Second campus in sight for country's largest Lutheran congregation
Mount Olivet Lutheran wants to raise $4 million for new worship center.
With baptized membership exceeding 14,000, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, 50th & Knox in southwest Minneapolis, is taking steps to build a second ministry campus.
The ELCA’s original “megachurch,” and the largest Lutheran congregation in the western hemisphere, Mount Olivet has for several years been nurturing a west suburban worshiping community on the grounds of its Rolling Acres Center, a ministry serving people with developmental or mental health disabilities. The site, in Victoria, west of Chanhassen, is located on Schutz Lake. The congregation has launched a capital fund appeal to raise $4 million for a worship center on the Rolling Acres campus.
In a special edition of the congregation’s quarterly publication, Mount Olivet Magazine, senior pastor Paul Youngdahl said, “One of my visions for the future of our congregation is to have an additional campus for our present members and for those looking for a new church home.” He said that vision included “one church with two worshiping and programming campuses.”
Mount Olivet currently has a staff of eleven ordained pastors. Youngdahl has served the congregation for over three decades. His father, the Rev. Reuben Youngdahl, founded the congregation.
Youngdahl stressed the second campus would not be considered a separate entity, but an integral part of the ministry of the south Minneapolis congregation.
The Rev. Kenneth H. Kotzer has been assigned to serve as lead pastor at the West Campus. The executive director for Rolling Acres, which will host the second worship site, said, “It seems a natural step for Mount Olivet to have a greater worship presence in the western metro area.”
Because Rolling Acres is a stand-alone ministry, supported by the congregation, the land for the new worship center will need to be purchased from the care center.
Assuming pledges come in on a hoped-for schedule, planners expect to begin construction in Victoria in May. Worship could begin in the new building by year’s end.
Purchase of the land needed for the facility will run to $900,000. Nearly $2 million will be earmarked for construction. Other funds will be designated for furnishings, art glass windows and landscaping.
Several Twin Cities area congregations have expanded their ministries to include second campuses. Thus far, both sites have always been located in suburban communities.