The Journey at First Baptist seeks inclusivity, cooperation among faithful as Best Church
Though it’s been at its current location for more than four decades, with more than a century in Craig, The Journey at First Baptist has both a lengthy past in the area as well as likely many years to come.
The Journey was voted Best Church as part of Best of Moffat County, a distinction that Pastor Len Browning attributes to the church’s efforts to provide as much as possible to the area.
“It’s encouraging to know the community voted for us that way,” he said.
First Baptist has been in Craig since 1911, including baptisms in the Yampa River. Following a temporary location on Breeze Street and 50 years on School Street, the establishment moved to its current site at 1150 W. Ninth St. in 1975.
A significant remodel in 2010 has aided the church in bringing in sizable crowds not only for weekly services but also other happenings.
“When we made that addition, we purposely did it to have a larger sanctuary, so it’s kind of become the place to have a funeral or wedding or other community events,” Browning said.
Browning said the congregation sees anywhere between 250 to 300 people on Sundays, though on a larger scope about 600 people consider The Journey their place of worship.
However, he added, denominations are not a big concern.
“We’ve accepted the reality of who we are as a group. Groups kind of have a dynamic to them, and we’ve accepted that we’re a very open and connecting group of people and our goal is to follow the Bible and Jesus and not worry about the name over the building or any stereotypes that might go with it,” he said.
The official pastor for the church since 2006, Browning said he has seen many changes beyond the brick and mortar in the past 13 years.
Among those is the name itself. While the church’s official title is First Baptist Church of Craig, it was a bulletin board of current events and activities that bore the name The Journey that helped the congregation start referring to the church as such in 2005.
“By the end of the summer, it just kind of caught on,” he said.
Browning said he has had apprentices hailing from Europe who have worked with area youth who have told him they appreciate the diversity they see at the church.
“There’s everything from little kids and young families to a good amount of older folks and everything in between,” he said.
Browning said he makes a point to work alongside other churches in the community and the Ministerial Alliance, as well as groups such as Bear River Young Life, Yampa Valley Pregnancy and Family Center, among others.
“We choose to be involved in good works and with good people even outside our church,” he said.
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For nearly 40 years, Jonathan Herring has pursued his passion of education as a teacher, administrator, and principal in bigger cities such as Kansas City and Las Vegas.