Journey Center for Learning defines a DISCIPLE as an apprentice investing one’s whole life into becoming ever more like Jesus in character, attitude, purpose and action.

We define DISCIPLESHIP as thoughtful, open hearted, humble, life-encompassing, interdependent apprenticeship.

Thoughtful – Thinking theologically, critically and responsibly about life

Open hearted – Desiring self-awareness, transformation, and union with Christ

Humble – Being willing to admit how much we don’t know and interact with God and each other accordingly

Life-encompassing – Seeking faith that addresses, alters, and aligns every aspect of life and being

Interdependent – Embracing, whole heartedly, our interrelatedness to the Triune God, each other, and creation

We seek to offer a variety of opportunities which can create space for transformation in the lives of individuals, communities, and the world.

  • Journey Groups

    JOURNEY GROUPS are self-directed, self-determined peer learning communities. Each group is guided by a facilitator who is a co-learner with passion and experience in the area of the particular theme.


    Journey Groups consist of 6-9 leaders and a facilitator gathered around common learning themes. The group journeys together for two years, offering each other mutual encouragement, support, challenge and accountability. Each group gathers five times for 3-4 days, on dates determined by the group. Together, each group develops a focus and a learning plan within their general theme. They then explore their focus in depth, via a wide variety of learning approaches and locations. Travel is a significant piece of the experience. Journey Group members invite a cohort of persons in their ministry context to learn concurrently with them. Two members of each participant’s cohort are included in the fourth gathering. At the final gathering, the group will creatively share their learning with an audience they deem could greatly benefit from what they have learned over the preceding two year journey.

    Learn more by downloading a grid of the two year process.


    Cost includes all travel, lodging, meals, resources and events for the five gatherings.

    The fee for each Journey Group participant is $2500 OR $1250/year for two years. Each ministry context also contributes $850 to help with the expenses of the cohort.

    Journey groups are generously subsidized by contributors who believe in the power and effectiveness of this learning model.


    Currently, The Role of Popular Art and Culture in Spiritual Formation will explore the place and function of contemporary art and culture in spiritual formation. Seeking to find an alternative to the common postures of avoidance or blind consumption of culture, the group will develop a robust theology of culture that will influence their own personal discipleship as well as inform their understanding of ministry moving forward.


    Learn more about the History of Journey Groups.

  • Theme Groups

    Theme Group.jpgTHEME GROUPS developed out of the Journey Group model. For some, a two year commitment that involves extended periods of time for learning is not feasible for their lifestyle or their congregational life.  Theme Groups allow for a learning community to form around a common theme for an eight month period.  The group begins in October with an overnight retreat and ends in May with an overnight retreat.  Monthly one-day gatherings occur between these bookend retreats.  Past theme groups focused on Youth Ministry and Worship and the Arts.  Currently a group is learning about Leadership at the Intersection of the Word and World.

    If you have an idea and group in your location, let us know.  We would invite a discussion about facilitating this learning process in your area.


    Currently Meeting - Staying Open: Writing as an Act of Faith

    This group is currently underway.  Applications are not being accepted.

    Facilitator: Adam Navis


    Now Forming - Sustainable and Transformational Next Generation Ministry


    Join a community of youth ministry professionals intentionally exploring what it takes to be long-term leaders who can faithfully respond to God's call to engage and equip a younger generation for a lifetime of service in God's world.  Beginning October, 2014.


    Facilitator: Rev. Pam Bush, Associate Director of Discipleship for Journey and Chris Gibson


  • Focus Groups

    Focus Groups explore specific topics in a variety of on-going learning formats. 

    Currently, Commonly Misunderstood Verses, encourages faithful study of the scripture by thinking deeply about favorite, non-controversial and commonly misunderstood verses of the Bible.  This course is available for group use from January 7 - October 31, 2014.  Materials are available the entire year of 2014.  Enrollment is on-going.

    Register Now! »

    Your group can choose any of the verses in any order to study up to 12 weeks, including an introduction week.  Dr. Van Voorst will post discussion materials, interactive videos and will make himself available online to your group throughout 2014 to profoundly enhance your group's discussion and answer questions.



    Your group facilitator will have access to Canvas, Western Theological Seminary's online learnig portal, where materials, videos and information will be housed.

    The cost of this group is only $50 per group.  Minimum of three participants and one facilitator per group, please.

    Please note that because many of the materials used in this course will soon become a book, they will be copyrighted.

    The verses your group can choose from follow:

    Watch Between Me and Thee -  “Laban called the pillar Mizpah, for he said, ‘The Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other’” (Genesis 31:49)

    Eye for an Eye - “If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21:23-25).

    Hiding the Word - “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

    Train Up a Child - “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

    I Know the Plans - “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

    Poor Always with You - “The poor you have with you always” (Mark 14:7; see also Matthew 26:11 and John 12:8).

    Left Behind - “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17.34-35).

    Good Samaritan - “But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33-34).

    All Things for the Good  - “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28, RSV).

    Do all Things - “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

    Stand at the Door - “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

    To see our entire list of Journey Learning Opportunities, visit the Learning Opportunities page or click here.

  • Other Offerings

    These opportunities vary from the Journey learning model.  They may include conferences, seminars, lectures, workshops and other events.  To see our entire list of Journey Learning Opportunities, visit the Learning Opportunities page or click here.


Steve VanderMolen

Steve VanderMolen

Director of Journey
616.392.8555 x113
Pam Bush

Pam Bush

Associate Director of Discipleship
616.392.8555, x191

Call Western Seminary


616.392.8555 or 800.392.8554




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