Any Minnesota preacher can tell you that getting followers into the pews on Sunday during the summer can be a challenge. The faithful head Up North in droves on the weekend to camp, play at their cabins, swim in the beckoning lakes.

Instead of trying to compete with such treasured pastimes, the Rev. Paul Moore is embracing them. Chain of Lakes Church, a new Presbyterian church forming in the Blaine and Lino Lakes area, will offer worship on Wednesdays this summer called "Sundaes on Wednesday." The services start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Northpoint Elementary School in Blaine. They end Aug. 22.

The church will still offer a small group worship on Sunday mornings, but Wednesday evenings will be the primary time of worship. At the end of each Wednesday service, everyone can enjoy sundaes, Moore said.

"It is a risk for us to take because it's certainly a nontraditional approach to ministry," Moore said. "But that's the beauty of being a new church: we can take risks like this. What do we have to lose? It's for the summer."

Moore says the Wednesday worship services will be casual, with people seated around tables to discuss the week's worship theme. Because many will be coming to the service directly from work, Moore is also offering apples, granola bars and other healthy pre-packaged foods people can eat during the service.

Moore got the idea for "Sundaes on Wednesday" when he saw the number of Sunday worshippers dwindle last summer. The new church started in January 2010 and currently has about 40 families attending.

"We saw people obviously leave on the weekends," he said. "It's kind of our Minnesota nature. We thought, 'What could we do to help the community, who's going to leave, who probably doesn't have the chance to worship on the weekends if they go to their cabin?' Hopefully they worship, but probably not.

"That led us to this ministry we're doing."

Rose French • 612-673-4352