Church Spotlight Series

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church

Following Jesus and Sharing His Love with the world


Part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, St. Luke Lutheran Church, located at 7000 Hinton Avenue in Cottage Grove, began worshiping as a congregation in 1978. With over four million members and more than 10,000 congregations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States and is committed “to serving others as we are equipped, empowered, and embraced by Christ’s everlasting grace and love through prayer.” They share that “together in Jesus Christ we are freed by grace to live faithfully, witness boldly and serve joyfully.”
St. Luke Lutheran Church believes that all people are imperfect and are saved (made right with God) by God’s grace and God’s grace alone, through Christ. “There is no special prayer you need to pray, no special state of mind you need to achieve and no good deed you need to perform.” They believe that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God became one of us and took upon himself the sin and suffering of all the world and that God did this to demonstrate His love for us. “We believe that we receive the gift of grace by faith alone on account of Christ. We live in the tension of still being sinful but trusting that we are forgiven, and that God is at work in us. The gift of grace expresses God’s unconditional love, and in response to that love we are set free to live gratefully and lovingly.”

St. Luke Lutheran Church takes a very active role in their community and donates throughout the year to various causes or organizations both global and local which they call “Love Your Neighbor offerings.” They are currently focused on raising awareness and funds for SoWashCo Cares and maintaining an ongoing partnership with the Friends of Huruma, a children’s center in Tanzania that uplifts those affected by extreme poverty, abuse, and hunger. Other ways they give back to their community includes monthly supply drives for Friends in Need, a local food bank where they make sure the bank is always restocked. They also participate in a back-to-school supply drive, host a giving tree every Christmas that provides gifts for children throughout the area, and give to “Feed My Starving Children” a favorite organization of St. Luke’s where they participate in at least six packing sessions a year and enjoy fellowship afterwards. St. Luke Lutheran Church also leaves a trailer in the parking lot for the community to drop off their aluminum cans, which are hauled to a recycling plant for money that is earmarked for youth scholarships and youth ministry related expenses. Members of St. Luke Lutheran Church often meet after worship to participate in activities to bolster the community, including assembling sandwiches for the homeless, cleaning up local parks, and hosting picnics twice a year for community fellowship. They also organize speakers who share thought provoking discussions about faith and current issues facing the community today. St. Luke Lutheran Church organizes personal growth activities for the congregation in their ongoing faith journey through their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team.

The youth of the congregation are important at St. Luke’s and the Church offers “Faith in Life Skills” to young people in seventh and eighth grade from September through May. They welcome learners of all ages in an intergenerational approach to faith formation and community building. Youth ministry at St. Luke is dynamic and ever-changing and includes a recently renovated youth room with new carpet, big screen TV, and foosball.

Ordained in 2012, Pastor Keith Long has pastored St. Luke’s congregation since 2018. He has been happily married for 22 years with two middle school aged children and a British Labrador. Pastor Keith attended school in St. Anthony Village where he graduated high school in 1997. From there he went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and Film from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2001 and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in 2012. Pastor Keith is a man of many talents and abilities having created two podcasts (Pastor Faster: The 5 Minute Podcast and The God Fodder Podcast) and is a published author of both fiction and nonfiction books. He was the first contributing writer for New Testament scholar and best-selling author Dr. Bart Ehrman’s blog. He has also worked as a screenwriter for a New York based television company and as an outdoor challenge course team facilitator.

Pastor Keith shares that what he loves the most about his congregation are “the people!” “Members have a heart for Jesus’s love and a love for learning here; I can push and challenge them, joke and laugh with them, and learn and serve alongside them in our commitment to become the best versions of ourselves. This congregation has been through much and I appreciate their resiliency, grace, commitment to prayer, and openness to trying new things—because I sure do like shaking things up and keeping them on their toes!”
Pastor Keith loves the beauty of Cottage Grove and the nurturing community. “I love its parks, trails, plethora of trees, wild grasses, and how well those are maintained. I enjoy seeing how active this community is, from its walkers, runners, bikers, and sports teams to a commitment to support our local businesses and schools,” he comments.
When asked what the biggest need facing his community is today, Pastor Keith explains, “There are many needs of course, but one that is of particular importance to the leaders of St. Luke and me is the need for more compassionate understanding and acceptance of our differences. Cottage Grove, like most suburbs, consists of people of all genders, political persuasions, ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds, and the temptation to steer clear of one another has never been stronger.” He shares how the leadership of St. Luke’s has met this need. “We are addressing these uneasy times by focusing on educating ourselves and courageously talking with one another when the topic at hand might make us squirm or prefer to be somewhere else. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve endured our share of rough patches, but we feel that as the church, we are rooted and sent in Christ’s love for the world, so we have a responsibility to model how to be Jesus by practicing what we preach—even if those conversations call us into uncomfortable terrain.”

Worship services begin at 9 AM on Sunday mornings and can be streamed live or on their YouTube Channel @st.lukelutheranchurchcg1957 at any time. While St. Luke offers choral/traditional hymns with piano accompaniment for most of the services, once a month the worship is led by the “Mercy’s Free” house band, consisting of keyboard, vocals, guitars and occasionally drums. The congregation of St. Luke is blessed with terrific vocalists and musicians under the direction of Alison Bondy, who began as the Director of Worship and Congregational Care in 2017. St. Luke will also be hosting Board Game nights for all ages and community on the 2nd Sundays of the month from 5-7 PM in the fellowship hall.

For more information on St. Luke Lutheran Church call 651-459-1222 or visit the website at