A Little Earth pillar

Every city needs a few "pillars of the community," or people who serve to build bridges and support belonging and morale. For Little Earth in Minneapolis, one of those pillars is T.J. Valtierra.

As a pastor's kid, Valtierra knew about God. But he didn't have a personal relationship with the Lord until his early 20s after saying he heard God tell him he had wasted his life. The next day, while at a party with friends, he knelt down in front of a small crowd and gave his life to Jesus.

After a season, Valtierra felt a calling to preach, but he didn't know where to begin. He graduated from North...