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Horizons Church off Highway 65 in Ham Lake will become the 10th campus of Eagle Brook Church, the state’s largest church, this spring. (Photo by Jonathan Young)

Eagle Brook Church, the largest church in the state, will open its 10th campus this spring in Ham Lake.

Horizons Church in Ham Lake voted to become an Eagle Brook campus after Horizons senior pastor Jimmy Jones announced in January that he would retire this year.

Horizons’ board unanimously approved the transition, and the congregation signed off on the move in a Feb. 7 vote.

“This bold decision will lead to even greater impact for the Kingdom of God,” Jones wrote in a letter to his congregation.

Eagle Brook senior pastor Jason Strand — who spent seven years as a youth pastor at Horizons and views Jones as a mentor — announced the merger in a sermon Sunday, Feb. 14.

“This is a church that shares our DNA,” he said of Horizons. “They share our mission to reach people for Christ. They share many of our values. ... We believe that God has led us to this point, that there’s really no way that we could’ve ever come up with this story on our own.”

Horizons is at Highway 65 and 157th Avenue in a building constructed under Jones’ leadership. When Jones started as Horizons’ pastor about 25 years ago, it met in Blaine High School.

As Jones approached retirement, he felt led by God to pass the baton of leadership to Strand. Strand said Jones approached him in August 2020 about Horizons joining Eagle Brook.

The transition is planned for April or May.

Eagle Brook recently underwent a leadership transition itself, with Strand taking over last year for longtime senior pastor Bob Merritt, who retired last March.

Eagle Brook Church traces its history to 1948, when Sam and Ethel Hane began hosting services in a White Bear Lake home and called themselves First Baptist Church.

Merritt became pastor of the church in 1991, and it was renamed Eagle Brook in 1995. Over the next 25 years, it became one of the largest churches in the nation, with an estimated 24,000 people attending weekly services before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its annual report.

With the addition of a Ham Lake location, half of the church’s 10 campuses will be in Anoka County. Other locations include Anoka, Blaine, Lakeville, Lino Lakes, Rochester, Spring Lake Park, Wayzata, White Bear Lake and Woodbury.

The cross street where Horizons Church is located has been corrected.

(1) comment

danly

Where do they get the Money? All tax exempt property.

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