Living Hope is here "to glorify God by proclaiming the Living Hope of Jesus Christ to all people." This is our purpose statement.
Our core values are the things we value that are non-negotiables for us. These are the things we cling to and feel we must have in the life of our church family:
Our Lead Pastor, Lon Bjornrud, and his wife Sonya have been married 25 years and have two daughters. Pastor Lon is the primary teacher for our Sunday morning services. Lon enjoys investing in, journeying alongside, and learning from people of all ages. Besides teaching and shepherding the Living Hope community as a whole, Lon also oversees our student ministry called 'SouledOut.' He has been enjoying this ministry to students here in St. Francis since 1995. Lon refers to himself as a (senior pastor/youth pastor) "hybrid"-- a role based around his passions and gifts. Sonya works as administrative staff part-time with the church, volunteers in the youth ministry, and oversees Children's Ministries in a volunteer role.
Our Associate Pastor, Mike Olson, and his wife Vickie also have a passion for the St. Francis Community. Mike has been the Associate Pastor at Living Hope since 2019. Mike oversees Worship, Young Adults, Small Groups, and also works with the SouledOut Youth Ministry. Vickie is a professional photographer. Her and Mike host a young adult Bible Study together in their home.
Living Hope is part of the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA), an association of nearly 1400 autonomous churches united by a mutual commitment to serve Jesus Christ. The term "evangelical" refers to our commitment to the proclamation of the gospel message and to the authority of Scriptures as being inerrant in the original autographs and the only safe and sufficient guide to faith and practice. The term "Free" refers to our congregational form of church government--where everyone is encouraged to follow Jesus as the Head of our church, and strain to hear what He is saying in the life of our church. To see the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church, click HERE. To see the distinctives of the Evangelical Free Church, click HERE.
Living Hope is a community of people who are enjoying God and the lives He has given us. We know we are loved, and we can't help but respond by loving God and those around us.
We are by no means perfect and we are at different places in life and on our spiritual journeys, but we share a common bond-- our love for Jesus Christ and people. We want to be like the Colossians, who were commended for their "faith in Jesus Christ" and "the love ...for all His people." (Col 1:4)
Each of us is made in God's image. We are all infinitely valuable and precious. We hope that we, as the community of Living Hope, are noticed in the St. Francis community because we value knowing God and people and because we share the love and hope we have from Jesus.
Basically, we want to be a community that passionately loves God and loves others. (Mark 12:30-31)
For more specifics on the beliefs of the Evangelical Free Church that we hold to, click HERE to see the ECFA's "Statement of Faith."
The growing ministries of the EFCA currently extend to over 40 countries, with the vision of glorifying God by multiplying healthy churches among all people. The churches of the EFCA are committed to cooperate with one another in ministry and fellowship, and we greatly appreciate the resources of the EFCA we can both contribute to and benefit from.
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 Ministry Center and parsonage. God led the congregation to put these facilities up for sale, and they were sold in June of 2003. (As a side note, this is the same building that The Bridge Church currently meets in).
For a few years, Living Hope held services in area schools. The church began leasing a building across the street from St. Francis High School. During this time land was purchased on County Rd 9 (Lake George Blvd) to be used for a future building. Living Hope became known as "The Hot Dog Church," because of the huge Free Family Event we put on every year at this location during Pioneer Days weekend.
We were close to building on our land, plans were finalized, and we decided on a bid from a builder in March of 2020. That was not to be, as suddenly the world changed with the pandemic. In 2021, the building we were meeting in across from the high school was sold, and 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.
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.
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."
With God's help, we have become and continually strive to be an authentic community of people who follow the way of Jesus. We want to live life as it was meant to be lived, and we believe this is only possible through Jesus. We want to be a group of people who meet needs in the name of Jesus because we believe this is essential to being the church. We are a group of people who are experiencing life, not just Sundays, together.
Hearts for People: We desire to see God bring those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior into a personal, life-changing
relationship with Him. We will compassionately reach out to our neighborhoods, our city, and our world. (Matt 18:19-20, Acts 1:8)
Oneness in Christ: We are committed to unity in purpose and direction that comes from loving one another as Christ loves us.
Passionate Worship: We sincerely desire to worship God in ways that honor and please Him, entering into His presence in a relevant way. (Ps 95:1, Col 3:16-17, Heb 10:19-25, Heb 4:16)
Equipping God’s People: We will encourage individuals to be grounded in their relationship with Jesus Christ, to be growing in their faith,
and to be prepared to serve Him. (Col 2:6-10)
join us for worship!
Sundays at 10am
imperfect, beautiful worship community in St. Francis, MN
Living Hope Evangelical Free Church P.O. Box 264 St. Francis, MN 55070 763.753.1718
In 1998, local pastors and ministry leaders from Constance EFC, Burns EFC, Oxlip EFC came together seeking God about the possibility of planting an Evangelical Free Church in St. Francis. Burns EFC, a country church with much rich heritage and ministry since 1886, was located only 5 miles outside of St. Francis. Through 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.