December 6, 2018 at 12:38 pm PST | by Susan Hornik
New WeHo church sparkles like its ‘Design Star’ pastor

Pastors Michael Popham and husband Josh Johnson bring InVision Church to West Hollywood. (Photo courtesy InVision)

He sparkles and glitters for sure. 

You may remember fan favorite, Josh Johnson from his time on “HGTV’s Design Star” Season 2 and “Design Star All Stars.” He works as an interior designer, creating backstage spaces for celebrities at the Emmys each year and other major Hollywood award shows and events.

But what you may not know is that Johnson is also a Christian pastor, who recently started offering weekly worship services with his husband and co-pastor, Michael Popham, at their church, “InVision LA.” Services are held weekly at the iconic Viper Room, (8852 Sunset Blvd. in WeHo). Services for their InVision church take place every Sunday morning at 11 a.m.

This news is promising, offering an inclusive LGBTQIA Christian service in West Hollywood.

Johnson’s church has been meeting in a North Hollywood space for almost five years, but the landlord lost the lease on the building. That is when the couple made the decision to move their church to West Hollywood.

“We are so thrilled to be here!” exclaimed Johnson. “The Viper Room is world renowned— this is truly a pivotal moment for us! We believe we are a very beneficial resource, as most everyone in the LGBTQIA community has been affected by the Church and their historic abuse, discrimination, and exclusion of gay people.’

The Viper Room is home to a new LGBTQIA worship service. (Photo courtesy Viper Room)

Johnson and his husband, Michael Popham, grew up in very conservative, religious households. “We meet in church in Nashville. We knew soon after that God had a very specific purpose for us as a couple.”

The dynamic duo feel that the message of their church—“Inclusive Christianity”— is perfect for the West Hollywood community.

“InVision exists not only for the LGBTQIA community, but also for anyone who has ever been ridiculed and abused by the church,” Johnson emphasized. “We are about reconciling the forsaken and marginalized individual with an authentic, restorative, and renewed relationship with God.”

He added: “We are unequivocally anti-religion. Religion is about ‘rules,’ God is about ‘relationship.’

Johnson and Popham, who have been together 15 years and married for four, have been working on finding effective ways in which to inform Weho locals that they have access to spiritual growth and fellowship, with the support of a real Christian community.

They have been on a few outreach adventures, where they go out to the WeHo strip on a weekend night to minister to people and inform them of their new presence in the area.

“Most everyone we start a conversation with or give a church business card to are basically astonished that there’s actually a church here for them. They are also quite intrigued with what exactly we’re about,” he acknowledged. “God is so unexpected on Santa Monica Boulevard on a Saturday night!” Johnson quipped.

Johnson believes that he will be meeting just the right people who are in need of guidance.

“We believe that God already has a ‘guest list’ and will be making a way to put us directly in front of the individuals who desperately need Him, and whom have been seeking Him the most. It’s ‘God’s job’ to send the people, and it’s our job to take care of and nurture them, and to love them ‘back to Him.’

For any Christians who don’t accept what they are doing, Johnson pulls no punches.

“God accepts them because He made them in His image, so it doesn’t really matter what or who ‘Christians’ think or cast judgment upon; if they behave in this way, they are not representing the REAL Jesus.”

Tennessee-born Johnson (coincidentally from the same small town — Gallatin — as Los Angeles Blade Publisher Troy Masters) continues to see a growing contingent of Christians and churches who do accept and include LGBTQIA people. “Not all of them in the South or elsewhere operate and believe in this discriminatory, condemning fashion,” he asserted.

“Inclusivity is becoming contagious, as Christian leaders realize that everyone is connected to someone who is gay, and they cannot continue to cast down or alienate the LGBTQIA community. They will ultimately lose their churchgoers, who love and support the gay folks in their everyday lives.

“The Bible says, ‘There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

You can sparkle with Josh and the whole assembly at The Viper Room (8852 Sunset Boulevard) at InVision’s annual Celebration Concert on December 16 at 7:00 PM.

 

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