With a faith that aims to overpower obstacles from the stubborn economy, Eagle Brook Church’s plans for building a future church location in Woodbury remain hopeful.
In September, the church's large east-metro congregation began to gather in rented space at , where attendance has been strong in the meantime, according to Scott Anderson, executive pastor.
Woodbury Patch talked with Anderson to learn more about the Twin Cities megachurch that currently calls East Ridge High School home, what it’s like to be there, and how long Eagle Brook plans to stay before settling into a permanent location.
Woodbury Patch: So, what are some things Eagle Brook Church is doing right now to get ready for the Christmas season?
Pastor Scott Anderson: Because people are more likely to be invited and to attend church on Christmas, Easter and fall kickoff weekends, we put tons of extra work, effort and prayer into making those gatherings inspiring, challenging, and amazing when it comes to the use of creative elements like music, video and a message that connects with everyday people. Our creative teams have been dreaming about Christmas since the day after Easter, and every year it’s a can't-miss event.
Patch: Give us a little background on Eagle Brook and what makes it unique from other churches?
Anderson: Eagle Brook has harnessed the energy and passion of its people, who are the church. The church isn't a building or a style—it's people who share a common mission and consider the physical church a place that works with them to reach people, who in today's world are struggling relationally, drifting through life and looking for answers.
Our churches look like our communities, with a wide variety of people from all walks of life. Average age is about 39 years old, but we are fortunate to have multi-generational congregations at all of our campuses. Our weekend services and other programs are designed to be relevant to people in their everyday experiences, prepared and presented with excellence, and fun.
We like to enjoy life, make fun of ourselves, and value laughter in our services as well as on our staff.
Patch: Why did Eagle Brook choose East Ridge High School as a temporary home for church services?
Anderson: Having purchased 40 acres in the northeast corner of Woodbury, we needed to find a solution to the need for more seats at Eagle Brook before construction would be completed. East Ridge turned out to be the best option available to us, with a very relevant space, seating for more than 900, and a willingness on the part of the school to work with us to make it happen.
In addition to this, we have the opportunity to see the money we pay for the privilege of being there used to help close the gap in funding for the school system in Woodbury. We expect to be in the school for at least two years.
Patch: How is church attendance going at this particular location?
Anderson: Attendance has been strong, with about 1,500 people coming each weekend to one of four services (Saturdays at 4:05 p.m. and 6:05 p.m., and Sundays at 9:05 a.m. and 11:05 a.m.). We expect attendance to climb through the Christmas season.
Patch: What are some of your church's goals?
Anderson: Our goals are centered around what we believe the Bible teaches are the critical elements for an effective life: People responding to and extending the grace that God offers; an ever-growing commitment to spiritual maturity; using our God-given talents and passions to make a difference; finding a community of people to do life with; and being generous with our very lives. We set goals in each area, track how we are doing, and change strategies when they stop working.
Patch: In terms of the future site: How much money will you need to be able to start building, and what are some obstacles that you are facing currently?
Anderson: The Woodbury campus will cost over $20 million; we plan to raise most of the money for it in a three-year challenge to our existing campuses to invest in someone they may never meet—just like someone did for them. The current financial climate is a barrier, but we won't get anywhere unless we try!