Four years ago, two baptist churches in Robbinsdale and Ham Lake officially merged. This church now has a new facility to worship in which many volunteers played a role in getting it built.
The Radisson Road Baptist Church is located on the southeast corner of the Bunker Lake Boulevard and Radisson Road intersection in Ham Lake, which is not far from Blaine. The facility took about a year to construct and it is estimated that about $150,000 was saved thanks to volunteer labor, according to Rev. John Henderson, associate pastor.
“It’s been just a blessing,” said Henderson, who was the senior pastor for the Bunker Lake Boulevard Baptist Church that used to meet across the street. His church congregation fluctuated between 40 and 70 people each Sunday before merging in the spring of 2008 with the over 100-member Calvary Baptist Church out of Robbinsdale.
Henderson and his congregation were already very familiar with Rev. Michael Monte, the senior pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church, because the two congregations had got together for various functions such as youth ministry activities.
Both congregations kept meeting separately for two years before they started meeting at Anoka County’s Bunker Hills Activities Center from 2010 until the new church was finished. The first Sunday service Aug. 5 drew over 200 people even though the only advertising had been through word of mouth, Monte said.
Radisson Road Baptist Church strives to offer a more traditional church experience. The congregation sings hymns and gospel songs right out of the hymnal. The teaching is Christ-centered, expository and biblical.
“The church seems to fill a niche for those that are hungry for a worship experience that is both biblical and at the same time really celebrates the traditions that many people grew up with,” Monte said.
Monte said the merger was “shockingly easy.”
Many of the members of the former Calvary Baptist Church members live closer or as close to the new Ham Lake site as they did to the Robbinsdale location. They also saw the potential of future church expansion by being on a wide open Ham Lake site.
Henderson said the Bunker Lake Boulevard Baptist Church purchased this site in 1992 with the intent to build a church there some day. The only activity on that 29-acre site over 20 years was excavation to obtain fill for various developments such as the TPC Golf Course in Blaine and the park and ride lot off I-35W, also in Blaine. The excavation created a nine-acre pond that Henderson can see from his office window.
When Monte was providing project updates to the church congregation from his temporary pulpit at the Bunker Hills Activities Center, he asked for volunteers to help build the new church.
Many people with various skills stepped forward during the year-long construction project that started in August 2011. The concrete footings and frost walls, the wooden ceilings, painting, landscaping, siding and trim and floor tiles were just some of the things that volunteers worked on, according to Monte.
Radisson Road Baptist Church service and Bible study time
• Worship services are Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
• Adult Bible study classes are Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
• Sunday School for all ages is on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and a Discovery Kids Club is on Wednesday during the school year at 7 p.m.
He has never seen anything like this happen in all his 25 years of being a pastor, Monte said.
Tom Spence took seven weeks off work from his construction job to place the concrete footings and frost wall for the building with the help of four to five guys, he said.
The distressed wood cross was donated by a company in Pequot Lakes.
Youth Pastor Donald Bomstad, who coordinated all these volunteer laborers with the general contracting company out of Lake City, said the company was very willing to work with the volunteers and even answered questions they had.
“If I had been in charge, we’d meet in a tent,” Monte said.
Monte did pitch in whenever he could. He helped stain and finish all the woodwork in the building, including 32 oak doors. All this kept him busy for about eight hours a day for two-and-a-half months.
There is a story behind the stained glass windows. A friend of Monte’s called to let him know that the old Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis was being torn down and that the stained glass windows in the Clearwaters Chapel of the church were being stored in a warehouse in Minneapolis.
Monte was very interested because he attended the Fourth Baptist Church growing up and Rev. R.V. Clearwaters was Monte’s first pastor.
The windows are probably over 100 years old and were made in Germany, Monte said. They needed new frames before being installed at the new church in Ham Lake.
Some members of the old Fourth Baptist Church have visited the new Radisson Road Baptist Church in Ham Lake just to see these windows, Monte said. There are five windows in the sanctuary and three more that will be installed in Monte’s office.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]