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 structure. 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.