Nik and Ruth Ripken wowed 165 attendees at Transform Minnesota’s February Insanity of God conference. The sold-out 2-day conference at Celebration Church, Lakeville equipped those in cross-cultural ministry, by emphasizing the call of suffering on the mission field, whether in a participants’ own community or overseas in a persecuted region. Through their extensive travels, the Ripkens have absorbed invaluable lessons from over 600 believers in persecuted situations. Much of what they shared at the conference was communicated from the lessons the Ripkens gleaned from their work with the persecuted church. Read what some participants said about the powerful, practical, Biblical and affirming lessons taught by the Ripkens.
As we seek to understand how Christians are called to welcome the alien in our midst at our March 2, 2017 Standing with Refugees event; be confident in our country’s screening process, knowing that refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of anybody who travels to the United States. But also put your confidence in God’s calling on our lives to remember our ancestors who were once foreigners (found as the Hebrew word GER in the Old Testament), and to show hospitality to the stranger (hospitality is a Greek compound word of phileo and xenia, meaning love of stranger found in the New Testament).
On March 11, 2017 a leadership conference for rural and small town churches called Grow! was held at Cornerstone Church in Litchfield, MN. Over 300 pastors and ministry leaders from across the Midwest attended the inaugural conference designed to provide church leaders information on how to minister effectively, encourage them to see their unique role in God's plan, and help them take the steps that can impact their world for all of eternity. Included is a Q & A with some Grow Conference participants engaged in rural ministry in the Midwest.
Portia Allen, Local Project Director at River Valley Church writes about how attendees at River Valley's 8 metro campuses make themselves available to their respective communities by being present and volunteering at community events and by partnering with local organizations to help them serve local residents. Allen shares the framework by which River Valley chooses to do local outreach in each community, and why it's important for a church to ask itself if outreach meets a real need in its community.
How do short-term missions trips produce results that go beyond a feel-good mini vacation? We asked a panel of missions pastors/administrators to share their best practices in crafting valuable and effective short-term missions trips. Find out how to honor the mutually beneficial nature of the church/missionary partnership. How dreaming big resulted in a 9,000% growth in missions giving at one church. And why it's best to seek out invitations from long-term missionaries before planning a trip.
On October 5, 2017, Transform Minnesota hosted 'Daring Generosity': a pastor's luncheon at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. Designed to help churches establish a culture of generosity President of Transform Minnesota: Carl Nelson, CEO of Thrivent Financial: Brad Hewitt, and Lead Pastor at River Valley Church, Rob Ketterling, joined in presentation on the heart and spirit behind giving.
On October 28, 2017, Calvary Community church in St. Cloud hosted a one-day conference on how the church can better engage and love our Somali neighbors. The event was a collaborative effort between Transform Minnesota, Arrive Ministries, and the St. Cloud Evangelical Network for Transformation (SENT Network). Through various panel discussions and seminars, those present heard from a wide variety of individuals involved.
While the vast majority of America’s land space is rural and a surprising number of ministry leaders in America have “served time” in rural churches, knowledge, vision and leadership for rural ministry is often overlooked in light of the need to reach the densely populated urban centers and suburban communities. The realities of poverty and isolation are closer to the truth of what the average small town community experiences today. Read more about how to grow and sustain a thriving rural church, and learn about a unique ministry opportunity, the Grow! Leadership Conference coming to Willmar, MN in March, 2018.
For our Pastor's Column series on evangelism, Pastor Brian Gingrich of Hillside Church in Bloomington writes about how community is inextricably related to their evangelistic endeavors; how a context is created that is both nonthreatening and mutually interesting. Find out how coffee and badminton have cultivated a culture of outreach and authentic relationship-building. And Pastor Brian shares some important lessons he's learned about evangelism and Millennials.
Pastor Jordan Borer Nelson, of Shiloh Temple International Ministries shares how he leads weekly evangelism efforts in North Minneapolis. The community is one of the poorest communities in Minneapolis. But he says Shiloh is blessed to welcome those who have been delivered from drugs and gangs, and those who struggle with poverty, lack of education and lack of proper resources. Find our how Pastor Jordan models the church's evangelism efforts after Jesus.
Rev. Chong Yang of St. Paul Hmong Alliance Church gives us an in-depth look at evangelism in the Hmong community, starting with a basic understanding of the ancient cultural beliefs of shamans (witch doctors) and sorcerers. Rev. Yang shares how spiritual encounters and attacks are common in the Hmong community (Christians and non-Christians alike). And how Hmong churches need to have a strong foundation in the work of the Holy Spirit and His empowerment of healing, deliverance, and spiritual warfare, in order to share the Gospel to Hmong people.
275 rural pastors attended the Grow Conference in Willmar, MN on March 3, 2018, hailing from a span of 800 miles across the Midwest. The Grow! Conference was led by a diverse array of denominations, church leaders, and speakers which evoked a unifying spirit in Christ. With a focus on the unique rural experience and how to whole-heartedly embrace the place God has called them, participants said the content was invaluable. Through Grow! we aim to encourage rural church leaders that God is with them and He will give them what they need to share His love and message to their small town.
If your church is striving to be a multi-cultural church, here's a great place to start: 7 ways to reach different people groups. In Acts, Jesus commands us to make disciples of people, including people of a different ethnicity that live within our communities.
Berean Baptist Church in Burnsville, MN was included as #10 among the fastest growing churches in the country, according to Outreach Magazine. Pastor Brent Birdsall says he cannot point to a strategic plan, specific program nor evangelistic effort to credit the growth. But, here he shares three observations he’s noticed while reflecting on Berean’s stewardship of that growth.
Good planning is only part of moving a church forward, plans have to be executed. A lead pastor must keep a finger on the pulse of the church to ensure movement is happening. In larger churches, this can be delegated through staff; in smaller churches, the pastor typically has to be that point person to keep things progressing. Read five areas that require leadership and attention from the lead pastor to help move plans to action.
Ten tips to consider as a springboard for conversations in your church on how to promote healthier relationships among men and women. Pastor Amy Rowell, the Community Life Pastor at City Church in Minneapolis longs to see the Church reflecting an accurate image of who God is by how we relate with one another as men and women. Read how we can empower our sisters in Christ to use their gifts in whatever capacity they can to serve the Church.
Woody Roland, a Transform Minnesota board member and the pastor of missions at Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester wrote this Op-Ed piece for the Rochester Post Bulletin on December 11, 2018.
Churches of all shapes, sizes and flavors have one thing in common: they want to grow. The bigger question is: how willing are you to lead change? Growth and change are synonymous. As a ministry consultant and coach, Chad Hunt has seen many pastors sacrifice growth to keep people happy and avoid discomfort. They want results without change. Here Hunt shares three changes leaders avoid making, which can prevent church growth.
Transform Minnesota is committed to connecting and equipping church leaders in Minnesota communities; large and small. We are offering more conferences and forums geared toward churches in rural and small town communities, with plans for expanding our influence in the rural evangelical community in 2019.
In partnership with Thrivent Financial, we hosted two Engaging Generations Through Generosity seminars in January 2019, that took a deep dive into research Thrivent commissioned Barna Group to conduct around the generosity of self-identified Christians.
At our Trauma Informed training on June 26, 2019 held at Sanctuary Covenant Church, we looked into how Christian communities can heal unseen wounds. The Church is uniquely positioned to be a healing presence for the growing number of trauma survivors we serve in our communities.