The Way of Jesus

The Mills Church is a body of people belonging to a gracious God and intent on becoming like Jesus.  We believe that God’s mission is to restore all things through Jesus and that He invites people to partner with him in this cause. 

Partnering with God involves coming into a profound relationship.  This relational partnership is made possible through Jesus.  We come to God through Jesus and we live out our calling by following Jesus.  Jesus’ first disciples were known as followers of “the way” (Acts 9:2).  They were apprentices of Jesus’ way of life.  We make it our sole intention to be formed to our core into a community that lives and learns how to be Jesus here and now.

We have described the way of Jesus through six dynamic ways of being in partnership with God in this world:  The way of worship, the way of love, the way of community, the way of discipleship, the way of service, and the way of generosity (Acts 2:42-47).  This way of living provides a witness to the world of God’s mission and character, and it is how we partner with God in His restoration of all things.

What Kind of Church

We are a multi-denominational church seeking to faithfully embody the life and mission of Jesus Christ in our neighborhood, city, and world.  Our church is a local expression of the universal body of Christ.  We communicate this by being a rooted, adopted, catholic, reforming, and evangelical church. 

We are a ROOTED church. 
 The life and 2000 year history of the Christian community is rooted in and held together by Jesus.  Who we are today is connected to who we have been.  We learn from our roots so we can walk faithfully here and now.  “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” Colossians 2:6-7.  

We are an ADOPTED church.
  We are adopted into the rich family of faith that God began forming with Abraham and stewarded through the people of Israel.  We are here because God has chosen to restore His creation through one family, which he promised would expand to incorporate all nations. 

We are a CATHOLIC church.
  The word catholic simply means universal.  Scripture teaches us that we are universally united by God’s Spirit to followers of Jesus everywhere.  Disciples of Jesus are incorporated into an international community of God, which overcomes national, denominational, racial, economic, generational, and gender barriers through the redemptive work of Jesus.  We celebrate, honor, and reclaim the reality of God’s united family by our love for one another.  Love is the Church’s most powerful witness of God’s promise to restore the world.  

We are a REFORMING church.  We carry forward the conviction that God’s salvation is a gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Allegiance to Jesus is enlistment in God’s restoration project.  Every believer is empowered, gifted and filled by the very spirit of God to be a serving and healing minister to a broken world.  To be a church, is to belong to God’s revolutionary movement reclaiming the world.  Therefore, we submit our traditions to be judged, reformed, and healed by the Word of God.  We expect and embrace change because we are continually being transformed into greater likeness to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are an EVANGELICAL church.

  We are a people being formed by and giving witness to God’s good news.  Evangelion is the Greek word meaning good news.  We carry forward our evangelical heritage by living under the authority of God entrusted through the living and active scriptures of the Bible and by fulfilling our mandate to be witnesses of God’s new creation to all people, everywhere.  We believe that God is restoring our relationship with Him, ourselves, others and creation through Jesus.  We believe this is good news not only for followers of Jesus, but is good news for the entire world.

We are a Local Church

We are a local church. The word church however comes from the Greek word Ekklesia which is not a religious word but a common word. It was a public assembly, a society, or commonwealth. So the ekklesia takes on different meanings depending on the nature of that group. Its meaning is fluid, not fixed. So to say, “I know what church is because I have gone to one, or because I know someone who does” can be a place to begin, but is not the end. Some people have really positive associations when they hear the word “church”, others have really negative associations when they hear the word because our association is linked to our experiences.  So a good question is…what or with whom do you associate church?

The first people to follow Jesus were not called a church or even Christians. They would not be able to check a box that said their religion was Christianity. They were called followers of “The Way” (Acts 9). This new group was associated with the way Jesus lived. His life and ministry became their life and ministry. It was not a religion. It was a way of living.

As this movement grew they were called Christians, which meant “like Christ”. These groups of people were ekklesia?s associated with Jesus. Our desire and intention is to be a community associated with Jesus. We are a Jesus community. We are an ekklesia located in the Minnetonka Mills neighborhood which is learning and training how to follow Jesus. We aim to associate our church with Jesus. And we desire to be associated with Jesus.

The History of the Mills Church

The Mills Church began as ministry for children in the Minnetonka Mills neighborhood in 1898.  The Sunday School grew into a congregation and was named Minnetonka Union Church.  It was a pioneering church that united people across denominations to study the word of God and reach out and serve others.  The church was in the center of the agricultural community and welcomed people in their overalls to come and study the Bible.  

The church changed its name to Minnetonka Community Church in 1956.  Minnetonka was a quickly developing suburb and the church became known for its love for studying the Bible, warm community, and commitment to global missions.  The first 100 years of our church has been captured in a history book written by multiple members of the congregation.  This history, edited by Anna Gardner and called “The Mills Church”, is available in our library. 

In response to God’s fresh renewing work in our community and our conviction that our future is connected to our history, we adopted 

The Mills Church name in September 2009.  (Click the link to read the story the Sun Sailor wrote regarding our history and new name “Minnetonka Church Moves into the Future by Looking at the Past”

We are celebrating well over a century of ministry in the Minnetonka Mills neighborhood and are excited about our future as a community committed to be students of Jesus Christ.  

Our congregation is a fellowship of young and old.  We have people who have been participating in this local church for decades and those who are brand new.  We are a community of rookies and veterans when it comes to following Jesus.  We have members who have come from numerous church denominations whether they be catholic, lutheran, baptist, methodist, mennonite, presbyterian, pentecostal, no church af?liation, no religious af?liation, and other faith traditions all together.  We don?t divide ourselves into democrats, republicans, and independents.   We don?t divide ourselves into rich and poor.  We don?t divide ourselves by ethnicity or being male and female.  Rather, we unite around Jesus. We are a community of people who are dedicated to learning from and following Jesus.  Jesus is who brings and keeps us together.  

Jesus is the welcoming presence of God we hope to extend to you. 
May his grace and peace be yours, 
David Landt 
Lead Pastor