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Pastor Steve Holsteen stands in front of the nursery space being added to the back of Faith Community Church. The larger nursery will make it easier for parents to check-in their children before services. (Hudson Star-Observer photo by Randy Hanson)

Faith Community Church is expanding again

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Life River Falls,Wisconsin 54022
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Faith Community Church is expanding again
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

For the second time since its construction in 1993, the Faith Community Church building on Carmichael Road is undergoing a major expansion.


The overall square-footage is being increased by roughly one-third, which will allow the church to bring all of its Wednesday night programming back onto the campus.

A 4,824-square-foot youth wing is being added to the front of the building. It will have a large multi-purpose room providing worship seating for 150 to 175 people.

As a result, the approximately 120 middle and high school students (plus 25 adult volunteers) who meet Wednesday evenings at the Teens for Christ building on Hwy. 35 will return to the church.

“We want to have that sense of the entire family, inter-generationally, being present together at the same time. We felt that was really important in terms of the way that we represent God to the community,” said Steve Holsteen, Faith Community’s pastor for missional leadership.

Holsteen, one of four pastors at the church, serves as the project spokesman. The church has a total staff of 15, according to its website,

The youth wing will also have a lounge area where the kids can hang out, plus “breakout” rooms for group discussions and Christian education classes.

The wing will connect to an expanded commons area at the front of the church, and provide additional fellowship space when needed.

A 5,200-square-foot nursery wing is being added to the back of the church to allow the commons to expand into existing nursery space at the front of the building.

The present undersized foyer at the front of the church is a congestion point on Sunday mornings, Holsteen said. The goal is to provide a spacious area for relaxed fellowship.

The new commons will have a café-style area with tables and chairs, a fireplace, and a library off to the side.

The larger nursery also is expected to relieve the congestion that occurs when parents check-in their infants and toddlers before the 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday services.

In addition, it will increase the space for the AWANA program, in which 350 children and 150 adult and youth volunteers participate on Wednesday evenings. The kindergarteners will get their own AWANA circle for game-playing.

In all, 10,793 square feet of space is being added to the church, bringing its total square footage to 37,658.

The project also involves remodeling 13,865 square feet of the existing building; replacing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system; and giving the exterior a facelift.

Frisbie Architects of River Falls designed the project and Langer Construction Co. of West St. Paul, Minn., is the general contractor. Zappa Brothers Excavating of North Hudson is a subcontractor for the earth-moving work.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $3.3 to $3.5 million. The church had two-thirds of the money raised going into it, and pledges for half of the remaining amount to come in over the next two-and-a-half years.

Citizens State Bank of Hudson is providing the needed financing.

“We have almost always been setting aside money in the context of regular tithes and offerings to create a kind of seed fund for the next phase of facilities expansion,” explained Holsteen.

Faith Community Church will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its founding on Aug. 24 in Lakefront Park.

The church began with a small group meeting in a room of the former Best Western Hudson House Inn (now Hudson House Grand Hotel). It met in the former Zion Lutheran Church on Fourth Street (now Cornerstone Church), with combined services in Willow River Elementary School, before building the church on Carmichael Road.

The congregation doubled the size of the sanctuary and added classrooms in 2001.

Faith Community is part of the Converge denomination. The name is a rebranding of the Baptist General Conference denomination, which prior to 1945 was known as the Swedish Baptist General Conference.

Holsteen said Faith Community averages about 800 people in its weekend services.

“I would say we have always emphasized biblical preaching, and we have always tried to minister to growing families,” he replied when asked to explain the church’s growth.

Holsteen, the son of a Baptist pastor, had a career in government and business before entering the ministry in 2006.

After graduating from Ottawa University, he was the legislative liaison for former Kansas Gov. John Carlin for seven years, and then worked in management for 3M Co. for 20 years. His time with 3M involved two stints in Brussels, Belgium.

Holsteen and his family moved to Hudson in 1988, and returned here after each assignment to Brussels “because of the sense of family that we have at Faith Community,” he said. “It’s a big part of our family.”

His son Ben is the church’s director of music and media.

“I’ve loved everything I’ve been involved in in my checkered past, but there is something that you just can’t match –- whether it is my time in government or my time in business -- when you see lives transformed by Jesus Christ,” Holsteen said. “I’ve had the privilege of being involved in a number of very successful endeavors in both government and business, but there is nothing like someone coming to know the Lord.”

He’s in charge of leadership development for the church, which includes running a program called the Antioch School that offers college creditable classes in ministry and theology.

Tim Porter is the lead pastor at Faith Community, and the main preaching pastor.

Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
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