Hanley road baptist

More Than A Building


In 1954, a church called Hanley Road Baptist was constructed in Clayton, MO.  It was more than a building, but a vision for future churches to spring up in neighborhoods throughout the communities that make up St. Louis.

The old Hanley Road Baptist building.

Stained glass in old Hanley Road Baptist building, affectionately referred to as "Big Hand Jesus"

The Journey

A Journey Begins


A dream for a church to reach unlikely people with the truth of the gospel and the love of Jesus was planted in the heart of Darrin Patrick. In June 2001, Darrin and his family packed up their life in Kansas City and relocated to South St. Louis with 2 other couples and began a church in his basement.

Darrin Patrick.

The Journey

A Place to Call Home

2001 — 2004

The early worship gatherings had a fair share of makeshift locations until Darrin met Slade Johnson, the pastor at Hanley Road Baptist Church.

Slade Johnson.

This Pastor had a heart for church planters and invited The Journey to use their space for their services. 

Journey members worshiping in the Hanley Road building.

The Journey

A Season of Multiplying

2005 - 2014

Multiple ministries and churches were housed, launched and planted there over the course of the next decade. Including, 5 Journey locations, Mission St. Louis, The Luminary Center for the Arts, and Karis House.

Darrin preaching to a packed room at Tower Grove.

Karis House.

Mission St. Louis building.

In 2012, uniting under the same mission, The Journey and Hanley Road Baptist Church merged their congregations, reforming The Journey Hanley Road.

People praying at Hanley Road.

The Journey

Painful Transitions

2014 - 2018

The growth and multiplication in that 10-year season was both beautiful and miraculous. At the same time, congregational growth often out-paced the capacity to develop leaders and care for people well. After a long season of troubling leadership patterns and interventions, Pastor Darrin Patrick was removed from his role as Senior Pastor.

Executive Pastor Jeremy Bedenbaugh stepped into the senior leadership gap and used his unique shepherding gifts to care for this flock and, before stepping down in 2018, cast vision toward honoring what the church had been and pursuing where it needed to move in the years to come.

Jeremy Bedenbaugh preaching to a packed room at Tower Grove.

The Gate

The Gate Opens


Nearby, in University City, the Lord was seeding a dream in the heart of others.  Kyle Hubbard and Kenny Petty had a heart to see Christ’s aroma spread in our city.  They dreamed of a multiethnic church that was especially attractive to Millennials and those who needed to hear the Gospel relayed in culturally relevant ways. The launch team of 20 people began meeting on Mother’s Day at Bibleway Baptist.

Flyer for the Gate's official launch service.

The Gate

Deeper Roots


This community grew in number and in depth.  People flocked to this unusual church family where people across race, gender, position or age, served arm-in-arm and developed  bonds that are often described as “like nothing I’d ever experienced”.

Made Men and Redeemed and Reloaded were launched as robust Men and Women’s Discipleship ministries.  People came to faith and grew in maturity.

Group of women wearing Redeemed and Reloaded shirts.

The Gate

A New Home and Hard Change


After a long search, and the blood sweat and tears of this tight-knit congregation, The Gate purchased, renovated and moved into their new building in the 3rd ward of University City, directly across the street from Pershing Elementary, a school they would later serve.

The Gate building.

Later that year, after a season of personal challenges, The Gate’s preaching Pastor, Kenny Petty, stepped down from leadership. The impact of this transition on this devoted church family was felt deeply.

The Gate


2016 -2018

After a season of grief, prayer and repair, Pastor Benji Varner stepped in to support Pastor Kyle in leading the congregation.  New deacons were installed, worship leaders raised up, small groups were started and The Gate family began to regain its footing and refocus on its mission.

The Gate deacons.

The Journey

Across The Divide


Responding to God’s call to grow in diversity, The Journey purchased the Kol Rinah synagogue building just ¾ of a mile north of its original Clayton location, andit did so with the overt intention of crossing the Delmar Divide and reaching a more diverse cross-section of the St. Louis Metro area.

Remodeling the sanctuary at the new location.

Hanley Road's new building at Kol Rinah.

Pastor Carlos Smith responded to the Lord’s call and The Journey’s plea to come and shepherd this church into this new vision.

Carlos Smith and family welcome party.

The Journey & The Gate

A New Future


As part of the All the Saints sermon series, Pastor Carlos Smith painted a compelling picture of a beautiful community with the motto “Neighborhood to the World”: a racially, socio-economically, educationally and culturally diverse community. He described a vision for a church that “smelled like the community that it was in,” and emphasized that the people of Hanley Road must be willing to lay down preferences and comforts for the sake of our neighbors.

At the same time, The Journey Hanley Road began looking for collaboration opportunities with sister churches and Pastor Carlos began to provide preaching support to his friends down the road at The Gate.

Carlos preaching at the Gate on The Joy of Forgiveness.

Mutual friends of both churches began to hear similarities in the conversations and convictions of both Pastor Carlos and Pastor Kyle.

Kyle preaching at the Gate

The strengths and weaknesses of the churches were complementary. Both leaders wanted desperately to reach the same communities, but neither felt like they had the tools or people to fully do what they felt God was calling them to do…at least not alone.

Conversations about collaboration began between the two church’s leaders.

The World Upside Down


Curtis Gilbert preaching.

In January, Pastor Curtis Gilbert was chosen as the new Senior Pastor of The Journey.

In March, a Global pandemic, racial upheaval and the death of The Journey’s founding Pastor, Darrin Patrick, brought our church to its knees.

Journey Hanley Road participating in a Black Lives Matter march.

Yet, even in the chaos, God was still speaking. He was still moving. His plan would not fail.

Masked people worshipping in the Hanley Road parking lot during Covid.

Hanley Road and Gate leaders wrestled in conversation, planning and prayer for two years.

Two became ONE


Sign welcoming The Journey Hanley Road and the Gate

The Journey Hanley Road and The Gate became one church on Easter Sunday, 2022. The congregation committed to praying that the Lord would forge their hearts and their paths together.

After a season of prayer and discernment, the leaders of The Journey churches decided that it was in the best interest of each church to begin the process of becoming separate legal entities and churches, while still maintaining loving and collaborative relationships.


A New Name for a New Season


As a newly merged family, Hanley Road leaders began to prepare for autonomy with prayers and plans that were not reflective of only one church, but both, as ONE.

The Lord revealed and confirmed that a new church name should mark this new season.

Welcome to Refresh Community Church!

Refresh Community Church.