Sojourn's story begins over 90 years ago…
- 1922 - founded as People's Gospel Church, by Pastor Charles Bowman. We started meeting on the corner of State St. and Barlow St. downtown.
- 1929 - we changed our name to Immanuel Baptist Tabernacle.
- 1941 - we began broadcasting Sunday morning worship on WTCM which, at the time, was the only radio station in Traverse City. We continued this weekly broadcast for 70+ years!
- 1946 - we changed our name to Immanuel Baptist Church and, somewhere around this same time, joined the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.
- 1958 - we built a new building on the corner of State St. and Barlow. This building is still there today, although its owned by a different church.
- 1975 - we decided to move locations from downtown to our current location, a nearly 7 mile move from downtown to "the hill south of town". The move was motivated out of a desire for more space in order to reach more people. The 16+ acres have provided ample space for our church and continues to provide options for future growth.
- 1977 - we moved into our current building on McRae Hill Road, with many great stories of God's amazing provision that allowed this church to be completed.
- 1990 - we paid off our mortgage on our current building and we have been debt free since!
- 2007 - we built a new double door entrance from the parking lot. This was the first major step of intentional hospitality that significantly improved first impressions, the atmosphere, and overall safety for everyone. We went on to complete the Hospitality Project in 2012, a significant remodeling of the Welcome Room, Foyer, and Auditorium. Romans 15:7 was starting to change us: "welcome others as Christ has welcomed you".
2014 - we voted to rename our church Sojourn Church! Although change is hard, this is the latest and most public demonstration of our growth in becoming an outward-facing, city-positive church that is not for ourselves.
Sojourn's story is really all about God's story
Although much more could be highlighted about Sojourn's history, this list shows us something important: our church has sought to change and grow. All of the changes over our 90+ year history were done with a desire to be a church that is about God's mission. Some of those years were filled with great joys, while some were marked by great suffering and discouragement. Through it all, God has been faithful. Through it all, God has been patient. Through it all, God has been telling his story, of which our story is but a small part. We pray that more and more people would be drawn into God's story of redemption over the coming years that God chooses to give Sojourn - for his glory and our good!