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Community of Hope reaches out to Hastings

Bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the community, and share in the growing of the kingdom with more people in Hastings.

That is the mission of Community of Hope in Hastings as it holds a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, at Hastings High School, 200 General Sieben Drive. (Enter from the student parking lot.) Ryan Kowlessar is the outreach coordinator.

Community of Hope in Rosemount has been preaching God's word and has been an evangelical presence for eight years.

"When the church was formed, Hastings was part of the plan," Kowlessar said.

"The growth of the church shows the response, its mission - it is not about staying in one community as it grows the kingdom."

Community of Hope in Rosemount's one and only pastor, Per Nilsen, is part of this growing process, Kowlessar said. He wants to see an extension of the church into Hastings.

That's where Kowlessar entered the process last spring.

Kowlessar is also a seminary graduate - he had been employed in retail until this outreach became his mission; he is now a chaplain in Eagan.

In October, the Kowlessars moved to Hastings and his efforts to reach out, extend the church into Hastings, became more active. Kowlessar participated in a church outreach "boot camp" at which the steps for this new church and this extension were discussed, reviewed, and detailed. Then Kowlessar began to integrate Community of Hope's concept into the Hastings community.

"I became in involved in Young Life (a Christian young people's organization), the Bless Hastings group, and now, more recently, the ministerium (Hastings Ministerial Association) to get an idea of Hastings' needs," Kowlessar said "... what is happening here and what is needed for the future.

"And there is room for more of a faith community," he said. "We are not here to take anything away from what is here, which is so good.

"What we are attempting to do is to offer another evangelical faith presence," Kowlessar said. "We want to build the kingdom."

He described the Community of Hope as being Biblical and Christ-driven, with an emphasis on missions.

"We use the Biblical approach," he said.

The church is currently not part of another denomination, but that may change in the future. The Rosemount site draws people from throughout Dakota County, including Hastings, Kowlessar said. "We want to move this direction," he said.

The March 23 meeting, at which Kowlessar and Nilsen will be present, will provide information about what has transpired with Community of Hope to this point.

"We already have a strong foundation in place in Rosemount," Kowlessar said.

There will be a time for questions and answers, about what is possible for the future in Hastings, and a tentative timeline.

"The advantage of the model we are working with is that it is built for success," Kowlessar said. "Those working together have a 'like-mindedness.' They see, realize the need to break out to integrate the kingdom to others."

For more information, call 651-210-6422 or send an e-mail to