Mission Northeast Finds Unity in Serving and Praying Together

Better Together, than Apart

Churches in Northeast Minneapolis found they are better together, than they are apart. More than 5 years ago, Sam Snyder of Bethel Christian Fellowship ran into Michael Binder of Mill City Church, both in Northeast Minneapolis, at a Transform Minnesota event.

Mission NE Logo“We were talking about Northeast, and how the desire to pray together as pastors had been on both of our hearts. After the Transform Minnesota event, we decided to get together to pray and invite other pastors that we knew. It was pretty low-key, but we kept meeting weekly,” said Snyder.

Together, a handful of Northeast Minneapolis pastors would gather to pray for healthy leaders, healthy churches, and for the community.

[pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]…the Kingdom of God would come in Northeast as it is in heaven.[/pullquote] “We prayed that God would increase the water level of his activity, and that the Kingdom of God would come in Northeast as it is in heaven,” said Snyder. “Our hope was as we’d pray together that our hearts would be connected and that something would come of that.”

Mission NE is Formed
[pullquote style=”right” quote=”dark”]…exalts Jesus rather that each individual church.[/pullquote] The weekly gathering of pastors grew to be an encouraging, safe space to build relationships, and equip one another to minister to the Northeast community.

The group started calling themselves Mission NE, and within the last 6 years, they’ve grown to include 15-20 churches.

Mission NE Parade Green Shirts“Every church in Northeast we can get in contact with has been invited to be a part of Mission NE,” said Stephanie Williams, a Lead Pastor at Mill City Church, and Board Chair of Mission NE.   “We keep asking what is God doing, and how can we be a part of it?”

Community Events and Outreach

Together Mission NE hosts joint holiday celebrations and outreach events in the community.

On Good Friday they do a “Cross Walk,” where they walk in the shape of a cross down Central Avenue and Lowry Avenue, praying out in the open area and taking communion together. Every year at Easter, Mission NE hosts an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids in the community.

“Meeting together has helped birth new ideas and events. We realized we were all doing floats in the Northeast parade, so why don’t we get together and just do one float that exalts Jesus rather that each individual church? We now take up a city block for our float,” said Snyder.

“We all wear green t-shirts and fill the street with more than 100 people walking in the parade. We use that time to advocate for food insecurity in Northeast. We show there is a sense of unity among churches in Northeast, as we bring awareness to the food insecurity in the area,” said Williams.

Northeast Students

This fall Mission NE launched their own citywide youth group, called NE Students, which meets on Wednesday nights at the Public Functionary Art Gallery.

“A few churches wondered what could happen if we did a youth group together, if we brought our students together so they could see each other across church lines, to realize there are more student Christians?” said Snyder. [pullquote style=”right” quote=”dark”]They could see each other across church lines.[/pullquote]

There are 55 churches and 55,000 people in Northeast, and yet there were no full-time youth pastors in the area. The churches of Mission NE came together and some pooled their finances together to hire two part-time staff members, Conner and Kate.

Green Shirts“It was created out of necessity, we’re meeting a need that most churches couldn’t do on their own,” said Kate Harrell. “It’s a beautiful model. I love that some of our students have discovered other students who go to their school, and they had no idea prior to coming to NES.”

“We aren’t trying to replace anyone’s youth group, but come alongside them,” said Conner Simms.

Northeast Students meets the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Wednesdays of every month; leaving the 4th or 5th Wednesdays for each individual church to get together. Sundays are meant for each individual churches to hold their own youth group, and answer church-specific theological questions.

Northeast Students“I think students care about theology, but certainly not in the same way adults do. Most teenagers want a space to ask their questions and be accepted. And they haven’t developed the same awareness or fear of looking silly that adults seem to have,” said Kate.

[pullquote style=”right” quote=”dark”]there’s unity and it’s worth our efforts.[/pullquote] Since its launch six months ago, NES represents 8 churches, 55 students, and 15 adult leaders.

“NES gives youth the opportunity to see there are people who love Jesus who are walking through the same stage in life as them, and live in their neighborhood. It encourages them to go do life with those people, and it breaks down the quiet anxieties that students sometimes feel, especially for Christians who sometimes feel isolated in the larger school setting,” said Conner.

Unity in Mission NE

MIssion NE at ParadeThe church leaders in Mission NE believe God has brought them together, and they want to be a part of what God is doing in their part of the city of Minneapolis.

“We are trying to ask God what He’s already doing, and how we can be a part of that,” said Williams. “We are not giving up our beliefs or changing our theologies, we are just saying there’s unity and it’s worth our efforts.”

“We should relate with one another and not act competitively. [pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]If we really believe in the body of Christ, we should know our neighbors.[/pullquote] We all want God to work powerfully, and He’s promised to move when there’s unity,” said Snyder. “If we really believe in the body of Christ, we should know our neighbors.”

By praying together and serving together, Mission NE is a great example of the unity found in Jesus.