In July of 1984, the Division of Life and Mission of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) called Pastor George Gilbertson to begin a new congregation in Grand Rapids. After countless hours of going door-to-door and sharing the vision of a new church, the first worship service was held on September 9, 1984 at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in north Grand Rapids. 76 people attended that worship service. St. Andrew’s Lutheran was incorporated as a congregation January 13, 1985, with 103 baptized members. Worship services as well as Sunday School classes continued to be held at the Reif Center until April 1990.
The newly organized congregation voted to purchase a ten acre building site on McKinney Lake March 1, 1987. Soon, a building committee was formed and Jack Rajala was chosen as its chairman. Planning for our new church, under the auspices of the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), began in early 1988. In 1989, the architect presented his initial building proposal. The first worship service in the new church building was held Easter morning April 15, 1990 with over 500 people in attendance.
The move to our new building was a powerful blessing to our ministry. It enabled us to expand our programming and give St. Andrew’s a more visible presence in the community. It also accelerated our growth. Consequently, another building program was initiated in 1993. By 1994, a new education wing, fellowship area, canopy, and steeple were completed and dedicated in September 1994.
Pastor George Gilbertson served as Sr. Pastor until the time of his retirement in 2012. After being served by Interim Pastor Loren Anderson-Bauer, St. Andrew’s called Pastor David N. Anderson as Sr. Pastor in April 2014.
The following Pastors have served at St. Andrew’s as Associate Pastors: Pastor Paul Mattson (1997-1999), Pastor Emily Rova-Hegener (2001-2003), Pastor Vicky Taylor (2004-2009) and Pastor Megan Crouch (2009-present).