David Berge is the planting pastor of City of Lakes Covenant Church.
David was born and raised in south Minneapolis. He attended Kenny, Lyndale, Anthony, and Southwest. He recieved his BA with high distinction in History from the University of Minnesota in 2004. That same year David married his wife Amy, the best decision he's ever made.
Out of college, he worked for two years as the Youth Director at Aldrich Church, where he sensed the call to ministry. Upon completing seminary at Princeton Theological Seminary, David served as Associate Pastor for 4 years at Ojai Presbyterian Church in sunny Ojai, CA.
Since his college days David felt the call to start a vibrant, faithful, dynamic, and thoughtful church in the city that he loves more than anywhere else. Seven years after leaving Minneapolis, God called Amy and him back to Minneapolis to plant City of Lakes Covenant Church.
The Berges and their three sons reside in the Armatage neighborhood. They love jogging, taking their kids to the park, reading, drinking coffee, home brewing, spending time with all kinds of people, and chasing their chickens around the backyard.
An unscientific and incomplete list of David's favorite theologians/authors: N.T. Wright, Peter Leithart, Karl Barth, Lesslie Newbigin, Marilynne Robinson, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Alan Jacobs, Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin, Robert Jenson, and Marguerite Shuster.
You can reach Dave via email.
Mai is diligent and creative. She has poured herself into giving shape to our burgeoning Children's Ministry since July 2015. She loves Jesus and kids, and she finds creative ways to engage their hearts and minds in kids worship and a lesson each and every Sunday.
Mai and her husband have two kids of their own and she's is in the process of starting her own in-home daycare.
You can reach Mai via email.
Abby is the newest addition to our Children's Ministry Team and we are thrilled to have her.
She hails from Sioux Falls, SD and recently graduated Summa Cum Laude (Latin for very smart) from Northwestern University in St. Paul. Her degree is in Ministry with an emphasis in Psychology.
Katie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with her Masters in Social Work. She also opened an Lock and Key Escape Puzzle Rooms with her husband Alex. Buy tickets here! On top of all that she, shares in the worship leading duties City of Lakes.
To put it in the simplest possible terms, Katie is awesome.
Amy is a math teacher by training, a full-time mother to three boys, a photographer, and a church planter's wife. (I'm exhausted just reading that!)
If that weren't enough, she's also is a fantastic worship leader and makes the best s'mores bars you've ever tasted.
Check out her photography at andtherest.net.
Ryan is the Office Manager Extraordinaire (ROME for short). If you have a question about anything, he'll be able to answer it, or find the person who can. Ryan handles building scheduling, email correspondence, bulletins, newsletters, worship slides, design, and maintains the website. He has the spiritual gift of fixing the copy machine.
You can reach Ryan via email or call (612) 825-2479.
City of Lakes Covenant Church began as a dream shared over dinner and good conversation between friends in September 2011. Actually, it goes back a lot farther, but that September night is a good place to start.
These friends were talking about their experience of church, their love for the city of Minneapolis, and their deep desire for a community that could be a home for the many people they knew who were disconnected from either the church, the Christian faith, or both. They dreamed of a church that took Christian faith and life seriously but did so in a way that was winsome and intelligible within the contemporary context.
They dreamed of being part of a deep and rich Christian community, one where people shared life together - with its joys, sorrows, and mundane rhythms - in the hope that such a community might be a compelling witness to the good news that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
They dreamed of being a part of God's mission to the world in Jesus Christ: a mission to bring light to dark places, to give purpose and direction to the lost, to give hope to the jaded and cynical, to reconcile people across the artificial barriers we have constructed, and to love mercy and do justice.
This is the church that we dream and pray of becoming. A church radically centered on the person, work, and teachings of Jesus Christ. A church relentlessly focused on experimenting with what it means to pursue and live out Christ's vision of the kingdom of God in our time. A church completely comitted to blessing this city that we love and in which God has placed us for his glory.
This is our story, this is our dream, this is our vision, this is our prayer. We invite you to join us on the journey as we seek to be the church in and for south Minneapolis.
At City of Lakes we've entered into a cooperative ministry partnership with Aldrich Avenue Presbyterian Church. Cooperative ministry may be defined as:
“...[S]everal congregations in a particular geographical area...that covenant together to envision that area as the place in which Christ is calling them to cooperatively plan and engage in ministry and mission. While each congregation maintains its own session or board, the covenant requires the participating congregations to share ideas, energies, leadership and resources. The goal of cooperative ministry is to maximize and focus the ministry of the participating congregations it is a way to enliven congregations and allow them to move from an attitude of surviving to one of thriving. It may involve churches from one denomination or it may be ecumenical.” - Spiritual Vitality Through Cooperative Ministry
In the Fall of 2014, we moved our worship services to the Aldrich Church facility seeking not just a landlord but a partner in ministry. Over the course of our first months there, we discovered that our congregations share a common mission to reach south Minneapolis with the gospel and to be a vital Christian presence & witness in that community. We began to explore what it would mean for us work more closely together for the cause of the kingdom in our community. This process of discernment led us to a vision for cooperative ministry partnership because we believe that our two congregations are better when we collaborate together. Together we can be more faithful, more missional, and more effective reaching south Minneapolis with the good news of Jesus Christ.
We share the common goal of helping everyone discover and live into their true purpose - we are all created to glorify God and enjoy God forever. We share core theological commitments to the centrality of the Word of God, the necessity of grace, the reality of our unity through faith in Christ, the power of the kingdom of God in our midst, and our dependence on the Holy Spirit for any of our efforts to bear fruit. We share the belief that working together is itself a missionary activity (John 17:20-21).
City of Lakes is still a distinct congregation with its own leadership. However, we've chosen to enter into a partnership with Aldrich in order to be more faithful to our own mission and core values. For us this is a step into a deeper obedience into who God is calling us to be. The Covenant is a center-set denomination, together with Aldrich we're working to dig wells that draw people to Christ, not build fences to keep us separated from each other.
We are challenged to live out our faith as creatively and imaginatively as we can. Faith without works is dead. Faith without experimentation is stale. We aren’t planting a worship service, we’re planting a church - a community of disciples formed by Word and Sacrament who in the power of the Holy Spirit endeavor to live lives that reflect the reality of the kingdom of God. There is no one size fits all pattern so we have the delightful terror of figuring out what following Jesus means in this time and place.
We will be a church of generous orthodoxy, taking up the challenge given to each generation to think through again the essentials of our faith: the nature and purposes of God, the person and work of Christ, the shape and mission of the church in the world today. All of this will be done in faithful obedience to the Scriptures and in open conversation with voices across time, space, culture, and tradition who inform how we read them.
We will be a church where people experience warm and genuine community life. The worlds we live in - work, school, neighborhood, and family - are increasingly fragmented. We live, work, and play next to total strangers all the time. True community involves a commitment to investing time, emotional and mental energy, and resources into the people and places we care about. Community requires making those costly investments. We will welcome the stranger, we will always be open to the outsider, but we will always remain who we are and who God has called us to be.
Our culture models a form of disagreement where we question the intentions and intelligence of those with whom we disagree. We will strive to assume the best about one another, particularly when we are engaged in frank conversations about things upon which we disagree passionately. We will treat one another with charity and kindness, recognizing that we too might be in the wrong.
We will be a church where faith is alive. People will experience the presence of the living God in worship and there will be a palpable sense that the Spirit of God is doing something in our midst.
We will be a church where people give to God and one another the best of the gifts that we have to offer. We will move beyond a paradigm of scarcity where life is seen as a competition for diminishing resources to a paradigm of abundance where we truly believe that all that we have is a gift. Our resources aren’t to be hoarded but shared for the glory of God and the good of others. We don't give to the church, we return to God what ultimately belongs to him for the benefit of the community and the world.
We will be a church that loves people like Jesus does. This especially includes the people we’d rather not love or who we have to go out of our way to love. This love will take concrete form and be displayed in actions that are a sign and witness to the world that the kingdom of God operates according to a different set of values than this world.
We will be a church where you can bring your brain through the door. Jesus commands us to love God with all of our minds. The life of faith and the life of the mind are inextricably bound together. We will ask questions. We will seek answers. We will do so with curiosity and humility.
In a world where nothing is sacred we will uphold the important truth that God is God and each person is sacred because they are created in the image and likeness of God. The most common reaction to being in God's presence in Scripture is fear. The most common command in Scripture is to not be afraid. This is because God is sublime. There is nothing as powerful as meeting the living God and nothing as humbling as being called his daughters and sons.
We will be a church that seeks to be a living answer to Jesus' prayer that his disciples would be one as he and the Father are one so that the world might believe in him. Unity with other Christians is a missional imperative, and for that reason we will seek and make common cause with brothers and sisters in Christ in order to demonstrate the power of the gospel to tear down the walls we've constructed to separate our various Christians tribes.
The word Evangelical derives from the Greek work evagel meaning "good news." Our denomination is evangelical in that we believe that it is our mission to declare that the message and ministry of Jesus are good news for all people.
The word covenant means "agreement" or "promise." We call ourselves a Covenant church because we have committed to being in relationships of support, mission, and accountability with other churches. Though each Covenant church is self-governed, we place ourselves in intentional relationships with other churches who bear the Covenant name.
The values of the Covenant are well captured by the "Four ALs" which themselves mirror the Nicene marks of the church, that she is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
There were two historic questions early Covenantors asked one another which help define who we are as a denomination.
As Covenantors formed in the U.S., they chose the name "Mission Friends" and two new questions arose which capture new dimensions of our denominational identity that emerged in this country.
To learn more about the Covenant go to covchurch.org.
Q. Why a new church, aren't there enough already?
A. There are lots of churches. However, new churches are a part of a healthy church ecology and a vital mission strategy. New churches allow more people to use their gifts to serve God and others, and new churches do the best job of engaging people who have left or are disconnected from their faith. We need new churches just like we need new children for our families to grow and continue into the future.
Q. What is church planting?
A. Church planting is the process of starting a new congregation. The metaphor of planting is useful because it captures reality that planting should be an organic process where we plant the seed (the gospel), tend the soil (a healthy community), water (regular practices of worship, prayer, service, Word and Sacrament), and trust God for growth. Church planting is equal parts art and science, and above all else it is an act of faith that God is calling forth a new community to embody the good news of Jesus Christ in a new context.
Q. What does your church believe? Do you have a statement of faith?
A. When new members join a Covenant church, they are asked two questions about belief: “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and promise to follow him as Lord?” and “Do you accept the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as the word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct?” They are then asked if they intend to live as faithful followers of Christ and members of the church and denomination.
That’s all. That is enough.
The Covenant also has six affirmations, which express the central beliefs that make the core of what it means to be a Covenant church. These affirmations are:
To read more about the affirmations and the core beliefs of the Covenant follow this link.