May 23 was Pentecost Sunday, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church through which God is doing a new thing.

A new work that God is doing through our church was announced on Pentecost Sunday. 

Starting noon, Pentecost Sunday, May 23, the pastors at Cambridge Lutheran assumed pastoral leadership of worship, ministry and programming at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, East Bethel. The first worship service of this partnership is May 30, 2021. 

The Cambridge Lutheran Church Council voted unanimously on Monday night, May 17, to enter into a ministry partnership with St. Andrew. The St. Andrew church council did the same. A letter of agreement was signed between the two congregations regarding this partnership. 

Here are answers to questions:

Where is St. Andrew? 

1450 237th Ave NE, East Bethel, MN 55005. They are at what is commonly known as “Cooper’s Corner.” It is 20 minutes south of Cambridge Lutheran on the east side of Highway 65 (across from the BP station). 

So, what can you do to help?

a) Pray for this partnership and for the ministry of St. Andrew. Pray that God will lead people into our midst. Pray for what God will do.

b) Participate on a Sunday at St. Andrew. (10:00 a.m. worship)

c) Continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will be at work in new ways.

d) Be excited about the potential. See the possibility.

As Acts 2 points out that the young among us will see new visions and that the old among us will dream new dreams.

What size is St. Andrew? 

The St. Andrew church council describes St. Andrew as a church, as of May 18, 2021, with worship attendance in the mid-20's and a budget for the remainder of 2021 (six-months) of $28,000 dollars. St. Andrew’s “charter” was signed in 1985 to become an organized congregation. 

Who have the pastors been at St. Andrew? 

Pastor Peter Johnson completed his call at St. Andrews on May 23. Pastor Micah Pearson, a Cambridge-Isanti High School graduate, was pastor there for three years. Before that, a long-term pastorate was served by Pastor Steve Melander.

Interim pastors have included Pastor Sara VanderPan and the late Delwayne Hahn.

What is the biblical rationale for this partnership?

Two biblical reasons among many: 

a) The Good Samaritan

In Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, all the religious people walk by the person in need -- not enough time, money or energy. But one person, the "unworthy, unclean” person, considered to be of suspect background, the Samaritan, takes the time and the energy and the resources to do what he can to help a neighbor in need and God works through his actions. Cambridge Lutheran Church is not perfect, but if we can do something to help, we should. 

b) The Great Commission

Jesus said in Matthew 28, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

We are called out into the unknown to make disciples.

Why are we entering into a ministry partnership?  Reasons include: 

PRAYER: “This is God’s answer to our prayers,” as one council member stated it. 

MISSION: We share the mission of reaching out beyond ourselves.The church is the only institution that exists for the benefit of its non-members. 

ANCHOR CHURCH: Another reason is our participation in the ELCA Anchor Church Ministry Initiative. Anchor Church is about churches helping neighboring churches. Anchor Church is approximately 100 ELCA congregations with thriving ministries that have committed to accompany congregations located in areas with high potential for growth, offering mentoring and ministry partnerships to redevelop those ministries. Anchor Church is about this question: “How can we help?” 

INVITATION: Cambridge Lutheran Church was asked by St. Andrew, and by the Minneapolis Area Synod, to come alongside St. Andrew. 

PASTORAL LEADERSHIP: St. Andrew does not have a pastor or the finances to hire a pastor or staff. Cambridge Lutheran has assumed pastoral leadership of worship, ministry, programming and leadership at St. Andrew.

If St. Andrew were to grow to the point of additional staffing, a typical practice would be to add a staff person to coordinate or lead the ministry on-site. They could be a Pastor, an Intern, a Campus Pastor or Administrator. 

BENEFITS: What are the benefits of such an arrangement? 

The first is mutual growth. This will not only be good for St. Andrew but it will be good for Cambridge Lutheran. Every single one of CLC’s ministries has something to offer and something to gain. Both churches will grow and benefit through this experience. Our churches should be in cooperation, not in competition.

A second benefit is consolidated administration. Our staff is able to take on additional duties. CLC will be taking on many of the administrative duties. 

TREND: As today’s reality shifts, arrangements such as this are happening across all denominations in the US. Such arrangements are in protestant churches typically called "multi-site." Pre-covid, approximately seven percent of all people participating in worship were at a location other than the primary church site. 

MERGER: Is this a merger of the two congregations? No. That would require a congregational vote by both congregations. However, this partnership could lead toward merger. It is one option. That allows the congregations to be one united ministry with shared administrative costs and staffing costs but meeting in multiple locations. This is becoming increasingly common in churches, both Lutheran and non-Lutheran. 

What is the goal of this partnership? 

To grow the ministry and to maximize the ministry of both congregations. 

Is this new? 

Multiple services is nothing new for Cambridge Lutheran. It wasn't that long ago (late 2000’s) that every Sunday, we had five services per Sunday with four different worship orders with three different preachers using two worship spaces in one building - every Sunday. Once a month, we had six services. We were doing multi-site - just in the same building. 

Is this part of our history? 

Early in the life of Cambridge Lutheran, it was the obligation of all pastors to do one month per year off-starting and developing new congregations. There is a story in The Lighted Spire about Pastor Anders Engdahl doing so, returning late one night sitting atop his wagon. (Pastor Engdahl’s hat is on display in the Heritage Room (Archives). Starting, developing and leading other congregations has always been the role of the larger church dating back to the Augustana Synod, the Swedish tradition of Cambridge Lutheran’s roots. 

Is anyone coaching / mentoring Cambridge Lutheran in this process? 

Yes. Cambridge Lutheran is part of a group of 100 churches doing this. Pastor Andy went through Anchor Church training in February 2020. He has been part of a cohort since then supporting one another in Anchor Church. 

Did this happen fast? 

Our relationship with St. Andrew happened both “slow” and “fast.” It happened “slow” in that Pastor Andy reached out over two years ago to St. Andrew prior to the most recent pastor to offer help and assistance from Cambridge Lutheran. During that time we also entered the Anchor Church program and were connected by the Minneapolis Area Synod with other churches to consider partnership. It happened “fast” in that St. Andrew, once they realized they no longer would have a pastor, was quick to reach out. 


Are we paying their mortgage? 

No. St. Andrew retains responsibility for finances, governance, insurance, liability and any and all other responsibilities of a congregation until such a time as that were to be changed. 

Are we funding the St. Andrew staff? 

No. Currently, as of May 23, 2021, St. Andrew is funding two part-time paid staff persons. They do not have a called pastor.  

Are we sending St. Andrew money? 

No. This is not a financial arrangement. However, if we were to send or share funds, that is called benevolence. We may fund some expenses our church incurs while serving in ministry at St. Andrew. 

Do they have a reliable roof? 

Yes. Due to hail damage, St. Andrew has a brand new roof and brand new siding. 

Who is helping from our congregation? 

We have an initial team of Pastor Andy, Pastor Emily, Earl & Sue Pike, Chuck Carstensen, Arne Everson, Mary Chapman and Gwen Anderson and, hopefully, soon to be others. Maybe you?