by Cori Hilsgen
Gateway Church has moved to 708 Elm St. N. in the Northland Plaza building, and services are now being held at the new location. An open-house welcome weekend is being planned.
After renting space at both the St. Joseph Catholic Church and the College of St. Benedict’s Recital Hall at the Benedicta Arts Center, Pastor Bruce Tessen said they are now leasing the former Movies Etc. location.
He said that site was chosen after several months of praying and searching.
“Nothing seemed to be open, but because we sense a call to be in St. Joseph, we didn’t give up looking,” Tessen said.
He also said he was grateful they were able to rent the two spaces at the Catholic Church and the BAC.
“We felt very welcomed and honored to be there, but we knew going into this that these would be temporary locations,” he said.
Tessen said they met some great people and have made new friends from both locations.
After searching almost daily online, Tessen’s wife, Joy, noticed one day Movies Etc. was closing to relocate to its other store in St. Cloud.
Tessen soon contacted and met with the owner, who agreed to lease the space to them.
Besides being excited about the new more-visible location, Tessen said the place will include a meeting area that can hold about 100 people. It also has a nursery, a room for children’s church, an office area, a pastor’s office, two large restrooms and a storage room.
“We feel blessed to be here and hope to stay until we outgrow this space,” Tessen said.
Gateway Church is not affiliated with any particular denomination, but has leadership oversight and accountability through a network of churches called the Omega Team, which is based in the Twin Cities. They are an outreach of Jubilee Worship Center of St. Cloud. Currently, the church has about 40 consistent attendees.
“Our desire is to help people find the way to Jesus,” Tessen said. “We welcome anyone who is looking for a church home. All are welcome.”
Tessen and his wife have been married for 29 years. They have three children – Joshua, Brittney and Lindsey. Joy works as a personal-care attendant, a dyslexia tutor and a substitute teacher.
Tessen grew up near Appleton, Wis. and graduated from Bible College with a bachelor’s degree in pastoral studies and did his ministry internship in Nigeria, Africa while in college. Joy grew up in Ontonagon, Mich. She has an elementary education degree and a minor in preschool. Both graduated with five-year degrees from North Central Bible College in Minneapolis.
Tessen has held several positions during his 26 years of ministry. Those include serving as a Sunday school teacher, elder, chaplain, children’s ministry, youth ministry, assistant pastor, lead pastor and even a church janitor.
He said he feels through it all, God had a plan.
“My heart’s desire is to well represent the Lord Jesus Christ in all I say and do, whether in the four walls of the church, or outside of the church, at home or in the community,” Tessen said.
He said Gateway Church is active with Joe Town Table, St. Joseph Food Shelf and Food Shelf Drive, Community Vacation Bible School and the annual St. Joseph July 4 parade and more.
Gateway Church began a weekly prayer meeting in St. Joseph in February 2010 and began having Saturday night worship services in the area in August 2010. Before renting the Catholic Church and BAC spaces, Gateway also used the former CentraCare Clinic and pharmacy location and rented the St. Joseph Community Fire Hall.
Service times are 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. Sundays, intercessory prayer is from 6-7 p.m. Wednesdays, Bible study at the Russell Arms Apartments in Sauk Rapids is from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and worship service at the Legends at Heritage Place in Sartell is 10-10:45 a.m. on the last Thursday of each month.
Tessen said Saturday and Sunday services tend to be informal and relaxed, while praise and worship time is more expressive, God-centered and passionate. Weekly sermons, he said, are encouraging, challenging and equipping. Every first Saturday and Sunday of each month, they share a meal together after services. For more information, call 320-282-2262.