.
“The building is a means to an end,” Brown said. “It has really worked well for us, and without question I would recommend it to other pastors or church planters who want to do something different with their building.”