“The Church was meant to be a structure to ensure just relationships; therefore, by its very nature it was intended to be the answer to social evils, a force for social reform, a threat to the unjust oppression. . . . in the Bible the Church is the antidote to poverty, because it was meant to be a community of self-sacrificing love.” (Truth and Social Reform by Vishal Mangalwadi, p. 106)
Since its inception in 1995, InnerCHANGE Minneapolis has labored toward one overarching goal: to facilitate the birth and growth of new communities of disciples, whose expression and life together flesh out the above vision of what it means to be the church. The future destiny of the followers of Jesus, reigning together with him in his kingdom, is most clearly revealed, in the present, through these communities of disciples. These communities have been brought into being through the proclamation of the good news of Jesus and then transformed by his Spirit to lay down their lives for one another in love and to seek out those still without Christ. We believe the multiplying of such communities is good news for the poor.
“Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.. . . O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise, says the Lord; I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” (Ps. 10:12, 17-18; 12:5)
Compelled by a passionate love for Jesus and his kingdom:
Our vision, as an InnerCHANGE community in South Minneapolis, is to serve those who, for various reasons, find themselves marginalized and disempowered in our community. We endeavor to extend the blessing of Jesus and his kingdom through demonstrations of love and through the invitation to follow Jesus as Lord in the community of his people, the church. Facilitating the birth of simple churches among, for and of the poor is the primary means by which we aim to extend the blessing of the kingdom of Jesus.
The InnerCHANGE team of Minneapolis is located in the Phillips neighborhood (the near south side). Historically, this neighborhood has been home to both the city’s native and immigrant poor as well as some of the city’s wealthiest families. Today, as the largest neighborhood in Minneapolis, Phillips continues to be home to a rich diversity of cultures that include Native Americans, African Americans, Somali (largest population in the U.S.), Latino (over 500% growth since 1990) and a wide variety of immigrant families. It is a neighborhood that has experienced rapid change in recent years.
Because Phillips has historically been one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Minneapolis, there exists a number of social service agencies whose aim is to meet the many and varied needs of the neighborhood. But even though many material needs can be met through these agencies and a wide variety of assets exist in the neighborhood, what is often missing for those on the margins are long-term, stable, healthy relationships with those who are willing to share life together. Therefore, our priority has been to establish simple churches that will foster these kinds of relationships centered on our commitment to love and follow Jesus. The various arenas in which we seek to serve others in our community have as their priority aim, to build relationships in which the good news of the love of Jesus can be shared and a community of believers established. Most often we have found ourselves learning, serving and partnering with existing organizations to carry out this purpose.
About the Team...
The goal towards which we labor is the visible manifestation of God’s kingdom in worshiping, renewed, reconciled and just relationships; in other words, the church. Each door of ministry opened to us is an opportunity to build with Jesus towards his work of reconciling all things to himself. Therefore, the birth of new expressions of the church is central to every effort. Our emphasis is on work that leads to redemptive relationships in which the good news of Jesus can be announced. This has led us at different times into a variety of arenas to serve others such as: Sports, tutoring, mentoring youth, prison ministry, ministry to men and women with addictions, job mentoring, working in the public schools, developing business, mentoring women coming out of the sex industry and teaming with other local ministries or organizations.
What kind of people are we looking for?
- Those committed to following Jesus and learning from him in the fellowship of other committed followers.
- Those who are sensing a call to live and walk with the poor and marginalized and who share the values and commitments of InnerCHANGE.
- Those who value being a community on mission, working together towards a common goal, yet able, at times, to initiate new avenues of ministry on their own.
- Those who are willing to persevere in difficult contexts.
- Those who desire to learn with us what it means to be the church among, for and of the poor.
- Those with the desire to build relationships with those outside the church.
- Those with a variety of skills, gifts and creativity who are desirous to use these to create new avenues of ministry.
- Those who love adventure, are seeking exotic environments and who have the courage and heart to brave the Minnesota winters and summer mosquitos. Only the strong survive.