"Sort of" High School Sweet Hearts
I first noticed Laura on the soccer field. Let's just say the girl got game! A friendship began in short order and soon we were dating. She could see that there was something special between us, but I was blind to it... and to many other things for that matter!
Although we dated in high school, I ditched Laura for college life three states away. Within the first few months, however, I discovered that I was lost — not merely relationally, but morally and spiritually as well. All the while, Laura was a faithful Christian who loved me and wanted me to know Jesus. She prayed, wrote letters, and sent books.
Then (over a decade ago now) God used Laura to draw me to himself. For years I had posed as a good Minnesota-Lutheran, but looking back, success was the only thing that mattered to me. My heart was hard, but God graciously broke through — melting dreams and ambition, exposing selfishness, and revealing idolatry. Laura’s offer of the gospel was what I turned to. I believed in Jesus, repented of sin, and my life changed course forever.
Ministry & Family
We spent our college years growing as young Christians and making disciples of peers. Early on, I sensed a calling to spiritual leadership, and so for seven years I learned the ropes of discipleship, preaching, and leadership by ministering to college students. For the past several years, I worked for Coram Deo Church in Omaha, NE, as a pastoral assistant, in the privileged role of serving and shadowing Pastor Bob Thune.
During our time in Omaha, God answered our prayers and we had our first child: Audrey Grace Senske (now 2 yrs). In October 2016, we welcomed home our second baby girl, Eva Joy Senske. Our family of four is settling into life in South Minneapolis.
Calling to Church Planting
Last year, God called me to start a church in Minneapolis — or perhaps more accurately — the Spirit unfolded how Jesus had been hinting at it for years.
In college, I voiced interest in church planting to my pastor, mostly because I thought it was cool. But after college, I became convinced it was crazy. I loved the thought of churching planting, but I was reluctant about the work. Nevertheless, one morning while walking and praying in Memphis I sensed the Lord saying, “Give your life to preaching the gospel, planting urban churches, and training leaders for my Kingdom.” In August, we moved to Minneapolis to get assessed as potential planters and begin that work.
"God saves sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
ROBERT H. THUNE | GOSPEL-CENTERED LIFE
TIMELINE: SO WHAT’S NEXT?
The church planting journey has some essential stages: preparing to lead, developing relationships, launching services, etc. However, rather than a fixed program, planting should be thought of more as fluid process with overlapping phases. The following is a look at the next couple years:
PHASE ONE (Summer 2016 – Spring 2017)
Residency. Trent will participate in the Fellowship Associates Church Planting Residency, training alongside fellow church planters with experienced mentors.
Funding. Raising funds to support the work of church planting over the next 3-5 years is crucial. We’ll gather a team of people from around the country who will pray and provide financial support.
- Awareness. Church planters need to be cultural experts. In this season, Trent will meet with neighbors, community leaders, pastors, historians, etc. (really anyone!) to better understand our context.
PHASE TWO (Spring 2017 – SUMMER 2017)
Gathering. Although developing relationships is always happening, this phase is marked by relationships, relationships, relationships — meeting new people, recruiting a leadership team, and cultivating community.
Team. I’m committed to a philosophy of ministry that emphasizes team. One key focus of this year will be intentionally building a multi-ethnic team that serves as the core leadership of the church.
- Developing. In this phase we will train and disciple our launch team to embody the core values of our church. Rather than one pastor “doing the ministry,” we’re committed to equipping the saints for the work of ministry. We want to empower our church to maximize its God-given gifts and abilities.
PHASE THREE (2018 onward)
Launch. Once we reach a critical mass of people, we will launch public services on Sunday mornings. Gospel Communities will continue to multiply in neighborhoods throughout the city.