Hosanna Lutheran Church’s new pastor took a while to respond to her call.
Growing up in St. Louis Park, both of Linda Friesen’s parents were medical technologists, and that became her career also.
“I had thought about seminary but didn’t want to work every weekend,” she said.
Friesen graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1985. As a medical technologist and emergency medical technician, she drew blood and ran lab tests.
From 2000 to 2005, she also served on the volunteer EMT squad in the Marine on St. Croix Fire Department.
While studying at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, she continued in the medical field at the University of Minnesota and at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater.
After finishing seminary in 2000, Friesen spent five years at Peace Lutheran Church of Inver Grove Heights as associate pastor with emphasis on family ministry.
She then answered a contract call to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi: a call by the council for a church in transition, having lost both its senior and associate pastors.
Before coming to Forest Lake, Friesen served as associate pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Stillwater.
Having experienced career change, she understands the process of finding one’s talents. Now she wants to use that to help others.
“My favorite thing to do as a pastor is equipping people to go out in the world and use the gifts that God has given them,” she said. In addition to personal experience, she brings another tool to this task.
“I’m a Gallup StrengthsFinder coach,” she said. A highly researched online tool published by Gallup Press, she explained, StrengthsFinder is a survey used by corporations, colleges and the military to increase productivity.
It’s expensive to be trained as a coach, but fortunately, she was at St. Andrew’s when that church was looking for a way to engage members and help them find their strengths.
Taking the survey is not expensive. A Gallup StrengthsFinder publication with the survey code costs about $20, she said. Kids ages 9 to 15 use a separate inventory.
Friesen hopes Hosanna will begin the process, and has already engaged key leadership, including council, staff and call committee, to participate in retreats and training.
“If it catches on, if it rings true with who Hosanna is, then we’ll roll it out to the congregation,” she said.
In addition to helping church members grow, Friesen is excited about serving the Forest Lake community.
“One of the things I love about the Lutheran Church is its global impact,” she said. “When a hurricane happens, Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Social Service are the first ones on the ground and the last to leave.”
Friesen hopes to add to Hosanna’s existing missions, including those in Jamaica and Slovakia, by reaching out to local schools with mentoring and tutoring services.
“We know the schools are hurting for people to come in,” she said, “and we will be on call if a crisis occurs.”
“My call is not only to this place, Hosanna, but also to the Forest Lake community,” she concluded.
Friesen was installed at Hosanna on Sunday, May 11. She was joined by her husband Mark and their three children: Josh, Danielle with husband Kyle, and Parker.