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Merv Thompson posted in This Week in Hope History on Thursday, September 23, 2021

Early in 2011 the decision was made to establish a new Hope campus in the burgeoning communities of Johnston and Grimes. This was to be the first “video venue,” where the weekly sermon would be taped at Hope West Des Moines on Saturday evening and then transported to Hope Johnston Grimes for Sunday morning. The campus leaders of this new satellite were longtime members of Hope, Fritz and Lora Trost.

Aerial pictures were studied of the larger community to find the place for worship that was farthest from any other existing Lutheran congregation. This led to the decision to rent Summit Middle School, which had the added benefit of providing a cafeteria that could accommodate more than 500 people.

Normally it takes 18 to 24 months to get a new campus up and running, but Hope JG accomplished this birth in less than eight months. Fourteen teams were organized to implement the opening, involving over 130 people. The book “Doing Church As A Team” by Wayne Cordeiro provided the organizing playbook.

Hope Johnston-GrimesOn Sept. 25, 2011, 564 people showed up for opening day. The numbers continued strong, averaging more than 400 during the first two years of the congregation’s life. A building campaign soon after worship began raised more than $370,000 for future land and facilities. An estimated 50 percent of the new congregation were previously members of Hope West Des Moines, the other half had never even visited Hope. Within a few months, a second worship service was added.

When the Trosts accepted a call to ministry elsewhere, Pastor Eric Voelker was selected to be the new campus pastor. Pastor Eric had grown up in the community, was a well-known wrestler at Dallas Center-Grimes High School, third in the state. When he wrestled at Iowa State University, he won two national championships. Before accepting this call, Pastor Eric served as the director of Men’s Ministry at Hope West Des Moines.

By 2014, the worship schedule included a Saturday service at 5:00 pm at The Hub, a smaller location for offices and classes in Grimes, and Sunday morning services at 9:15 and 11:00 am at Summit Middle School in Johnston.

By early 2015 a 400-acre development was unveiled along Highway 141 known as the Heritage Development, located just north of Grimes. Using some of the seed money from the previous building campaign, 17 acres of land were purchased for the new church campus. Groundbreaking took place on Sept. 15, 2017, and a brand-new building at 1335 NE Beaverbrook Blvd. in Grimes was ready for worship by September of 2018. In addition, the church changed its name to Hope Grimes. Pastor Murph Hutson came on board as a pastoral intern in August of 2018 and was added as a campus pastor in August of 2019.

Within a couple of months in the new facility, worship attendance mushroomed to 900 and the facility was overcrowded. New parking spaces were added immediately, and a master plan was developed to do kingdom expansion projects including adding a world-class outdoor amphitheater, upgrading the youth & family ministry environments, and building a walkway across the northeast parking lot to connect the church to nearby community buildings.

Grimes is one of the fastest-growing cities of its size in the state of Iowa, increasing by about 80 percent in the past decade. Hundreds of new homes and apartments are being constructed within a mile of the church.

Pastor Eric sums up the future of Hope Grimes, “Like the Apostle Paul, I am confident that God, who began a good work in you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Embrace God’s vision in your life. Fan the flames of faith in the everyday life of people. Set your sail to the power of the Holy Spirit.”