On Sunday, I had the opportunity to worship with the community at the contemporary worship service of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.
St. Andrew’s is a congregation much larger than Trinity, but I would describe their congregational culture and style as being very similar.
They have a beautiful, giant sanctuary, and then a “Great Hall” where the contemporary worship takes place. Their traditional service takes place at 9am and contemporary at 9:30am. Different pastors lead the liturgical elements, and the preaching pastor goes from the Sanctuary to the Great Hall before returning to the Sanctuary for their 11am worship service.
The worship style was laid out in a similar way to Trinity’s. Their Great Hall was actually a bit smaller than our Fellowship Hall, and so the worship felt a bit more intimate.
Pastor Mike Carlson, who is a great pastor and a good friend, gave a wonderful sermon. The music at the service was excellent.
After worship, I walked over to the Sanctuary (it is in a separate building) to see the large Fellowship addition that they added on to the building. It is beautiful space. Outside of the sanctuary, they had a statue commissioned of a bench with a person sleeping on it called “Homeless Jesus.” Its is beautiful.
I appreciate that St. Andrew’s, with its large staff, budget and beautiful facilities, also has a strong commitment to serving within the community and around the world. Their “Community Resource Center” is what we are modeling (on a smaller scale) Trinity’s new CRC on. (More about that later). And they are deeply involved in issues of poverty, hunger and housing.
They also have developed strong partnerships in Jamaica (They are home of Mission Jamaica), Slovakia and now a new partnership in Tanzania.
Sometimes I wonder “at one point does a church become spread too thin?” My visit to St. Andrew’s reminds me that when we stay focused and faithful, and if we continue to grow a culture of generosity, it is possible to grow both within the building, and beyond the walls of the building.