The InnerCHANGE team in Minneapolis began in 1995 in the Phillips neighborhood with the express desire and mission to multiply communities of disciples among the overlooked and least reached peoples living there. This has meant forging expressions of the body of Christ that are outside the traditional Western forms of what many may understand to be “the church.” We are persistently in search of access to those from our community that God is drawing to himself, those who he is calling to follow him. We refer to these people as People of Peace (Lk. 10:5-6). These people are potential disciples whom God will use to spread the good news of Jesus among those within their network of relationships.
The Phillips Neighborhood has been one of the more impoverished neighborhoods historically, though it has seen a number of changes over the years the team has been here. Injustice pervades every community facing poverty, because at its root, poverty exists as a result of relationships that do not work right, relationships that are broken and exploitative. The most significant injustice is to have restricted access to hearing about how to be reconciled and restored with the Lord who created all things and restores broken relationships. Therefore our priority is to approach the breaking of injustices and the healing of relationships by establishing movements of disciples in churches that are committed to being reconciled to and obeying Jesus in all that he commanded.
A result of Phillips being one of the more impoverished neighborhoods historically, is a wide variety of social service agencies that seek to meet the many and varied needs of the people in the neighborhood. We have found that even though many material needs can be met by these agencies, what is often missing is access to long-term, stable, and healthy relationships with others who are willing to share life together. Our priority has been to foster these kinds of relationships centered on our commitment to love and follow Jesus.
Phillips is home to a rich diversity of cultures and therefore a key quality for those working here is to cultivate a curiosity and willingness to love and engage others who are different from ourselves. Our own relationships span several different cultures - American Indian, African American, Afghan, Caucasian, Somali, Ecuadorean, Chinese, et. al. A commitment to humility and teachability is essential. Our pursuit of friendships and People of Peace across these cultures has led us into a wide array of access points for serving others in the love of Jesus. Each has had the ultimate purpose of inviting people to follow Jesus and to bring others along with them into the fellowship of his family. These are some examples of ways we have engaged in our community to serve others:
Neighboring and walking alongside vulnerable families
Mentoring emerging ministry leaders and equipping others in disciple-making movements
Strategically collaborating with others who share a vision of pursuing gospel movements among the poor
Building relationships with refugees from among unreached peoples
Partnership with other ministries involved with anti-trafficking, affordable housing, education, refugee resettlement, addiction recovery, and discipleship.
Using our hands to bless people with creative woodworking and pottery projects, and carpentry work.
church planting and discovery studies
Engaging youth through coaching, tutoring, and mentoring
Business: For profit business of Property management that houses low income residents and those who have experienced homelessness; Developing a nonprofit coffee business to create employment and cultivate life skills with youth experiencing homelessness.
There continues to be a number of “companions,” who have either been a part of the team or have shared together in work of the team, that live in the neighborhood and continue to partner with us in the work at varying levels.