Off-road ministry

What I learned from mountain biking

For five years, from 1997 to 2002, I was pastor of a congregation of mostly 20- and 30-somethings, a group some would call postmodern or—though this term appeared later—“emergent.” Spirit Garage, the “church with the really big door,” was born in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, an area populated by thousands of young people, including students and those working their first postcollege jobs. The neighborhood had plenty of churches, but most were not very successful at reaching this particular population. So Bethlehem Lutheran decided to start a new worshiping community of young adults. Within a year we had more than 100 young people worshiping regularly.


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