Returning Guest Speaker - Trent Senske

Trent Senske will be our guest speaker on Sunday, September 3. He also gave the message "Jesus is Above All" on April 2, 2017. He is in the process of planting Immanuel Fellowship in south Minneapolis. Here is more from Trent:

Early on, I sensed a calling to spiritual leadership, and so for seven years I learned the ropes of discipleship, preaching, and leadership by ministering to college students. For the past several years, I worked for Coram Deo Church in Omaha, NE, as a pastoral assistant, in the privileged role of serving and shadowing Pastor Bob Thune. [...]

Last year, God called me to start a church in Minneapolis — or perhaps more accurately — the Spirit unfolded how Jesus had been hinting at it for years. 

In college, I voiced interest in church planting to my pastor, mostly because I thought it was cool. But after college, I became convinced it was crazy. I loved the thought of [church] planting, but I was reluctant about the work. Nevertheless, one morning while walking and praying in Memphis I sensed the Lord saying, “Give your life to preaching the gospel, planting urban churches, and training leaders for my Kingdom.” In August, we moved to Minneapolis to get assessed as potential planters and begin that work.

For more information about the Senskes and the church plant, go to www.minneapolischurchplant.com

Guest Speaker: Darren Carlson

Darren Carlson will be our guest speaker on Sunday, August 27th. He is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International (TLI). Here is more from TLI's website

Picture: Darren Carlson Credit: bcsmn.edu

Picture: Darren Carlson

Credit: bcsmn.edu

Born to a military family, Darren grew up in San Diego, Calif., and Washington, D.C. He became a committed Christian through the ministry of InterVarsity on his college campus. After college, he felt the call to vocational ministry while attending the LIFT discipleship program at Camp-of-the-Woods in upstate New York.

He received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Mary Washington. He is also a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he earned a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology in New Testament and is ordained in the Evangelical Free Church of America. Darren has coached high school and college basketball as well. He enjoys playing piano, fishing and hunting in Minnesota.

As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. He has written articles on multiple platforms on issues relating to short-term missions, missionary care, trends in global theology, missiological discussions, and the effective use of financial resources to relieve poverty. While at TLI he also founded The Journal of Global Christianity and SOLA, which is a web-based app to help missionaries raise and track support.

A Resolution Against Racism

Overview

Our ethos is carried out in many ways including acts of justice and mercy in all areas of life. One of the greatest areas of injustice in our nation’s history is racism, which has been called America’s “original sin.” The Overseer Team affirms the following resolution adopted by our denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), at its 1992 General Conference. The EFCA passed this resolution in the wake of the beating of Rodney King in 1991, but it also speaks broadly to occurrences of racism before and since then. This resolution, with minor adaptations for the context of our local church, reflects the theology and mission of Trinity City Church.

The Sin of Racism

As Christians, we deplore racism as sin against fellow human beings who are created in the image of God. Racism has undergone a recent resur­gence with an increase in violence evidenced by racial confrontations on college campuses, numerous racially biased crimes, the increased visibility and boldness of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and various other separatist movements. Racism is also present in more subtle and passive forms in institutional settings where systems of discrimination prevent the upward mobility of gifted and qualified individuals. It is also present in racially discriminatory housing patterns, in the neglect and avoidance of people who are racially different, in the use of racially offensive lan­guage and humor, and at the level of individual prejudices and biases which heighten tension and perpetuate misunderstanding between racially different people. Even though our society benefits from progress made in the area of racial harmony during and following the Civil Rights movement, we believe that racism continues to exist and, at the present time, appears to have found renewed energy.

Racism is an irrational belief in the superiority of one's ethnic or racial group causing the hatred of those of another group. Inequalities of eco­nomic and political resources and competition for economic and political advantage often causes this irrational belief to surface. In America, this unhealthy attitude of racial and ethnic superiority has resulted in discri­mination predominantly by whites against people of color such as Asians, African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics. It also has provoked a racist response against the dominant culture and often heightened tensions between minority groups. God's ideal is that humans exist in harmonious relationships regardless of racial and ethnic differences (Acts 13:1, 1 Cor. 12:12-13, Gal. 3:28, Rev. 5:9-10), but racism militates against the formation of these harmonious relationships.

Resolutions for the Church

Realizing that even as Christians we are not immune to the sin of racism, we resolve first of all to search our own hearts and repent of any racist attitudes we may have no matter how subtle. We further resolve to work toward eliminating racism in our local churches, ministry affiliations, and partner organizations. Some ways in which we can work are:

  • Speaking out against racism in whatever setting we find ourselves.
  • Preparing spiritually for the inevitable tensions and conflicts which will threaten the unity of the church as it continues to become more multi-ethnic and multi-racial in composition.
  • Teaching in our homes and in our churches against racism and noting God's desire for reconciliation between races (Eph. 2:14).
  • Developing relationships of mutual education and submission (Eph. 5:21) with people of different races on both an individual and congregational level.
  • Celebrating the presence and participation of our brothers and sisters in Christ from all ethnic and racial backgrounds in our local churches, ministry affiliations, and partner organizations.

Concluding Prayer

Dear God, we repent and turn back, that our sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from your presence (Acts 3:19-20). “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (Dan. 9:18-19, NIV). In Jesus name we pray, Amen.


See The Gospel, Racism and the EFCA: Resolution (1992) and Resolve for the original resolution.

For more commentary on this issue from EFCA leaders, see also "An Open Letter to Those Who are Struggling," by Alejandro Mandes; and "The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the EFCA, and Racism," by Greg Strand. The concluding prayer above is from Strand's post. 

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Understanding the Cross-cultural Experience of International Students

This post is written by JaNae Stynsberg. She works at local campuses through International Students, Inc. In this piece, she shares about an event she recently organized at Trinity City Church's building. 

I have had the privilege of engaging with international students at the University of St. Thomas for several years and recently became a full time staff member with International Students, Inc. TCC’s partnership has been a huge blessing in this work with numerous members helping with English Club, special events and developing individual relationships beyond that.

TCC recently gave us the opportunity to host a unique event designed to help youth experience cross-cultural understanding in a positive way. A couple youth pastors from small towns in southern MN and eastern Wisconsin wanted to expose their youth to diversity to help plant in them a heart for the nations. It took awhile to figure out how to introduce 40 American teenagers to international students in a non-awkward way, but we came up with the International Student Panel idea. International students from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India and Nigeria answered questions that the teens, pastors and myself had come up with ahead of time.  

The students shared that what they expected the US to be like, what surprised them, what they sacrificed to come here, how Americans can better welcome foreign peoples, and things that seemed strange/confusing/funny/hard to get used to about Americans.  They also shared if they ever felt targeted in a negative way because of their race or religion.  

The night’s discussion was great but several answers stood out. When it came to how to better welcome in foreign peoples, the discussion became focused on how believers have personally interacted with them. Something commonly reiterated was that they have really enjoyed being welcomed into churches and studying the Bible with people, but they also said they have experienced people not being open to listening to what they believe or making assumptions or criticisms about what they believe before even knowing anything about their religion. Another thing stated was a feeling that some Christians will only want to be friends with them if they are open to becoming Christians themselves. One of the guys said if someone wants to share about their faith with him, he prefers if they tell about how they have personally experienced God rather than just listing off verses or reading through different materials.

It’s safe to say that it was more than just the teens who gleaned wisdom from this panel discussion. I knew that would be the case because I often feel like I’ve only scratched the surface in my understanding of cultures and how to share the love of Christ with each individual. I’m happy to say each international student left the night feeling heard and validated in the answers they gave. The youth group students left with a new understanding of these cultures, what it’s like to be a foreigner here and also with new questions about how to engage in evangelism and missions.

Thanks again for the opportunity to do this event at TCC! It’s a beautiful thing for the local church to be one of the first agents to welcome in our friends from all over the world!

Prayer of Lament - June 18, 2017

In light of the events surrounding the shooting of Philando Castile, Pastor Bryan wrote this prayer of lament from Psalm 22 and prayed with Trinity City Church on Sunday, June 18th. 

God, have you forsaken the Castile family? 

Have you abandoned the African-American community? 

Why are you so far from saving them, 

so far from their groaning?

They cry out to you by day, but you do not answer, 

and by night, but they find no rest. 

You’re holy, enthroned above the praises of their churches. 

They trust in you.

But they are dehumanized and not treated as image-bearers. 

They’re scorned by mankind and despised by people. 

They’re mocked, and the privileged wag their heads. 

“He should have not said anything about the gun.

He should not have reached in his pocket.”

Lord, don’t be far from your people. 

They’re surrounded by adversaries.

Care and protect them like a mother for her child. 

Because their strength is gone, 

their courage has melted away, 

and they’re weakened by fear because death continues to approach them. 

Injustice surrounds them. 

Their feet and hands are bound. 

What they have left is taken from them. 

Lord, don’t be far off! 

Come quickly to the aid of the oppressed and afflicted. 

Deliver them from injustice and death. 

Save their precious life. 

We will tell of your name to our brothers and sisters. 

We will praise you together. 

Because you have not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. 

You have not hidden your face from them when they cried to you. 

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; 

they will praise you, Lord!  

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, 

all those in power and authority will be brought to their knees

because you rule over all things. 

May the privileged be brought low and worship,

and the afflicted raised up to praise. 

So that the coming generation, 

and those yet to be born, 

may know that you are good, 

you are just, 

and you deserve all the glory. 

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Guest Speaker - Jeremy Deck

Jeremy Deck will be our guest speaker on Sunday, May 21st. He is in the process of planting Gospel Life Church in the Marcy-Holmes of Minneapolis. Here is more from Jeremy (quoted from New Hope's website):

Jeremy Deck (Credit: New Hope Church) 

Jeremy Deck (Credit: New Hope Church) 

After 10 years on staff in Student Ministries at New Hope, I am currently preparing to pastor a church plant in Minneapolis from New Hope Church. I am in a residency here designed to equip me further toward this end.

I believe that the local church is the means through which God has designed for the gospel to be proclaimed both for the salvation of people who don't yet believe and the growth/sanctification of those who trust him. I love seeing the good news of Jesus Christ change lives for eternity.

A favorite passage of mine is Titus 2:11-14 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age."

I continue to be so thankful that God's grace not only saves us but trains and shapes us to look more like him every day. I’m married to Amy and we have four kids: Molly, Nora, Jack and Nolan. I enjoy being with my family, backpacking, camping, books, coffee and movies.

For more information about the church plant, like their Facebook Page

Lent and Holy Week 2017

A baptism from the 2016 Easter Gathering.

A baptism from the 2016 Easter Gathering.

Holy Week is here. At Trinity City Church, we started the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service, and on April 9th we celebrate Palm Sunday. The following week we'll be gathering for Maunday Thursday meals, a Good Friday service (FB event), a community Egg Hunt on Saturday (FB event), and finally celebrating Easter with baptisms (FB event).

What is the meaning and significance of this time in the church calendar? Let's consider some of the explanations from The Worship Sourcebook (the rest of the post quotes The Worship Sourcebook under each heading).

The Season of Lent

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the heart of the Christian gospel, and Good Friday and Easter are two of the most significant celebrations of the Christian year. Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

The practice of a forty-day preparation period began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty carries biblical significance based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday and continue through holy week, not counting Sundays (which are reserved for celebratory worship). In practice, many congregations choose to focus Sunday worship on the themes of repentance and renewal. As a period of preparation, Lent has historically included the instruction of persons for baptism and profession of faith on Easter Sunday; the calling back of those who have become estranged from the church; and efforts by all Christians to deepen their piety, devotion, and readiness to mark the death and resurrection of their Savior. As such, the primary focus of the season is to explore and deepen a “baptismal spirituality” that centers on our union with Christ rather than to function only as an extended meditation on Christ’s suffering and death.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. By the fourth century the Western church had determined that the Lenten period of fasting and renewal should correspond to Christ’s forty-day fast (Matt. 4:2), and, by counting forty days back from Easter (excluding Sundays, which remain “feast” days), arrived at the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. At one time Lent was primarily viewed as a period during which converts prepared for baptism on Easter Sunday, but later the season became a general time of penitence and renewal for all Christians. Thus Ash Wednesday became the day that marked the beginning of the Lenten renewal.

The aim of Ash Wednesday worship is threefold: to meditate on our mortality, sinfulness, and need of a savior; to renew our commitment to daily repentance in the Lenten season and in all of life; and to remember with confidence and gratitude that Christ has conquered death and sin. Ash Wednesday worship, then, is filled with gospel truth. It is a witness to the power and beauty of our union with Christ and to the daily dying and rising with Christ that this entails.

The imposition of ashes is often central part of the worship service. Ashes have a long history in biblical and church traditions. In Scripture ashes or dust symbolize frailty or death (Gen. 18:27), sadness or mourning (Esther 4:3), judgment (Lam. 3:16), and repentance (Jon. 3:6). Some traditions also have considered ash a purifying or cleansing agent. All these images are caught up in the church’s use of ashes as a symbol appropriate for Lent. In Christ’s passion we see God’s judgment on evil; in our penitence we express sorrow and repentance for our sins; in our rededication we show that we are purified and renewed. The ashes, which often are the burnt residue of the previous year’s palms from Palm Sunday, are often mixed with a little water and carried in a small dish. As the leader goes from worshiper to worshiper, or as worshipers come forward, the leader dips a finger in the moist ash and makes a cross on each person’s forehead (the “imposition”), saying words such as “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” or, “Consider yourself dead to sin and alive in Jesus Christ.”

In some contexts, the imposition of ashes may be a barrier to thoughtful Lenten worship because of its newness or because it may be misunderstood. Most important is that worshipers rend their hearts (Joel 2:13). Decisions about whether or how to practice the imposition of ashes should always take into account that the service should build up the body of Christ.

Palm Sunday

The events framed by Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his resurrection are some of the most dramatic and theologically important of the entire scriptural narrative. These days feature not only the drama of the triumphal entry, trial, last supper, and crucifixion but also poignant prayers and prophetic teachings of our Lord. John’s gospel devotes eight of its twenty-one chapters to this week alone! The week begins with Passion/Palm Sunday and ends with the “three days” (also called the Triduum, from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Easter Day), the period during which we mark Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection.

The first Sunday of Holy Week is commonly called either “Palm Sunday” or “Passion Sunday.” Those who call it “Palm Sunday” tend to focus on the entry of Christ into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9). Those who refer to the day as “Passion Sunday” tend to focus on Jesus’ suffering. This is especially appropriate in contexts in which participation in midweek services on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday is difficult or minimal, and, as a result, worshipers would sing “Hosanna” on one Sunday and “Christ arose” on the next, with little attention to Jesus’ suffering and death in between.

But even for congregations that celebrate the day as Palm Sunday, it’s important to capture the irony of the day. This is the day on which Jesus entered the city in triumph, but as a part of his journey to the cross; this is the week in which crowd’s cries of “Hosanna” would soon turn to “Crucify him!” One helpful approach to Palm Sunday worship is to begin by focusing on the procession into Jerusalem and then to concentrate on the suffering and passion of Jesus.

Maundy Thursday

On Maundy Thursday the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before his arrest and crucifixion. Maundy Thursday marks three key events in Jesus’ last week: his washing of his disciples’ feet, his institution of the Lord’s Supper, and his new commandment to love one another.

The name “Maundy Thursday” comes from the Latin mandatum novum, referring to the “new commandment” Jesus taught his disciples (John 13:34). In other words, this is “new commandment Thursday.” Maundy Thursday worship naturally features the Lord’s Supper and, in some traditions, an act of foot washing or another sign of mutual love and dedication.

Celebrations of the Lord’s Supper can call attention to the many theologically rich dimensions of the Last Supper itself, including its attention to communal love and its clear eschatological orientation (its focus on hopeful anticipation of the coming kingdom).

Good Friday and Easter

Good Friday marks the death of Jesus Christ. It’s called “good” because of what Jesus’ death means for the redemption of the world. Worship on this day may focus on three aims: (1) to narrate and remember the events of Jesus’ death, (2) to open up the meaning of these events for our understanding of God and the redemption accomplished by the cross, and (3) to invite worshipers to renewed prayer and dedication.

All the hopes and expectations of Christians are realized in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, making Easter the most celebrative day of the church year.

Guest Speaker - Trent Senske

Trent Senske will be our guest speaker on Sunday, April 7th. He is in the process of planting Immanuel Fellowship in south Minneapolis. Here is more from Trent:

Early on, I sensed a calling to spiritual leadership, and so for seven years I learned the ropes of discipleship, preaching, and leadership by ministering to college students. For the past several years, I worked for Coram Deo Church in Omaha, NE, as a pastoral assistant, in the privileged role of serving and shadowing Pastor Bob Thune. [...]

Last year, God called me to start a church in Minneapolis — or perhaps more accurately — the Spirit unfolded how Jesus had been hinting at it for years. 

In college, I voiced interest in church planting to my pastor, mostly because I thought it was cool. But after college, I became convinced it was crazy. I loved the thought of [church] planting, but I was reluctant about the work. Nevertheless, one morning while walking and praying in Memphis I sensed the Lord saying, “Give your life to preaching the gospel, planting urban churches, and training leaders for my Kingdom.” In August, we moved to Minneapolis to get assessed as potential planters and begin that work.

For more information about the Senskes and the church plant, go to www.minneapolischurchplant.com

Prayers of the People - From March 19, 2017

Here are the prayers for the Prayers of the People portion of our Sunday Gathering last Sunday:

 

Father, we thank you for this opportunity to come together to worship you.

We thank you for the brothers and sisters who work faithfully to make this opportunit a reality at Trinity City Church. 

Father we thank you that you use broken people to do beautiful things. 

God we are so thankful that when we were lost and stuck in our filth, that you adopted us, and now you now call us your sons and daughters. 

We pray that with this mindset that we would see the broken, the hateful, the unlovely, and that we would love them. 

We ask that your Holy Spirit would indwell us and give us a love that overcomes hate and fear. 

We pray that your Holy Spirit would shine through us in this dark world, that we wouldn't be another group with an agenda, but that we would be a people transformed by your power. 

We pray that Trinity would begin to resemble the first church in Acts, that we would be united in serving each other and those around us. 

We thank you for Jesus, for his example of what a true servant looks like. We ask for the strength to emulate that kind of service for this church.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayers. 

We pray for those within the church who are or feel disconnected. They are not forgotten by you or us. We pray for singles, people who are struggling with or coming out of addictions, couples who are struggling with infertility, and for many other stories we could name. 

We pray for a boldness to go towards other people. We pray they would fight against the feeling of being pushed to the edges of the church. We pray for a single mindedness toward you, and what you are doing in their lives. This is a sacred thing and we forget that. Father, it's so easy to see what you're not doing in our lives, to see you as not working, it takes effort and fortitude to not retreat away. Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, we are asking you to send away the despair and insecurities that make us prone to do our unhealthy lives. We've become comfortable in our sin or complacency.

Would you be a shield about them, protecting them from the arrows of judgement; judgement from others, satan, and especially from themselves – that they would fight for the light in the dark nights of their soul. Especially for those who are wandering through the dessert, questioning you and doubting you. You have given them these circuitous routes, and yet, we pray they could also see the manna you provide, the water you give from a rock, how you lead them with a cloud by day, a fire by night. how you provide provision that is careful, intentional, and intensely personal. You have the power to bring about your promises – whenever it pleases you. May they seek to be led by you and look forward to the day when their sun shall no more go down, nor the moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be their everlasting light. As they ache and feel your timing that is not their timing, as they feel the brokenness in this world, may they ultimately long for heaven, and long for Jesus to come. In many things and in many ways, please bring healing. Finally, we pray for mercy in not leading them into temptation but delivering them from evil. The battle of physicality and strength is real. Help them to choose that God knows what's best for them, trusting his laws and commands are for their blessing and joy in following him.

For all of us God, may your love be more compelling than that of this world, that you would strengthen those to follow after your will and still have hope, in and for the long haul. May we find our worth and healing in the safest of places.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayers.

We pray for our political leaders. Men and women who have been entrusted with leadership over our country, states, cities, and towns. We pray that they would be given wisdom, humility, and ability to lead where they have been called to lead. Give them servants hearts that work for the common good vs their own name and career. Give them understanding to solve difficult and complex problems. Give them the ability to inspire those that they lead to join in unity the effort to preserve the good things that you have blessed this country with, but also to renew what which is broken and in need of renewal. Give them fortitude to persevere in doing what is right when things are difficult, but also humility to repent when they err.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayers. 

For all the peoples of the world, that they might see the glory and power of your creation: “the earth is the Lord’s” and “those who dwell therein.” Our Father, you “laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of [your] hands.” “For by [you] all things were created…all things were created through [you] and for [you]…[you] are before all things, and in [you] all things hold together.”

For the body of Christ, that we may be stewards of the gifts you have given us. That we may prophesy, serve, teach, exhort, contribute, lead, and do acts of mercy. “…Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” and pursue your will wholeheartedly.

For ourselves – your people with whom you have entrusted with the gospel and who are bound to give an account – we pray for wise and discerning minds. “As each [of us] has received a special gift,” help us to “employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

May we be joyous caretakers of your creation. For it is written: “…whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully… God is able to make all grace abound to [us], so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, [we] may abound in every good work.” “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

Amen. 

TCC Featured Member - Jack

This week, we're following along with our new featured member, Jack. Make sure to check out our Instagram account to see life behind the lens with Jack. Here's a bit more about him and his life at TCC. 

What neighborhood do you live in?
Mac-Groveland

What’s your occupation?
Financial Planner

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?
I love to FaceTime people instead of calling them.
 
What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?
I really love being able to walk with the family to a lot of places in the neighborhood, and having everything be nice and close.

How long have you attended TCC?
5 years


What’s something you appreciate about TCC?
I really appreciate the way that the relationships I have with church members are not just limited to Sunday morning. Our church family has become the people we live life with throughout the week.

TCC Featured Member - Whitney

We are kicking off a new campaign to learn more about some of the people who make up our church family. This week, our featured TCC Member is Whitney. Read more about Whitney below and make sure to check out the TCC Instagram account to see what life looks like from Whitney's eyes. 

What neighborhood do you live in?
The best one: West 7th

What’s your occupation?
Photographer/Stay-at-home Mom

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?
I used to rogue milo fields every summer when I was a kid

What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?
Farmers Markets

How long have you attended TCC?
6 years

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?
Our care for one another and how TCC has become our family

Character Restoration Series

We all struggle between the person we are and the person we want to be. That struggle may be with discontentment, resentment, anxiety, or disapproval (with self or from others). This series considers the impact of sin on our character and the restoration of our character through the power of Christ. When Jesus restores our character, he restores us to be truly human. 

Here is an overview of the series:

Week 1 (01/08): A Hopeful and Realistic Pathway of Character Restoration (Romans 7:9-8:39)

Week 2 (01/15): From Discontentment to Learning Contentment (Philippians 4:10-20)

Week 3 (01/22): From Resentment to Practicing Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)

Week 4 (01/29): From Anxiety to Seeking the Kingdom (Matthew 6:25-34)

Week 5 (02/05): From Trying to Please Others to Serving Christ (Galatians 1:6-10)

Light of Life, Dispel My Darkness - A Christmas Prayer

Here is a prayer from our Christmas Eve service (quoted from The Worship Sourcebook)

Come and stand amazed, you people,
see how God is reconciled!
See his plans of love accomplished,
see his gift, this newborn child.
See the Mighty, weak and tender,
see the Word who now is mute.
See the Sovereign without splendor,
see the Fullness destitute;
the Beloved, whom we covet,
in a state of low repute.
See how humankind received him;
see him wrapped in swaddling bands,
who as Lord of all creation
rules the wind by his commands.
See him lying in a manger
without sign of reasoning;
Word of God to flesh surrendered,
he is wisdom’s crown, our King.
See how tender our Defender
at whose birth the angels sing.
O Lord Jesus, God incarnate,
who assumed this humble form,
counsel me and let my wishes
to your perfect will conform.
Light of life, dispel my darkness,
let your frailty strengthen me;
let your meekness give me boldness,
let your burden set me free;
let your sadness give me gladness,
let your death be life for me. Amen.

Candlelight Service, 2016

Candlelight Service, 2016

Christmas Day Services at Partner Churches

Trinity City Church is having a Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve at 7pm, but we're not gathering Christmas Day for services. If you're in town, and looking for a place to gather for Christmas Day, then consider these partner churches.

Nearby Partner Churches

These partner churches are less than two miles from where we meet.

CityLife Church - this local church is gathering at 10am in the MacGrove neighborhood (225 Cleveland Ave. S., St Paul 55105).

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Cities Church - this local church is gathering at 10am right across the river in the Longfellow community. They meet at Minnehaha Academy North (3100 West River Parkway Minneapolis 55406). 

Sister Churches

Trinity City Church is a plant of Hope Community Church (who is also having Christmas Day services at 10am). Here is a list of the sister churches having Christmas Day services:

Hiawatha Church - This local church is gathering at 10am in the Longfellow community (4155 41st Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55406). 

Antioch Community Church - This local church is gathering at 10am in NE Minneapolis. They meet at the Ukrainian Event Center (301 Main St NE • Minneapolis, MN 55413). 

Grafted Community Church - this local church is gathering at 7pm in NE Minneapolis. They meet at All Nations Baptist Church (1300 Lowry Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418). 

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A Post-Election Prayer

One of our deacons wrote this prayer, and read it for Call to Worship on Sunday, November 13th. 

Heavenly Father, we are a nation divided. We have been increasingly so for a long time, but this year laid it bare in new and unexpected ways. I admit that I have sometimes looked to a political solution for things I should have looked to you for. As it says in Jeremiah 2:13, I have forsaken you and turned to broken cisterns that hold no water. Forgive me.  

Lord, where division has occurred in families like mine…someone on all sides and even the sidelines…where there is hurt or misunderstanding between generations or brothers and sisters….as it says in Malachi 4:6, I ask that you would turn the hearts of fathers to their children and children to their fathers. 

Within our neighborhoods, there are those who voted differently than us--who may have no interest in bridging the divide. As far as it is up to us, as it says in Romans 12:18, let us live in peace with everyone. 

It is hard to love those we don’t understand; please as you tell us to ask for in James 1:5, give us wisdom to know how to communicate in peace. 

There are those who are afraid--truly afraid because of the outcome. Please give us an opening to speak, and to weep with those who weep [Romans 12:15]. "How we treat the people that are anxious and afraid over this new presidency will reveal how much like Jesus we really are" [quoted from here]. 

For our outgoing president and our new president-elect, I know that the heart of the leader is in the hand of the Lord. (Proverbs 21:1) I pray that you would give him and his advisers health and wisdom. I pray too that you would be glorified in the next four years, that it would be your name that is praised, your will that is done. 

In Jesus name we pray. Amen. 

Getting Through the 2016 Twin Cities Marathon

This Sunday the runners in the Twin Cities Marathon will be going through our neighborhood via Summit Avenue. If you're coming to the Sunday Gathering from north of Summit, then you'll have no problem getting to the church building. However, if you're coming from south of Summit or from south Minneapolis, then you may have some of your typical routes blocked off. Here is what we recommend:

  • Get on Ayd Mill Road from St. Clair, then take St. Clair to the end of Ayd Mill, which will then merge onto Selby. Here is a map of the suggested route.
  • If you're coming from south Minneapolis, then you may want to travel north to I-94 east and exit off of Snelling. Here is a map of the suggested route. 
  • Give yourself some extra time. The earlier you leave, the better. 
  • If you're able to bike to church, then you'll also have no problems getting there.

It's Time to Update the Sign

This old sign has communicated to our city three different ministries for many years. Church of the Good Shepherd (formally called First Trinity Methodist Church), which is the church who built this building in 1913 and owned it until 2012, first installed this sign. Then we rented this building beginning in 2010 and stripped their logo off to put our old logo up. When the building sold to a Nigerian ministry in 2012, another logo went over our old one. Finally, when we bought the building on the last day of 2015, we took down the former owner's sign to find our old logo still there.

When you look closely at this sign you see remnants of these three ministries. It's interesting history but not good to look at. It's time to take down this sign to put up a new one now that we own the property. We want to communicate through this sign who we are and that this building is our home. Below is a mockup of the new sign that a company will install in the next couple months.

Like any good sign, may this one point beyond itself to this church community God is growing to bring renewal to our city and world.

 

A Tommie is Called to Paris

Maggie Rudorfer is a recent graduate of the University of Saint Thomas (UST), and attended Trinity City Church while she was a Tommie. In this short Q & A, Maggie shares what is next for her and how we can support her.


How did Cru at UST impact your faith?

During my freshman year, Jesus Christ completely captivated my heart after truly grasping the Gospel, and I became heavily involved with Cru, a Christian organization on campus.

As I grew in my relationship with the Lord, I learned how to share my faith and help new believers grow in their walks with Him. It has been exciting to see God use me to reach others with the Gospel and I have realized that people all over the world need to hear about Christ’s love for them.

How did you connect with Trinity City Church? What role did this local church play during your time at UST?

I first connected with Trinity City Church during the Spring Semester of my freshman year while attending the University of Saint Thomas after being invited by a few close friends. Throughout my years at UST, Trinity City Church became a place that allowed so much growth in my walk with the Lord, as I set out to experience what it meant to truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now that you graduated, what do you believe the Lord is calling you to do next?

After earnestly praying for God to use me however He wanted after I graduated, I learned of an opportunity to go to Paris, France for an internship with Cru to reach college students with the Gospel. Paris is known to be the City of Lights, but when it comes to spirituality and faith, this city is known to be extremely dark. There is apathy towards the Gospel, but the Lord has been moving tremendously in this city. I decided to say yes to this opportunity, and I cannot wait to be a part of what the Lord is doing in this city.

What do you hope to accomplish in Paris?

My desire is to see the Gospel intersect the lives of students in Paris as they are given the opportunity to have a personal, life transforming relationship with Christ and experience intentional community. My desire is that the City of Lights would become a Light to the World!

How can others partner with you?

Like many other mission organizations, Cru does not have central funds to pay for staff and interns. I must find a team of people to partner with me in reaching the students of Paris both prayerfully and financially.

As I take this large step of faith to serve the Lord in ministry overseas, would you prayerfully consider partnering with me to see the Gospel go forth in France?

If you desire to give, there are two options for giving:

  1. Committing to giving an amount monthly while I’m in Paris

  2. Giving a one-time gift

Both options can be done online through my give page: https://give.cru.org/0882224

I pray that you will consider joining my ministry team both prayerfully and financially. At this point, I am extremely close to reaching my goal, but would love help in finishing by next week! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Email me here!

Snow Cones & Prayer at Bastille Day

David Berglund, who is a member of Trinity City Church and the Snellby Community Group, writes about his Community Group's participation in Bastille Day in Merriam Park. David and his wife Chelsea write about film and art at their blog Movie Matrimony.


Some of the Trinity City Church volunteers at Bastille Day in Merriam Park

Some of the Trinity City Church volunteers at Bastille Day in Merriam Park

The Twin Cities are particularly apt at taking advantage of our summers. There are countless activities and festivals that pepper our cityscape throughout these cherished warm months and there is a seemingly innate understanding of the importance in taking full advantage of such agreeable weather.

Yet, when tragedy strikes our city and our world, it makes these moments bittersweet. While it is not helpful to wallow in lament, it can also seem insensitive to revel when others in the world are mourning. Perhaps there were not better examples of this tension than the several Bastille Day celebrations that took place over the weekend. Events that were built to celebrate our local communities and honor French culture were held only days after a similar French celebrations in Nice were rocked by unspeakable violence.

A family gets some snow cones. 

A family gets some snow cones. 

Our Community Group saw this as an opportunity to offer our support through prayer and invite others to do the same. So, we handed out snow cones on a hot day, took prayer requests, and asked through simple prayer cards that our Twin Cities neighbors, who are no strangers to pain, pray for France.

The prayer we provided is universal, and is fitting for any people seeking comfort when facing difficult questions in the face of pain:

Father God. We are struck by the convergence of brokenness and beauty in the world--how small and helpless we feel in the midst of both. In the wake of yet another incredible tragedy, we ask that You bring great healing, compassion, peace, and unity to Nice, to France, and to the world, even as we are angry and frustrated and uncertain as to where You are in the midst of this messy life. May Your Loving Spirit dwell in and among the people of Nice to bring restoration. Let us know Your Gospel as one that unites people in renewing this Creation and ultimately brings all things closer to You through Your Son. Amen.

The prayer for Nice written by Chelsea Berglund.

The prayer for Nice written by Chelsea Berglund.

The Community Prayer Service at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church

Matt Porter participated in the Community Prayer Service at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on July 11th along with others from Trinity City Church. Church leaders organized this time of prayer because of the tragic loss of lives in St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas. In this post, Matt summarizes this amazing evening of unity, lament, and prayer. Pictures are from Transform MN and Carl Nelson.  


Joining hands in prayer and unity. Photo credit: Carl Nelson

Joining hands in prayer and unity.

Photo credit: Carl Nelson

“Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more. Where grace is found is where You are. And where You are Lord I am free. Holiness is Christ in me.” On Monday night at 7:00, several hundred brothers and sisters in Christ from many races, generations, and congregations around the Twin Cities worshipped God together with these lyrics in the tightly packed sanctuary of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis.

Rev. Billy Russell speaks to the crowd. Photo Credit: Transform MN

Rev. Billy Russell speaks to the crowd.

Photo Credit: Transform MN

Greater Friendship Reverend Billy Russell, President of the Minnesota State Baptist Association, started the night’s discussion by impleading the church, “We need to be together at a time like this . . . This Christian life is a life of love, and that love is expressed in unity.” He spoke about the recent tearful tragedies in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and especially the Twin cities with the shooting deaths of Philando Castile and two-year-old Le’Vonte King Jason Jones. Reverend Russell encouraging the church that “As long as there is love, we will stand.”  

Pastor Jason Meyer of Bethlehem Baptist Church led congregants in lamenting not only recent events, but the larger history of the church’s toleration and even justification of slavery, discrimination, and a host of societal ills. He encouraged the church to gather at the throne of God. Only from strength found at the throne of God can we show the truest love and pair loving words with loving actions.  

Karl Nelson of the church-equipping ministry Transform Minnesota introduced local pastors and church leaders, including Bishop Richard Howell of Shiloh Temple International Ministries, Bethel’s Campus Pastor Laurel Bunker, and North Minneapolis community ministry Hope United’s Executive Director Reverend Richard Coleman, who led congregants in corporate and small-group prayer. Bishop Howell and Reverend Coleman referenced the story of Jesus’ weeping and raising Lazarus from the dead found in John 12, noting the importance of lamenting what the church has allowed our society to become, yet also trusting in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.  

Pastor Bunker instructed “It’s important that the church be people out on the streets.” She encouraged Christians to think about places of darkness in society where we may be uncomfortable going, and praying for God to burden our souls with those communities until we take action. Pastor Bunker will be joining an expected one million people coming together in Washington, DC on July 16 to pray for our nation (more information at Reset 2016).

Reverend Alfred Babington-Johnson, CEO and President of the ministry Stairstep Foundation, reminded the church that “we have work to do” and read Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (ESV).” He reported action steps that Pastors of the local African American Church Coalition have recently discussed and approved in order to combat violence in the community that is largely attributable to economic and educational deprivation of as well as discrimination against the African-American community. The four major action steps Reverend Babington-Johnson reported are:  

  1. Raise $100,000 over the next 12 months in order to put youth workers into the community.  $25,000 has already been raised toward this goal.

  2. Provide job training for former inmates, addicts, and others “folks coming out of the dark into the light.”

  3. Continue partnership with Stairstep, Merge, and other ministries and Minnesota legislators to secure GED funding.

  4. Train 100 pastors in “mental health first-aid” and equip black psychologists to better address the “state of trauma” that the African-American community is living in.  

Reverend Babington-Johnson encouraged local churches to join in prayer and cheerful giving in order to make these goals a reality. More information on this recent initiative can be found at Transform MN's website.  

After songs of worship, Urban Refuge Reverend Terrence Rollerson concluded the service with prayer. Many gathered stuck around after the service for fellowship and to make connections.

Feel like you missed out? Don’t worry—Reverend Billy Russell was happy to say “We’re gonna do this again.” Stay tuned at Transform MN for more information on future gatherings.

Pastor Jason Meyer address the crowd. Photo Credit: Transform MN. 

Pastor Jason Meyer address the crowd.

Photo Credit: Transform MN.