MainStreet Journey

Welcome Back, Church!

After a long time apart, or online, it’s time to come back together for fellowship and worship. This summer is a great opportunity to place weekly worship and Christian fellowship back into your life as “an anchor for the soul” (Heb 6:19). Here's a preview.

Dear church and friends:

Spring and summer have arrived in more than just the usual way. The dark winter of the pandemic is releasing its cold grip on the world and life is beginning to return to normal. Little league games. Concerts in the park. Family picnics. The sun is shining in the sky and hopefully in our hearts. 

It’s time for our MainStreet family to come back together for fellowship and worship as well. We have missed many of you these long months. Many have tried to stay engaged in our online services,  classes and seminars (often on Zoom), and others have understandably drifted away a bit. And that’s okay. This summer is a great opportunity to place weekly worship and Christian fellowship back into your life as “an anchor for the soul” (Heb 6:19).  

Life in a post-pandemic world will be different. The pandemic forced a giant “reset” and collective evaluation of how we have live and work and worship. We learned many can work from home as effectively as in the office. We realized how busy our schedules were and how nice it is to have open weekends with our family. We discovered how fragile our lives and civilization really is. We (hopefully) were reminded of the peace Christ provides in the middle of life’s storms.

As far as church goes, we realized we won’t immediately go up in flames if we don’t “go to church” every Sunday, and we can keep growing apart from conventional services. Others realized how much they value Christian fellowship once it was taken away. Sadly, many people will decide they never need to go back to church and will join the growing masses of people who claim to be a Christian but aren’t an active part of a local community. Let me be as clear as I possibly can: The New Testament has no concept of a Christian life apart from participation in a Christian community. The Christian life is a communal life, and there’s no such thing as a solo Christian. 

MainStreet’s current emphasis on providing intentional discipleship and formation resources and opportunities weathered the pandemic quite well. However, the community life and close knit fellowship that has characterized MainStreet suffered a lot this past year. (As an introvert, I rather enjoyed it!) But it’s time to come back together! We have a fun calendar of relaxed gatherings and growth opportunities for you to consider:

  1. Fun old time worship in lakeside chapel Sundays at 5pm (with kids lesson included in service). In the name of “seasonal variety” we will move back into the chapel for a summer of Old Time Chapel Services— simple, vintage Bible camp vibe with services featuring “campy” songs on the guitar, a kids lesson, inspirational sermon, and Holy Communion. On nice evenings we may move outside. We are blessed to gather in a beautiful, historic chapel on Lake Minnetonka and next to the Dakota trail, so come by boat or bike!

2. Wednesday night “Luke by the Lake” at 6:30 PM (with kids 10+ invited to attend). An early rabbi urged disciples to “be covered the dust of the feet of their rabbi’s feet” and to “drink in his words with gusto.” Nothing could be more important for the Church in America right now than to simply gather to soak in the words and teachings of Jesus, to observe his lifestyle and imitate his ways. We plan to do just that on Wednesday nights this summer. Join us as we read through Luke’s Gospel.

3. Monthly 3-part Soul Care Series with special guest Dr. Keith Meyer on “7 Questions to Change Your Life & Worldon June 15, July 21, and August 18 at 6:30 PM. Keith is a retired Covenant pastor and my own mentor. Keith has authored books on Spiritual Formation, taught at Denver Seminary, and was a personal disciple of Dallas Willard, one of the great spiritual giants of the 20th century. Join us for these illuminating evenings together!

4. Community life events this summer include Guys Whirlyball, Feed My Starving Children, Slip ’n Slide, Girls night, and Family Campout. We look forward to being together again in person and making more memories.

As we come back together please keep in mind a couple things. First, we’ve shifted into a new model and season as a church in our new St. Martin’s home. We’re smaller and more focused on fostering inner growth than organizational growth. My new mantra is, “If a gathering of 12 disciples was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me as well.” I want everyone to know that I am at peace with a very small MainStreet community for this next season of life together, and I hope you can embrace it as well. 

Second, as communicated at our congregational meeting, we have removed “community life” events and planning from the responsibilities of our pastoral leaders, and placed it in the hands of the MainStreet community—you! Our pastors will remain focused on teaching and formation, and things like service projects and church socials will happen as volunteers step up and plan them. 

Let me close with a personal note and reflection. God has been leading me into a new season of ministry at MainStreet and opening up teaching opportunities on the side. God has been setting me free from ill-fitting ministry “yokes” (cf. Matt 11), and I suspect those who join or remain with MainStreet for this next season will get the best version of Pastor Jeremy so far. :) But every new season requires letting go of certain parts of the precious past. My kids rub my nose in this reality every time they talk about how much they miss “old church” in our previous building. Those were special years for sure, with countless moments I will forever cherish. But while others were singing happily, I was often secretly suffering and miserable inside.

God called me to teach the Bible and make disciples. I was never called or gifted to “run a church” or spend all week putting together a Sunday service, but that’s what the past 10 years have felt like. We formed a culture where everyone is encouraged to be their authentic selves; all the while I felt I needed to be a kind of pastor I am not. God and other voices in my life have helped affirm the unique and gifted pastor and teacher that I am, and I am determined to live and minister from that pure place in the coming years. And I hope MainStreet is the place I get to do it!

I am convinced many American churches have caved to consumerism, and too many church-goers want entertainment from their pastors more than discipleship and inner transformation. Jesus promised that His Way of discipleship and cross-shaped living is narrow and few pursue it, and he warned that the path that attracts the crowds is actually the road to destruction, and to be avoided it at all costs (see Matt 7:13-14). This is why I have peace about leading a small rag-tag group of MainStreeters who seriously want to take up their cross, deny themselves and the culture’s idols, and pursue a life of Kingdom growth after the pattern of Jesus.  

Our current slogan is to say, “MainStreet is a grace-filled, authentic community of intentional discipleship and formation; far more than a Sunday service.” Most people are content with the latter.

I believe Jesus is saying to in this moment what he said to the disciples long ago: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). The past year has pulled back the curtain and revealed certain politically-driven versions of Christianity in America that often seem void of the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22-23) and taste nothing like the Jesus of the New Testament. We want to recommit ourselves to becoming a community of disciples who go and bear fruit that tastes like Jesus and his upside-down Kingdom. That’s why this summer we’re gathering Wednesday nights to immerse ourselves in the words and actions of Jesus.

We hope you will join us this summer! If you are not part of the MainStreet community (yet) but live in the area, we invite you to come check us out this summer as well.

Let’s go and bear fruit together,

Pastor Jeremy

Dr. Jeremy Berg is the Founding and Lead Pastor of MainStreet Covenant Church where he has served since 2010. He is Professor of Bible & Theology at Solid Rock Discipleship School, and Adjunct Professor of Theology at North Central University in Minneapolis. Jeremy earned a doctorate in New Testament Context under Dr. Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary. He and his wife, Kjerstin, have three kids, Peter, Isaak and Abigail.

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