In the mid-1800’s Swedish Baptist immigrants came to America looking for religious freedom from the State Church of Sweden. Many of these new arrivals settled in an area near the Mississippi River that came to be known as Swede Hollow. As their situation improved, the new inhabitants moved up the hill to what is now the east side of St. Paul. In 1873, 15 years after Minnesota became a state, a small group of Swedish Baptists began meeting in the home of a carpenter named O.S. Lindberg. When attendance outgrew the home, the First American Baptist Church of St. Paul invited them to use their building until the small congregation could find a place of their own. With a congregation of 12 members, the First Swedish Baptist Church of St. Paul called Rev. John Ongman as their first pastor.
In 1882, a church building was completed at the corner of Burr and Collins at a cost of $6,000. Until this time, though its members were all Swedish immigrants, services were held in English due to the close connection with the First American Baptist Church. When they moved into their own building, however, the members petitioned to worship in Swedish, and that remained the primary language until the church slowly became bilingual around 1913.
The energetic First Swedish Baptist Church grew substantially over the next decade as revival swept through the community. This occasioned a move to a larger facility located on Payne Avenue in 1899 and eventually a new name, Payne Avenue Baptist Church, in 1948. The congregation flourished in its new location and expanded so much that soon Sunday school classes were meeting in a nearby funeral home and in neighborhood homes purchased to provide more space. With the north suburban growth of St. Paul and the church’s ever-increasing need for space at the Payne Avenue site, the decision was made in the early 1960’s to build a new building at the current Maplewood location and to adopt the name Trinity Baptist Church.
LifePoint held its first worship service in our present Edgerton Street facility on November 17, 1963. In the years that followed, a vigorous, outreach-oriented congregation has been actively involved in responding to the spiritual and physical needs of a community experiencing explosive growth and increased ethnic diversity. In recent years we have provided worship space for a number of ethnic groups including Hmong, Hispanic, and Vietnamese congregations. The Vietnamese Grace Church is now seeking affiliation with BGC/Converge Worldwide, and the Minnesota Thai Church continues to worship and fellowship at LifePoint. Like the Vietnamese Grace Church, the Minnesota Thai Church is in the process of affiliating with Converge Worldwide.
For the last several years, LifePoint has partnered with Trinity Karen Baptist Church (TKBC), an independent congregation of Karen people (a people group from Burma). TKBC has experienced tremendous growth, and is now one of the largest Karen congregations in the United States. They meet in the building on Sunday afternoons, with an average attendance of over 500 people. LifePoint’s Sunday school program and Wednesday night AWANA program serve a number of Karen children.
Throughout its 140-year history, the LifePoint congregation has worshipped God and ministered to the world in accordance with Scripture and the guidelines of biblical tradition. Those guidelines have provided a rich heritage of sound biblical preaching and teaching. We have remained committed to and engaged in evangelism and world missions. We have understood and affirmed the value of investing in our youth as those who will carry our witness for Christ into succeeding generations; we have sought to preserve this godly heritage. The church has been affiliated with the Baptist General Conference/ Converge Worldwide since its initial organization.
Dr. Peter Vogt is currently serving as Senior Pastor.