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Wooddale Church is a large Christian church currently meeting in Eden Prairiemarker, Minnesotamarker.

History

It was founded in 1943 at an organizational meeting in a Minneapolis tavern. That meeting led to a Sunday School and morning and evening church services on April 12, 1943. The original congregation adopted the name “The Wayside Chapel.” Until January 1, 1949 students from the Northwestern Bible School and Bethel College and Seminarymarker actively led the small church.

On January 1, 1949, John D. Lundberg became the pastor of the church. During the early part of 1949 the church made plans to reorganize as a Baptist church because of a desire to affiliate with other churches and because of the need for financial assistance. The congregation affiliated itself with the Baptist General Conference.

On June 12, 1949, the church officially became Wooddale Baptist Church of Richfieldmarker. There were 32 charter members. That same month, the church broke ground for a permanent church building, albeit just a basement, which would be occupied November 13, 1949.

The church continued to grow and by 1954 the Sunday School had grown to an average attendance of 238. This led to further construction of a Christian Education space.

In the fall of 1955 Lundberg left to take a new call in Floridamarker. In April 1955 Paul Thompson was called as the new pastor. He began his ministry on July 1, 1956. On February 1, 1957, Pastor Paul Thompson died from injuries received in an automobile accident. In May 1957, Peter Unruh became the senior pastor.

Continued growth led to duplicate Sunday morning worship services and plans for construction of new facilities which were ready for use September 13, 1959. In 1962 the church began having duplicate Sunday morning services again and began planning for additional expansion, completed on September 27, 1964.

On January 1, 1977 Leith Anderson began his ministry at Wooddale.

Present location

In 1981 the church purchased of undeveloped land in Eden Prairie, Minnesotamarker, a nine-mile (14 km) move. It was at this time the church was renamed “Wooddale Church.” Construction on the new site began in the fall of 1983 was partially occupied in July 1984 and finished and fully occupied in November 1985.

On October 30, 1988 construction started on a new , 2000-seat worship center, complete with pipe organ and a steeple, and was finished in November 1990.

Wooddale expanded to a 2nd campus on November 16, 2008, located at 5532 Wooddale Avenue South, Edina, Minnesota.

Expansion to other suburbs

Concurrent with the building expansion of the early 90s, and consistent with its focus on outreach, Wooddale Church began an aggressive program to start new churches, with Wooddalers recruited as a part of the founding core of each church start.

The continued growth of the Wooddale Church family meant that more space was needed to facilitate more ministry opportunities. In 1995, construction began to provide new classrooms for the church’s youth programs and office space for the expanding staff. . Planning for more extensive expansion began in 1997. On March 11 and 12, 2000 a addition was dedicated.

In the fall of 2000 the worship schedule was expanded to six services each weekend with a contemporary service on Saturday evening, and three contemporary services and two traditional services on Sunday morning. Attendance was soon averaging well over 4,000 each weekend, with about 2,000 children, youth and adults in Sunday School.

By 2006, attendance was averaging 5,000 per week. Pastor Anderson currently serves as president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) which represents 30 million Christians.

As a performance venue for symphony orchestras the hall has been praised for its "bright, warm acoustics.

References

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