The Starbucks pastor

by Allison Hurtado, staff writer
Mosaic Church, Maple Grove, Minnesota

Erik Lindeen updates his Facebook status multiple times a day, but not in the annoying-type-of way. And he’s always at Starbucks. Every day, you’ll find him at the same one in Maple Grove, Minnesota. All of the baristas know him by name. Many of the customers do too. He proudly wears a Mosaic Church sweatshirt, sipping his iced coffee and working on his trusty Mac. He’s a church planter. But he didn’t want to be.

Erik Lindeen

Erik and his wife, Kristin, moved to Maple Grove 15 months ago. He grew up there and, after a job at a local church, left Minnesota for Denver and helped re-plant a portable church that met in a local elementary school. After a few years at that portable church, Lindeen says he felt the call to church planting, but was too worried about fundraising and planting alone. That took him to Madison, Wisconsin, where he again helped a planter. But after two years things weren’t going as planned. 

“I took some hits and got knocked down in Madison,” Erik said. “So I started working at Target and TruGreen lawn care and started applying for positions at safe churches with stained glass windows and pews.’”

The Lindeens' lease was up and so the family moved into Erik’s parent’s basement in Dayton, Minnesota. Erik continued to apply for church jobs and was continually let down. He was invited to an Assessment Center by Dave Reno (who Erik calls the Yoda of church planting), but Erik kept waiting on a call from an established church. 

Lindeen Family

“In October I had applications in with four churches, and all of them picked the other guy,” Erik said. “God was shutting every door. So I said fine, let’s go to assessment.”

Erik made it through assessment and then connected with his coach Ben McEachern. After a few months of training, Mosaic Church launched on October 4, 2015, with 280 people. They’ve now leveled off, averaging 160 people each Sunday. Erik is focused on small groups that build off of what he teaches on Sunday mornings. So far, 130 people are a part of a weekly small group.

“We do a monthly newcomers lunch at our house, and I was looking around at the group. We had people from Nepal, Brazil and someone who is Native American,” Erik said. “We didn’t set out to be diverse, but it’s who God has brought us.” 

Maple Grove is an upper class neighborhood, surrounded by suburbs. Originally cautioned not to plant there, Erik says he did what he knows. 

“My wife and I grew up around here, and we know this world has a lot of broken engineers, doctors and lawyers,” he said. “Let’s plant a church that reaches them.”

Mosaic has already grown well beyond its walls. Erik is currently connecting with a community center to get an arts summer camp started. He has witnessed to many people at his favorite Starbucks, and has seen 18 people come to Christ since they launched in October. Erik continues to reach out through social media and plants himself at the local Starbucks, even if some long-time believers aren’t so sure what to think.

“We prayed for God to send us committed Christians who are new to the area, but we also asked for people who are really far from him,” Erik said. “And he has. Jesus was accused of being a drunk and a glutton, and social media is where the parties are now. Starbucks is worldly–it’s our well. Jesus went to the well.”

Erik will keep updating his Facebook status, and he will keep doing his work at Starbucks. He is a church planter.

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    Point - Fall 2017

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