Threads Church was started in 1999 with a vision to reach people in their 20s and 30s who were missing or under-represented in the church. Marked by creative and experiential worship gatherings, Threads grew quickly in its first decade of ministry. When the leaders at Threads started to ask questions about what kind of impact we were having on the community, Threads moved away from a more attractional focus to a more missional one and began challenging people to live their lives on mission. Numbers started to go down, but the church organized around missional communities and identified a particular neighborhood, the Milwood neighborhood of Kalamazoo, MI as the place that God was calling Threads to engage with a long-term development mindset.
Despite the resignation of the founding pastor, Threads continued to press into this new missional direction. Shortly after Kevin Edelfson came on staff as the Lead Pastor, the church sold its large building in Portage, Michigan and moved into a building in the heart of the Milwood neighborhood. Here, they continued to establish ourselves in the neighborhood, deepening relationships with local schools, providing resources to the community through a food pantry and community garden, and starting a new neighborhood non-profit, Milwood Commons, which operates a childcare center with preschool and school-support programs.
Threads continues to seek God’s direction as they enter into another season of ministry. What they have looked like has changed drastically in different seasons of their story, and they anticipate further changes. But they will always be seeking to grow as a family of “love God, love others” Christ-followers and are willing to experiment with whatever structures and schedules can help them live more fully into this calling.