Church Collaboration

How Congregations Can Work Together for Mission

Option 8. Church Without Walls

What is a Church Without Walls?

In the mid-1960's Trinity Lutheran Church's building was in the path of the new Interstate 94 through the middle of Minneapolis. The church changed its name to Trinity Lutheran Congregation and started a forty-year journey as a church without walls. When the building was demolished the congregation bought a small office building in the center of its neighborhood, and on Sundays it shared a Presbyterian church across the street. When that church closed Trinity moved into a former fire station, and then moved in with Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Trinity and Our Lady even shared a bus that picked up Lutherans as it dropped off Catholics between Sunday services. Now the congregation uses the chapel at Augsburg College for worship and Sunday School. Throughout this process Trinity outlasted the two churches that owned buildings and has devoted tremendous resources to mission.

A church without walls establishes a partnership with another entity (as Trinity has with Augsburg College) for worship space. This partnership is often a landlord-renter relationship, but it generally provides benefits benefits for both parties. The Church-to-Church page talks about Messiah Lutheran Church, which recently formed a partnership with Lutheran Social Service to share its new building. It is not uncommon for new church starts to partner with movie theaters or schools for worship space.

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