Where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going…
The history of Hope Community Church begins in a living room with 14 people dreaming of the ways by which God could become known to the people of Minneapolis who were just “kicking the tires” of Christianity, specifically those near the University of Minnesota. They dreamed of a church that would aim to find as many connecting points as possible with those who don’t believe in God showing the relevance of faith to daily living. They dreamed of a church where people would be welcomed wherever they were in their journey of faith and yet encouraged to go further. They dreamed of a church where community was more than just their middle name – it was the experience of each person that became part of the Hope family. They dreamed of a church where the teachings of the Bible would be clearly communicated and made understandable to those who weren’t accustomed to it’s message. They dreamed of a church where God would be number one in all that happened. They dreamed of a church that would play a role in spreading the kingdom of God – building up others in their faith and starting new churches to do the same.
Could these dreams become a reality? Could God take 14 people and with the help of his power and direction make all of this happen? In 1996, the people of Hope Community Church began to meet regularly and held their first public service with great faith that God would make their dreams a reality. Since that time God has done much – only a portion of that can be recounted here:
- The time (actually many times!) that God provided just enough during the early years allowing Hope to keep the doors open.
- The times that God taught the people of Hope how to pray and depend on him through a host of health crises.
- In 2000, beginning the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) to help raise up new leaders.
- In 2002, the search began for a larger facility. This search led to a landmark event in our church’s history: the time when God gave Hope a building. We remain indebted to God, Tom Mouw, Dave Sulack, the members of Central Evangelical Free Church, and the Evangelical Free Church of America for this gift in the Spring of 2003.
- In 2006, God allowed Hope to celebrate 10 years of fruitful ministry and caused leaders to begin dreaming again about what else God may want to do in and through the people of Hope - specifically, the prayer to start 10 new churches in the next 10 years.
- By 2010, Hope had helped plant 6 new churches!
- In 2011, Hope again was struggle with space problems. We thought God was done, and the move downtown would alleviate all future space worries. But God always likes to show Himself off! This led to another landark event in Hope’s history, as the church building directly next to Hope, Augustana Lutheran Church, went up for sale, and they agreed to sell the property to Hope for their initial construction price and pay forward their equity to the next generation!
- Then there were all the times that God met with the people of Hope individually during a Sunday morning services, small group meetings, LDI classes, leadership meetings, times of prayer or service, musical worship, or retreats…
For all of this and more we thank and honor God who has exceeded our dreams, above and beyond anything we could have asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20).When the leaders of Hope began dreaming afresh in 2006 God provided new ways we could make him known to the people of Minneapolis and around the world. Here are a few ways that we are dreaming and you could be praying:
- How could we bless our city? We are dreaming of ways that Hope could seek the welfare of the city (Jeremiah 29:7). We are seeking ways to be involved in raising the level of water in the harbor of Minneapolis so that all the boats rise with it – so that all the people of the city might be blessed.
- How can we help Hope stay Hope? There are limitations in our building and parking. There are challenges that come with our desires to meet and treat each person individually, yet the number of individuals is well over 1100 people. There is much to oversee and manage. How can we move from a family to a family-owned business in a way that many of the characteristics people appreciate about Hope remain intact?
- How can we do as much damage to the kingdom of darkness? Hope’s aim is to help as many people become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ and to get on mission with Jesus through Hope’s efforts to advance God’s kingdom. Hope dreams to see LDI and church planting efforts accelerated, so much so that they become a catalyst for training up as many followers of Jesus Christ as possible and starting a total of 100 churches nationally and internationally.
- You. In the life of Hope there has been a constant and irreplaceable resource common in all we’ve ever done and all we’re currently doing – YOU. Hope would cease to exist if it weren’t for the partnership each Hopester has given to make God known. The original 14 people has become almost 1200, but each person remains critical – in building community, in communicating about who Jesus is, in raising up leaders, in prayer, in giving, in starting new churches – in fulfilling our vision to honor God in everything!
These are big dreams. Could these dreams actually become a reality? We believe God can make these dreams come true…and we believe he will!
TO HIM BE THE GLORY IN THE CHURCH AND IN CHRIST JESUS TO ALL GENERATIONS FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN! (Ephesians 3:21)