THE GROVE CHURCH HISTORY
Every church has a story, and The Grove Church is no different. Read a little bit of our story to learn how our church came to be, where it is headed in the future and how YOU might become a part of our story and God's bigger story!
Realizing a Dream
The dream of Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church was born in February 1980 when a group of Crystal Evangelical Free Church members, residing in the Maple Grove area, began a home Bible study. They shared the hope that a new Free Church would serve as an outreach and extension of ministries.
In June of 1981, Rev. Randy Russ began to investigate and help organize additional Bible study groups in the area. On February 17, 1982, the Crystal Evangelical Free Church congregation gave overwhelming approval to begin a formal church planting effort in Maple Grove. The first Sunday service was held at Cedar Island School on October 3, 1982 with about 160 people in attendance.
Building a Church
On February 15, 1983, Rev. Lester Nelson accepted a call by Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church to become the first full-time pastor after previously serving in a part-time capacity. During this time, ten acres of lakeside property on Rice Lake Road was purchased as the site of the new church. The building was dedicated on September 21, 1986.
In 1985, when Rev. Nelson retired from the ministry, the church was made up of about 275 people. Strong programs for evangelism and discipleship, Sunday school, youth ministry, Wednesday kids' club, and a missions program formed the foundational structure for this healthy, growing church. Later that year, Rev. Keith Meyer was called to be the new Senior Pastor. A record attendance of 400 was reached in October 1985.
Finding Our Groove
As Pastor Meyer ended his time in Maple Grove, the search began for a new shepherd to lead and build on the core of faithful believers who were pursuing the dream, a church to reach the community! In December 1992, Pastor Russ Berg accepted the call to be our next Senior Pastor. With a passion for evangelism and the practical teaching of the Word of God, Pastor Russ and the leadership of MGEFC continued to strive to honor God by becoming a community of fully devoted followers seeking His heart for all who are lost.
Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church continued to grow over the years. In December 2002, the new worship center opened providing seating for 560 people. This addition provided a facility better able to serve the community.
After almost 21 years of ministry at MGEFC, Pastor Russ developed a heart for helping hurting marriages and decided to follow God's call to a new ministry in marriage reconciliation. He continued to pastor our church during a senior pastor search until the right pastor was found. With great compassion, Pastor Russ handed the baton of leadership over to Jon Platek in September 2013.
Moving Into the Future
Pastor Jon leads our church into a new stage of ministry built upon the strong foundation laid by faithful church leaders for the last 30 years. In February 2017, Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church changed its name to The Grove Church to prepare for a future church plant. The Grove Church continues in its goal of reaching the community with the love of Christ.