Trailhead Church closes after a dozen years of ministry

Storytelling, service two characteristics of Denver area church plant

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The Trailhead Church congregation at their 2016 fall retreat. The congregation concluded its ministry in the greater Denver area in May, 2018.

Trailhead Church, a USMB congregation in Littleton, Colorado, has closed after a 12-year ministry. The congregation held its final gathering May 20, 2018, with a theme of “Benediction.”

“A benediction is rooted in who God is and offers a blessing over people from that foundation,” says lead pastor Trevor Lee, who came to Trailhead in July 2013.

During the final service, the church shared a time of worship and prayer.

“(We) offered a blessing over all that has been and all that will be for people as they go out from this community,” Lee says.

Following the service, the congregation shared a meal together.

In the two months prior to the final service, Lee says the Trailhead family undertook an intentional process to attempt to end well.

“This meant engaging our grief, offering forgiveness to each other for any wrongs we have experienced, naming the ways we have seen God move through the years, and glorifying Him for all He has done,” Lee says.

A Mennonite Brethren church plant, Trailhead was started by Jeff and Lianne Nikkel in 2006. The church first met in the Nikkels’ basement, then moved to Goodson Recreation Center. The church later gathered at Bethany Evangelical Free Church and Jubilee Fellowship Church.

“I’m still amazed at the generosity of so many people, churches, and organizations in Trailhead Church getting off the ground,” Jeff Nikkel says, reflecting on the life of the church. “Our (Mennonite Brethren) denomination at a national and district level were so supportive and generous with their resources: time, funding, expertise, prayer (and) encouragement.”

Highlights in the life and ministry of the church included Easter Sunday baptisms, growth experienced by people in groups over the years, and acts of service to schools, the parks department and a variety of area non-profit organizations, Lee says.

The church also participated in second Sunday service projects.

“One of the things Trailhead has valued from the beginning has been storytelling, specifically sharing the ways in which God is at work in our lives,” Nikkel says. “I’m so thankful for the many examples of transformation—people coming to know Jesus for the first time and being baptized, people coming back to church after walking away, and people considering the person and work of Jesus for the very first time. God has met us in the miraculous and the mundane. Our second Sunday service projects were a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and to demonstrate that we want to be a blessing to our city.”

Other staples in  the life of the church were church retreats, church camping trips, sharing dinner together in the park once a month during the summer, a mission trip to Sierra Leone, a youth mission trip to downtown Denver and the annual Justice Run.

“While we never look forward to a church closing, we also must recognize the positive impact on the lives of people who have been forever changed by the ministry and mission of the individuals and families who attended there,” says SDC district minister Tim Sullivan. “The face of Denver, or at least a portion of it, was forever changed because of the vision and mission of Trailhead Church.

“From its beginning, it was founded on serving Jesus and serving its community. The name and person of Jesus was made known through the lives and witness of the Trailhead Church family. In so many ways, Trailhead Church was a success for Denver, for the Southern District, for the people who made Trailhead their church home and for the kingdom of God.”

 

Janae Rempel
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel is an award-winning journalist, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.

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