“Just as each of us has one body with many members… so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12:4-5).
God has blessed Love of Christ Lutheran Church over and over and over again. God’s promises to us never falter and Christ’s love for us never fails. This is seen in no better place than the history of LOC.
Love of Christ was started in 1991 by a young pastor and his wife, Ken and Joan Ferber. Ken was called by the supervising district of the northern part of Minnesota (Minnesota North – Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) to start a Lutheran church in St. Cloud. Ken and Joan started this endeavor by hosting the first general interest meeting in their home and continuing this ministry from their home.
By 1992, LOC was ready to have its first worship service. This service was held in Westwood Elementary School’s cafeteria with over 100 people attending. Ministries began to form under the leadership of the new members, and the word spread around town that a dynamic and welcoming church had been started. All were welcome to come and be transformed by the life-giving Gospel that was displayed, not only in words, but in actions.
In the fall of 1993, the leadership of LOC decided to contract an architect and Laborers for Christ to assist the congregation in the construction of their first church building. Love of Christ Lutheran Church was officially formed on October 22, 1993 with over 100 people signing the church charter, and the first phase of LOC (now the Welcome Center at the back of the Sanctuary) was finished in 1994.
Over the next four years, LOC continued to increase in membership and grow in faith through a variety of ministries, including Bible studies, support groups, music ministries, family ministry, and intentional outreach into the communities of the greater St. Cloud area and beyond. God blessed the church tremendously throughout these years of growth, and by the end of 1997 the church was experiencing significant facility growing pains. Again, Laborers for Christ were called upon to help the church build the next phase of its facility, and in March of 1999 Cana Hall and other educational space was built.
Love of Christ is a “church planting church,” which means we believe one of the best ways to reach people with the gospel of Jesus is to start churches. With that in mind, in 2001 LOC planted a new church in Avon, MN – SonRise Lutheran Church. LOC is again looking to start other Christian communities in the central Minnesota area.
In the summer of 2003, LOC broke ground on its third building phase – its most expansive and largest undertaking. This building project doubled facility space and is most noticeable from the outside by the blue-roofed Sanctuary and education wing. The Sanctuary holds 450 people, and the education wing has over ten classrooms. All of this space is put to use on a regular basis as LOC continues to grow through weekly activities and a large Sunday morning worship attendance.
As well as building on, LOC committed to support Prince of Peace Lutheran School (POP) which is next door to our current location. POP is a K-8 parochial school striving to establish a lifetime educational ministry for children and their families based on the gospel of Jesus Christ focusing on academic excellence and service to our community. Other Lutheran congregations in the St. Cloud area also support POP.
Over the years, Love of Christ has been blessed to have many ministry staff. Nathan Esala (and wife Sara) was an intern at LOC in 1999 and now is a missionary to the Konkomba people in Ghana, Africa. Pastor Steve Hayden (and wife Carie) was an associate pastor at LOC from 2000-02 and is now serving a congregation in Michigan. Pastor Chuck Haake (and wife Gail) ministered at LOC in 2003 and now is working part-time at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sauk Rapids. At the end of 2005, Pastor Paul Hennings (and wife Ellie) was called as associate pastor, and in June 2008, Pastor Hennings accepted the call to become lead pastor. Pastor David Franzmeier also served LOC from 2007 to 2010 as an emeritus pastor focusing on counseling and prayer ministry.
Currently the staff at LOC consists of Paul Hennings (Pastor), Steve Klemp (Pastor), Terri Norman (Office Assistant), Patty Kelm (Director of Sunday School), and Stacy Van Batavia (Director of Communications). Love of Christ’s mission statement is to “share the love of Christ every day.” Because the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40) and because the great commission is to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), Love of Christ strives to accomplish these in all it does. Our hope is that our powerful and loving God will continue to bless us so that we may complete this good work that God has begun in us!