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Continued: New pastor at Wooddale Church hopes to grow the Eden Prairie megachurch

  • Article by: ROSE FRENCH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 17, 2013 - 2:38 PM

Missionary upbringing

The son of missionary parents, Hummel was born on an island in the Caribbean. Hummel recalls being chased as a child by an ax-wielding native in Papua-New Guinea when his parents were spreading the gospel there.

He returned to the United States to attend school and met his wife, Marcia, while at St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College) in the Twin Cities. He received his bachelor’s degree there in 1982, his master’s of divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio in 1987 and a doctor of ministry degree from Trinity Theological Seminary in Newburgh, Ind., in 1989.

His ministry started small, at rural churches in Ohio. From there he went to a California church from 1989-2001, growing the congregation from 200 to 800. Since 2001, Hummel has been pastor of The Compass Church in Naperville, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. Under his leadership, Compass has increased in weekend attendance from 800 to more than 3,000 and built a nearly $11 million worship center.

At Wooddale over the next decade, Hummel said he hopes to establish or “plant” up to 10 more church congregations and create up to 10 new satellite campuses.

Beyond growth, there’s little Hummel seeks to significantly change at Wooddale. He’s a great admirer of Anderson and espouses the same conservative theology.

He also seeks to steer clear of mixing politics with religion, another hallmark of Anderson’s tenure. Anderson, for example, did not formally endorse Minnesota’s anti-gay marriage amendment, which failed to pass in November.

“What I want to avoid is what I’d refer to as political activism,” said Hummel. “I want to focus our energy and resources on making Jesus known. … And I think we do that best by befriending the culture, showing them God’s grace and love.”

“I’m not going to compromise or back down on what God says about various issues that the culture might be wrestling with. … Sometimes I think it’s easy for a pastor of a church to use the truth as a club, a billy club, to beat on people. … I want to speak the truth. But I want to make sure it’s in a loving way.”


Rose French • 612-673-4352


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