The Welcome at Spirit Garage

"What do you do?" It's taken me about nine months to come up with a short answer for that question. Nowadays, I usually answer as simply as possible: "I'm a pastor starting a new congregation in Uptown." For people familiar with the Twin Cities, the one word "Uptown" says a lot.

People here know Uptown as a neighborhood strewn with coffeehouses, ethnic restaurants, small art theaters, natural health stores, and eclectic gift shops. It is home to an upscale day spa as well as tattoo parlors. For at least 30 years, Uptown has been the area where young people settle when they first arrive in the Twin Cities.

There are more than 20,000 young adults in and around Uptown, and the vast majority of them do not have a faith community. Spirit Garage, the congregation I am developing, is a church with an alternative flavor intended to reach this population, but you won't find the term "Gen X" in any of our material. Although most "attenders" are under 40, it is attitude, not age, that defines us.

We call ourselves "The Church With the Really Big Door." We have found that many Spirit Garage people feel extremely uncomfortable in traditional churches, which tend to focus on the needs of middle-class homeowners with children. When you don't have children, a spouse, a permanent job, a house, or even a car, it's easy to feel a bit out of place in such churches.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1998
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