From 10,000 Lakes to a Skyline of Mountains

Trinity City Church will soon be missing out on a few familiar faces.

Daniel Parks and Annika Parks, who have both volunteered in various positions throughout their time at the church, are moving to Boulder, Colorado soon for Daniel to pursue a doctorate in conducting at the University of Colorado.

“I’m looking forward to living in the mountains or having mountains in the skyline,” Annika said. “And the climate is a bit more stable — not as midwestern crazy.”

Daniel has been the music director for the music team and deacon of music for two years. Annika served as the kitchen coordinator last year and also serves on the music team.

“I have been involved with music ministry since I was about 12 or 13 years old, Daniel said. “I started volunteering with the music team almost immediately. I think the second Sunday we were attending, I introduced myself to the music leader at the time. Annika started helping out in the kitchen not long after and did that for a few years.”

The couple — who have been married for almost eight years — met in high school. Though they attended different high schools, their families attended the same church in Appleton, Wisconsin. Daniel and Annika started dating a few years later, when they were in college.

Daniel and Annika both said they grew up looking to their families as an example of volunteerism, especially in the church.

“I think that’s something that’s modeled in our families and that’s a normal part of our experience was volunteering,” Daniel said.

In 2013, Daniel got a job teaching in River Falls, Wisconsin, so they moved to St. Paul. They found Trinity in its early years after an online search.

“It felt normal to be in a smaller church plant,” Annika said.

Annika is a professional photographer, specializing in wedding, engagement and family photographer. Daniel is a music educator and musician who recently finished up a Master’s program at the University of Minnesota.

While Annika said she’s looking forward to the new topography, Daniel said he’s looking forward to starting his doctoral program in Colorado.

“I love learning and I really enjoy being a student,” Daniel said. “I’m excited to begin my last run of schooling in my life.”

Neither of them work for solely a paycheck, and are passionate about their jobs, Annika said.

“It’s nice to love what you do,” Annika said.

But, the couple will miss the relationships they’ve cultivated through Trinity. Annika said she will miss the family she used to nanny for and Daniel said he will miss the people he’s gotten to know through volunteering at the church.

Both of them also said they’ll miss the tacos at a few of their favorite restaurants, Maya Cuisine and El Taco Riendo, and will have to find a new taco place in Boulder.

By Maggie Stanwood. Stanwood is a multimedia reporter for the Prior Lake American newspaper in Prior Lake, Minnesota.


Duluth Baptisms

On July 5th, Pastor Bryan baptized Jacob Cloutier and Katherine Chmielewski (now Katherine Cloutier) in Lake Superior near downtown Duluth. The next day he officiated their wedding. Watch the video of these baptisms above. 

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life," (Romans 6:4). 


Antioch Community Church's New Home

Antioch Community Church is a sister church of Trinity City Church as Hope Community Church planted Antioch in 2008 and Trinity in 2010. Antioch and Trinity have partnered in various ministries throughout the year and share a common vision and mission.

Both Antioch and Trinity share a vision to make disciples of Jesus Christ who transform the urban neighborhoods where they live and worship. A part of realizing this vision includes local churches ministering from physical spaces within their neighborhoods. Every church family needs a church home. Trinity has a home at 1849 Marshall Avenue in St. Paul and Antioch recently moved into their new home at 1121 NE Jackson Street in Minneapolis.

Antioch moved from the Ukrainian Event Center to the Waterbury Building this spring. This new space meets the needs of this growing local church as they continue to minister in Northeast Minneapolis. Trinity was one of many supporters who made this move and space renovation possible.

In the video above, Pastor Andy gives Pastor Bryan a tour of Antioch’s new home.

 Image: Antioch service at the Waterbury Building Credit: Antioch Community Church

Image: Antioch service at the Waterbury Building
Credit: Antioch Community Church

Trinity City Church Sending Out Immanuel Fellowship this Fall

Trinity City Church is a community of witnesses who not only share the gospel personally but also corporately by starting new churches. This last Sunday, Pastor Bryan announced that Trent Senske is now a Church Planting Resident at Trinity, which means Trinity is the sending church for Immanuel Fellowship.

Immanuel Fellowship will have preview services and neighborhood parties throughout the summer. In addition, here are some key dates coming up this fall: 

  • September 9: The Immanuel Fellowship Team will be commissioned at Trinity City Church
  • September 16: Immanuel Fellowship begins weekly services at Laura Ingalls Wilder Complex in south Minneapolis. 
  • October 14: Celebration Service for Immanuel Fellowship supporters at the Wilder Complex.  

Stay updated on the latest details by following Immanuel Fellowship on Facebook

In the audio above, Pastor Bryan exhorted everyone to support Immanuel Fellowship by doing one (or more) of the following:

  1. Praying: commit to praying regularly for this church plant.
  2. Giving: donate to Immanuel Fellowship. 
  3. Advocating: spread the word about Immanuel Fellowship especially among those in south MPLS. 
  4. Joining: become a part of the Immanuel Fellowship team! 

Everyone at Trinity City Church can do at least one of the above options. It's a specific way we may continue to make disciples who join God in the renewal of our city and world!

 Pastor Trent shares the vision and values of Immanuel Fellowship at the Space Preview.

Pastor Trent shares the vision and values of Immanuel Fellowship at the Space Preview.

Trinity Faces - Jole Miller

It's time for the next installment of Trinity Faces, Jole Miller! This week we will be getting know Jole in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Jole shares life from his point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?


What’s your vocation?

I'm a collegiate rep with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I work with athletes and coaches from Mac, UST, and CSP. 

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I was a member of the skydiving club at the University of Edinburgh.

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

I like the cultural diversity, the outdoorsiness, and the unique shops and restaurants.

How long have you attended TCC?

Since the spring of 2014.

How do you serve at TCC?

I serve with children's church, grounds crew/ snow removal, van driving, and carrying around miscellaneous objects.

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

TCC is the first church I went to where I feel connected to the other members. Family is one of the core identities at TCC, and we genuinely live that out. 



We're only five months into 2018, but we're just a few months away from finishing the ministry year for Trinity City Church.

During the 2017-2018 ministry year, we've been in the midst of a “reset” that will be wrapping up this summer.

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If you're new to TCC, we're currently transitioning from a a 100+ church to a 200+ church.

This transition has included re-organizing our staff and leadership teams as well as re-thinking the 2018 budget.

Some of these things have already taken place. The 2018 budget is approved, we hired two new Ministry Assistants on staff, and we've voted in new members of the Governance Team.

Other things that are taking place and/or are in the midst of a reset:

  • The Overseer Team will start training potential candidates to increase the size of the team.
  • More effort and support will be given to Community Groups and their leaders in order to multiply beyond 10 groups in September.
  • The leadership teams of Trinity are still assessing what other staff hires need to be made circa summer.
  • Finally, an important part of this reset is re-energizing our congregation and volunteers through storytelling. We will be increasing communication about how God is calling so many of you in your lives to make disciples who join God in the renewal of our city and world. In fact, we want to hear your story right here.

But as the reset wraps up this coming summer, what’s next for the 2018-19 ministry year?

More on that in the next journal entry.

Trinity Faces - Megan Arneson

This week we will be getting know Megan Arneson in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Megan shares life from her point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?

Merriam Park

What’s your vocation?

Social Worker/Higher Education - I have both my bachelor's and master's degrees in social work.  While I'm not on the front lines and interacting with clients on a daily basis in the field of social work right now, I am still working in this same area, but in a higher ed setting. 

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I have mad-cribbage skills.  I once won a cribbage tournament; ask me about it sometime. 

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

The diversity of ethnic foods and farmer's markets

How long have you attended TCC?

8ish years

How do you serve at TCC? 

I am a member of the Governance Team (overseeing the business aspects of the church) and a participant on the Care Team ministry, 

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

The emphasis on caring for one another well and how we're growing and learning together what this means for our church family and the greater communities that we come in contact with on a daily basis. 


Trinity Faces - Brianna Rogers

This week we will be getting know Brianna Rodgers in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Brianna shares life from her point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?

We have hit the one year mark in our first home this February living in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul.

What’s your vocation?

My official title is Interpretive Naturalist but most people get that confused with a naturist so I just say outdoor education. Picture me chasing butterflies in an open field with a bunch of kids at a nature center... Yea that's pretty much what I do ;)

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I get super excited to go to the dentist. If I could get my teeth professionally cleaned everyday I totally would!

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

I love the small town feel of historic Saint Paul with all the benefits of living in the city. The many opportunities to be a tourist in your own neighborhood and the closeness to parks, rivers, and lakes!

How long have you attended TCC?

Since the summer of 2012

How do you serve at TCC?

Some of the ways I serve at TCC is as a co-leader with my husband David for the Fairmount Community Group and we serve together on the usher team. I also serve as a Deaconess on Trinity's Directional Team. 

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

I look forward to waking up and going to church each Sunday morning to worship Christ our Lord with fellow believers. To be renewed and refocused on the work He has done in my own life and is continually doing in our city.


2018 Lent and Holy Week

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Holy Week is here. At Trinity City Church, we started the season of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service, and last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. This week we'll be gathering for Maunday Thursday meals, a Good Friday service, a community egg hunt, and finally celebrating Easter with baptisms.

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.


Trinity Faces - Sara Wright

This week we get to peek into Sara Wright's world in our next installment of #trinityfaces. Be sure to check TCC's Instagram and Facebook this week as we get a glimpse into Sara's life.

What neighborhood do you live in?

Merriam Park, Saint Paul

What’s your vocation?

I'm a stay-at-home mom at the moment.

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

This is hard to come up with something.  I guess a lot of people might not know i used to live in Alaska. I also once tried to grow a pet dred in my hair for about a week. It didn't work.

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

The people

How long have you attended TCC?

About 8 years

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

I love that TCC is relatively small and has a close community feel to it.


The FCA House Story

Three years ago, David Melms couldn’t get the idea of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) house near Macalester College in St. Paul out of his head.

Melms, who graduated from Macalester College in 2013, would take prayer walks around his neighborhood and see houses for sale. Melms had been one of the students to start the FCA ministry on campus in spring 2010.

“I would walk by this one house time and time again and it would be for sale and it just sparked something in my mind about, ‘well, how cool would that be if there was a house for the FCA ministry that had somewhat of a legacy to it where I knew that Christians were there year after year and it was a place where people could go chill and have fun too,” Melms said.

The FCA ministry is on college campuses across the country, led by student athletes and coaches working to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And so the idea for a campus ministry for Macalester College stayed in Melms’ mind. During his college years, Melms had formed a friendship with Paul Olson, who is a member of the Macalester College Board of Trustees.

Olson had also recognized a need for a Christian ministry on Macalester College.

“They don't formally recognize campus ministries at Macalester, even FCA, though we love and want the best for the campus — so, our good relationships and trust as alumni leads to being welcomed into the athletics department,” Melms said.

Olson approached Melms about two years ago and proposed buying a house to create an intentional student ministry near most of the college campuses in St. Paul.

“(Olson) wanted to take those steps and buy a property near Macalester, but his wife was only wanting it if it would be something intentional like a student ministry, and that’s what they proposed,” Melms said. “I’ve always wanted something like that and I’d been praying for something like that, so it ended up being a yearlong journey to search for the right house.”

The group eventually found a house about a block from Macalester College, with an unfinished basement. Olson made an offer, which was accepted and the first people moved in 2017.

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In the spring, renovations began on the basement to create a common space for those living in the house. The renovations included a prayer room, a kitchenette, tables for studying, a laundry room and an entertainment area.

The leadership spent six months working on the basement.

“This is all new to us, too, so it’s not that it’s not a good time for a story but the story is just starting to unfold,” Melms said.

The benefits of the house for Christian students are twofold — on one hand, students get face-to-face interaction with other students of faith living in the house, including Melms and his wife, who live upstairs. The other part is that the students have been gifted with a house and so should become disciples on their campus.

“They have this incredible home, because it’s not a college home — it’s a half-million dollar property that has been gifted to them, so it’s not your typical college apartment unit,” Melms said. “So the expectations for living in the house are that you’re excited about growing your faith and you’re excited about growing in a Christian community and you’re wanting to bless your campus with the house that you’ve been given.”


Everything about the house was made possible through the grace of God, Melms said.

“It isn’t really a story about an FCA staff guy or an FCA ministry, but there is just a ton of people that have been really generous in the process and God has just given us a great deal of confidence,” Melms said. “We had a confidence through it all that God is going to do something with this and he’s shown us he’s going to do this.”


This post written by Maggie Stanwood. Stanwood is a multimedia reporter at the Prior Lake American. She also freelances for the White Bear Press Pub and the Elk River Star News. Read more of her writing at this website

Trinity Faces - Micah Taylor

This week we will be getting know Micah Taylor in our effort to learn more about the people that make up Trinity City Church. Be sure to check out Instagram and Facebook this week as Micah shares life from his point of view.

What neighborhood do you live in?

I guess since Whitney said West 7th is "the best one", I'll say the bestest one: Highland Park.

What’s your occupation?

I'm a husband and dad who gets paid to design websites. I also occupy myself with music, photography, bicycling, and co-owning a bakery.

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

Most folks at TCC don't know that, for most of my life, I had really long hair. Mother nature is a cruel barber.

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

The bicycle/fitness culture is inspiring. And yes, I try to bike in the winter; I have the broken collarbone to prove it.

How long have you attended TCC?

A year and a half-ish... I'm not good with dates... ask my wife.

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

Well, the welcoming people first and foremost. That being said I appreciate the meshing of the old and the new at TCC. Raised in a liturgical church and coming previously from a more passionately evangelical church, I appreciate that there is a home for both at TCC.

Micah Taylor


Trinity Faces - Tyson Phipps

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

What neighborhood do you live in?

I live in Roseville while I’m studying at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul.

What’s your vocation?

I’m a full-time student, a Resident Assistant in the dorms, and a Gallery Assistant at the Denler art gallery on campus. 

What’s something a lot of people don’t know about you?

I grew up as a missionary kid in Turkey; my parents are still church planters there.

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

The art community, lots of awesome activities for any mood, and Punch Pizza.

How long have you attended TCC?

About 2 years.

What’s something you appreciate about TCC?

I love the focus of growing in the gospel with the neighborhood and community. I feel like with TCC I can value the joys of life more. 

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"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!"

 Candlelight Service at Trinity City Church, Christmas Eve 2017

Candlelight Service at Trinity City Church, Christmas Eve 2017

This is the poem that was read this evening at the Candlelight Service. "Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
     And wild and sweet
     The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
     Had rolled along
     The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
     A voice, a chime,
     A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
     And with the sound
     The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
     And made forlorn
     The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! 

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said:
     "For hate is strong,
     And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!" 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
     The Wrong shall fail,
     The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Christmas Eve at Trinity City Church

On Christmas Eve, there are two things to schedule.

One, we will not be gathering at 1849 Marshall Ave for a morning service. Instead, we'll be gathering at Antioch Community Church in NE MPLS at 10am (see 

Two, come back to 1849 Marshall Ave for a Candlelight Service starting at 5pm. No childcare because we want families to gather together as we sing carols, read Scripture, and celebrate the light of Christ in the darkness. All are welcome! 


Pastoral Resident: Trent Senske

We recently introduced Trent Senske as our new Pastoral Resident at Trinity City Church. The residency is designed to give Trent more pastoral experience as he continues to work towards planting Immanuel Fellowship in south Minneapolis. 

If you missed the introduction, then listen to the audio below.

Also check out this video Trent did with Pastor Bryan for his latest update. 

Finally, here is a short bio of Trent from his website


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.

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:

Picture: Darren Carlson


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


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. 


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.