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Our Story

In 1998, local pastors and ministry leaders from Constance EFC, Burns EFC, and Oxlip EFC  came together seeking God about the possibility of planting an Evangelical Free Church in St. Francis.  Burns EFC, a country church with a rich heritage and ministry since 1886, was located in the rural area between St. Francis and Elk River.  After much prayer and consideration, the congregation at Burns EFC followed God's leading to dissolve and become a leading part of this new church plant in St. Francis.


At that time, there was also a strong sense that God was leading us to continue the solid youth ministry that Burns EFC had developed over the years.  This meant that the new church would be unique in that it would begin already having a full-time pastor to youth, Lon Bjornrud.  In the spring of 2000, those that were committed to the new church plant began six months of core group training.  It was during this time, that God led the core group to name the new plant "Living Hope."  

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On July 15, 2001, Living Hope began corporately worshipping together at the facility that had been the home for Burns EFC.  During the next two years, Living Hope's weekly ministries and offices were at the former Burns EFC's church building and parsonage.  God led the congregation to put these facilities up for sale, and they were sold in June 2003.  (This church building is now owned by The Bridge Church in Nowthen, MN). 

For a few years, Living Hope held Sunday morning services in area schools and then moved both Sunday morning services and weekly ministries to a rented space across from St. Francis High School.  Living Hope became known as "The Hot Dog Church," because of the huge, free family event we hosted during Pioneer Days weekend at this location. Land was purchased on County Rd 9/Lake George Blvd to be used for a future building.  In 2003, we were without a lead pastor, and Pastor Lon was asked to consider a shift to that role.  He prayerfully agreed, on the condition that the role would include his heart for student ministry, and that he could continue in investing in students of all ages.

After many years of thriving ministries and spiritual and relational growth, plans were finalized and we were ready to put a building on our land in March of 2020.  This was not to be, however, and the world suddenly changed with the pandemic.  Our building plans were again put on hold, and in 2021 the building we were meeting in was sold.   The resilience of our church family was especially tested during this time, but God was as faithful as always.  We began meeting on Sundays at St. Francis Elementary School, with our weekly ministries meeting in our office space by Open Box Buys in the St. Francis Mall.

In April of 2023, we learned that the former St. Andrew Lutheran Church building was going to be sold, and they were looking for a church to buy it.  After prayer and consideration, the congregation sensed God was leading us to this place at this time. 

Through all the changes and ups and downs, we've learned that the church is definitely not a building but a community.  We've grown in trusting God, straining to hear His voice, and allowing Him to transform us into the beautiful redemptive community He wants us to be as we follow Him together.  

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