Jesus sends surprising solution to town’s cries for a better world

Ben Greene

Pastor & writer

  • Church planting & multiplication

Future City Church

Everybody’s putting their best foot forward in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, a town of 25,000 where ambitious and motivated people pursue the best for their family.  

They play hockey year-round, attend every baseball game and enjoy weekends on lakes, trails and bikes.  


“It’s the best of the big city and the best of the small town,” Gabe Brennan said of the place his family has called home since 2019. “It all comes together.” 


Related: Medfield is another community where all is well on the surface. 


Yet that’s not the whole story: Conversations between Brennan and White Bear Lake’s people bring up a deep desire for the world to be a better place.  


“I hear that cry for a better world,” he said. “Everyone would really agree there are things that are very wrong with the world.” 


So Brennan, his wife, Melonie, and numerous believers responded to their neighbors’ longing by starting Future City Church. The church launched 10 months ago, gathering in a business incubator and coworking space. 


Related: People who won't go to 'church' will visit trailer shops, downtown hubs and Zooms. 


The name draws from three Scriptures — Revelation 21, Psalm 107 and Hebrews 11 — to share one message: God offers a new future through faith in Jesus Christ. 


“Jesus came to recreate the world, starting in the human heart,” Brennan said. 


This five-star town doesn’t know how great the church is


The world of White Bear Lake, at the moment, is a quaint, cozy community nestled right in the metro area of the Twin Cities. There are many lakes and hiking trails to draw and retain an outdoorsy, active community. 


Like most other parts of the Twin Cities, White Bear Lake is home to numerous ethnic groups. People who grow up here often stay or return to the family-friendly, settled — yet growing — town. 


On a spiritual level, people are friendly to Christianity and generally honor the Bible and churches. They even feel that church is something normal and that practices like worship and serving should be participated in. 


But Brennan explained that most people have yet to appreciate the blessings of church, such as building transformative relationships, knowing Jesus and following him. 


“That would not be thought of by a lot of people in this community,” he said. 


Despite that reality, Future City Church is giving several people a Christian community they’ve never had. Future City is the first church for some married couples or others’ first church since they had kids. He said others have never been part of a church in a meaningful way. 


Future City Church 

God’s word is better than people realize


Sandy Dunleavy has a coworker who attends Future City Church. So she and her husband Dave started going. They appreciate how the Bible is taught there, sentence by sentence. 


Dave Dunleavy said the congregation is also very inviting, noting that people are involved in the community and have their arms wide open to outsiders. 


“All we want to do is share God’s good word to those who have heard it but haven’t put much stock into it,” he said.  


Related: Church emphasizes the preaching of Scripture to bring new life. 


Brennan explained that another priority is coming alongside parents who love their kids and pursue what’s best for their adolescents and teens. The church hopes to help moms and dads invest more time and energy toward abundant life and an eternal future for their kids. 


“We’re not trying to fight (parents’ choices) but to expand them and bring in biblical reality,” he said. “We want kids to be part of the eternal family of God.” 


So, the church started a youth group on Wednesday nights. The group is highly relational and provides good spiritual leadership so kids connect with each other and, ultimately, Jesus.  


There’s plenty of the good life in White Bear Lake and many family-focused people with deep roots. Brennan said the city is progressing, growing and developing in healthy ways.  


Still, he sees how the church is making life even better by welcoming people in, whether teenagers or families attending church for the first time. For everyone, whether they’ve put their best foot forward or life has put them two steps back, this new church enlivens White Bear Lake’s future. 


“What I hope to do with the church is say it’s OK for you to be broken; it’s OK if you want things better,” Brennan said. “We also have hope that there’s a better world to come.” 


Converge's 10 districts have committed to deploying 312 church planters before 2026. Read more inspiring church planting stories and learn about the goal to send out 312 church planters in five years.

Ben Greene, Pastor & writer

Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.

Additional articles by Ben Greene