Here are the top 12 questions we get asked about Catalyst. (Yep 12) I absolutely love fielding these. Ever wondered any of these for yourself? Read on.
Why are you starting a new church?, Are there not already enough churches? Nope. Rough estimates place nearly three quarters of the population of the Twin Cities as churchless. Until last year changed this 50 plus year trend, more churches close every year in American then open and yet we believe everyone should be able to have a church home where they can grow, be served and serve others in the way of Jesus. Church plants are really good at connecting with and providing community for folks who either have no church home or who have been disconnected to a church for some time and we love serving and loving on this population. Most of our population had no church “home” before Catalyst. We are starting a new church not because other churches are not doing great things or sharing the message of Jesus in fantastic ways. There are many great churches in the cities but the problem is, there are not nearly enough of them! We are starting a new church not as a reaction against but rather a reaction FOR something, namely someone, Jesus. By starting a new church we are responding to the radical self sacrificial love Christ has shown all of us. Its an act of gratitude and a deep desire to be and share Jesus with the city around us and bring his kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Jesus is simply too good to keep to ourselves.
What sort of support and accountability does Catalyst have? Before Catalyst was planted Pastor Jeff had to go through a prayerful and rigorous assessment process within our denomination The Evangelical Covenant Church that assessed his gifts, experience, education and the plausibility of Catalyst. After being approved nearly two years ago and before Catalyst could begin as an official church plant, a team of 20 adults along with and $60,000 dollars had to be developed and raised. Catalyst today includes more then 130 wonderful people who call this place their church home and use their time, talents and treasure to help us grow into all God has planned for us. For the first 3 years of our existence our denomination provides direct partial financial support, prayer, encouragement, oversight and coaching for our newly forming church. Financial accountability for Catalyst is provided by an outside accounting firm. Monthly coaching and mentoring meetings are a regular part of the rhythm over the next three years as we now build our leadership team model of governance. As a seminary graduate and ordained minister in the Covenant church Jeff along with Catalyst are under the support and care of the larger Evangelical Covenant denomination who is passionately helping to plant a church on average of every other week with more then a 90% success rate (meaning after three of so years they are self sustaining missional churches) somewhere in the United States!
When and where do you meet? We meet on Sundays at 10am at 1490 Fulham St. in Saint Paul at the Olson Campus Center (MAP) for a worship service every week. We love Sunday mornings but we also believe the church is a lot more then a building or a worship service. We desire to be in each others lives to pray for, support and encourage one another. We have monthly social and service oriented events listed in “the latest news” tab above and home groups that will are focused around developing relationships and studying the Bible or other matters of life and faith together in a comfortable, safe environment all while eating great food! Check out what it happening on our LATEST NEWS page. Another way to connect is to follow us on one of these platforms: Facebook – Twitter – Instagram
What do you believe? Early on in our own denomination we had two statements that greatly shaped our beliefs, values and attitude. We would ask each other, “Where is it written?” We have from day one deeply loved and valued the word of God as we believe it is a life giving word that points us to life in Christ. We also from early on have quoted Psalm 119 which states that we are companions of all who fear (know) God. This statement pointed to the reality of the Covenant being a group that deeply values unity in essentials of faith and relationships that promote listening and dialogue in secondary Theological beliefs. When someone joins a Covenant church they are asked this: 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. Further the church believes in and values 6 key affirmations that include the centrality of the word of God, necessity of new birth, a commitment to thew whole mission of the church, the church as a fellowship of believers, a conscious dependance on the Holy Spirit and freedom in Christ. The Covenant church also affirms the Apostles and Nicene creeds as accurate summaries of faith. For further information on core beliefs of our denomination please visit THIS website.
What is Catalyst like and who goes there? Young and old, kids and adults, people born near and far, thats us. If you visit us on a Sunday you will not be alone as we typically have a number of visitors every week. We don’t seek to look different just to be different rather in all that we do we ask this question: How can we better love and know Jesus and those around us? So we will sing songs to remind each other of who God is and what he has done. We will pray as we believe God wants to hear from us and share with us. We will study the Bible (often taking the form of a sermon) as we believe that God has revealed much of who he is the word and that studying it will radically change us and the world around us for the better and ultimately will point us to Christ. We want to change the question of when we visit churches from “Did I like it?” to “How am I being called to partner with Christ and this church to bring heaven to earth?” We think the second question is a more fulfilling, interesting question.
Do you have a kids ministry? We do and it rocks. We deeply value children and have a good crop of them. We keep the kids with us for the first half of the service intentionally. We think it is powerful when a child witnesses their parents sing, pray and give. We also want our children’s volunteers to be able to connect with the greater church on the Sunday’s they serve. Children are dismissed at the midway point of the hour to have their own group time. They play, do a craft and hear the same Bible story we adults hear so when we all go home we can talk to our kids about what we both learned together that week. We currently three separate rooms for kids, an Infant room, a Pre-K room and a room for kids ages 6-10. We look forward as we continue to grow to add additional classes. For kids who are older we offer activity bags filled with toys, crafts and coloring pages that are available at the welcome table and on the tables in our gathering space specifically reserved for folks with little ones! Usually once to twice a month we have events outside of Sunday designed for kiddos too.
I have not been to church in awhile and am unsure if I will fit in or even like it. Should I still come? Our desire is to create a community where anyone can come in and kick the tires of faith/ask questions, find community and grow. We have people in our community who have been in church their whole lives and others who this is the first church they have ever been to. Each week we have new folks visiting so you will not be alone as a first timer. We believe our faith was not designed to be lived alone and we truly believe we are better when we are together. When we are in community is when we are best loved, supported, called to serve, challenged and thus grow.
What else does Catalyst do beyond Sunday Mornings? Hopefully a lot. Church services are important but the definition of a church is more about flesh and bone and less about brick and stone. We want to be a ever growing community that does life together and patterns our lives after Jesus and we hope to accomplish that in a variety of ways that include Sunday mornings but also go beyond that. We have monthly events and service projects along with home groups that share meals and do bible studies in low stress, highly relational environments. Other events and service projects, studies and gatherings happen often as well. The best way to keep up to date with us is to check out news page HERE or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or sign up for our weekly Enews below.
Whats the big plan anyway? We pray, dream, hope and plan so that we can live out this vision: Catalyst strives to be a contagious community, focused on pursuing, proclaiming and demonstrating Christ and his love for the world. We recognize that so many individuals and churches have been cheering us on, praying for us and giving of themselves so sacrificially. We have a passion to not let church “planting” stop with us and part of our daring, bold dream and prayer is that our community could be a catalyst to helping to birth other churches in the not too distant future. Stay tuned for more on this front!
How can I help/get involved? Contact us below! There are a number of ways to get involved, cheer for and support Catalyst both near and far. Participation in church is a surefire way to grow, connect with others and see more churches pop up everyday.
Why Join a church plant? Not everything is up and running and it seems like a lot of work. Should I just attend somewhere else? We believe a difference exists between going to church and being the church. While attending a church is beneficial, just like exercise its hard to really grow to your full potential unless step on that treadmill. In the same way, growth in our faith not just involves being or attending but also a level of doing and being. We all go through seasons where we are in places of giving and receiving but in the west we think more often then not Jesus is pushing us more and more toward self-sacrificial generosity. Why? Because God himself and so many people we know and love have been so generous to and at times it seems all I can do is respond likewise. Being Jesus hands and feet and serving together is just a way of life, because we believe Jesus is just too good to keep to ourselves and we all play a part to get Jesus outside of the church and into others lives and places in our world. So is there work involved in church planting? Yes and we believe that partnering in that will give you life. One of the reasons church planting is so life giving for those involved is we together get to help build the culture and DNA. Anything you build yourself you typically care for in a deeper way, support, and invest in and the fruit of that is often growth, contentment and the desire to share it with others. We have noticed that it gives us life to use our gifts and typically when we sit on them it does not. Pre-existing churches are fantastic and doing wonderful things, we simply believe that any church you attend should be more like a family where if we are able everyone cares for each other, contributes in their own unique God given ways and knows and connects with each other in deep and meaningful ways so that at the end of the day we not only know more but also look more like Jesus.