Town Hall Forum #2: Audio Recording (August 21, 2018)

CoH/Hosanna! Merger Exploration FAQ’s #2 (August 21, 2018)

Is there more information about a name change for Community of Hope?
There would be a name change and Hosanna is open to options that would include “Community of Hope” in the name. Although no final decisions have been made, one option could be “Hosanna Rosemount: A Community of Hope.”

Is there a way we can test what video streaming will look like?
Technology has changed significantly since our last times using video sermons at Community of Hope (COH). Use of video teachings have become much more common for churches. We are working with Hosanna to schedule a Sunday where the message is live streamed using updated technology. The date we are looking at is October 21 with Danny Silk (Author of “Keep Your Love On”).

Will Community of Hope lose its identity?
This is a difficult question to answer because of what people mean by “identity.” Most often people define “identity” by what they like. So, there is a lot of personal preference involved in answering this question. Also, COH has changed much over the last 16 years. We are not the same church today as we were 10 or even 5 years ago. There have been significant changes to our staff and how we engage ministry. The community and world around us are different places then they were in 2002. However, there are some continued identity themes still present:

  • *Smaller Church: From day one an aspect of COH’s vision has been to grow to 3 worship services of 400-500/worship service. That’s the maximum capacity we can handle on this property. This goal is consistent with Hosanna’s desire to have smaller, community-focused campuses.
  • *Community Engagement: COH does this really well and Hosanna wants to learn from us so they can do a better job of developing campuses with a particular community focus.
  • *The People: The original language the Bible uses to define church is “the people”. People have always shaped the identity of the church. You are the church. If you don’t go anywhere, this part of COH’s identity won’t change.
  • *Innovation: Part of COH’s ongoing identity is a willingness to be innovative with how we live out our mission to grow God’s Kingdom. Our ability to adapt to change quickly has allowed us to take big leaps forward with the quality and types of ministry we are able to provide. This merger is another chance for us to live out thoughtful and Kingdom-focused innovation.
  • *Good to Great: Conversations on moving ministry and systems from good to great has been a focus of the staff at COH for many years. This small piece of our identity allows us to explore all the areas in which a merger would be able to move us from good to great.

Do Community of Hope and Hosanna have a consistent vision?
Yes! This is one of the main reasons we are engaging this exploration conversation. Both COH’s and Hosanna’s missions focus on multiplication. Practically, both churches are intentional about helping people grow in faith, reaching the churchless, empowering the powerless, and living out Biblical unity.

Why did we do an Upgrade if we knew this was going to happen?
We didn’t know there was going to be a statement of intent from Hosanna prior to beginning our building Upgrade. We began talking about the need for a building renovation in the spring 2016 and began fundraising in the fall 2016. The proposal from Hosanna didn’t happen until August 2017, which aligned with the original completion of our Upgrade project.

What are the benefits of merging now?

  • *Present Position: We are able to engage this conversation from a position of strength, where both churches are able to bring their best to benefit the other.
  • *Systems: As a larger church, Hosanna has systems for resources, training, ministries, personnel, care for grounds, building maintenance, etc. that COH simply doesn’t have.
  • *Programs/People Focus: Instead of having to focus on developing materials or other mechanical points of tension, our program staff will have more freedom to focus on developing relationships, invitation and making disciples who make disciples.
  • *Ministries: We would have immediate access to Hosanna’s many ministries and they would have access to ours. This includes Marriage Ministry, retreats, mission trips, conferences, etc.
  • *Staffing: Our staff will be able to access stronger benefits packages, and Hosanna’s salary/hourly base is generally stronger than COH’s. Additionally, there will be peer to peer support and integration for our staff.
  • *Perceived “Competition”: Hosanna will be locating a campus in the Rosemount/ Farmington area. Merging eliminates the perception of competition between churches.
  • *Succession Planning: At a time when finding good church leaders is growing more and more difficult, being in a campus relationship minimizes the impact of and risks involved with pastoral transition. When replacing staff, we would have a broader pool of candidates that have directly proven themselves as high quality leaders with high character that would align best with COH’s mission and identity.

How will this help us in reaching the 150,000+ unchurched people in the south metro?

  1. 1. It will position us in a larger strategy to reach the unchurched in the south metro. (see below)
  2. 2. It frees up COH’s staff to focus more on ministry implementation and people development.
  3. 3. It allows our staff to use gifts most effectively, thereby engaging unchurched people and discipling the churched in the most effective manner.
  4. 4. It allows us to apply the best of Hosanna’s resourcing here while still engaging the best of COH. It also allows Hosanna to have access the best of COH’s strengths.
  5. 5. It provides a larger point of program accessibility and attraction in our reach area.
  6. 6. It will move us toward excellence (good to great) in many ministry areas.
  7. 7. It will help Hosanna be more intentional about missional engagement in a given community/culture.
  8. 8. It will push us out of our comfort zone. Stepping away from what is comfortable can often be the best way to revitalize ministry focuses.
  9. 9. It will provide greater accessibility to people who already have a marginal connection to Hosanna but live in Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, southeast Eagan, Rosemount, and northeast Farmington.
  10. 10. The Lord will bless this type of unity (Psalm 133).

What is Hosanna’s ministry strategy?

  1. 1. Hosanna believes their unique “Three Stream” expression of Christianity can and will enhance God’s Kingdom in the south metro. The Three Streams of Christian Expression are Evangelical, Spirit Filled, and Sacramental. Community of Hope carries that same expression.
  2. 2. Hosanna is called to a Multi-Campus model where a larger resource base is invested in community/culturally-oriented churches.
  3. 3. Hosanna is in the process of exploring two mergers in support of this model: Rejoice, Northfield; Community of Hope, Rosemount.

What does it look like moving forward with exploring this merger?
Step 1: Merger Exploration Team (MET) finishes its work
Step 2: MET reports to COH’s and Hosanna’s Board
Step 3: COH will have a Directional Vote as input for the Board later this fall
Step 4: COH’s Board will make a final decision regarding the merger

Who can I talk to if/when I have questions or concerns about merging with Hosanna?
Please continue to ask questions and engage in conversation! Details regarding this merger exploration can be found at COHLC.ORG/Town-Hall-Forum. Please send your questions and comments to COH’s Board of Directors (


Town Hall Forum #1: Audio Recording (June 7, 2018)


CoH/Hosanna! Merger Exploration FAQ’s #1 (June 7, 2018)

What is the Merger Exploration Team? How was it formed?  

The Merger Exploration Team was formed to explore the benefits and challenges of drawing the two congregations together. It consists of 5 CoH and 4 Hosanna! representatives. Members of the Merger Exploration Team were invited by the co-chairs of the team, Jennifer Ford from Hosanna and Heidi Olson from Community of Hope. The team has been meeting with staff from each church exploring similarities and differences in systems and will be presenting a report and recommendation to the Boards of both churches in August of 2018.

Will CoH get “big” like Hosanna!? 

Hosanna’s Campus model focuses on smaller, midsized worshipping communities in local settings. Hosanna! supports CoH’s vision to expand one more time on this property to a 600-700 seat worship center. That’s the maximum size parking requirements will accommodate.

Can CoH continue to invest in the mission organizations we have focused on for the past years; Athletes in Action, Inner City Church of Minneapolis (ICCM), The Master’s Institute, Feed My Starving Children, and Missionary to China, Heidi Olson?  

Hosanna! encourages maintaining those vital relationships and continuing to revisit our mission partnerships annually.

What will happen with staffing? 

CoH’s staffing will remain intact with slight position modifications as needed. Both CoH and Hosanna! examine employee needs, conduct reviews annually and make staffing adjustments as needed. That process will continue.

Will Pastor Per still be our pastor? 

Pastor Ryan Alexander would become the multisite congregation’s lead pastor.  Pastor Per will continue to be present at CoH. He will also be part of Hosanna’s preaching team and would oversee larger executive functions in Hosanna’s organization.

Will the worship experience change? 

Hosanna’s worship flow and style is very similar to CoH. Peder Eide will continue to be CoH’s primary worship leader with other worship leaders rotating in as needed. Pastor Jason would be the primary host on a weekly basis, similar to CoH’s present model. Hosanna’s current model for use of video teaching at campus sites is to have live preaching 25%-50% of the time, video teaching 50%-75% of the time.

Will CoH’s kids/youth ministry change? 

Curriculum changes every year at CoH. Curriculum will be evaluated and a common curriculum will be employed. CoH’s kids and youth ministry staff will remain. Hosanna! places a greater emphasis on kids and youth worship experience and development, which we would be implemented at CoH.

Will Community of Hope’s name change?  

Yes. Hosanna is in the midst of a rebranding process so no final decisions will be made until that process is complete. Hosanna’s present model for campus expansion is to carry the Hosanna! name and add the geographic location. If that continues the new name would ultimately be Hosanna! Rosemount.

Will this change anything in CoH’s partnership with Hope Fieldhouse?

Hosanna! is fully supportive of the way Community of Hope is engaging the larger Rosemount community with this project and sees it as a model for constructive community engagement in other locations.


A Brief Look at CoH/Hosanna’s History

● History before 2015—Hosanna! helped plant CoH, Similar DNA
● Summer 2015—Per explores a position in Florida, Hosanna prepared to support CoH
● Summer 2016—Board Presidents/VP’s/ Pastoral Leadership from Hosanna! and CoH meet to ask this question, “What would deeper partnership look like?”
● Regular Conversation between pastor Per and pastor Ryan, Read “Better Together”
● Fall of 2016-Spring of 2017—Hosanna! works with consultant. Recommendation made to expand the “campus” model of growth. Best location determined to be Farmington/Rosemount.
● Summer 2017—Hosanna! gives worship support to CoH, pastor Per gives preaching support to Hosanna!, KZ Koboski is employed by CoH and contracting with Hosanna!
● August 2017—Merger Letter of Intent from Hosanna! is received by CoH Board.
● November 2017—CoH Board votes to explore merger by developing a Merger Exploration Team
● Late Feb 2018—Hosanna! and CoH Board and Leadership Teams meet to begin exploration process. Merger Exploration Teams formed.
● Exploration work continues.
● August 2018—MET will send a report and recommendation to both Hosanna and CoH Boards for consideration.
● October 2018—Hosanna and CoH Boards and congregations will make decisions about proceeding with recommendations.


Congregational Letter (Sent May 22, 2018)

Friends of Community of Hope,

We had a remarkable Celebration Sunday this past weekend. We celebrated a church passionate for Jesus, a church that is “all in” for Jesus’ mission. Twenty-three individuals either affirmed their baptism or were baptized for the first time. Their stories convey the transforming power of God’s kingdom…a kingdom we have been called to expand.

To that end, I’d like to personally invite you to a Town Hall Forum, June 7 at 7pm. We have received a proposal from Hosanna!, Lakeville that our Board of Directors is presently considering.

Hosanna! has been a significant partner in ministry since Community of Hope was planted in 2002. Hosanna! was one of four churches that invested resources to give birth to CoH. Because of significant similarity in spiritual DNA, we have partnered together in a variety of ways since that time, and have intentionally worked to strengthen ministry relationships with Hosanna! over the past 4 years. Particularly, Pastor Ryan Alexander and I have asked the question, “How can we deepen our partnership with the outcome of being better together?”

Two years ago, Hosanna! went through a re-visioning process with a consulting group that resulted in a vision to “Multiply” God’s kingdom through developing multiple campuses. Based upon demographic and population growth studies they determined their next campus should be in the Southeast metro, specifically Rosemount or Farmington. Instead of forging ahead and planting a campus, they asked another question: Could we combine resources with another vibrant ministry with similar DNA to multiply kingdom impact?

This past August, after much conversation and prayer, Hosanna! submitted a proposal to CoH’s Board of Directors to consider bringing the two churches together in a formal manner. CoH’s Board of Directors voted to explore that proposal. Since late February of 2018 teams from CoH and Hosanna! have been working to examine the opportunities and challenges of the proposal. These teams will bring a combined recommendation to both Community of Hope’s Board of Directors and Hosanna’s Vision Board by August of 2018. We have named these teams “Merger Exploration Teams (MET).”

One of the first things the MET determined is to use the language of “adoption” when talking about the potential merger of resources. That language fits well for two very important reasons. First, “adoption” is a Biblical concept. Through Jesus we are adopted into the family of God. Secondly, adoption acknowledges the unique history, culture and gifts of all parties and seeks to integrate them well.

An essential part of this process is for you to hear firsthand the vision that Hosanna! and CoH are considering, ask questions and give feedback concerning the proposal. Multiple points of conversation will be important as we seek God’s heart in this matter. Finally, there will be a congregational vote to assist in giving direction to any final decision our Board of Directors will make. We hope to have that vote and clarity of direction by the end of October 2018.

So, please do join us on June 7, 7pm, at CoH for this important conversation. The meeting will be led by me; Pastor Ryan Alexander (Hosanna!); Heidi Olson (CoH Board President and lead for CoH’s MET); and Jennifer Ford (Hosanna! staff member and lead for Hosanna’s MET).

We look forward to seeing you there on June 7, 7pm. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at, 651.322.5679.

Living for Jesus!

Per Nilsen, Lead Pastor



Please send all questions and comments to our Board of Directors (