Lutherans in the Twin Cities

New Blaine mission start ready to launch

Focus will be on rcruiting unchurched in the area and generating additional mission starts

When worshippers gather at Johnsville Elementary School in Blaine on February 12, to launch Living Presence Lutheran Church, they’ll be using a new model for “planting” a congregation.

Typically, denominations have “parachute dropped” a mission development pastor into a new area and sent him or her out to ring doorbells and collect new members. And, hanging out a denominational shingle (such as “Lutheran”) has been used as a drawing card. Research shows unchurched people are no longer responding to denominational labels as they once did.

Living Presence has been in the planning stages for the past four years. Blaine, a third-tier suburb on Minne-apolis’ north side, was chosen because of current and projected rapid growth. It’s expected an additional 40,000 people will live there in the next ten years. An average of 700 new homes are being constructed each year in Blaine.

Visioning for Living Presence was done by leaders of area ELCA congregations, in consultation with Luther Seminary, the Minne-apolis Area Synod (MAS) and the Chicago office of the denomination.

Because the ELCA has discovered that many congregations now grow mainly by transferring members from other parishes, the Blaine mission will be intentional about reaching the unchurched — and starting additional congregations.

Early pledges of support include $55,000 from Christ the King Lutheran in New Brighton; $16,500 from St. Philip Lutheran, Fridley; and $5,000 from Faith-Lilac Way Lutheran in Robbinsdale.

More partners are being sought. It’s estimated the cost of ten acres of land for a new church center will be in the $1.9 million range. The congregation may need to shoulder a $500,000 mortgage.

The Rev. Matt Flom will lead the new congregation.